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Marvel Legacy lenticular covers fail to change comic book industry, or even their own images

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by Eli Cross

Back in June, when Marvel first issued its hyperbolic press release boldly claiming that Marvel Legacy would “change the comic book industry,” THR was one of the few major outlets to openly and legitimately question how Marvel would accomplish such a lofty feat. This nostalgia driven publishing initiative arrives in full force this week with a plethora of variants including the controversial lenticular variants that feature classic Marvel cover images shifting into new homage covers.

The debate over the ordering process of the Marvel Legacy lenticular covers is a saga unto itself. A number of retailers such as Big Bang Comics have revolted against Marvel, refusing to order any of the lenticular covers citing the “meet or exceed” ordering requirement and the resulting overstock of the regular covesr. The Beat’s own Brian Hibbs did the math for his own store and detailed how the numbers just didn’t add up in a previous article.

So after all the hullabaloo, was this an actual worthwhile investment on Marvel’s part? Well, judging by the complaints of many regarding the inferior quality of Marvel’s lenticular covers compared to those published by DC Comics, one wonders what kind of investment there was at all in them.

As noted by Bleeding Cool, Marvel’s lenticular covers are noticeably thinner than DC’s, making it difficult to see each image without one bleeding into the other. You’d think a technology that’s been around since the 90’s would be mastered by now. For comparison, see the lenticular cover for DC’s Batman #21 below-

One has to wonder who exactly Marvel is trying to reach with these long gone gimmicks. I’m sure baby boomers and philatelists will get a kick out of the return of the Marvel Value Stamps, but I seriously question how it will convert new readers.

At the end of the day though, Marvel like any publisher is a business, so regardless of inferior quality, if people actually end up buying these lenticular covers, it will chalk it up as a much needed win. Sure it’s a quick buck, but at the end of the day lenticular covers are just crass commercialism that cheapen the comic product when overindulged.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “I’m sure baby boomers and philatelists will get a kick out of the return of the Marvel Value Stamps, but I seriously question how it will convert new readers.”

    Weird statement there. I dislike a LOT about Marvel Legacy, but your statement here makes it seem as if ANY attempt at catering to older readers is in and of itself an insult or something to these imaginary “new readers”.

    I and many, many, many, many, many, many, many others started reading comics in the early ’90s, when every other Marvel comic was an “anniversary” issue with a special cover, or the “return” of some villain from decades past that we’d never heard of before. What happened? Kids were actually interested in the depth and history of it all. There seemed to be actual content worth caring about, with a storied history worth learning about. Many of these elements are absent in Marvel Legacy, imo, but still…

    Fast-forward to 2017, when the last few years have seen NOTHING BUT outreach to new readers from Marvel Comics. Marvel actively trolled longtime readers, called them names, pushed them away… and sales have tanked. The characters you thought would attract a new audience simply failed to do so. Failed utterly. Marvel Legacy is now a hurried, tonedeaf way of saying “I’m sorry” to fans. It’s wrongheaded, but the nostalgia element in and of itself isn’t the problem. And it’s certainly not scaring away all these imaginary new readers, which don’t exist. But keep telling yourself there’s a big new audience out there.

  2. My shop had a bunch of the Legacy lenticular covers. None worked, it wasn’t even clear what they were supposed to do. I’m not the market for these things, so I figured I’d simply missed the point. Apparently I didn’t miss anything. I guess my question is why retailers, upon seeing this, wouldn’t ask for a refund.

  3. I was given the option to pick up the lenticular offerings today, and saying “no, thank you” was never easier. They simply didn’t work. Not worth the additional outlay. Swing and a miss, Marvel.

  4. Yikes. If the Legacy lenticulars are bad, I feel very sorry for stores who upped their regular cover orders by 100-200% just so they can meet the minimum order requirements.

  5. Whats this ‘value stamp’ thing? I am not in the US so if its a regular stamp its pointless for international buyers.

    Although, I send a bit using normal postage. I would love regular Marvel and DC stamps. My local PO always has flowers or birds, its be a nice change ;)

  6. I did not order any lenticular covers for my store and today sales were just like they always are. Nobody even asked about the lenticular covers.

    Marvel is so over…..

  7. @Sam, the stamps are a throwback to the old days when there were cool, hero stamps in the issue and you could cut them out and collect them all. Helped making mint issues of old comics harder I guess. Now they are an insert and I was actually pretty happy to see them in my books. It made me smile, but I’m an old fart. As for the lenticular issue, The only one I would have been interested in was the one for Spirits of Vengeance, an excellent start by the way, but it looked awful so I opted for the regular book and got a Miles Morales stamp. I also got an Ironheart stamp in my Iron Fist book with the new Legacy numbering.
    My wife hates that they changed the numbers. She’s the one that makes our buy list every week and the new numbers threw her off.

  8. I assume the people at Marvel have some knowledge of the company’s history. If they don’t, they belong in another field (which is sort of obvious, judging from the low quality and sales).

  9. Marvel, 1990’s called it wants their gimmicks back. If you are going to revamp the line get more creative instead blatantly copying DC. I smell desperation

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