Category Archives: Wayward

Wayward #26 Reviews

Adventures In Poor Taste: 9/10 “Wayward has always excelled in the visual department, and finally it’s rising to the occasion writing-wise through riveting character drama and escalating the plot to a wonderful crescendo.”

Comic Book.com: 10/10 “With an intriguing story, haunting realism, and a dose of optimism Wayward #26 might be the most perfect comic book you read this week.”

Geeked Out Nation: 8.4/10 “Wayward continues to be that drama with teens that rescues you from all of the cliche. Issue #26 brings these kids together again, but only to challenge the things that keep them sane, and keep them on the right side of this war.”

Horror Talk: 10/10 “If this is how the final arc begins, I can’t imagine how it’s going to end.”

Multiversity Comics: 8/10 “It’s the kind of issue that has made reading the series an overall pleasure. The march to the Wayward finale begins, and the book is firing on all cylinders.”

TM Stash: 10/10 “This series is quite possibly the most beautifully written and illustrated book in comics today.”

Wayward #29 Arrives in September!

Arriving in September-
WAYWARD #29
WRITER: JIM ZUB
ARTIST / COVER A: STEVEN CUMMINGS & TAMRA BONVILLAIN
COVER B: W. SCOTT FORBES
SEPTEMBER 26 / 24 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“BOUND TO FATE,” Part Four

The cat returns (and she brings grim tidings)!
The wayward begin their final assault on the Loom of Fate…and not all of them will survive.

Wayward Final Arc Interview on Newsarama

Steven, Tamra, and I spoke to Lan Pitts at Newsarama all about our final story arc for Wayward. Give it a read for teasers about what’s coming up in the upcoming months.

Talking About Wayward’s Final Arc With Dynamic Forces

I spoke to Byron Brewer at Dynamic Forces about ‘Bound To Destiny’, the final arc of Wayward that starts up at the end of this month. Give it a read to get a glimpse at what’s coming up!

Wayward #28 Arrives in August!

WAYWARD #28
WRITER: JIM ZUB
ARTIST / COVER: STEVEN CUMMINGS, TAMRA BONVILLAIN
VARIANT COVER: KIDCHAN
AUGUST 29 / 24 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

“BOUND TO FATE,” Part Three
Hell on Earth and a hell of a fight. The strings of fate are pulled ever tighter…

WAYWARD #27 Arrives in July!

WAYWARD #27
STORY: JIM ZUB
ART / COVER: TAMRA BONVILLAIN, STEVEN CUMMINGS
VARIANT COVER: NOI SACKDA
JULY 25 / 24 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

“BOUND TO FATE,” Part Two

Forces gather for the final confrontation. The dying, the dormant, and the damned…

WAYWARD #26 Arrives in June!

WAYWARD #26
STORY: JIM ZUB
ART / COVER A: STEVEN CUMMINGS & TAMRA BONVILLAIN
COVER B: DUSTIN WEAVER
JUNE 20 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
NEW STORY ARC

“BOUND TO FATE,” Part One
The end begins here! The Wayward are together at last, but is it too late? The Yokai have prepared a sacrifice that could change everything. This is war, and the battle lines will be drawn in Tokyo.

STEVEN CUMMINGS (Legends of the Dark Knight, Dungeons & Dragons) and JIM ZUB (Avengers, Samurai Jack) get ready to close out their modern supernatural spectacle with the same sweeping artwork and gut-wrenching drama that has made this series a fan favorite for the past four years. Get on board and prepare for impact.

Wayward #24 Reviews

Geeked Out Nation: 8.9/10 “…everything exciting that you could ask for from a journey into the unknown, but also painful when you now know the depths in madness that comes from a fight for magic.”

TM Stash: 9/10 “The most beautifully written and illustrated book in comics today continues with an amazing battle that takes us to Tír Na Nóg!”

Under the Comic Covers: “This issue was so shocking but also so powerful.”

Arriving January- WAYWARD Vol. 5!

Arriving in January, pre-order now!
WAYWARD, VOL. 5: TETHERED SOULS TP
STORY: JIM ZUB
ART / COVER: STEVEN CUMMINGS, TAMRA BONVILLAIN
JANUARY 31 / 136 PAGES / FC / M / $16.99

Japan and Ireland are torn apart by conflict. The new power that defines the modern world rages out of control. JIM ZUB (Avengers, SKULLKICKERS) and STEVEN CUMMINGS (Deadshot, Legends of the Dark Knight) continue their supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer with foreign cultures and fascinating mythological monsters. This volume includes design artwork by artist STEVEN CUMMINGS and profiles on mythical creatures by monster scholars ZACK DAVISSON and ANN O’REGAN not found in the single issues.

Collects WAYWARD #21-25

Creator-Owned Economics: Long Tail in a Moving Market

Has it really been 16 months since my previous sales update on Wayward? Wow. Time is flying, gang. I’ve been juggling a slew of different projects this year along with my day job and just didn’t have time to dig into all the numbers until things calmed down.

(Update: I also managed to find time to write up another article about continued sales of Skullkickers after finishing its run that you can read right HERE.)

There’s been a lot of talk about direct market single issue sales through comic shops (also known as the “The direct market”). Sales numbers seem to be declining as retailers jump through ordering hoops for big ticket variant covers while trying not to get stuck with more non-returnable stock than they can handle. I’ve heard from quite a few creators and retailers that juggling numbers on major releases from the Big Two doesn’t leave a lot of time/money to support other publishers, and what is there tends to go to recognizable brands with media pull.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the landscape of media is changing. Every form of entertainment has been shaken up by the digital revolution and a generation of consumers who are growing up with new paradigms that don’t involve owning physical media.

So, with that in mind, here’s how Wayward is faring in a tough market:

Once again, we’re looking at a classic case of ‘standard market attrition.’ The drops between each issue aren’t severe, but they do start to add up issue after issue, leading to an overall decline. It can be tough to maintain visibility for a creator-owned series that’s long in the tooth (and yes, in this market, Wayward has more issues than many rebooted superhero titles so it looks comparatively old). Comic news sites and reviewers want to talk about the latest and greatest, not a series that’s more than 3 years old with 20+ issues. So, what does this mean for our single issue sales profitability?

As of issue #18 we’re releasing issues with an initial loss. Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation but I could see where the numbers were leading us and wasn’t surprised. This matches the overall softness of the comic market as a whole. Retailers are cutting purchasing budgets to the bone and many titles are losing ‘shelf copies’, extra copies ordered to see if they can be sold to customers who haven’t subscribed to a title. I’ve been to more and more comic shops where they order single issues for their pullbox customers and only have shelf copies for the biggest releases each week. It’s understandable, given the current sales environment, but it does make it harder for new readers to discover titles…

…Or, does it?

The simple truth is that the market has moved to trade reading. Affordable, durable, easy to lend to a friend or give as a gift, trade paperbacks are now the market for many titles. Wayward trade paperback sales continue to grow and that really drives us forward at this point. Direct market comic retailers support Wayward with their trade orders, but more than half of our trade sales now come from bookstores and other outlets. Initial direct market orders are pretty good, but the long tail of continued sales through other channels keeps us growing year after year. Good word of mouth from people like you keeps us going.

In addition to those single issues and trades, we had two huge visibility boosts that don’t show up properly on these sales charts:
‌• In early 2016, Image Comics had a Humble Bundle of digital comics promoting diversity and human rights. Supporters who pledged over $20 received a digital copy of Wayward Deluxe Book 1, our packed-to-the-brim issue #1-10 collection with over 80 pages of back matter. That led to thousands of new readers diving into the series and an accompanying boost afterward for digital trade sales.

‌• Wayward Vol. 1: String Theory is part of comiXology Unlimited, a monthly flat fee all-you-can-read service offered by the leading platform for digital comics. We only get paid a small amount per downloaded trade, but it’s the visibility boost that’s really helped. Tens of thousands of people have read Wayward Vol. 1 through the Unlimited platform.

How’s it looking in 6 month increments? Let’s see-

Image printed a huge run of Wayward Volume 1 and 2 and those trades keep selling, so the cost of keeping Wayward in stock stays low while profits continue year after year.

Okay, here’s profit with everything factored in:

In addition to direct market and bookstore sales, this chart also includes a few foreign deals that have been struck to bring Wayward out in other languages, most notably in French from Glénat Comics, with two volumes out so far. Foreign deals are the best because the foreign publisher handles translation, printing, and advertising. For them it’s far cheaper than creating all-new content and for us it rules because we just hand over the print files and get paid.

That small dip in early 2015 was the cost of printing Wayward Vol. 1 with a deep stock to keep us rolling over the long haul, and it’s been pretty smooth ever since. Trade and digital sales have overtaken temporary losses incurred from single issue release. We’re continuing to build our readership in comic shops, bookstores, and online.

Image’s incredible ownership and profit sharing model is unlike any other creator-owned deal in the market. Our small monthly single issue sales and growing trade sales do well enough that Wayward is still Steven’s full-time job (living in Yokohama with a wife and two wonderful kids) and pays a competitive page rate to Tamra, Marshall, Zack, Ann, and myself while giving us the flexibility to make the story exactly the way we want. We don’t get the press coverage of Walking Dead, Saga, Wicked + Divine, Rat Queens or Sex Criminals, but we are solidly plugging away. The additional visibility of an anime series and co-op board game in development could mean even stronger sales for 2018 and beyond.

If you take away anything from this post, let it be this: When fans or news sites only obsess over direct market single issue sales numbers from Comichron (which are not complete, but do provide an overall sense of market leaders and attrition), they are ignorant of a much larger overall market. Comic companies are not obligated to post their sales numbers, but that obfuscation has unfortunately led to a ridiculous amount of armchair quarterbacking by people who cannot see the forest for the trees and are woefully ill-informed about what sells and where. If you only looked at monthly print single issue sales you would assume Wayward was doomed over a year ago, but it’s just not true. The market has shifted and will continue to do so. Readers, retailers, and publishers need to adjust their perception of the market, if they haven’t already.

As always, a quick warning: The above charts only reflect the state of Wayward, my creator-owned comic series. I believe they’re indicative of some broader industry trends, but every series has a different sales cycle depending on the creators involved, publisher, marketing, and whims of the market. Skullkickers and Glitterbomb, my other creator-owned series, have been very different in terms of sales and profitability. Don’t build your own financial plans solely based on these articles.

If you found this post interesting, feel free to let me know here (or on Twitter), share the post with your friends and consider buying some of my comics, donating to my Patreon, or buying comics from me in person if you see me at a convention.