Was Incognito an Advertisement for Criminal?
That's the question asked by retailer/good comics advocate Christopher Butcher as he writes about Incognito's final-issue solicitation in the new Diamond Previews catalog:
So it looks like it’s the end for INCOGNITO (p.79) with issue #6… and I couldn’t be happier! I’m always happy when stories have endings, that this is going to be a great book for the bookshelf and a strong seller for us. Hopefully it gooses the sales on CRIMINAL as well, which should start up again soon. I kind of wonder if, on some level (not the only level obv.), INCOGNITO was a six-issue advertisement for CRIMINAL… You know, all these guys reading Marvel comics, hanging out on message boards, they probably hear how great CRIMINAL is but, let’s face it, they only ever read the superhero books. So even though it’s published by Marvel, even though it got relaunched with a new #1 issue, they’re probably going to pass. But you take all the bits that make up a great CRIMINAL story-arc, and you put superhero-masks on all of the characters, and maybe that’s enough for them, to meet them half way so they realize “Hey this is pretty good!” I mean, the Marvel: Noir stuff sort of dilutes the brand, but really, our INCOGNITO sales are great, higher even than CRIMINAL, and I’m hoping… not just hoping but banking actually… that when CRIMINAL comes back in a month or two, we’ll see higher sales across the board. And we’ve got 4 trade paperbacks to sell them too.I certainly hope Butcher is right that Incognito boosts sales for Criminal, although this logic seems to suggest to me that Sleeper should have enjoyed better sales than it did, since it was set in a superhero universe and featured the same sort of paranoid crime comics stylings Incognito presents. In any case, it says little good about the mind of the average superhero comics fan, that they would need to be wooed into reading excellent comics by masks and superpowers, as if the lure of excellent comics (something promised anytime Brubaker or Phillips is involved, but especially when they both are) is somehow not enough in and of itself.