If you’ve checked out comic book blogs, news sites or podcasts you might’ve come across the term solicitations – but what are they? Essentially, they’re a block of text accompanied with a cover image or two which gives details for upcoming comic book releases. Originally these were intended for comic book retailers to give some detail of the comics they were potentially ordering and help to give a better indication as to how many copies of each comic they should order, but over the years they’ve become a marketing tool for comic book fans. Due to the serialised nature of most comics many fans were dying to find out what’s coming up, with broad hints at what plot points that were coming up in future issues. Comic book publishers – like Marvel, DC Comics and others – begun to realised that fans were interested in these blocks of text and began to release them online via popular comic book news sites. These are generally released in the middle of each month and focus on releases coming out in 3 months time, but some solicitations come out a little earlier in the month to create a little extra buzz for a particular title.
Comic book solicitations are good for looking at what comics that might interest you are coming up in the next few months. They allow you to plan your reading well in advance and find out what your favourite creators and characters will be up to in the near future. It also gives you plenty of time to tell your local comic book retailer to order you in a copy of a certain comic book if something catches your fancy. They’re not essential reading, but it’s probably the best way to find out when new comics are starting or if something big is going to happen in your favourite comic.
But what do they look like? Here’s an example of one from the DC Comics November 2015 Solicitations below:
BATMAN: EUROPA #1
Written by MATTEO CASALI and BRIAN AZZARELLO
Layouts by GIUSSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
Art and cover by JIM LEE
1:25 Variant cover by LEE BERMEJO
1:100 B&W Sketch variant by JIM LEE
RESOLICIT • On sale NOVEMBER 18 • 40 pg, FC, 1 of 4, $4.99 US • RATED T+
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information. This issue is resolicited. All previous orders are cancelled.
Superstar artist Jim Lee returns to the Dark Knight with this premiere issue! The impossible has happened and Batman is on the verge of being taken down by an enemy he cannot defeat: a virus for which there is no cure! And the only hope for his salvation is The Joker! Who infected Batman, what does the Clown Prince of Crime know, and how will the Dark Knight get that information? Together, the enemies crisscross Europe, desperate to find answers before time runs out.
Co-conceived by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, this 4-issue miniseries event will feature art by top talents over layouts by the incomparable Giuseppe Camuncoli (HELLBLAZER, Dark Wolverine), with the first issue pencilled and inked by none other than Jim Lee!
While each publisher is slightly different in how they layout their solicitations, but the one above is a good example of how they work.
For those who look at the above and can’t make heads or tails of it here’s a quick breakdown of the anatomy:
3. Creator Credits (who is writing, art, layouts, colours, inks etc)
4. Cover Credits (Main cover and variant cover(s) with ordering eligibility and what artists are doing the art)
5. Resolicit – This means that it was solicited and delayed or cancelled for long enough that all previous orders were cancelled. In this example Batman: Europa #1 was originally solicited in 2011.
6. On Sale Date
7. Number of pages
8. FC means Full Colour
9. If it is a miniseries it will list how many issues it will be.
10. Cost of the comic
11. Age rating of the comic
12. Blurb which sells the comic in regards to broad plot details and sometimes talks about the creators involved.
Well, that’s everything you need to know about comic book solicitations. Keep a look out on the How to Love Comics Twitter as I like to share the solicitations when they come out each month.