Marvel Drops the Ball: Civil War Delays

Were you expecting the latest issue of Civil War tomorrow? Get used to disappointment — Marvel has announced that #4 will be out next month on September 20, with #5 now due November 15. In the announcement, Marvel said:

Civil War banner

In an attempt to accommodate the creative team of Millar and McNiven and keep the artistic integrity and high standards of the event, we will be shifting the following titles [list of tie-ins snipped]…. We apologize for the inconvenience but feel that this is in the best interest of the quality of the event and for retailers to continue to realize the immense sales for these books. We are announcing these shifts early enough in the hopes that retailers can adjust their buying patterns for the next few months. Also, we hope the addition of a few more key Civil War titles will make up for any lost sales that result from these moves.

Quality? The purpose of a line-wide event like this is sales, not art. Retailers have already proposed adding a co-writer or replacement artists — they’d rather see timely product to keep readers interested and cash registers working.

Update: Brian Hibbs adds his thoughts on late books.

We don’t need more late comics. We don’t need any more ULTIMATE HULK VS WOLVERINE #3 or DAREDEVIL FATHER #6. We don’t need the core books of the universe lines, like WONDER WOMAN or JUSTICE LEAGUE, moving to 6 week schedules because the creators can’t hack monthly. No, damn it, 9 issues a year is NOT acceptable on what has to be a monthly book, I don’t care what pedigree the talent has. There is art, and there is commerce, but as a retailer, and for the sake of the industry, there has to be a regular churn of ongoing titles to provide the cash flow to keep everyone going.

Much more, including justifed cursing, in link.

Update 2: The V (link no longer available) weighs in with their typical snark.

What with this and his recent “all comics writers are rich as fuck!” posts, I’m beginning to think Millar has completely detached from reality, and now lives in his own Mark Millar-shaped bubble. How come that happens to everyone (Bendis, Miller, etc)?
jinxworld.com
millarworld.com
Byrnerobotics.com
There’s a pattern here somewhere. I just know it. If only I could piece it together…


10 Responses to “Marvel Drops the Ball: Civil War Delays”

  1. Dan Says:

    You know, my whole reaction to this was a big fat “Who Cares,” until I started doing the math. As much as I loathe the whole company-wide crossover event blah blah blah, it is in fact a big hit in the lcs cash register to push this back. Not to mention how many other books does this push back because they have the next big reveal, or they’re an essential part of the story. To pass this off as “we’re trying to maintain artistic integrity,” is just beyond acinine.

    I did like the one comment on the newsarama blog about Millar’s Ultimates being delayed so he could concentrate on Civil War. And now this… the conspiracy theorist in me wants to start a net rumor that Millar is trying to kill Marvel Comics from within. Heh, heh, heh.

    For my money, I just can’t stand the fact that I can’t look at a Marvel Comic lately without hearing that godawful Guns n Roses song in my head. I’ll just be glad when it’s all over.

  2. James Schee Says:

    Wow, Marvel finally has a book that gets is (apparently) good word of mouth coverage outside of typical comics only media. Only to F- it up.

    Wow I only read the first issue and decided “not for me”, but still this is a very serious screwup. Sometimes with corporate comics you just gotta go with what you got. This is kind of like McDonalds telling the customer they have to wait an hour for a Big Mac.

  3. Anun Says:

    DC got quite a bit of flack for sacrificing quality to maintain a semblance of a ship schedule on Infinite Crisis (which still didn’t happen, but granted, not quite as badly as this delay), and got flack for then re-drawing some of the IC art for the trade.

    Now Marvel is getting flack for trading the schedule for quality.

    The real solution is of course these projects should be done before even being solicited, but in the absence of preparation that far in advance, which solution do fans honestly want more? It’s hard to figure out sometimes.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Anun, depends on which group you’re asking. Retailers want product (because that’s what it is) delivered when promised. Some fans want their “hit” of continuity regularly. Others only want their favorite creators, no matter how long it takes.

    The fact is, until there’s an economic penalty to the publishers when DC and Marvel ship late, this will continue.

  5. Jer Says:

    DC got flack from fans because their work was rushed and some will be re-drawn come the trade collection. Nevertheless, they made their ACTUAL customers (the shop owners) fairly happy with keeping the event on a close-to predictable schedule.

    Marvel is getting flack from retailers because this will impact their bottom line. And that sucks. Because comic book stores are run on very thin margins and for small stores things like this add up.

    Fans will bitch about anything, but their bitching is because they want their comics. Retailers bitching because something impacts their bottom line is something quite different.

    And I think this all goes back to the idea that neither Marvel nor DC are actually magazine publishers anymore – they’re licensing managers and book publishers. An issue of the serial being late doesn’t bug them because they’re more concerned about the viability of the property and the eventual trade paperback. And you’re not going to seen an economic penalty on the publishers that doesn’t hurt the local comic shops MORE because the local stores are completely dependent on Marvel/DC sales while Marvel and DC both have other areas to sell their properties.

  6. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    My favorite part of the whole press release is this: “Also, we hope the addition of a few more key Civil War titles will make up for any lost sales that result from these moves.”

    So, not only are people supposed to tolerate these delays, but they should buy MORE crossover books?

    So, the next time a customer buys something and isn’t happy, I guess I should say, “Sorry, buy two more things, that will make you feel better. No, I can’t give you any refund on what you bought, but in exchange will gladly let you buy more.”

  7. Patrick Says:

    As a regular TPB writer who almost never buys monthlies anymore, I quite honestly would rather have an artistically consistent final product. However, especially with such a high-profile event such as this, I can definitely understand why monthly readers might be put out. Then again, even in a monthly format, I think the book’s credibility and entertainment value would be severely damaged by fill-in talent, based on what I’ve seen of Infinite Crisis. Then again, maybe that’s just my anti-DC bias kicking in. :)

  8. Patrick Says:

    Whoops, that’s TPB *reader*, duh.

    I only wish I was a writer…

  9. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] In response to Marvel delaying Civil War comics, several are having their say: [...]

  10. John Says:

    If Marvel are going to start caring about quality all of a sudden… Maybe i should take a look at some of their titles again sometime. I havent bought a marvel book in years – all the artwork i’ve seen has been shit.. Lifeless and flat with no layouts even worth spitting af…

    Good for them…

    Ofcourse, you all know what the real reason is, for doing this right? It IS likely to be because of quality. They care less about the pamphlet publications, ’cause there’s no money in it anymore. The money’s in the trade paperbacks, so obviously they’ll spend more time in preparing these – and hell, i’m all for it. If it means better comics, it can’t be a bad thing.

    They should finish the entire thing before even soliciting it in my opinion, but i’m not sure if they’re prepared to plan – and invest – that far ahead… Would be great though.

    Stop whining, american comics fans.. You’re getting the best possible treatment in my opinion.

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