Subject #28 TV and Film Speculation 2017

What’s up party people. It’s been a while… Truth is, i haven’t had much in the way of inspiration and even less happening in comics that seemed worth writing about.

I remember as a kid, I’d always hear shop owners say there was no crossover between something like the Tim Burton Batman film and comic sales. 30 odd years later, and things have certainly changed. It’s interesting how much TV and Film plays into speculation and comics sales today.

Some books are finally getting optioned for pilots. Some pilot orders having casting news. There’s been some interesting stuff happening out there in media land lately… none of which I'm going to talk about.

Something that was brought up on the G+ page last week was the TV ratings, which if you haven’t jumped down that rabbit research hole, you should. Well, if you want to play the media speculation game.

Truth is, Movie and TV speculation is a really tough gig. You have to pretty much buy in so early (cheap) that it’s not on anyone's radar yet. Pray like hell you’re right about the book and Topher doesn’t find something earlier. Then, assuming all that breaks your way. Pray the final product is well received enough that you can unload all the copies you have.

Now try doing that across 10, 20 or 30 different potential upcoming media properties.  You could have $1000’s of dollars tied up in books that will never hit… or worst, holding out too long and missing the boat. If your buy in was cheap, it’s not that big a deal, once or twice. But the number of comic that you could potentially buy into as media speculation, it could get really expensive if some don’t blow up. People should keep in mind, some rumor/news should be taken with a grain of salt. At least until something solid surfaces.

I hear people talk about Image properties a lot. Which is cool, but keep in mind. EVERYTHING that comes out of Image has a first look option because of Walking Dead's success. So just because some company get's a first look for everything coming out from Image. That doesn't translate into “show is being produced”. You don't need to buy every single Image comics #1 that hits the shelves. You can, just don't expect to cash in on all of them.

One of the biggest missteps I see people make with TV speculation is the assumption there will be interest in the comic… Just because there's a TV show or movie doesn't automatically equal interest, much less at eBay inflation. If the character in question doesn’t have very much screen time, it’s unlikely the character will catch on enough for there to be heat on their first appearance. It does happen once in a while, but it's rare.

Most of the time a first appearance for a Marvel character making a big screen appearance is safe. TV and Netflix, not so much. You’ve got about a week to unload that book. By the time the episode airs interest evaporates. Unless they are showing up on multiple episodes, one and done TV villains are a bad investment. You never know when they might get kicked up to a series regular, but still, that doesn't mean that will create any interest in their first appearance.

Think about this, by the time a series enters its later seasons, the well will be dry. Nobody's gonna care about the first appearance of a characters whose tv series isn’t on anymore. If they did, maybe it wouldn’t have be cancelled. The best you can hope for is a new series to starts up in a few years, a revival on Netflix or maybe a film. Or in Constantine's case, guest appearances on Arrow.

Speaking of films, depending on the film in question, you can learn a lot from a trailer. I know this is a sore spot for many, last year's Suicide Squad. There were a lot of hints and red flags. There was also a pretty big chance some of the character were not making it to the end of the film. The movie was called Suicide Squad after all, so it was in the title. Spoiler Alert! Anyone not in this shot, probably wasn't going to make it to a sequel.

Many will argue there were a lot of scene involving the Joker in the trailer that didn't make it to the film. True and that's a fair point… But I'm talking about recognizing the money shot when you see it. That “this is the team” shot. Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, every movie trailer for a superteam film has it.

If the Suicide Squad sequel is something you’re planning to speculate on, here’s a tip.

Use this equation: R + F + A / L = $ Or Realistic amount of screen time + Any existing fan base for character + popularity of actor chances they live = chances anyone is going to care enough to buy a first appearance.

I'm only half kidding with the algebra. Really the only question is, will they make it out or not. If the answer is no, because they are a minor character, probably skip it. Let's be real. Any iteration of a Squad movie is going to need character to make the ultimate sacrifice. Be smart. The fewer shots in the trailer of a character = less likely they make it out.

As far as additions to a squad sequel. Deathstroke, King Shark, Bronze Tiger all have a shot, so do a bunch of others. All of which have known first appearances. Odds are whoever does get added won't be some super obscure c list dollar bin character.

Even at a buck a book, does it make sense to buy heavy on a character's first appearance that wouldn’t make it out of the film alive? Probably not. Even if the character is your most favorite character, that doesn’t mean Hollywood isn’t going to kill them off. Especially in a movie called Suicide Squad!

As i’ve said, TV and Film speculation is all a gamble… or Russian Roulette in the Suicide Squad's case. Spin the wheel and pray like hell.

That being said, it’s a great feeling when it does pay out. Even better when it pays out across 10 copies rather than 2. Regardless, the old saying is “buy what you like” and I encourage people to do just that. Still, you need to be realistic and never invest more than you're prepared to lose.

Till next time…

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  • Topher

    Your article should be a must read for new speculators.

    Modern film/tv speculation is such a volitile market that unless you are spending a ton of time on it ( and timing your sales perfectly as you say ) I would be very cautious. If you are buying low then you probably aren’t doing your wallet much harm.

    I see the first comic appearances of tv/film adaptations as a specific genre to collect like covers, variants or last issues. There are so many now and that means a large pool of books one can hunt for. Some will be keys that stand the test of time ( see Hulk 271 ) and some will be duds ( see Slipknot’s first ) and some are keys that will probably make you money for a while ( see Flash 197 ).
    You mentioned me specifically Skot so I just wanted to reiterate my stance on this type of speculation. I rarely ever buy high. Even if it’s a PC book I need I don’t spend big because the fun for me is the hunt for a copy that’s affordable. And lastly, my posts are designed to inform the reader of the comic related to the announcment. Each person should decide how to proceed on their own.

    Great article Skot, very informative.

    • Skot Whitman

      I only mentioned you Topher because you’re the gold standard when it comes to finding that earlier and rarer first appearances. Which is a real pearl new speculators can run into. Thinking they’ve got the inside track on something and buy heavy only to find that there’s IS something earlier.

      It wasn’t intended with any negativity.

  • zraximus rouge

    Great article and pearls of advice!

  • Avatar

    I agree with most of said points.

    In that regard, what about people’s feelings over a character after the movie? From what I’ve seen, and I find myself also in this pool, that El Diablo was a very cool character in the movie. SPOILER:………… With the option of him surviving, would we use him as an outlier? Not Harley Quinn reaches of popularity, but at least one that surpasses the theory?

    • Skot Whitman

      While I’d agree El Diablo is a character with some appeal, interest in him was inflated solely by the film appearance. We’re talking about a dollar bin book that speculators dug up and pushed back out into the market at north of $10 bucks.

      While the character could theoretically return in a sequel, that clearly wasn’t what was intended at the end of the first movie. I don’t think there’s any real interest in the character presently, that could change and the book could go up again, anythings possible.

  • Avatar

    Good work man, it’s easy to get carried away scarfing up 1st Appearances of minor characters. A realistic look at things is good thing—oh and I BOUGHT 50 COPIES OF FIRESTORM 28 BECAUSE ITS WHAT I LIKE!!!

  • Avatar

    I think Star Wars spec may be a good bet. They are going to be making these movies for a long time. The fan base is huge and extremely loyal. Rey is the no-brainer. But characters like Aphra and Sabine Wren are being pushed by Lucasfilm and have just as much potential star in movies of their own.

    • Topher

      Those characters must become iconic for people to really care. I agree that Star Wars spec might be a good bet but right now I would be buying the first appearance of BB-8 ans Snoke. Beyond them I just don’t know. I have a hard time buying into Aphra simply because the name sucks!

  • Avatar

    Great article. Could use a proof reader.

  • Avatar

    Nice article. Was wondering if somebody was ever gonna write about this subject. It seems to be a big part of spec on books right now. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. Good knowledge goes a long way.

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