The GeeksverseLiscense Wars

Liscense Wars
Published on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by

So when did liscensed properties become such big hits for comic books?

I can remember when companies didn’t really want liscensed properties and they didn’t perform very well. That was the drawback, they didn’t bring in enough to make paying the liscensee fees.

So what changed?

Now it seems like every publisher has a bunch of properties, even Marvel and DC have some successful properties.

And they keep signing more.

Makes me wonder what goes on behind the scenes?

Take the recent signing of the Voltron liscense by Dynamite. What happened prior to it? Was there fights between Dynamite and other publishers? What did Dynamite offer that others didn’t?

Or did any other publishers not try for the liscense?

How does it all work?

Why does it seem like some of the liscenses you’d think would be picked up aren’t?

And what makes it the perfect time to go and grab one?

I’ve been waiting for someone to say they’ll be doing a Thundercats comic. There’s a new cartoon coming. Seems like the perfect time to launch a classic series and a new series.

About 50 of March’s Top 200 books are liscensed properties. That’s a significant amount of them. There apparently is a large market for them.

Why is this? Why would a publisher choose to take up one of their “slots” of books with something they have to pay for?

One of the reasons I can think of is that a liscensed property has a built in fan base. Splitting off a new X-Men book also has a built-in fanbase, but that was a fanbase that the publisher already had. So when the publisher signs a new liscensed property, like Lone Ranger for example, you are tapping into a market you normally wouldn’t have.

The hope is that by publishing a Lone Ranger comic book you’ll get some of your fans to read the book, get the fans of Lone Ranger to read the book and attract some fans that wouldn’t normally pick up one of your books.

The risk is that you’ll alienate the property’s fan base. And the greater risk is that you won’t bring in more then you pay out for the liscense.

But then there are risks to launching an X-Men spin off as well. It’s less risky though.

I like when a publisher takes a chance. You can get some good books out of it instead of the same old thing.

Go to the Pryde’s forums and share your thoughts on this column.

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