- Posted by Johanna on March 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm
- Category: Shopping Guide
I find myself increasingly confused when reading Marvel’s Previews supplement. I don’t know if it’s because they’re now only speaking to the converted, those who buy a majority of their publications every month, or because they’re making silly choices, or whether I just don’t care enough to follow them more closely. But here are some examples:
The six-issue miniseries Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt (MAR11 0625, $2.99) begins in May. I admire Sean McKeever’s dedication to the teen heroes of the Marvel universe, regardless of how many times their books aren’t bought in comic shops and get cancelled as a result. I’d like to read more teen superheroes, but Marvel doesn’t seem very good about that these days. (Which is odd, since Spider-Man and the X-Men used to be adolescents, and their success made the company.) And then they promo this attempt as featuring “Avengers: The Initiative stars Thor Girl, Ultragirl, Cloud 9, Komdo, and Hardball”. I thought there was something wrong that I didn’t recall a series with that title (since I do like Ultragirl and Thor Girl). No, it’s just that they’re referencing something that was cancelled a year ago. Since it, like this, tied into another fake big event (several of them, actually, over its three-year lifespan), I ignored it. (And as I expected, it’s Komodo — typo. Not the only one in this catalog.)
It gets sloppier with Alpha Flight #0.1 (MAR11 0629, $2.99), intended to be a stand-alone introduction to the team. Only they run a quote with the page that says someone thinks they are “deliver[ing] a comic that caters to both newcomers and long-time readers”. That can’t be about THIS issue, since it doesn’t exist yet, and this kicks off a series, so it can’t be about the same title — so just what was being praised originally? Plus, this promo lists “artist X”, indicating to me that someone forgot to stub in the name of the penciler, Ben Oliver. Even though he’s not the artist on the maxiseries being introduced. (That’s Dale Eaglesham.) More bait-and-switch from the House of Ideas, I guess.
Speaking of which, if I were a retailer buying for my shop from this catalog, I would be a bit annoyed that Marvel didn’t bother to tell me that the Pixar Presents: Cars Magazine (MAR11 0632, $5.99) is a reprint of a series from another publisher. Especially since nothing’s returnable any more, and Marvel seems more interested in talking to fans in these pages than their real customers, the stores.
As I was saying, I am glad that Marvel keeps trying to find a way to make their teens salable. The latest approach seems to be canceling miniseries that come in with low orders and then trying again with a one-shot. Arcade: Death Game was announced in December, only to return as Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1 (MAR11 0644, $7.99). I griped about how depressing this sounded back then; now I’m just glad we get a chance to see the Avengers Academy and Young Allies characters team up. (Marvel’s pushing the AA brand this month; they also guest-star in Amazing Spider-Man #661-662, written by AA writer Christos Gage.)
I haven’t even started in on the pricing, yet, with Marvel putting out lots of $4 books. The one that takes the cake, though, is the promo magazine to tie into the film: X-Men: First Class #1 (MAR11 0723, $9.99). It reprints three comics with “all-new interviews and feature articles”, and they’re charging $10 for it. On the facing page, an all-text Spotlight is half the size for only $4. Is printing already existing comic art that much more expensive?