1.50 is close to what comic shops pay diamond…publishers get less than half that from diamond. so lets say .75 (which is probably still way too high) .75 x 5k…3.75k
lets say 20 pages of art x 200 a page so 4k, say…1000 for cover (less for less recognized names…but potentially much much more for a big name…), and not really sure but say 1k for writer (probably very low)…thats 6k
3.75k net sales - 6k costs for a loss of 2.5k. even selling 10k you’d end up with 7.5k for a slim profit of 1.5k…and thats with costs being estimated low…and profits high. art costs could be much higher if dc/marvel continued to own the originals…vs the artists keep them and can sell them (unless the originals were all digital).
theres other profit factors to consider like the ads, digital sales, tpb sales and such, but also other costs like printing (and over printing) marketing, editing, colors, comps, and other such things too.
looking at just sales numbers its easy to think comic shops get the best end of the deal…but they don’t. 5k printed doesn’t mean shops will sell 5k (hence the dollar bins). overall diamond has by far the best end of the deal (and a monopoly).
so even looking at it as eating a loss to build a fan base may not hold up if the numbers don’t show signs of sustained growth.
I think generally comics (retail…self publishing is a very different beast) aren’t really profitable at all unless they sell at least 20k (marvel/dc) which is why a lot of titles that sell less get cancelled…with dc’s current level of sales this is why a lot of the rumors about dc getting sold off etc. or marvel getting sold off etc. start gaining traction…companies need to not just meet profit expectations…but exceed them…so losses become very unattractive…as do slim profits.
indies can get away with selling less by selling the movie/tv rights, or by paying writer artist solely by profits of the book, etc. I think I once heard image’s deal was something like they keep all the money from the 1st 3k copies sold (to cover their costs)…but after that its a generous split favoring the creators. not a clue how IDW, dynamite, boom, and aspen handle things. but there probably a very very big reason why indies get optioned very very early (studios getting in early for cheap and publishers taking less to stay afloat)
for disney they seem to have forseen that they need to keep the comics division to ensure that they have new characters to pull from for the mcu (unlike comics…actors get old, pass away, etc.). however allowing IDW to license kid friendly comics still probably cost IDW (probably marvel gets some kind of x per issue, or x% of net sales)…and given how low their sales have been…I don’t really see them wanting to continue it beyond whatever point they can opt out…but who knows what the deal was, maybe marvel gave them a super deal so that they’d maintain a foot in the door for the kids market without having to lose money…
wb may not see it the same as most of their most profitable movies are not ones that connect to each other like the mcu (dark knight trilogy, joker, etc. vs aquaman, wonder woman, shazam…) so they can simply reboot batman ad nauseum…even shazam is only just barely connected…and wonder woman and aquaman could easily stand on their own. they do however need to “protect” their movies from stuff like batman being used in porn etc. once they sell…even if its just comics publishing…
it isn’t the being able to get the license to use a character(s) that will cost…its the cost of not having to adhere to strict caveats and restrictions…something that would likely only be possible through a purchase…not licensing.