Pointless PR

Marvel has just released a press release that includes this paragraph:

Marvel is happy to announce that Immortal Iron Fist #2 has sold out at Diamond, following in the wake of the premiere issue’s sellout. Currently, Marvel has no plans to go back to press on issue #2.

Translation: Nyah, nyah, you can’t get it.

What they want their target reader to take away from this is a sense of insecurity. “Oh, no, I’m missing out on something hot! I must join in before other comic readers think I’m uncool!” Because “great story” or “pretty art” isn’t important — being a Marvel zombie is.

Iron Fist #2 cover

Hop onboard Immortal Iron Fist now as Iron Fist is in store for one heck of a 2007 as he becomes an increasingly important player in the Marvel Universe. Not only is there a second printing of issue #1 on stands now, featuring a gorgeous Gabrielle Dell’Otto cover, but Marvel is releasing a Director’s Cut of the first issue in the coming weeks going behind the scenes of Iron Fist’s return to an ongoing series. The cover for the Director’s Cut will be the colors-to-pencils fade of Immortal Iron Fist #1’s cover as seen on other Director’s Cuts.

Can’t get #2, but you can (and should! according to them) buy #1 multiple times. Doesn’t “an increasingly important player in the Marvel Universe” deserve that?

(Can someone teach their PR writer what a run-on sentence is, please, and how to avoid them?)

They did include this, at the very bottom, after you’ve gotten through the above and the self-congratulatory review quotes:

Also note, copies of Immortal Iron Fist #2 may still be available at the retailer level.

So maybe you still do have a chance.

And publishers wonder why people wait for collections. As Tom Spurgeon is wont to remind us, “The book sold out” doesn’t mean anything unless they tell us how many were ordered and sold.

The sad part is, this is a decent read in the classic superhero style.


14 Responses to “Pointless PR”

  1. Ray Cornwall Says:

    But it is available! I saw it on a torrent site! God bless Internet pirates!

  2. Don MacPherson Says:

    Actually, I suspect that these news releases are actually aimed at retailers. I think the hidden message reads more like this:

    “You didn’t order enough copies of this hot Marvel title. You’re missing out on sales, and we’re not going to help you with a second printing. Be sure this doesn’t happen to you again when placing orders for The Irreparable Forbush Man this month.”

  3. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, Marvel seems to expect retailers to visit supposed consumer-targeted sites to get key information for ordering. Weird, that is.

  4. Ali Kokmen Says:

    Yeah, Marvel seems to expect retailers to visit supposed consumer-targeted sites to get key information for ordering. Weird, that is.

    To be fair, in our little comics world, the lines between trade and consumer, and the press/media that service each (or both!), are so blurred that you can’t quite be surprised if messages get mixed and message-makers lose sight of what they’re really conveying.

    It can be one of the most surprising aspects about comics marketing to those used to other industries, and those of us who are used to it can forget how weird the world of comics is in this regard.

  5. Don MacPherson Says:

    Marvel sends all of those news releases to retailers’ e-mail addresses (by way of Diamond). Plus they’re all printed in Diamond’s daily updates to retailers via e-mail and on its website.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Ali, good reminder, thank you.

    Don, are you sure about that? There have been many times I’ve had to update my retailer on something Marvel released on Newsarama, and he’s never gotten an email about it.

  7. Don MacPherson Says:

    Johanna, I’m positive. I spent some time handling some retailer-related duties for a friend (whose shop is now but a memory). We had my e-mail address listed as the shop’s, and I access the Diamond website daily. Those notices were always posted. Retailers who claim to be unaware are either (a) lying or (b) not availing themselves of resources.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Sure, order updates are posted, but that’s not what I was asking about. Many retailers don’t have either the time or the inclination to wade through Dateline daily, so I was curious about your statement that this information (in this case, a specific press release) was emailed out as well. I don’t think that’s the case.

    There’s a difference between necessary information given to them and information that can be found if they seek it out, and in my opinion, Marvel relies too much on the latter. And we haven’t even talked about grey area information. “We’re offering an additional book, here’s the order code” is one thing. “Oh, we hinted at that plot point (or other content element) that will cause increased demand in a Newsarama interview, didn’t you see it?” is another. Expecting retailers to visit fan-oriented promotional site for information that should be in order packs is unprofessional, in my opinion.

  9. Jer Says:

    “Expecting retailers to visit fan-oriented promotional site for information that should be in order packs is unprofessional, in my opinion.”

    You are talking about a company that openly mocks its retailers and its readership, though. And a company whose current image is, as one friend of mine put it, that of an “asocial 13 year old with extremely low self esteem”. It’s no longer a surprise to me when they act unprofessional in other ways.

    As for the meaningless press release – by announcing that there will be no second printing, they’ve capped their limit of people they can expect to read Iron Fist at whatever the print run for #2 was (at least until the first story arc is finished and out in trade). So I don’t see any encouragement for retailers to up their orders on #3 – in fact, I see a strong discouragement towards doing anything but finding out who liked #1 and will be keeping the entire series and then ordering exactly to that.

  10. carpboy Says:

    Waiting for the trade sadly only works if they keep the trade in print. Immortal Iron Fist probably won’t suffer the same “Do you want v2? Too bad, we only printed 30 copies.” fate as Cable & Deadpool, but it’s still disheartening.

  11. Don MacPherson Says:

    Johanna wrote:
    Many retailers don’t have either the time or the inclination to wade through Dateline daily, so I was curious about your statement that this information (in this case, a specific press release) was emailed out as well. I don’t think that’s the case.

    Well, all those Marvel news releases are included in the Diamond Daily updates, which are available on the web, via email. Furthermore, they’re routinely incorporated into the Diamond Weekly printed newsletter included with each week’s shipment.

    Is it necessary information in this case? Certainly not. But I don’t think one can argue Diamond is requiring retailers to visit Newsarama or the like to get the information.

    You’re right, there are retailers who don’t have time or the inclination to sift through the information sent by Diamond. Personally, I think that’s a mistake; I would think a businessperson would want to bone up on all available information to ensure s/he doesn’t miss out key announcements, possible clearance deals, etc.

  12. Paul O'Brien Says:

    In fairness, Ed Brubaker claims that IRON FIST #1 was a genuine sell-out with legitimately substantial re-orders. That’s entirely possible – the sales for IRON FIST #1 on the November chart were unspectacular, but it shipped in the last week of the month, meaning that all of its re-orders would be lost to the December chart. (Which isn’t out yet.)

  13. Johanna Says:

    Paul, that sounds right to me, but I think Jer and carp have hit on the bigger problem — “you can’t get any more” serial chapters sets a cap on future potential.

  14. Don MacPherson Says:

    Johanna wrote:
    “you can’t get any more” serial chapters sets a cap on future potential.

    Theory: Marvel pulls this no-reprint-on-the-second-issue move to spark higher orders on future second issues of other titles. The second-issue drop is notorious in comics, after all.

    Furthermore, Marvel may *want* there to be issues that are hard to find to boost TPB sales later on.




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