You’d also be out one farm. The only place Shellhead appeared was in the SECRET INVASION crossover. No name brand Iron Man material. No monthlies, no trades. No. Trades. The only big, lasting name they had out was THE ULTIMATES (in a pencil art variant that’s more likely to end up on Ebay than to convince any booksellers of the book’s quality). There was some AVENGERS/INVADERS crossover material, and some Classics Illustrated material. But there were no books. There was nothing to indicate that Marvel was going to be capitalizing on their media tie-ins.
IDW had a bigger and more professional booth than Marvel did. They featured trades prominently, though had some singles out for consideration. In short, they looked a lot more like a book company than a comics company (though to be fair, they were touting a lot of Transformers stuff with sticky window decals and signage all over the convention center). If I was one of those “Now what’s all this about comics not being for kids?” folks, I’d as sure as shooting have gravitated towards IDW and blown Marvel off. Oh, and I’ll add that it was pretty cool to get a chance to chat with Cory Doctorow (he of LITTLE BROTHER and BOING BOING fame) and to read over an issue of his recent IDW comic, which, believe it or not, was a great single comic that didn’t read like an isolated chapter. That’s how you get me to read singles.
If you’re wanting to take scores, DC came out smelling like a winner. Marvel, not so much so.
We heard this quite a bit: that Marvel’s dinky set-up, manned only by Jim McCann (whom we adore and who is truly one of the hardest working men in comics), was not very effective given the size of the show. In fact, Marvel sent everyone else to the sporadically attended Wizard World Philadelphia show and chose that venue to make its big Stand announcement (above). This shows a certain lack of investment in the book industry side of things, and everyone was commenting privately on Marvel’s tiny showing, especially compared to DC’s giant booth. However, Kuo-Yu Liang of Diamond Books, is a big defender of the “size doesn’t matter” view: ““Traffic doesn’t matter if you’ve got appointments with the people you need to talk to,” said Liang. The fact that marvel had THREE titles on PW’s latest Comics Bestseller list (not yet online) shows they are doing something right.
Also from PW, there’s this piece by Laura Hudson on how the success of Iron Man has broken the “movies don’t sell floppies” jinx:
For nearly a decade, comic book movies have been big business, with film franchises like Spider-Man and X-Men pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars per movie. Unfortunately for comics publishers, translating that big box office to comic book sales hasn’t been easy–at least when it comes to superheroes. But the recently released Marvel Studios film Iron Man has proved doubly successful; it’s not only earning of hundreds of millions in ticket sales, it’s also pulling off what most superhero movies never found a way to do: Sell a lot of comics.
The bottom line is that Marvel seems to be stumbling from success to success. Chronically understaffed and hamstrung by their own internal budgetary concerns and corporate hierarchies, Marvel’s long term strategy of just throwing things against the wall is paying off — for now.
Sill, you’d like to see a LITTLE more dedicated manpower for the book industry from Marvel. One other interesting rumor from the BEA floor: Marvel is hiring a new Bookstore Sales manager.