Though I’ve been sticking to Monday to Friday posting, I’ve had some thoughts increasingly building up that haven’t quite been making it into standalone posts. So, here are some things that’ve been on my mind lately.
And remember–this is just me, some random guy who has been "into" comics for 28 years, blowing off some mental steam.
- Marvel‘s doing Artist: TBA variant covers. and Super-secret Artist 1:1000 variant covers. And ridiculous needs-an-app-and-loads-of-entered-data-to calculate-eligitiblity variants. Y’know…bad enough, doing variants AT ALL. But if you don’t even have the artist(s) lined up and so you’re announcing variants MERELY for the sake of VARIANTS…you suck! Back in 1992 in one of THE doorbusting-est instances of a comic going on sale, I have the number "750" stuck in my head as the number of copies of Superman #75 I heard was ordered at ONE shop. Launching a continuation of a (now) year-old mini-series and having a 1:1000 cover? What the heck?!?
- Marvel hyping a new Star Wars series…but it’s Star Wars: Classified. Look…either you bite the bullet and SPOIL some sort of surprise-ending to something, some otherwise "surprise development," and you just take the backlash OF spoiling something, by soliciting some spin-off series. OR…give it a rest! Give it a break! Let the series or event or whatever CONCLUDE, and THEN solicit/hype the Next Big Thing. Yeah, you’ll have a 2-month gap, but if people are really, TRULY clamoring for it…allow some time for ANTICIPATION to actually build. For some finality of something before to sink in. To get the word out that hey! There’s actually more coming, that’s not the end of everything. Just the end of a story!
- Variants, PERIOD, are no longer special. Regardless of my personal dislike of variants, I can at least accept/acknowledge the choice to use them for "special occasions." Say, a #1 issue, or the start of some new storyline (oops, if we’re talking Marvel, that’s one and the same!) or some other big deal. But when every single issue of every single series seems to have a MINIMUM of two different covers, then there is NOTHING SPECIAL about them. It’s actually MORE SPECIAL and UNIQUE to find any comic for which there is ONLY ONE PUBLISHED COVER. I mean, How freaking ridiculous is that?!?
- #1 issues are the same way. When there are 3-4 #1s for an otherwise "ongoing series" in the course of 2-3 years; when it takes a combination of 3+ "series" just get to 60 issues… it’s not special. Either that #1 indicates a to-be-short-lived mini-series which will be far preferable in a collected volume…OR it means that I have absolutely NO REAL IDEA what issue I would go back to if I wanted to read something immediately preceding it…since despite this #1 on the cover, I can lay decent odds on it being functionally a #10 or a #29 or some such, being the next issue published with a title and creative team and no greater gap in publication than any other issue-to-issue time (#3 to #4, #27 to #28, etc).
- The constant cycle of events…particularly the line-wide events. And I’m looking primarily at Marvel on this. Hardly halfway into Secret Wars (Summer 2015) they start the hype/push for a big round of renumberings/relaunches. But the event is "delayed" and the relaunches go out anyway. Then, by the time that event book finishes, they’re already starting the hype on the NEXT event, Civil War II (Summer 2016). And then prior to THAT event even finishing, they’re already rolling out…ANOTHER ROUND of renumbering/relaunches! With delays and such, didn’t Secret Wars functionally run at least 8 months? Add to that what I believe is functionally at least 8 months of Civil War II, and even IF there was a whopping four-month gap between the two, you have 16 out of 20 months with an ongoing major event story! (80% of your time with ongoing events).
- I got suckered on it twice when Marvel kicked off their new Star Wars line, paying the inflated $4.99 cover price for a #1, though in my own defense, I checked to make certain subsequent issues were "regular price" at $3.99. Star Wars, though. Bigger deal, something special, allegedly-extra-sized issues, big splash, whatever. But the move to it seeming virtually standard that a #1 will be $4.99 or $5.99?!? You’re already losing me on yet another freaking #1 issue…but then you want to have it $2 above a DC #1 if not TWICE AS MUCH as a DC #1?!? Fool me once, shame on you. Keep it up, I see what you’re trying to pull, and even something I’d otherwise BE interested in or consider supporting on principle, you keep me away. (Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows)
- Convention Exclusives. There’s that saying of "leaving money on the table," right? And while I can "get" and "appreciate" marketing psychology and stuff for supply and demand and hyping stuff up…when you create product SOLELY to sell at a convention when you KNOW DARNED WELL that there are NUMEROUS people that will NEVER BE ABLE TO ATTEND a convention (and that numerous people BUYING your product AT the convention are doing so SOLELY to "flip" the product on the secondary market)… it sucks. Just make stuff available to people who will pay. Sell it through your site. Take pre-orders and produce to that. SOMEthing.
- "Convention book stock." I get that part of dealers going to conventions involves selling to audiences they don’t usually have, with probably hundreds if not thousands of bodies that have never/will never set foot inside their actual store…but bringing stuff to the convention gets product in front of eyes and likely sales otherwise not possible. BUT… to me, it seems like "everyone" tends to have the SAME STUFF. Virtually EVERYONE has bins and bins and BINS of Marvel Premiere Edition hardcovers, typically $10/ea (having had $19.99, $24.99, or $29.99 cover prices). Very little DC product, period, and typically not in flat-price bins.
- "Convention singles stock." Recent comics marked up $1 from cover price (new/last few weeks’ issues, with SOME at cover price if there’s been no real "hype" or such). $1 bins of overstock from the last 5 years. MAYBE discounted stock from a few years prior, virtually nothing from the 1990s, and virtually no 50-cent or 25-cent bins with any sort of "runs." When there ARE 50 or 25 cent bins, nothing is remotely in order, it’s all just a mash of stuff thrown together. A convention is basically a one-time thing: I get to look at the boxes NOW, and that’s it. Not worth the hassle…compared to a shop with a regular stock that I can check back every week or so for new stuff or decide that yeah, that bunch of Action Comics issues? I’ll snag those and then see what’s missing and go from there.
- Final thought for now: Communication is key. If you’re running a convention and accepting applications for press passes, and state that someone will be in touch "within a few weeks of the show," that implies "a few weeks AHEAD OF the show." Two days ahead of the show, I realized 1. hey, the show is THIS WEEKEND and 2. I never DID hear back from them, guess I didn’t qualify for a press pass. So, I went back to check admission prices and such–maybe I’d want to go anyway. But Given that I’d be going alone, simply as me/myself, AND paying admission and facing the above couple points? I decided it would NOT be worth my time/hassle/etc. 4:50pm the day before the show I finally get a response…but I’d already planned my weekend as NOT including the show. C’est la vie.