PR: What Not to Do: Nyah, Nyah, You Can’t Have It

Announcements of sell-outs are popular press release subjects. Many of them walk a thin line, trying to convey the message “our publications are so much in demand that they’re being under-ordered” without turning people off. They want retailers to order to more to satisfy this unmet demand without convincing readers to jump off. After all, when you’re dealing with serialized entertainment, crowing that “the latest issue is unavailable” often tells customers to stop buying the series altogether.

That’s why I was so surprised to see this particular announcement, which goes (in my opinion) way too far in the wrong direction, saying “you can’t have it” in, by my count, four different ways (numbered below) in the first two paragraphs. They also didn’t include the now-customary (after retailer backlash) “copies may still be available at the retail level” line.

The first new issue of Heroic Publishing‘s CHAMPIONS comic book series (issue #38), featuring the long-awaited return of Roy & Dann Thomas’s CAPTAIN THUNDER AND BLUE BOLT, has completely sold out [1]. No copies are available for reorder [2], and Heroic has announced that there will not be a second printing [3].

Champions #38 cover

If you can’t find a copy of this first CT&BB story in almost fifteen years, you may have to wait a while [4]. The story, by writers Roy Thomas and Dennis Mallonee, and artist Benito Gallego, is scheduled to be reprinted in the third Captain Thunder and Blue Bolt trade paperback, but that collection will not appear until the “Merchants of Menace” storyline is wrapped up in a future issue of CHAMPIONS, most likely in late 2008.

In the meantime, you will be able to enjoy classic adventures of comics’ greatest father-and-son superhero team, beginning with CHAMPIONS #39, on sale in late August, and with the first CT&BB trade paperback, currently scheduled for a mid-December release date.

Champions… that would be the trademark that Marvel was going to use for its now-titled Order series. So one can see why they’d want to rush it back into print and crow about its perceived success.

But why not address current demand instead of telling people to wait a year to read the story? Especially since the publisher has made the issue available online for free?


3 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Nyah, Nyah, You Can’t Have It”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Very odd release.

    If you are a fan who knows who these characters are and wanted this comic telling them this would suck. And telling you to read classic adventures, which I take to mean reprints, isn’t going to mean anything to those fans if they’ve already read them

    Meanwhile for a fan such as I who hasn’t heard of the characters, the news of it selling out so I won’t be able to see it just makes me shrug.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Good point — If publishers insist on doing these kinds of releases, they ought to at least emphasize the attractive qualities of the book that created the demand. Although in this case, I think it was “Roy Thomas”.

  3. Press Release How-Tos » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] We’re promoting books you can’t buy [...]

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