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Alternatives to Content Held Hostage: LotG Didn’t Have to be 1:25


rune000Legends of the Geomancer #1 was offered–as an entirely unique issue–cover, content, everything–on a 1:25 ratioed basis to retailers, based on the quantity of Book of Death #1 they ordered. Things did not have to be that way–the content did not have to be held “hostage” to force fans to do the legwork of the publisher in trying to convince a local retailer to order more copies (that they probably would not be able to actually sell on through to other customers) of Valiant‘s latest event series.

Here are some alternatives That I can come up with–some based on recent things, others also rooted in the time of the original Valiant (the 1990s)–that could have been used as a means to make LotG a special book, a prize for collectors and an incentive to die-hard buyers-of-such-things WHILE allowing a basic/standard copy, the CONTENT–to be easily accessible to those who just want the complete story and do not care about variants and other such things.

DIGITAL CODES

There are several ways that I can think of–offhand–that would involve digital codes.

marvel_free_digital_copy_offer_sticker1. Get a code in BoD #1 and “combine” it with a code from ANOTHER Valiant book published in the same month. Go to a website, key in the codes, pay s/h, get 1 copy of Legends of the Geomancer.

2. Get a series-specific code, and combine one code from each of 9 or however many series, pay s/h, get 1 copy of LotG.

3. Some other combination to ensure LotG is rarer than any single issue, but someone buying multiple–or all–Valiant series would have no problem getting it, and would get different issues’ content rather than buying tons of copies of one specific issue.

BULK PURCHASE PACKS

There are several ways I can think of that would involve bulk purchasing to get more copies of stuff out there for Valiant.

rune000_coupon1. Make a bulk pack of 10, 15, 20, 25 copies of BoD orderable as a single line-item/SKU, priced at whatever the bulk/discount/eligible-for-returnability cost is for retailers. $19.99 or $24.99 or whatever. This shrink-wrapped/bundled pack would include 1 copy of LotG . The fan now has 10+ copies of the issue–they can give it away to their non-LCS-going friends or other channels, hoard them, or “give” them to their LCS to sell.

2. Make a bulk pack of the entire month’s books available at the end of the month that would include LotG . This might also logistically tie to codes for redemption.

These would either allow a fan to have ordered a PACK of comics including LotG without otherwise having to make special arrangements with a comic shop or to just order a pack of that month’s books. If a shop ordered the packs–for fans or for LotG it would get some titles onto the shelves that might not otherwise be ordered, yet would not screw the fans.

FLIPBOOKS

1. Make LotG a flipbook with BoD. For the 1:25, LotG is orderable as its own standalone issue.

2. Make LotG a segmented flipbook, with 2-3 page segments on the backs of the entire month’s worth of Valiant comics. Buy 1 comic, get a short segment. Buy them all, you functionally have an entire issue. For the 1:25 to BoD, retailers can order LotG as its own standalone issue.

rune003_ultraversepremiere001

3. Have LotG as a standalone issue, and 1:25 BoD there’s a flipbook edition with BoD and LotG combined…maybe an overlay cover or varied cover image for this edition.

This would allow for the creation of a unique edition/comic that would appeal to collectors as an incentive item yet allow someone otherwise soley interested in the content/universe of the story to also access that without being forced to a secondary market or otherwise far out of the simple enjoyment of getting their books as they have for nearly 40 months.

GOLD/PREMIUM EDITION TIED TO PREVIOUS ORDERS

1. Have LotG as a standalone issue, but for every 25 copies of BoD, retailers get a Gold edition of LotG

redeeming_marvel_digital_copy2. Have LotG as a standalone issue, but if a retailer orders twice as many copies of all the Valiant books as usual (min of 1 if they didn’t order last month), get a Gold edition of LotG

3. Have LotG as a standalone issue, but if a fan sends in a photo of BoD and other Valiant issues on display at their LCS, with a card/signed form that the shop did the display because of/with the fan, get a Gold edition of LotG .

This would reward retailers/fans for putting forth extra effort to promote Valiant while not interfering with fans who just want the content.

STICK WITH QUALITY AND DON’T SCREW THE FANS

1. Have LotG as a standalone issue, with a 1:25 variant cover tied to BoD. Let the market do the work from there, if any.

2. Quit screwing around with variants and false/artificial scarcity and collectability and HAVE PATIENCE for the fanbase to continue to grow, and don’t screw loyal but casual-ish fans that DO buy everything but aren’t militantly evangelical about your stuff.


Though ultimately, this is all a moot point–it won’t change the past, Valiant is not listening to me–and short of announcing LotG as something to be included in a Deluxe Edition hardcover, I’m done with buying their single issues, on principle.

I’m just still curious–thoroughly curious–at the result of their little experiment and how stuff plays out.

For better or worse, I get the impression that I am in an extreme minority with my stance, and not only will Valiant pull this kinda crap again, it’ll catch on with other publishers (like pullbox variants) and making content an incentive will be all too normal before long.

sludge001_freex004

Above: Sludge #1 and Freex #4, 2 of the October 1993 Rune month flipbooks. Below: Flip the books over for a chapter of Rune #0!

rune_a_rune_e

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