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Marvel’s REBORN births more questions

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The news which we reported on Monday, that Marvel would allow a much later than normal final order cutoff for REBORN #1 to be able to take advantage of hoped-for media coverage, drew a follow-up post from Brian Hibbs analyzing what could drive readers into stores, but for his store, Marvel’s actions still come up wanting:

What’s horrifically fucked up about the CAPTAIN AMERICA #600 portion of this game is that that, effectively, most retailers had about a 3 hour window (on a Wednesday, fercryinoutloud — when most retailers are frantically trying to help customers and don’t have time to be obsessively checking email every 3 minutes) to make the decision whether to bring in those Monday CAPs or not. If you waited until Thursday it was too late to place order increases. Too bad, so sad.

Whatever these books end up being, however they end up selling, Marvel in my opinion handled this very poorly — not giving retailers enough information OR time to make a properly formed decision. It was all “trust us”.


We definitely need to talk to more retailers, and Marvel about all of this, but it does seem to point up a huge Catch 22; when previous stories — the death of Cap — hit, retailers said “Why didn’t you tell us! We could have taken advantage of this!” This time Marvel appears to have gone out of its way to allow retailers to order and sell books on a more flexible basis, but the way the whole system is set up, it still doesn’t work. Plus, we’re with Brian…will the return of Steve Rogers really drive people into stores?

…Or IS it the return of Steve Rogers? On his blog, Kyle Baker adds to the speculation, with this image, tagged “Isaiah Bradley”:

PLUS, shouldn’t the REAL press stampede be over the fact that White House dog BO will appear in MARVEL PET AVENGERS?

Really, people, what’s more attractive to the population at large? A big sweaty guy in a skin-tight suit or a cute puppy?

  1. Just sort of curious.. over the last 5 years I remember Marvel using the “Just Trust Us” line a lot.

    And if I’m not mistaken, they’ve been right from a sales perspective almost every time.

    Can anyone think of an exception?

  2. While on one hand Marvel letting us retailers know that there is something big coming and giving us some extra time to order is a big improvement over the death of Cap fiasco, Hibbs is right that the restrictions as to when they have to be ordered by still doesn’t really work. Add to that the fact that there’s a difference between news bits. Some events are big, others huge, and even others are non-starters. Without knowing exactly what this “big news” is from Marvel it is impossible to be able to order the related comics correctly. Unfortunately Marvel does not trust retailers with this information, forcing us to either make a blind commitment and order, or wait until the last moment and risk not being able to get the order in.

  3. Lisa, I agree with you, and you certainly do know the insides and outsides of retailing better than I ever could…but, do you really think it is possible that this information could be released to 3000 retailers without it getting out?

    I think the problem is that Marvel has used these kind of timed events with some success in the past and now it is part of their entire system.

    DC has resisted them, perhaps for the reason that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get one to work for every one’s satisfaction.

  4. I hear all of this talk about “Marvel doesn’t trust retailers”, but I’ve yet to see any justification as to why retailers *should* be trusted. It’s like the teenage daughter who comes home at 4 AM and blows up at her parents when they question her. Retailers, what have you done to earn this trust?

    First of all, I realize it’s an insular community, but the level to which retailers complain to, and in front of, the consumer is beyond unprofessional. I’ve said it before, but comics are the only place where the consumer is trained to hate the distributor. Retailer doesn’t order enough, but the customer is told “Well, it’s Diamond’s fault”. When retailer can’t get a quick reorder on a hot book, “Well, it’s Diamond’s fault”. Well, Diamond’s not the one charging $20 for a book right out the box, which happens to say $3.99 on it. Don’t give me the whole “I had to order x amount of books to get this” argument because I know how the system works.

    There’s such a sense of entitlement in this industry. Retailers were mad when they heard about Monday shipping and a missed FOC. Marvel actually listened (how often does that happen?!) and Marvel moved the FOC. Guess what? Retailers are still upset. Next, they’re going to be upset that the Rebirth announcement wasn’t as awesome as it should have been. Or “It’s not how *I* would have brought him back” rants. Where does it end? In hindsight, is there an option that retailers *would* have liked? The vocal ones will say that Marvel should have informed them, but the quiet ones are the ones getting their bags, boards, and $40 price tags ready…

  5. I agree about being unable to trust ALL the retailers. Isn’t that one of the reasons we don’t have street dates? The knowledge that eveyrone could not be trusted to honor it.

    I guess the only way to keep retailers in the loop about things like this would be to have them sign non-disclosure agreements and anyone that could be found to break it would be to hold their books or fine them or something. Which of course would likely be unfeasible, because how could you really find out who were to tell Rich or Tom or Heidi, let alone if you were one of the retailer/bloggers like Brian?

  6. @ Will West,

    I’m sure that you are correct that some retailers screw up and blame Diamond, but that truth in no way denies the fact that Diamond is inept and completely unprofessional. Based on my experience Diamond is screwing up quite a bit more often than a retailer ever could.

    I am a customer and could list dozens of examples of this.

    Because Diamond lists on their site what is supposed to come out each week and due to message boards and online sale sites that sell those items the day that they come out then I and everyone else know when those things are actually out and so know when Diamond has shorted my store. And those ARE shortages, not examples of my store forgetting to order or ordering in insufficient quantities. And yes, I am in a position to know.

  7. While Marvel might not trust ALL retailers with the info about these potential news breaking events, they do trust SOME MAJOR HUGE retailers with this news. That’s right people, Marvel has told SOME large retailers about this news a few months ago.

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