- Posted by Johanna on April 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm
- Category: Comic News
As Graeme McMillan points out at the Newsarama blog, Marvel’s upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man #160 is bringing back an unfortunate era of superhero comic history: the polybag. As Graeme put it,
The publisher announced this morning that the book will ship with two polybag options (Yes, we’re at the point where there will be a variant polybag for the variant cover to the comic; it’s taking ’90s nostalgia to a whole new level), not be overprinted, and not be available on newsstands.
He attributes this to a desire to drive retailers to up their orders on the comic, due out in June, and I’m sure that’s right. Retailers won’t be able to get any more later, if the promised media publicity comes through and drives more customers into their stores, so they’d better (from Marvel’s perspective) commit more resources upfront to stocking this issue deep. Also, obsessive collectors will now have to buy four issues — two of each polybag, one to keep mint (unopened) and one to see the different cover. (Plus, the cheap plastic used in the bags tends to decay quickly, so better get them slabbed, too!)
Marvel’s publicity claims that the bags are to prevent readers from being spoiled by seeing the covers (or maybe grossed out?). From their press release:
with covers so shocking we had no choice but to conceal them.
But the thing I noticed was this. The storyline is entitled “Death of Spider-Man”, and there are rumors floating around about what that might mean, extending to speculation that the Ultimate line might also end. A polybag is an excellent way to prevent readers from seeing the contents of the book without buying it, so Marvel might just be trying to forcibly convert browsers to buyers.