- Posted by Johanna on August 17, 2006 at 9:20 pm
- Category: Comic News
Let’s talk about something else DC and Marvel have had problems with lately: preview packs!
I don’t remember whether DC or Marvel was the first to start (I suspect DC), but both publishers have been allowing retailers to pay a small fee and get single copies of upcoming books a week early. The pack is supposed to allow stores to familiarize themselves with titles so as to better sell the issues; to increase orders if necessary (and if the books are still available at that point); and to get customers excited about coming back next week.
With DC, at least, the amount paid is supposed to be less than the sales value of the books included, so the retailer can sell the issues and not even be out any money. Recently, Image added its own prevew program, but I’m unfamiliar with its details.
These programs have some problems: Retailers have complained that they’re not getting the Marvel books on Wednesday, making the packs less useful to those trying to entice shoppers who visit on that day. (DC’s books arrive with the customer’s Diamond shipment; Marvel’s books come separately.) If the books arrive damaged, then the retailer can’t sell them to make back the money.
But most significant are the questions of selection and value. DC hasn’t been shipping any of their main titles because they don’t want secrets regarding plots getting out early. That leaves the retailer receiving Vertigo books and titles that no one’s much interested in, and often few of them. (If DC doesn’t ship a certain number of issues, then they don’t charge for that week’s pack, though.)
For instance, this week Marvel provided only three titles to my shop: Daredevil, Exiles, and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. DC sent four: Batman and the Mad Monk, Claw, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman. (I suspect that last was to prove that it did actually exist.)
Image, on the other hand, send more than the two other companies combined: Battle Pope, Dead World, Elephantman, Fear Agent, Fell, Last Christmas, The Portent, Shadowhawk, and The Walking Dead. Good for them!