Marvel Donates Obama Comics to ComicsPRO

ComicsPRO, the trade organization for direct market comic retailer, announced today that

Retailers who join ComicsPRO as Full Members can get a hand from Marvel. Marvel made available some first printing variant covers of Amazing Spider-Man #583, featuring President Barack Obama. This hot, sold-out issue has gone for more than $100 at auction, and retailers who join now can get one for free while supplies last!


Except that current prices, based on ebay sales finished today, range as low as $44, so it appears that this collectible may have peaked. Other copies offered starting at $25 and $50 closed with no bids. Given that Marvel did four or five reprints of the cover, everyone who wants one may have one.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice idea, that a retailer get back something to help offset their membership dues — heck, DC’s done that for years with exclusive RRP editions of comics given out at their invite-only retailer gatherings. I’m just a little tired, personally, of this “let’s exploit the President” approach to marketing. Plus, without knowing how many “some” are, it’s tough to know how generous Marvel is being. Although it is considerate that ComicsPRO isn’t leaving out existing members: “Existing Full Members can get a free Obama variant copy with an early
renewal of 2009-2010 dues.”

But wait! There’s more! Marvel is also discounting subscriptions to their Marvel Retailer Resource Center. According to Marvel, “The Marvel Retailer Resource Center enables retailers to create websites for their stores with up-to-the-minute news, artwork, catalog listings and changes, as well as maps and local happenings.” In other words, they’re selling branded web creation packages. It’s very difficult to find any concrete information on pricing online, but reportedly, it’s over $100 a year for this service. So this “extra $10 discount” is a gesture, but not very substantial. I suspect any store that knows they need a website already has one. Others may not want to be so locked into one vendor’s products.

The press release also says that ComicsPRO has “more than 140 members with more than 180 storefronts.” Given the usual estimate of about 3000 comic retailers, that’s 6% of stores, but I bet they’re the most active and involved ones.

5 Responses to “Marvel Donates Obama Comics to ComicsPRO”

  1. bizarro Says:

    Of course, Marvel wouldn’t have a backstock of all those first prints in the in the first place if they hadn’t screwed around with retailers ability to order them in the first place. So offering some of them a premium that came from a slap in the face they did to them a few months back seems almost farcical.

    Also, how can any publisher in good conscience hold back on a measurable chunk of it’s first run while offering 4-5 reprints of it?

  2. Hsifeng Says:

    Johanna Says:
    “I’m just a little tired, personally, of this ‘let’s exploit the President’ approach to marketing.”

    But wait, there’s more:

  3. Johanna Says:

    At least those are bringing something new to the table beyond “let’s stick the President’s face on something!” And they look funny.

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