Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reader Question - What Do You Think About Marvel's DC Comics Trade-In Announcement?

Yesterday, Marvel announced they would be accepting unsold copies (well, technically just the torn off covers) of many of DC's Blackest Night tie-in titles from their ring promotion campaign in exchange for an extremely rare Deadpool variant cover to Siege #3.  To be eligible for the variant, retailers must send in 50 torn off covers of the following DC titles:
  • Adventure Comics #4
  • Booster Gold #26
  • Doom Patrol #4
  • Justice League Of America #39
  • Outsiders #24
  • R.E.B.E.L.S #10
My thoughts on this mess after the jump.

I'm not sure what to think about this.  On the positive side, it's good for those retailers that over-ordered and/or failed to tie ring sales to the actual books required to be eligible to order the rings in the first place.  Most of these titles will likely never sell (assuming they have mass quantities left in stock) even at discounted prices.  Allowing retailers to exchange them for a variant that will likely sell for $100+ will offer a nice boon.

On the other hand, it's a dick move anyway you look at it.  Yes, it's obvious Marvel is doing market research into how well the rings sold and contemplating their own ring-like promotion for the future, but they could have gone about this research in a much better way.  All this does is make it look like, and rightfully so, Marvel is taking a potshot at DC over how well DC's titles sold thanks to that promotion.

It also raises the obvious question of why they don't make their own over marketed, under-performing Dark Reign titles that line the shelves returnable or somehow eligible for the Siege variant.  Retailers that took chances ordering these Marvel titles and supported them are not getting the Siege variant and are stuck with left over Marvel product.  It's obviously not the same levels as the ring promoted titles, but still significant left overs for the past year of titles.

What do you think?  Does this move sour you on Marvel in any way?  Will you think twice about picking up their titles in the future or is this something that does not affect you in any way?  If you're a retailer, did you have much left over stock from the ring promotions?  How many variants will you likely get with what you ordered?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Chris said...

I think it is kind of funny though a bit suprising....Marvel and DC have always seemed to have a pretty civil rivalry.

Christine said...

It's in poor taste, but certainly not unforgivable. The interesting thing about the comic book market is that both companies would have a so much to gain from some kind of joint effort to promote the medium and market as a whole. It's better to try to get more people to buy comics (from either company) than to pull stunts that look like a pissing contest. Is this immoral or horribly wrong? No, but it strikes me as a bit petty.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Marvel just wants to piss in DCs cheerios. DC has all these awesome announcements with Birds of Prey, Cave-Batman, Jock Batwoman, Brightest Day and that Justice League bi-weekly and Marvel has nodda.

brandon said...

I don't like the move because it could escalate to an ugly level if DC retaliates in some way and it would put the retailers in the middle.

It reminds me of the movie It's a Wonderful Life. When the Building and Loan is short on cash and is on the brink of closing, the old man Potter offers 50 cents on the dollar for their customers to defect. Potter was a bastard in that movie. Marvel is coming across as the same here.

Kirk Warren said...

Definitely playing the part of badguy for fans. However, I doubt most of the non-internet readers will even know about this or care. Retailers will gladly unload the excess (assuming there is excess, I know my shop has some, but didnt go crazy with orders either) and love Marvel for it. If it escalates or DC retaliates, this could be ugly though.

Eddie Entropy said...

It is however a really bad deal as I read you have to return 50 stripped covers to get one variant. Very few shops will have those quantities laying around so they're doing it mostly for the huge stores and for the "hey aren't we dicks" promotion.

Matt Ampersand said...

Man, this just proves how awesome The Weekly Crisis is. Have you seen the comments section for other website when it came to this piece of news? It's completely savage.

Also, I was totally going to do an article about it, but Kirk beat me to it.

Anyway, I think the major screw up on this promotion is the quantity of covers required to get the variant. Basically destroying 50 comic books for a single variant is a LOT of comic books, that most stores don't have or don't want to risk. It's a lot easier to sell 50 $1 than one crazy expensive variant which's worth is literally unknown. And Deadpool may be really popular now, but they really should have gone for something more evergreen.

And what a lot of people don't seem to get (at least from reading the comments I saw in the other sites) is that this doesn't affect the already done sales from that month. The charts that we see are how many copies were sold to retailers, not to individuals. DC is not going to be hurt in any way financially (maybe in their pride), nor are the retailers.

And while it certainly is a bit of a "dick" move, I'm pretty sure you see worse stuff in any stock market or corporate meeting. For something closer to home, I know video games stores sometimes give special discounts if you trade in a recently released and highly sought after used game. Do you see anyone claiming they are never going to shop at Game Stop ever again?

brandon said...


Or how Bed, Bath and Beyond takes every coupon from other stores. It's not that much of an odd practice when you broaden the scope to other industries.

It seems to hit harder here because comics are dominated by two companies so much and they rarely seem to acknowledge the other in so directly a manner.

I'm with you on the other site's message boards being sub-par to this one in civil behavior (among other things). Though I do find the rantings amusing as a guilty pleasure. ;)

Kevin T. said...

I think it's a ballsy move, and fairly appropriate in a capitalist society like America.

Whether it's 50 tie-in issues to an event that's closing, or 1 overpriced variant to an event that's starting, it's gonna be a hard sell either way. The way I look at it though, 50 issues is -- 50 issues, and you'd require a multitude of people to thumb through the back-issue bins for it. If you can get just one Deadpool fanatic inboard -- and there are plenty, then BAM. That's a sell. It's a really risky move, so Marvel is really being gutsy for doing it. I'd love to see how it pans out.

For all we know, the variant cover could be Deadpool flashing his bling from Blackest Night.

For the retailers, this probably won't affect the smaller ones, who don't have enough to send back. It's the bigger retailers that'll care.

JP said...

It definately is a ballsy move by Marvel, but is it really worth it?

I mean, those issues with the ring promotion sold really well (example: the issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. before the ring promotion sold around 11K, whereas the ring promotion issue sold around 50K), so are there even that many left over issues for the retailers to send in?

I guess we will have to wait and see.

Kirk Warren said...

@JP - 50k = shipped, not sold. Marvel is banking on or testing the waters to see if 50k sold or if there are countless copies left on the shelves from people that got the rings and didnt buy the books.

Matt Ampersand said...

@JP: It's what I was saying earlier. The sales chart we see show how many issues were shipped to retailers, not how many of them were sold to customers. Retailers had to inflate their orders of certain titles to reach the minimum they needed to order the ring.

What Marvel is apparently trying to see is just how many of them are sitting there in the shelves, unsold, because retailers just ordered them to get the rings.

And the thing is that DC probably didn't make any money from selling the rings to the retailers, the profit came from selling the books that they needed to order to be able to order said rings.

btownlegend said...

The soap opera contiues...This is childish.

JP said...

@Kirk and Matt

My mistake, thank you for correcting me.

the question still is through, is it worth it?

Daryll B. said...

A) In the words of Riley Freeman "Bitch Move Marvel"...This was a shot across DC's bow but what about all the Wolverine One-Shots and mis-timed mini-series that are piled up in various comic shops?

B) Why are fans getting worked up over this? Honestly it doesn't have a thing to do with us. This is between the "big boys" and perhaps the distributors.

C) I recall saying somewhere before that variants were one of the demons plaguing this business. Deadpool variant? Watch this get overpriced for the same content of the regular book.

Bah Humbug on all of this...I'll stick to the 8-9 books I collect thankyouverymuch...

Tad Rennigan said...

It's in really poor taste but it's not like I haven't come to expect that from Marvel recently.

Anonymous said...

Another reason to continue not buying Marvel titles. That, and the fact that almost everything coming out of there is quantifiably shit.

Anonymous said...

This video pretty much sums it up. Who would've guessed Hitler was a DC fan.

Zodcomplex said...

@Darryll B. "Why are fans getting worked up over this? Honestly it doesn't have a thing to do with us."

I would disagree with that. While it may not have a direct effect on us in this specific instance, it sets up an ugly precedent. What's to stop publishers - any publisher, not just Marvel or DC - from upping the game a bit. This particular stunt isn't going to cost Marvel a lot of money. They print a few hundred variant comics & mail them out to participating retailers. They're spending a few grand, which is pocket change to the House of Mouse. But what happens next?

This isn't like accepting competitor coupons. This is like Kellogs telling grocery stores "Hey, send us 50 boxes of General Mills cereal & we'll hook you up with a special box of Trix." Which Kellogs would never do, because it's assinine.

All this does is feed the us versus them mentality, & cater to existing comic fans as opposed to new ones. Blackest Night could potentially be bringing in new readers. Here Marvel is taking steps to pull books those new readers might be interested in off the shelves in exchange for a variant cover that only the most die-hard of fans are going to want. How does that help the industry?

There are FAR better ways for Marvel to go about determing whether or not the ring promotion was worthwhile without making a big to-do about sending out a variant in exchange for books. If they REALLY wanted to know, they'd just have the appropriate dept. make some calls to stores & find out. This is a low-class move on Marvel's part that does more to hurt the industry than it does to help it.

Anonymous said...

I will be buying more DC comics and fewer Marvels as a result of this obnoxious move on Marvel's part.

Anonymous said...

I have always thought the two companies were in a "friendly" rivalry. They even did some stuff together in the past. I think this action by Marvel is directly related to the fact that now they are owned by a bigger company (Disney). It is not friendly comics rivalry anymore. Now it is a giant business making business decisions.

Zodcomplex said...

Anon - the rivalry got a little more heated when Paul Levitz said he wouldn't do a crossover w/ Marvel as long as....ah who cares. Someone somewhere got butthurt about something & everybody got their panties in a bunch. Since then, Marvel has been taken an increasing number of shots at the Distinguished Competition - numbering Deadpool at #900 to piss in the Actions Comics/Detective Comics pool, Blackest Night Marvel Zombie variants, the Batman/Spidey crossover page in ASM #600, & on & on. Marvel seems to have a hard time letting go.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like something that Disney..opps...I mean Marvel would do. Get used to Disney dick moves like this.

krakkaboom said...

I read titles from Marvel and DC, but this is despicable by Marvel, not to mention wasteful and tasteless. "Ruin fifty issues and we'll send you one to sell for a ridiculous price to fans of a character that is soon to have four monthly books!" Talk about exploiting the character's success and the fans of the character, as well as their pocketbooks. Professionalism be damned!

If they're going to do something like this, they ought to take back a fat stack of their unnecessary Dark Reign tie-ins. Did we really need a Mister Negative mini-series? Doubtful.

I see what their strategy is, but they're only helping out a very select group of retailers while showing their fans that they're a bunch of spiteful schmucks.

I recently dropped Amazing Spider-Man so I can pick up the new Flash ongoing and Brightest Day. I'm sure ASM won't be the last Marvel book I trim from my stack in favor of a DC book.

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