TMNT Ongoing (Vol. V) Solicitation vs. Release Date Analysis

Ever wondered why the dates you see provided by IDW in their monthly solicitations (a.k.a. solicitation dates) for the TMNT titles are sometimes spot-on and then other times they’re not?  Well, according to IDW, the dates they provide in their solicitations are pretty much just fabricated and are a best guess for when a book might actually be released.  IDW has always instructed us to pretty much ignore the solicitation dates they publish (or just pencil them in) and instead stick with the month in which a title will be released as accurate (even though that is sometimes inaccurate as well).  I suppose that’s all fine and good and there’s no harm in that…except, the data analyst in me isn’t satisfied with this approach.
Take, for example, the issues of TMNT Ongoing (Vol. V).  These get solicited for one date but then sometimes (lately, most times) get released on a different date.  The actual release date of each TMNT Ongoing issue, if not released on the solicitation date, is typically within 7 to 14 days of the solicitation date, either before or after.  With the recent release of TMNT #61, we now have 5 solid years of solicitation date vs. release date data.  So, I took it upon myself to do a bit of analysis in an effort to see if there’s an underlying trend in the data that might help with targeting better solicitation dates for the TMNT Ongoing (Vol. V) title from IDW.  Here’s what I found:
With the assumption (mine) that it’s better to release earlier vs. later than the solicited date, for purposes of this analysis I ignored any books released earlier than their solicitation date.  The resulting analysis shows:
– when the TMNT Ongoing books are released later than their solicitation date, they are most often released 7 days (1 week) after the solicitation date.  
– when the TMNT Ongoing books are on-time (solicitation and actual release dates match), that date most often falls on the 4th Wednesday of the month.
– 13 of the 61 books were solicited for the 3rd Wed. of the month but were actually released a week later (on the 4th Wednesday of the month).   

SUMMARY/CONCLUSION:  If IDW were to always solicit the TMNT Ongoing books for the 4th Wed. of each month, they could improve their date accuracy by approx. 20% AND reduce the occurrences of books that are actually released 14 days (2 weeks) after the solicitation date (thus making those only a week later than solicited).

So, take this for what it is…just an interesting (albeit super-geeky) analysis of the dates for the TMNT Ongoing (Vol. V) – (solicitation date vs. actual release date) through TMNT #61.  So, if you’re ever not sure when to make the trip to your local comic shop to pick up the latest TMNT Ongoing issue and, for some reason, you can’t check in here at TMNT…a collection, then just pick the 4th Wednesday of every month and, odds are, you’ll be walking out with a fresh copy in your hands.  Of course, you and I both know that a TON goes on (and can happen) between the time a book is solicited and actually released.  No data can predict or prevent shipping delays, printing mishaps, and whatever else might cause a book to take longer than expected.  However, 5 years of release date data paints a pretty good picture of how things most-often end up.  I’d argue that, even with fabricated dates, there is real data behind the actual release date when compared to the solicitation date.  After all, data is what turns a “WAG” (Wild A** Guess) into a “WEG” (Wild Educated Guess) and data is just plain cool.  😉
Happy collecting!

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