DC has been hyping their big crossover event ‘Convergence‘ for several months now.  Their New 52 relaunch has been met with mixed reactions from longtime readers, many of whom dropped DC’s output entirely when the publisher scrapped its established history in favor of relaunching their line from scratch, but sales have been fairly consistent.  And most of the fans that departed did so because so many familiar aspects of the former DC universe, from events to entire individuals were missing.

In that respect, ‘Convergence’ seemed to be created to assure those fans that even though certain characters like Renee Montoya and Donna Troy among others, might not have popped up in the New 52 yet, their former selves are still out there as part of the Multiverse.  DC just wasn’t chronicling their exploits at this time.

‘Convergence’ is mainly being played out in the master miniseries, but DC has halted publication of all its other books to make way for dozens of tie-in miniseries (2-issues each) that take place at varying points in DC’s history, including (among many others) Justice League Detroit, Justice League International (the Giffen/Dematteis years), Infinity Inc., Shazam!, The Death of Superman, Batman and the Outsiders, pre-Crisis Earth 4, Earth X-based Freedom Fighters and lots lots more.

Well… the plan doesn’t seem to have worked out, at least for one retailer, Mike Swensen of Bismark, ND’s Juke Joint Comics who estimates that the sales of DC comics at his store are down by roughly 40%!  And while Swensen is strictly speaking on behalf of his store, it can’t be a fluke and one could reasonably assume that other stores nationwide may be seeing similar drops in DC Comics sales.

In an open letter to Bleeding Cool, the vendor states, “With ‘Convergence’ #3 hitting the shelves today, I am still scrambling to sell 0, 1 and 2. along with the other tie ins. Of the 25 copies we had of each, I still have 12 #0s, 6 #1s, and 10 #2s.”

The tie-ins are floundering as well, as Swensen reveals,”We generally sell out 30-40 copies of ‘Batman’ on release day. Of the 25 ‘Convergence Batman: Shadow of the Bat’ #1s, I still have 15 remaining. For ‘Harley Quinn’, we usually sell about 30 copies. Of the 30 ‘Convergence Harley Quinn’ #1s, we still have 22 on the shelves. ‘Suicide Squad’ has also usually been an instant sell out for us. However, we’ve yet to sell 5 copies of the tie in and still have 16 on the rack.”

And even pull box subscribers aren’t biting.  Almost all of Juke Joint’s subscribers opted out of ‘Convergence’ with plans to resume buying and reading once the event passes.

Swensen added, “The worst part of it is that customers aren’t grabbing other books instead. They’re simply just waiting for it to be over so they can resume their regular habits.”

Not good news for retailers catering to an already small and dwindling audience.  For one of the two biggest publishers to lose almost half its readers for two months is taking important dollars out of the pockets of the one outlet that sells the bulk of their product.

However, if you live in Bismark and want to catch up on ‘Convergence’, Swensen announced plans to sell the issues at a deep discount on Free Comic Book Day just to get rid of the excess books and clear off shelf space for titles that readers might actually want to buy.

But the question lingers as to how did a major crossover like this fail so hard?  Did DC pay too much mind to a vocal online minority who were raising hell over losing decades worth of continuity, but who aren’t showing up with their wallets to revisit these time periods?  Or are readers simply bored with these stunts?

After ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ both Marvel and DC went out of their way to inundate readers with a new crossover event every year, with the quality and impact lessened year after year until both publishers put the practice to rest.  But with comic interest rising in recent years, it looks as if both have embraced the idea of big events again with relish.

If fans are simply fatigued, that could herald another temporary ban on crossovers of this nature.  Swensen concedes, “I’ll check back in a few weeks once [Marvel’s] ‘Secret Wars’ invades our store. And will be keeping my fingers crossed as tightly as possible.”

Have you been reading ‘Convergence’?  What are your thoughts?

Source: Bleeding Cool