It seems that the retailer revolt against Marvel’s Lenticular Legacy Variants is spreading. MyComicShop.Com is the prominent online extension of the Texas comic shops chain Lone Star comics. Owner Buddy Saunders announced in their newsletter yesterday that they would only be ordering the variants for the main Legacy book.
Except for Marvel Legacy #1, we will not be offering the Marvel Legacy lenticular covers
This decision comes too late for me to address it in detail this week. I will do so next week, as you, our customers, need to know why we made the decision not to stock the 29 Marvel Legacy title lenticular covers. The only lenticular cover we will offer is that for Marvel Legacy #1. Many retailers have made the same choice we have. Next week I’ll tell you why.
Talk about a cliff hanger!
Yesterday, The Beat reported that Dublin, Ireland retailer Big Bang Comics has also decided not to order the lenticular variants. According to Big Bang, about 70 retailers are considering not ordering the variants. Brian Hibbs also had a lot to say about this in his most recent column.
I’m told that many retailers have been talking to Marvel complaining about this policy, but Marvel hasn’t relented on their terms.
The case against ordering Legacy Lenticulars was first laid out by Ontario mail order retailer All New Comics, in a post on their website that was picked up, uncredited by other sites. The retailer rejection of the lenticular covers is because of the extremely high ordering threshholds – the winking covers are not “freely ordered variants” but can only be ordered when you meet a threshhold for the regular edition of the comic.
All New Comics explains:
To simplify things, we order 15 copies of Invincible Iron Man, in order to qualify for the lenticular covers, we need to order an additional 15 copies, then we can order as many copies of the lenticular cover as we want (although at a lower discount).
Let’s say 5 people want the lenticular cover instead of the regular cover, we would have 20 extra copies (15+15 extras + 5 lenticular=35 copies, we have pre-orders for 15, meaning we are left with 20).
Titles like Amazing Spider-Man which are higher selling, also have minimums. If you regularly sell 37 copies of Amazing Spider-Man and need to order 125%, that’s an additional 11 copies just to qualify for the new ones. If 1/3 of the people who get Amazing Spider-Man opt for the lenticular covers (that’s the same math as I used for Iron Man above) that is an additional 12 lenticular covers we need to order, putting our order at 22 copies more than we would normally order.
That’s an additional 42 copies of just two comics – multiply variations of that scenario across 29 titles, and you have hundreds of extra copies that will likely go unsold.
Even in cases where we need to order 100% of the qualifying title (Cable where we need to order 10 copies to qualify), we would be left with unsold copies of the non-lenticular cover.
Marvel is doing this with 29 titles. Potentially leaving us with 100’s of unsold comics with 0 returnability, a lower discount, and a ton of money laid out for no extra return.
Here’s the list of titles, and what we would need to order to qualify for the lenticular covers.
- All New Wolverine #25 – 125% – All New Wolverine #22
- The Amazing Spider-Man #789 – 125% – The Amazing Spider-Man #27America #4
- America #8 – 125% – America #4
- Avengers #672 – 175% – Avengers #7
- Black Panther #166 – 150% – Black Panther #15
- Cable #150 – 100% – Cable #2
- Champions #13 – 150% – Champions #9
- The Defenders #6 – 100% – Defenders #3
- The Despicable Deadpool #287 – 175% – Deadpool #34
- The Falcon #1 – 125% – Captain America: Steve Rogers #19
- Gwenpool #21 – 175% – Gwenpool #18
- Iceman #6 – 150% – Iceman #3
- The Incredible Hulk #709 – 200% – The Totally Awesome Hulk #20
- The Invincible Iron Man #593 – 200% – The Invincible Iron Man #7
- Iron Fist #73 – 125% – Iron Fist #4
- Jean Grey #8 – 125% – Jean Grey #3
- Jessica Jones #13 – 125% – Jessica Jones #9
- Luke Cage #166 – 150% – Luke Cage #2
- The Mighty Captain Marvel #125 – 125% – The Mighty Captain Marvel #6
- The Mighty Thor #700 – 175% – The Mighty Thor #19
- Monsters Unleashed #7 – 150% – Monsters Unleashed #3
- Royals #9 – 150% – Royals #4
- Spider-Gwen #25 – 125% – Spider-Gwen #20
- Spirits of Vengeance #1 – 125% – Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #4
- Uncanny Avengers #28 – 100% – Uncanny Avengers #24
- U.S.Avengers #11 – 125% – U.S. Avengers #7
- Venom #155 – 150% – Venom #152
- X-Men Blue #13 – 125% – X-Men Blue #8
- X-Men Gold #13 – 125% – X-Men Gold #6
Lenticular covers – covers that show a different image when you squint to move it – have been fueling some recent comics bestsellers, like DC’s “The Button Storyline.”
In the past, retailers tolerated Marvel’s ordering thresholds because they knew they had to keep customers satisfied. The general drop off in Marvel sales has made unsold copies more likely.
I’m told some retailers are still pledging to order all the lenticulars, and 70 retailers is not a lot out of 2000+ Diamond accounts. But expect the lenticular variants to become very pricey on eBay very quickly. And Marvel is still going to have a monster month that makes it look like they’ve shored up their line.
Are you a shop with an opinion on Marvels lenticular variants? Drop us a line.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.