Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Marvel's September Shipping Shenanigans

Remember back when we did our commentary about the September solicitations? I joked around that I would probably be broke by the end of September. Taking an even closer look, now that we have all the information, I was frighteningly correct in my assessment. Double shipping schedules and price raises from Marvel's camp have made my budget go way over what it normally is. Add the fact that September has five Wednesdays and it all means I won't be able to check out some new series I wanted to. Hit the jump to see only a fraction of my pull list and how much it will grow in September.


Incredible Hercules

I remember that when they announced that Incredible Hercules would start shipping bi-monthly, I was pretty happy. Double dose of one of the best titles in the market? I'd be a fool not to be excited.

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #134
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 9, 2009

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #135
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 23, 2009

X-Factor

I also noticed that X-Factor had a bi-monthly schedule for September. I am a pretty big fan of Peter David's work on the title, and I know that he was trying to gather new readers, so maybe this was part of his plan to increase readership, building up to the big 50th issue in October.

X-FACTOR #48
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 16, 2009

X-FACTOR #49
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 30, 2009

Agents of Atlas

Speaking of titles that are hurting for readers, Agent of Atlas is ALSO having a bi-monthly schedule the upcoming month. It has since been revealed that the series will be put on hiatus, the team will face of in a mini-series against the X-Men, then appear as back-ups in Incredible Hercules for an unspecified amount of time, and will eventually be relaunched. I'm not sure if the double shipping is there to better fit a schedule, or just a coincidence.

AGENTS OF ATLAS #10
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 2, 2009

AGENTS OF ATLAS #11
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 16, 2009

Thunderbolts

Jeff Parker was also announced as the new writer of Thunderbolts very recently, with current writer Andy Diggle finishing his run in the near future. Again, I am not sure if the double shipping is a coincidence or a decision made to fit a schedule, but Thunderbolts is another title that is double shipping in September AND one of the issues has the $3.99 price point. The solicitation is still "Classified", so there's no information if it is a extra sized issue.

THUNDERBOLTS #135
PRICE: 2.99
IN STORES: September 9, 2009

THUNDERBOLTS #136
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 30, 2009

Dark Reign - Young Avengers

Mini series normally come out either in a monthly or bi-monthly fashion. I was surprised to see Dark Reign - Young Avengers, which until now had shipped in a monthly schedule, to appear twice in the month of September. All issues of this mini-series have been $3.99 so far.

DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS #4
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 9, 2009

DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS #5
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 30, 2009

Other Changes

You see what I mean about double shipping? It's madness! Five of the titles I follow have two issues coming out in September. To make matters worse, some other series I follow are having a "very special issue" of sorts and get a one-time-only price increase. Take a look...

RUNAWAYS #14
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 23, 2009

EXILES #6
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 2, 2009

The issue of Exiles is the final one and it is extra-sized, somewhat excusing the price hike. This issue of Runaways seems to mark the return of Gert, but there is no information if it is a regular sized issue or not.

The Grand Total

Just to give you a comparison, if all these titles were on their normal schedule and price, it would cost me $21.93 to buy them for the month.

$2.99 x 6 = $17.94
$3.99 x 1 = $ 3.99
Total = $21.93

But when you add up all the extra issues and price increases, it ends up being a grand total of $40.88!

$2.99 x 7 = $20.93
$3.99 x 5 = $19.95
Total = $40.88

To say that this is going to make me go over my self-imposed comic budget would be an understatement.

The Number 1's

Like I said above, I don't know if it is poor planning, coincidence, or intentional, but I think it may hurt Marvel in the long run. Why? Because I am going to be spending so much on the titles that I already buy, read, and collect that I won't be checking out other titles. Most notably, those shiny brand new #1 issues of Spider-Woman and Vengeance of Moon Knight, which I really wanted to buy and like, had to be culled from my potential pull list.

SPIDER-WOMAN #1
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 23, 2009

VENGEANCE OF THE MOON KNIGHT #1
PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: September 9, 2009

This is not helped by the fact that Marvel's current policy on making ALL #1 issues of their new ongoing series cost $3.99, even though the series would normally be at $2.99. This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing if you want to attract readers and invite them to check out something they may not be sure on. Vertigo is doing the opposite, making all of their debut issues of new series only $1, inviting readers to try them out. We don't know the long term success of this technique, but kudos to them for trying.

Conclusion

Like I said, this all seems to be coming from Marvel's camp, but then again, I do read more Marvel titles than I do from any other company. And the frustrating thing is that I don't want to drop any of these titles (well, Exiles is canceled, and Agent of Atlas is not far behind) because I like the stories that are being told in them. These are not titles that I am buying for the sake of having a complete run or out of loyalty to a character or franchise. I am not going to regret buying any of them (well, I could, but I haven't regretted buying any of the previous issues is what I mean).

Are you affected by these shipping shenanigans? How are you coping with the increasing comic prices? Has your pull list been culled recently? Let me know in the comments section.


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12 comments:

Rick said...

When you write "bimonthly", you should be saying "twice monthly".
Bimonthly means every two months.
Just sayin'.

workin on it said...

Rick, that would actually be "semimonthly" for twice a month.

Just sayin'.

Kirk Warren said...

In comics, they use it to describe books that come out twice a month. They used to always describe Amazing Spider-Man as going 'bi-monthly' in the summer months.

Matt Ampersand said...

@Rick: I know what you mean, but I have always seen it used in that context in comics.

Andrenn said...

My own money problems are starting with October when Haunt debuts, with Image United right behind it. With those 2 titles coming up I know I'm going to have to trim my pull list.

As for Dark Reign: Young Avengers I have my doubts #5 will really ship in September and if it's not just Marvel being hopeful. It's a shame also since issue #3 is when I finally got hooked and excited for more really.

Kirk Warren said...

Actually, the DR: YA series will probably ship. It's basically on a 4 week shipping schedule, which is the 5 wednesday September allows for two - one at the start and one at the end.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Yeah, putting Spider-Woman's intro at $4 is garbage, same with the upcoming SWORD series, it'll start at $4. It's very bad business and I'm sure it'll hurt them a bit, but not enough to change their ways.
FOOOOOLS!
It's also much worse when Australian stores nearly double the price into our lousy dollars, even though we are trading at 82US cents, apparently that doens't work into comic money...

Steven said...

Actually Bi-monthly has ALWAYS meant once every two months. There actually used to be quite a few books published this way and a lot of magazines still are. The term you are looking for is bi-weekly, which means every two weeks. Which is what they always referred to when X-Men or Spider-Man started appearing twice a month. I've never seen it used the other way around in comics in the last four decades.

Also, despite seeming skewed, first issues of new series ALWAYS sell considerably more than further issues of the same book. So while it doesn't make any sense in a "building new readers" way, it does make sense in a purely business sense, in that Marvel will make a bunch of extra bucks off a new #1 that will automatically sell more issues the following issues of the series whatever the price.

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