Today, I’m staring down the initial order deadline for titles releasing in November. The initial order deadline is something I neglect to realize is coming until a few days before they’re due – and while there’s always a lot of prep that is done ahead of time, going through the order book will still take a full work day of mostly uninterrupted thought to get through. Every month is a completely new challenge, with different series popping up all the time, and new incentive programs to ponder all the way through. The goal: make sure you have enough for shelf when the comic hits the stands. The reality: you will never ever succeed at doing this. There are hundreds of titles, and many of them you will have to much of, or too little of. Sometimes all it takes is for one or two people to come in from out of town or to try out your shop for the first time, and suddenly your carefully crafted system is in shambles for one or two of the books on your shelf. Inevitably, this is the one period of time when you suddenly get… I don’t know, let’s say 10 people walking through your door, looking for issues of Spawn when you rarely, if ever, sell copies from the shelf. They know you are out. They can smell the blood in the water, and they want to punish you for it.

Hi. My name is Brandon Schatz. Welcome to my irregular retail therapy session.

The Retailer's View

This week, considering the fact that initial orders are due and I’m looking at the order book already, I figured it would be a great time to discuss variants and the poisonous culture that surrounds them. As always, this is going to be full of laffs. I hope your chuckle muscles are ready.

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DEGREE OF VARIANTS

November is the second month in Marvel’s big All-New, All-Different launch cycle, and as such, we are in the eye of the storm. Much like DC’s DC You initiative, Marvel is doing this all in a sizeable chunk, albeit in nearly bite-sized morsels over the course of several months. At this point in time, while DC tends to flail and pump out new initiatives in fits and starts, Marvel has produced a relaunch program that nearly hums like clockwork. They pick a linchpin title, and get that one out the gate first – in this case, it’s the Brian Michael Bendis penned Invincible Iron Man title. They let that launch with relatively little noise surrounding it – which in this case means setting the Final Order Cut-Off date unseasonably early for its date of release, giving retailers one clear choice for where to put their money, thus ensuring a healthy launch for the book. From there, they do the gradual roll out, focusing on tiers of books. A Spider-Man book launches. An Avengers series launches. A Guardians of the Galaxy series launches. An X-Men book launches. One or two second tier books relaunch. One or two fresh titles launch. Any one area is not flooded with content, letting retailers and readers alike focus their attention on certain areas of the publishing schedule. The process repeats each month until the line stabilizes. In a few months, new titles will be launched in a secondary, smaller blast to fill in holes left by under performing books in the publishing schedule, and more often than not, these titles are a bit more risky. If they don’t hit, another season of launches is just a few months to a year away. The cycle continues on a seasonal basis.

It’s a system that seems to frustrate long time readers and retailers, but one that I quite enjoy. It borrows the language of television – a medium dealing with millions on a regular basis, rather than thousands – offering seasons of stories that ebb and flow, always offering something new when titles inevitably start losing steam. Unfortunately, this marketing system is paired with a highly destructive variant program that is dripping poison into the veins of the industry.

Invincible_Iron_Man_1_Cover
Tony Stark makes you feel He’s a cool exec with a heart of steel.

Now a quick side note: yes, the store I co-own is called Variant Edition. It’s a name we chose quite deliberately, because it sounds very put together and responsible, and offers us the opportunity to pitch the store to people regularly. If you’re reading this, there is a high chance that you are neck deep in the industry, and understand all the lingo – but the majority of the people out there have no idea what a “variant edition” is. When they ask about the store, they inevitably ask why we called it Variant Edition, and we explain: a variant edition is a comic that features an alternative cover image, but contains the same contents. We liked the name Variant Edition because we are a comic store, and we have similar contents to other comic stores, but we’re not the stereotype – we’re something different.

And in a way, that’s one of the only things that I like about variants – they offer the consumer a choice. What aesthetic do they like best? What speaks to them more? That, I like. The culture that has sprung up around variants? Not so much.

In the current order book, Marvel alone are offering 134 variant covers (this doesn’t include a few announced retroactively, which I’ll be adjusting during the final order cut-off period). All but one of these variants comes with a qualifier. Sometimes you just need to order ten copies of a certain book to get the aforementioned cover. Other times, you have to order 100. Then there’s the ones where you have to exceed 150% (or whatever number they’re using) of a different comic you ordered in order to unlock a particular variant. After you meet that qualification, you can order whatever you want. You just have to spend a lot of money for that “privilege”. The problem with that is simple: whereas the variant should be treated as the means for a customer to further connect with the product, it’s usually treated as collector bait, or worse: blackmail.

Take a look at this modified look at some of Marvel’s upcoming hip-hop variants, as made by Strange Adventures:

click to see at full size
click to see at full size

The hip-hop covers have garnered a lot of attention for Marvel, both positive and negative. I don’t want to gloss over the negative part too much, but I’m definitely not the voice who needs to be heard regarding this matter – so please see the collection of links at the end of this article for more information. Suffice to say, the result of all of this attention means there are people champing at the bit to get their hands on these covers. The only problem? Marvel has some hoops that need to be jumped through to get them. This is where the blackmail comes in: if you want your customers to get these covers, you have to jump through those hoops – which means you are ordering copies you know you probably won’t sell in order to get these in-demand covers in. So, how do you cover the cost of this? Well, by increasing the price of those sought after covers. Or worse: say you’re a store that qualifies for some of these cover naturally. They are in quite a high demand, and again, you already have your orders covered by the copies of the regular cover you’ve brought in – so you don’t order a whole lot of the variant. Low supply. High demand. What happens?

This variant scheme is built to make sure there is a low supply of higher demand product – with the by-product being increased, and often unsustainable level of regular product on the market. Retailers have been trained to combat this by increasing the price of the sought after comics – but the byproduct of that is a situation where people are paying a much higher price for a product that speaks to them, for a terrible, unsustainable reason. What’s more, it creates the appearance where Marvel, and the retailer, are attempting to unjustly profit from an appropriated culture. And hey – they are, and we are, and that’s something to talk about, but at a base level, having the comic stickered up well over cover price certainly isn’t going to help appearances. It’s honestly one of the main reasons we don’t chase after variants that we qualify for – and even when we do qualify, we sometimes opt out, unless it’s a particularly great image. Regardless, the whole thing is a bad situation – and that’s before you even get to the clear over-reliance this industry has on variant culture in general.

Remember when I said that Marvel was offering 134 variant covers for November? Well, they are only shipping 63 titles – and a few of those are two issues of one book. So easy math says there’s more than two variants for every single issue released on average – or rather, the market is supporting the weight of an immense amount of product with a third of the unique product as a base. This is not a sustainable model, but one that’s born out of the ever increasing pressure that the companies are under to keep profits and volume up. I absolutely understand why they need to do it – there is a demand in place to show more and more and more from shareholders or higher ups, and the growth rate expected often far outstrips what can be achieved organically. I don’t envy anyone at the big two whose job it is to meet these quotas either directly, or indirectly. That said, it’s clearly building a flawed system – one that will surely collapse given the slightest amount of pressure in the wrong areas, at the wrong times.

This doesn’t even begin to touch the truly decedent qualifying structures of some recent variants. For issue one of DC’s Dark Knight III, they are offering a 1 for 5000 variant. To be fair to them, this variant will feature an original sketch from Jim Lee on it. Marvel on the other hand, is offering a 1 for 4999 copy variant for Deadpool #1 that I believe is just a black-and-white reproduced “sketch” version of another one of their Deadpool #1 variants. There are a few others than have 1 for 500 qualifiers on them, a few others that clock in at 1 for 100, and a slew of covers that need you to order 25 copies in order to get just one of a certain other cover. All of this contributes to a glut of product – the kind that clearly cannot be sustained in this fashion – and has some pretty dark portents for the future of the industry – but honestly, I’m running a little low on time to dig both hands into that for this week, and there’s another thing I want to discuss as well.

BACK MATTER

Because of all of that meandering nonsense wasn’t enough already.

Last time in The Retailer’s View, I talked about how DC’s marketing for their new line-up really failed to connect with retailers and readers. Well, since that column went up, a few things happened. First, the publisher published their December solicitations wherein they cancelled a swath of books, including Justice League United, Omega Men, Gotham by Midnight, Lobo, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, and Batman ’66. (In the week that has passed, Omega Men was granted a stay of execution, letting the series play out its originally scheduled 12 issues.) There was also the notable absence of Doomed and Green Lantern: Lost Army, which representatives said were always intended to be six issue stories – which I think is kind of hilarious, just… in a really depressing way.

Doomed and Green Lantern: Lost Army were both solicited and treated like ongoing series, right up until now. It’s a strategy that I said would have benefited a book like Prez, as retailers are honestly less likely to support anything labelled as a mini-series. The fact that DC is now claiming these books to have been secret minis all along means one of two things: one, they are attempting to save face with two ongoing that under performed and are being fairly disingenuous about it – or two, they had a slate of mini-series, and decided to act inconsistently towards marketing them, giving Doomed and Lost Army the tiniest extra push by giving the appearance of an ongoing status. Whichever scenario is true, it shows how very chaotic the publishing and marketing plan is for the company at this moment – and how they have no clue how to fully utilize the tools at their disposal.

Almost all projects should be solicited as ongoing concerns. A lot of people don’t like that idea, because it supposedly makes ordering comics harder. How do you know when to taper off a series when it’s going to end? How do you know you should order heavier on a first issue so that you can sell it through the series’ two to five year run? Simply put: you don’t. Ordering in this fashion is a remnant of an old system where comic shops were the only place people could get their hands on stories, and the single issue format was the be-all, end-all. Today, stories are collected with regularity, often right around the time a storyline has wrapped. These stories are also available digitally in perpetuity, and often at a far lesser price than the physical copy (after a few months have passed). For the reader, what is the benefit of having the single issues available to purchase years from now, when there are easier and cheaper formats to grab to help bring you up to speed? Yes, some people prefer the single issue format – but those readers are usually in either every week or every month to grab those single copies – and the ones that aren’t are generally pretty happy with a second or third printing to bring them up to speed. The only reason to use older ordering models, is to placate the collector’s market, which is often volatile and always, always, always unsustainable.

I’ve always believed that ordering for readers is the right way to go. They’re the ones who always come back for the books that they love. They’re not just buying things to flip, they’re buying things to enjoy, and when you work up a nice relationship with them, they will be with you for as long as you and the medium maintain their interest. These people are the beating heart of the industry, the ones who will stick with you through thick and thin as gimmicks bloom and die. They are more than happy to get a second or third printing, because they just want to read the story. They also don’t really care if a story is ongoing, or just a few issues – they just want to be entertained – and when they’re not being entertained, they’ll walk away from the series. Issue numbers don’t matter. Series length doesn’t matter. It’s story – and it’s ordering to sustain match the interest of your regular readers. And honestly, if you’re really concerned about having back stock, by the time a story or series is wrapped up, you’ll get issues trickling back towards you as some people tour around the various comic shops, looking to get rid of some books they read, but no longer need in their collection – and since it’s back stock, a retailer can often pick that product up for cheaper than they paid Diamond for their initial orders. Or at least, that’s my take. I’m only five months into running my own store after eight years of thinking I could do better, so we’ll see how that all shakes out. Currently, things are going far better than we’d originally projected, so there’s that.

PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN

DC Mini-series numbering 1 DC mini-series number 2

For what it means, DC isn’t even consistent with how they present their mini-series to readers. Some of the number ones have the “of six” denotation. Prez doesn’t. Most of the others lose this demarkation as of issue #2, with only Bizarro continuing its numbering. The reason for this? Who knows. Regardless, they aren’t being consistent with their message – if they even know what message they’re trying to convey at all.

You'll note at the bottom, these are ALL describe as 12 issue minis now.
You’ll note at the bottom, these are ALL describe as 12 issue minis now.

They also retroactively placed twelve issue limiters on Telos and Superman: Lois and Clark after previously announcing them as ongoings alongside Titans Hunt. Why? Who knows. Maybe they were always twelve issue minis, or maybe these titles were approved before the final numbers came back on Convergence (including returns) and they decided to talk things back. Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for how DC is presenting or marketing their series these days, and that lack of concrete confidence is really hurting them. (Plus, a Telos series? Really? Go ahead and try to pitch that to a person on the street. You can’t.)

TO BE CONTINUED…

There’s another edition of The Retailer’s View on tap for next week. If nothing crazy happens, it will be about how comic shops became clubhouses, and how the clubhouse mentality is bad for the industry. If something crazy happens, it will probably be about that instead. Working ahead is a hell of a thing.

Until next time…

[Brandon Schatz is an owner of Variant Edition in Edmonton, Alberta and has spent the past nine years working behind the comic book counter. In his spare time, he writes about the comics and culture. You can find him on twitter @soupytoasterson and at his website, Submetropolitan. The opinions expressed are those of Schatz and do not necessarily reflect those of The Beat.]

28 COMMENTS

  1. >> “What’s more, it creates the appearance where Marvel, and the retailer, are attempting to unjustly profit from an appropriated culture.”

    It’s amazing how much typing one can get done despite having one’s head wedged proudly up one’s own backside. Ignore a group? You are unjustly excluding them from participating. Feature a group? You are appropriating their culture for profit.

    It’s almost as if the thought process were about moral preening rather than logic or principle.

  2. Great column! I agree with so many things you said, but DC and Marvel do’t seem to give a s.it. Dc is not the only one lacking information on their products. My august marvel sales analysis will talk a little about how Marvel did not give a definite number of issues to people buying from the Previews.

  3. To JRH: I appreciate your opinion on the matter. The point I was attempting to get across – and one that is actually made in the context of the article you pulled that from – is there is a difference between celebrating a culture, and holding that culture ransom using qualifiers that effectively limit the supply and manufacture demand – while ALSO ensuring there are unsold copies of the regular editions chocking out shelves and clogging up cash flow.

  4. Just stop ordering variants.
    Tell your customers you can’t offer variants anymore unless they are a standard variant that doesn’t require you to order additional copies (essentially a 50/50 mix).
    Your good core customers will certainly understand.
    The speculators (if you have any) will just have to go elsewhere (they were not exactly good sustaining customers anyway — I gurantee those guys will chase a bigger discount given the opportunity).
    If I walked into my local comic shop and they had zero variants, it wouldn’t bothrr me one bit. I READ comics for the content between the covers, not because of some spiffy looking image on the outside. If publishers want to sell a comic, put your best image on the cover. Don’t go trying to sell it with multiple images. Sell me on the ONE awesome image and even more phenomenal interior material.

  5. Great article! As I see it, variants are a deadly thing. On the one hand, I admit loving a lot of them. On the other, I see how badly it can damage retailers and almost force them to take a gamble. I think Valiant is one of the few companies that does variants right, avoiding any wild and wacky things that need to be done, instead opting for simple 1:10, 1:25, etc.

  6. “The only reason to use older ordering models, is to placate the collector’s market, which is often volatile and always, always, always unsustainable.”

    Pistols at dawn, dude.

    I have 26 years of hard sales data that really really clearly shows that you will always sell more copies of the first issue of an ongoing series of a meaningful character than you will of a mini-series of the exact same thing. ASM #1 vs ASM #1.1 for a great nearly perfect “head to head” recent example — we gave the books to the same sub customers, and the ongoing not only did better in the short term (by about 15%), but went on to sell about another third more copies of the ongoing, after the “life” of the mini.

    We also sold more copies of the collections of the “ongoing” v1 than we did of #1.1.

    YES, the sales velocity of MOST periodical is measured in periods that span days (if not hours) — except when it isn’t. Then periodicals will sell and sell and sell if you let them.

    I fundamentally and unreservedly revile your statement that this is about “collector’s markets” — we’re a readers store; always have been always will…. and readers are happy to enter into a periodical-driven comic months after release for a select group of titles.

    I actually think that the very notion of “seasons” means there’s less of a reason to buy into a periodical, because there is less urgency to “Stay current” — and that “Wednesday Experience” is the engine that really drives a whole lot of this business.

    “or rather, the market is supporting the weight of an immense amount of product with a third of the unique product as a base. This is not a sustainable model, but one that’s born out of the ever increasing pressure that the companies are under to keep profits and volume up.”

    One thing that never gets brought up in these discussions is our friends at Diamond.

    a 1:25 variant for a book that sells 50k copies yields a MAXIMUM circ of 2000 copies — that’s assuming all stores everywhere order exactly in increments of 25, which is patently not possible or true, or even WANTS the variant (some don’t!)

    Diamond makes, we’ve always been led to believe, a limited single-digit percentage of cover price on at least Marvel and DC (the other three “premier” publishers are far less clear) — I think a comic like that might only be drawing a gross income of a few hundred dollars. Do you think that’s really paying for the costs of the infrastructure behind it?

    I mean, six years ago DCD changed their minimum order threshold from small press to $2500, and one imagines their costs have risen since then — if we assume (and I suspect this is low, as an average) that Diamond is making 15% on a “small press” book (buying at 60% and selling at 45%), then it might be safe to assume that they’re looking for $375 per line item as being “worth it” to distribute. If they’re only making 6% on a DC/Marvel book… well you can do the math and see that handling *most* variants probably isn’t “worth it” for Diamond — especially since I bet you those are the comics most subject to petty complaints about condition and outright lying about receipt, and therefore that cost Diamond the MOST to handle.

    It’s a bigger concern, I think, how much bandwidth and resources that Marvel just absolutely wastes for everyone else for just marginal gains that would be much more sustainable if they put that brainpower into different marketing fun — even not caring about Variants in the main store, it take me like 50% more time to do the Marvel order than any other publisher because it’s fiscally foolish to not run their weird math and see if huh, by buying 15 more copies of SAM WILSON CAPTAIN AMERICA #1, *they pay me* $1.42, and I have 15 more copies to try to sell… or liquidate for more profit….and it unlocks a 1:25 that also generally offers a better margin.

    But that’s not something that is currently presented to us programatically, and it just consumes a lot of time and attention to do those maths… and it doesn’t inherently sell-through more copies. All for me, at least.

    Like… if you’re going to have “order 150% of Y in order to unlock Z”, and you’re doing this on a multi-title plan like the Hip Hops, at least have Y *be a constant and not a variable*. If you make a path to order a product difficult, AND you make it difficult to understand, then you will invariably create friction and poor customer experience somewhere in the chain, and that’s the last thing you ever want to do. “I’d love to order you ‘every Hip Hop cover’ [Beloved Customer Name], but Marvel won’t actually let me do that unless I buy 200 comics I don’t believe I can sell” or “No, I know, [A Different Beloved Customer], that we are ‘”The” SANDMAN store’, but I am physically incapable of ordering you that awesome Jean James cover, ironically because I sell so many copies of SANDMAN!” are not conversations that I, oddly, enjoy having. Go figure!

    -B

  7. And somethig hasn’t been said also about this variant crazyness: it kills al of the fun of the back issue search. Before, you were able to identify a specific issue by its cover. You knew you had this specific issue because you remembered the cover. Now, you can’t search and buy back issue, relating on their covers, because you will see in back issues bin tons of covers you don’t know…of comics you already purchased.
    It just kills the identity of a specific issue of a comics, which is never good in the long term.

  8. Chris, part of the problem is that retailers *can’t* — there is real, measurable demand for those “Hip Hop” covers, but look at the ridiculous hoops that stores have to jump through as shown in the graphic from Strange Adventures. *In order* to order the amount that you think you can sell, you’re being asked to order things you think you *can’t.*

    Literally nothing sucks worse as a retailer is to have to say to a customer who is standing there with money in hand “I would like to sell that to you, but the publisher won’t let me”

    -B

  9. ‘What’s more, it creates the appearance where Marvel, and the retailer, are attempting to unjustly profit from an appropriated culture’

    oh for f**** sake, perhaps we should ban blacks from opera, classical music after that’s not ‘their’ culture.
    and since when is rap a black culture, it may have originated from the black community but like all forms of art is has been picked up by other cultures and blended with their own, and anyway hip hop itself is based on ‘stealing’ other people art (sampling), maybe hip hop artists should only be allowed to sample other black artists instead of appropriating from other cultures(and not necessarily white).

    and how are blacks marginalized, the president is black, sport is dominated by blacks, music is dominated by blacks, most tv shows now have blacks in excess of the national make-up. if anyones marginalized its hispanics and asians

  10. @nulawi
    He’s not talking about black culture being an appropriated culture, he’s talking about customers wanting variant covers (a culture created/manufactured by the companies) being an appropriated culture.

    The Hip Hop variants are just an example; there are plenty of other variants you could swap out with Hip Hop to use as the example (like say, DC’s Bombshells) and his point remains.

    See? Nothing to do with race. :)

  11. @Brian Hibbs – And I would say that the data you have supports my theory – an ongoing, even in appearance only, will get more pulls and interest than a mini-series. While there’s definitely a lot more factors to it, part of why Secret Wars ended up being so successful was the (admittedly cheap) idea that the books “mattered” – and part of the reason they looked like they did were due to the fact most appeared as ongoing titles to the general market. I don’t really LIKE that, but it definitely got more comics into the hands of people who enjoyed those books – at least in my store. I guess more to that point, I had a tougher time selling Deadly Hands of Kung Fu than something like Ghost Racers – I don’t think because of quality, but because one was a mini-series.

    And I definitely know your shop is a readers shop – I actually model a good majority of my ordering practices and ethos after your own, and I have both of your books which I reference quite a bit. I’m just working with the data that I have from both the store I run now, and experience from the store I used to run for someone else.

  12. To other points from other people – I’m almost certain I could write a post that was nothing more than “I don’t care for ordering variants, so I don’t, unless (a) I qualify for it, and(b) I think my customers want it”, and someone would tell me to not order variants unless I qualify for it or think I can sell it. That’s in there.

    And yeah. The line is “What’s more, it creates the appearance where Marvel, and the retailer, are attempting to unjustly profit from an appropriated culture”. Absolutely nothing about race in there, so uh… whatever baggage you’re bringing that’s on you.

  13. It seems as though neither of the big two would be able to sustain their severe market position without variant covers. Makes you think of the thousands of comics sitting around in backrooms with no one to read them.

  14. “And I would say that the data you have supports my theory – an ongoing, even in appearance only, will get more pulls and interest than a mini-series. ”

    That’s not exactly what I took from your comment of “The only reason to use older ordering models, is to placate the collector’s market, which is often volatile and always, always, always unsustainable.” — that isn’t placating a collector’s market, it is *servicing* the *reader’s market*, the market who doesn’t want it because it is “called” “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN”, but because it is the *actual* “ongoing story” of Spidey.

    “Lying” to the customer base about what “counts” and what doesn’t strikes me as the much more pandering thing to do, but mileage varies

    -B

  15. @V Wiley: “Makes you think of the thousands of comics sitting around in backrooms with no one to read them.”

    No, presumably not.

    IF there are vast amounts of unsold comics cluttering up backroom after backroom, then stores would be going out of business left and right as comics are a marginal enough business in the first place. The fact that stores don’t appear to be going out of business in any vast number, AND year-to-year sales are up in all channels AND we’re hearing about a steady stream of new stores suggests to me that the market is not behaving irrationally. At least yet.

    -B

  16. Who says a mini-series doesn’t “count”? That Amazing Spider-Man one you listed had repercussions for the main title, and introduced a character Dan Slott has and will be using for the title. The fact that something labeled as a mini (barring the capital E Event comics) will sell less is 100% a manufactured, conditioned response that these stories are less important. But are they? Especially if someone is really going to connect with that story? I’ve just always hated that trained response – and as backwards as it is, it’s because the industry’s body language says “ignore this, it doesn’t matter”.

  17. Also, a pox on the idea of comics that “count”. That’s collector mentality right there. While some sell better than others, a book counts and matters if a person enjoys it. I have customers I know will turn up their nose at the new Spidey book because it “doesn’t matter”, but who keep buying Amazing (which I should note, I really enjoy) just because it counts, even though they complain loudly about Dan Slott every time they purchase it. That’s not “readers” mentality.

  18. “The fact that something labeled as a mini (barring the capital E Event comics) will sell less is 100% a manufactured, conditioned response that these stories are less important.”

    It’s certainly not “manufactured” — it’s what the audience shows it believes all by itself, time and time again.

    I trust the audience to know what it wants better than I know what they want, honestly. It can’t be wrong: it’s the audience!!!

    As for whether it is a “reader’s” response or not, we both agree I run a reader-focused store, and it is not a response I’ve every actively promoted, therefore it’s pretty much by definition a reader’s response.

    (The fault is that of the publishers who over-saturate their popular characters so baldly that the readers kind of have to pick and choose as to what “counts” — it’s a defensive mechanism on the part of consumers, not a collector-oriented one!!)

    -B

  19. I think I can agree in terms of the volume of titles requiring choices to be made. I still bristle against the… the frankly too many people I’ve served who buy things they hate rather than ones they’d love based on weird things like something being a mini-series. Any weird barrier like that that I can remove, I’d be more than happy to play along with.

  20. My fear is if you “retroactively” make something a mini (and/or lie about something’s status in the first place), you’re just increasing the chances that customers will view EVERYthing with suspicion.

    Absolutely it increases *my* level of suspicion, and, thus, my overall orders.

    I think, in sales, it is important to be honest, open, forthright and completely transparent about your plans.

    -B

  21. Essentially Marvel’s whole summer was that. It’ll be interesting to see how that effects their line coming up – but my guess? More of the same patterns that have always occurred.

    I’d also be quite interested in seeing the bizarro world where books like Spider-Gwen, Howard the Duck, and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl were announced as 5-8 issue minis. I can almost guarantee if that had happened, we wouldn’t have seen the books return due to demand. But there’s also absolutely no way to confirm this in the slightest. So.

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