Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    28,872

    Default Tilting at Windmills - Jan 17, 2013

    With three months worth of data under his belt, Brian Hibbs weighs in on the initial success of the Marvel NOW! initiative, looking at its strengths and potential weaknesses through the prism of DC's New 52 reboot.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Lost and absent minded
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    54

    Default

    I find the Marvel pricing is an odd strategy.
    So far its at least 60% of their books are 3.99, the biggest culprit being X-books: instead of having the flagship books jacked up, with other titles more affordable (like DC have done with JL and Batman) it seems that there are maybe 3 out of 10(?) books a month are 2.99, and some of those pricier books are double shipped so in terms of a consumers monthly budget and amount they can spend (as opposed to how many books they want to buy) that makes it equivalent to 12 books, 9 at higher price. It would be interesting to know, from stores, if readers are dropping other company's titles to be able to afford this (the intention) or whether Marvel cannibalise their own lines, with people having to choose between X-books and A-books instead of picking up some from each, ironically undermining the whole A+X concept they are trying to push.
    The reason that I say this is odd is that the New 52 is a basket case. There is no unified visiion, no sense of stability in the investment in a title - you start buying in and supporting the title just to have them rip out a team you liked and have Liefeld or whomever writing it on a whim and then someone else, and the basis of our connection to the characters is whether the promotional material says we should care or not. Marvel should have been ready to exploit this weakness. They should have pitched to those screaming DC fans and said "try us, we'll look after you" and then rolled out more books at 2.99 so that people could slide across easily without having to refigure their budgets. Just little things like secondary books ie Avenging Spiderman, or at least one of the xforce books, coukld be enough to hook people in.
    Marvel do have a good range of books at 2.99, dont get me wrong, some of which I'm not sure why (Scarlet Spider?!?), but mainstream audience want tons of cheap candy and dont care how much it costs to make, which is pretty much the key to DC success. They make crap, but its cheap crap when people dont have the extra cash to spend like they used to.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zetomenn View Post
    I find the Marvel pricing is an odd strategy.
    So far its at least 60% of their books are 3.99, the biggest culprit being X-books: instead of having the flagship books jacked up, with other titles more affordable (like DC have done with JL and Batman) it seems that there are maybe 3 out of 10(?) books a month are 2.99, and some of those pricier books are double shipped so in terms of a consumers monthly budget and amount they can spend (as opposed to how many books they want to buy) that makes it equivalent to 12 books, 9 at higher price. It would be interesting to know, from stores, if readers are dropping other company's titles to be able to afford this (the intention) or whether Marvel cannibalise their own lines, with people having to choose between X-books and A-books instead of picking up some from each, ironically undermining the whole A+X concept they are trying to push.
    The reason that I say this is odd is that the New 52 is a basket case. There is no unified visiion, no sense of stability in the investment in a title - you start buying in and supporting the title just to have them rip out a team you liked and have Liefeld or whomever writing it on a whim and then someone else, and the basis of our connection to the characters is whether the promotional material says we should care or not. Marvel should have been ready to exploit this weakness. They should have pitched to those screaming DC fans and said "try us, we'll look after you" and then rolled out more books at 2.99 so that people could slide across easily without having to refigure their budgets. Just little things like secondary books ie Avenging Spiderman, or at least one of the xforce books, coukld be enough to hook people in.
    Marvel do have a good range of books at 2.99, dont get me wrong, some of which I'm not sure why (Scarlet Spider?!?), but mainstream audience want tons of cheap candy and dont care how much it costs to make, which is pretty much the key to DC success. They make crap, but its cheap crap when people dont have the extra cash to spend like they used to.
    Excellent post. Marvel's output is superior to DC's superhero output, but DC has a better business plan. I'm slightly annoyed by the fact that Marvel is having trouble in generating sales of < 80 000 on their top titles because their creative teams are generally top-notch.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zetomenn View Post
    I find the Marvel pricing is an odd strategy.
    So far its at least 60% of their books are 3.99, the biggest culprit being X-books: instead of having the flagship books jacked up, with other titles more affordable (like DC have done with JL and Batman) it seems that there are maybe 3 out of 10(?) books a month are 2.99, and some of those pricier books are double shipped so in terms of a consumers monthly budget and amount they can spend (as opposed to how many books they want to buy) that makes it equivalent to 12 books, 9 at higher price. It would be interesting to know, from stores, if readers are dropping other company's titles to be able to afford this (the intention) or whether Marvel cannibalise their own lines, with people having to choose between X-books and A-books instead of picking up some from each, ironically undermining the whole A+X concept they are trying to push.
    This is the precise mentality I find myself in with a lot of Marvel books, and thus they're rapidly falling off my pull list. While I'm curious about a good number of Marvel NOW titles, more often than not I find myself skipping them because collecting a number of them is cost prohibitive. With most of the titles coming in at ~$6 a month ($4 an issue, 18 issues a year) I can either read one Marvel title or two $3 monthlies, or even simply a $4 monthly and save the extra $2 for whatever else. The interest in reading Marvel is there, but their pricing strategy makes reading Marvel seem like a waste of money, which is why my pull is half DC and maybe 20% Marvel when I honestly wish I could be buying from the big two in equal numbers.

  5. #5
    Critical Critic nosocialize100's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New England.
    Posts
    3,623

    Default

    Always love these posts. I'd love to read a comparison to Image Comics and how they have new series shipping all year long. In way those are like reboots right?
    I write comic book reviews every Wednesday using pages from each book. Check it: Is It Good?: All the Best Books of the Day Reviewed!

  6. #6

    Default

    I don't think Marvel care about the long term. They're all about the NOW!

    Constant relaunches? who cares that it hurts sales in the long run, as long as it makes money NOW!
    Double shipping? who cares if we lose readers in the long run, we're making money NOW!
    Spreading Franchises too thin and over exposure of our biggest Characters? Who cares if it damages brand names and cannibalizes sales, as long as we make money NOW!
    3.99 books? who cares if we piss off a lot of people and lose a lot of readers who cant afford to keep up with their favorite Characters, as long as we make money NOW!
    Constant Events? Variant Covers? Gimmick Deaths? well, you get the point.

  7. #7

    Default

    Nailed it with Cap being relaunched 7 times.

    Fool me once, Marvel...it is that fool me 7 times?

  8. #8
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,571

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zetomenn View Post
    The reason that I say this is odd is that the New 52 is a basket case. There is no unified visiion, no sense of stability in the investment in a title - you start buying in and supporting the title just to have them rip out a team you liked and have Liefeld or whomever writing it on a whim and then someone else, and the basis of our connection to the characters is whether the promotional material says we should care or not.
    I disagree completely with this.

    What Marvel has isn't unified vision, it has unified story writing — because, by their own admission, they need the events to keep reader interest, and books that don't feed into the events tend to drop dramatically to the point they don't think anyone is reading. In fact, if you go back and look at most of Marvel's output in the last few years, almost all of their titles spin out of some event… and the cancellations are for books that don't seem to connect to the next events on the horizon.

    Marvel couldn't catch on to DC's failures because DC was smart in replacing the failures — which were story-based, not creative team-based — with a new set of well promoted and interesting changes on its replacements. Earth 2, Dial H, Worlds Finest… these had people talking about the new books just as they did with the first wave. And the shifts in creative teams were to hopefully excite readers from a book that was losing them rapidly.

    If you don't like Liefeld, that's your choice. A lot of people turned away from him as plotter because of his name. But if you read the books that he was working on, the shift actually helped narratively — or part of the way, since he left after editorial interference changed the plots completely.

    But DC has been smart about each move. The books that are cancelled are low sellers, and they're learning it's often because the books don't have a long-term direction that can't be merged into another book. But they won't give up on the characters, either. Frankenstein is moving to JL Dark, Blue Beetle to Threshold… only the strongest 52 will eventually survive.

    As opposed to Marvel, which has increased sales because of increased recognition (movies, tv) and the heavy interconnectedness of their books at the moment. But the Marvel NOW! isn't the same because, while being a new #1, the change of direction doesn't seem radical enough — Spider-Man excepted — to warrant dropping years of back issues to make a book that would have otherwise been given a "Bold New Direction!" star on the front cover.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    14

    Default

    I like the mention of Image by nosocialize, as well as the issue of price with Marvel by xenigma and others. Because I read so many titles, I also seek to avoid $4 comics just to be reasonable about my spending on this hobby.

    As a result of my money-management, I buy more Image titles monthly than Marvel. Scarlet Spider, Daredevil, and Hawkeye are 'yes's', but I lost Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor due to Marvel's pricing. They also tend to put out very bad superhero group books at the $3 price (is this to tell us that the $3 books are a waste of time?). (I thought Captain America died? What a joke....it wasn't even a year...)

    Image puts out more interesting comics than the Big 2, and I also appreciate the lack of crossovers (often involving series that I'm not interested in reading).

    DC's new editorial imperatives are a bit of a problem, as many of the DC books have become boring because nothing ever happens except a small step further in some ridiculously-expanded storyline.

    So, all points, Brian's and others posted here, seem quite valid. I wish both of the Big 2 would wake up to greater opportunities to improve the reader experience at a more reasonable cost....

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    251

    Default

    I agree that part of the excitement to comics is not know when that "special" issue will show up. Like Mr. Hibbs points out, the collectability arrives when you suddenly realize that a current or past run is actually pretty good and readers as well as collectors, go search for the first issue of that run. Marvel ruins this by simply throwing out a new number one. Marvel benefits for the sales boost but I think we do lose something big by that. I wonder how much Hickman's first issue of Fantastic Four is selling now... Or even Uncanny X-Force by Remender...

    Regardless, folks argue that they can't get into a run because of the constant reboots. I don't understand that. I prefer that titles have an unbroken volume instead of multiple volumes but regardless, I am not going to read every Thor story printed in volume one of that book. I will read Simonson's and JMS's runs. I think it's silly to hold back on reading a good book because its rebooted...

  11. #11
    Junior Member toddx77's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    461

    Default

    I think Marvel is trying to ride the success of the Avengers a little too much with Marvel NOW. Marvel is thinking a lot of those people who were only watching the movies are going to get into the comics which I'm sure if true, but I get the feeling that Marvel is thinking the numbers will be bigger than they actually are. I can't see people who only know these characters through the movies picking up books like Avengers, Cap, Thor ,Ironman, and Hulk at $4.99 twice a month. Maybe they will start with Avengers and work their way to others. Honestly if Avengers had no come out this year Marvel Now would have basically been a banner across all the books like with The Initiative or Dark Reign. I had had to drop Marvel books I have been reading for years because I cannot afford to buy so many at $4.99 twice a month. X-men with the all womans cast looks cool but I am only to be buying 2 X books and All New X-Men is already my favorite X book so I am not giving that up so it is going to be a toss between Uncanny and X-Men.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by toddx77 View Post
    I think Marvel is trying to ride the success of the Avengers a little too much with Marvel NOW. Marvel is thinking a lot of those people who were only watching the movies are going to get into the comics which I'm sure if true, but I get the feeling that Marvel is thinking the numbers will be bigger than they actually are. I can't see people who only know these characters through the movies picking up books like Avengers, Cap, Thor ,Ironman, and Hulk at $4.99 twice a month. Maybe they will start with Avengers and work their way to others. Honestly if Avengers had no come out this year Marvel Now would have basically been a banner across all the books like with The Initiative or Dark Reign. I had had to drop Marvel books I have been reading for years because I cannot afford to buy so many at $4.99 twice a month. X-men with the all womans cast looks cool but I am only to be buying 2 X books and All New X-Men is already my favorite X book so I am not giving that up so it is going to be a toss between Uncanny and X-Men.
    Sure it is true that they are trying to ride that success, but this is where my shift to following writers has made the decision an easy one for me. I like Hickman's work.

    As a cost measure I was going to trade-wait for his Avengers stuff, but after the first issues, I decided that I wanted the individual issues.

    Fraction's Hawkeye is great, as is Waid's Daredevil, and so far so good on his Hulk.

    I opted not to buy Fraction's FF/Fantastic Four - mainly for two reasons: 1) I find that Fraction doesn't grab me on team books, and (2) I enjoyed Hickman's run so much that I just can't see it being topped right now. Basically, until my palette is cleansed Hickman's run is it for me.

    I will say that what I think DC is trying to do, is break the cult-of-the-writer mentality that has built up over the last decade. I'm convinced of this. They are trying to put out a product that becomes less and less tied to a writers name, and take us back in time to a point where we no longer associate a title with a writer - only the character.

    It makes sense from their position - because looking only at my spending patterns and taste, I may love a given character - like Deathstroke, but I sure as hell don't love him enough to keep reading him by someone who's writing I can't stand.

    I was reading Brubaker's Captain America. I'm not buying the new one (I may get it in trade if I continue to hear good things about it). What I am doing though is following Brubaker over to Image. Likewise, I was reading Rucka's Punisher. When his mini-series is over, I am not likely to read the next series of The Punisher. I am however going to continue to read Stumptown, and will be picking up Lazarus at Image.

    That's my way of saying that while I will continue to follow writers over a character, I can appreciate what I think DC is trying to do. I also though think it will ultimately hurt them. This isn't the 1960'2 or 70's or 80's - and more importantly, these things aren't $1 or less - meaning an adult reader is more likely at $3 or $4 to be curious about who's doing the writing on something he enjoyed or disliked.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian from Canada View Post
    I disagree completely with this.

    What Marvel has isn't unified vision, it has unified story writing — because, by their own admission, they need the events to keep reader interest, and books that don't feed into the events tend to drop dramatically to the point they don't think anyone is reading. In fact, if you go back and look at most of Marvel's output in the last few years, almost all of their titles spin out of some event… and the cancellations are for books that don't seem to connect to the next events on the horizon.

    Marvel couldn't catch on to DC's failures because DC was smart in replacing the failures — which were story-based, not creative team-based — with a new set of well promoted and interesting changes on its replacements. Earth 2, Dial H, Worlds Finest… these had people talking about the new books just as they did with the first wave. And the shifts in creative teams were to hopefully excite readers from a book that was losing them rapidly.

    If you don't like Liefeld, that's your choice. A lot of people turned away from him as plotter because of his name. But if you read the books that he was working on, the shift actually helped narratively — or part of the way, since he left after editorial interference changed the plots completely.

    But DC has been smart about each move. The books that are cancelled are low sellers, and they're learning it's often because the books don't have a long-term direction that can't be merged into another book. But they won't give up on the characters, either. Frankenstein is moving to JL Dark, Blue Beetle to Threshold… only the strongest 52 will eventually survive.

    As opposed to Marvel, which has increased sales because of increased recognition (movies, tv) and the heavy interconnectedness of their books at the moment. But the Marvel NOW! isn't the same because, while being a new #1, the change of direction doesn't seem radical enough — Spider-Man excepted — to warrant dropping years of back issues to make a book that would have otherwise been given a "Bold New Direction!" star on the front cover.

    I think you and I were reading a different DC Comics.

    I'll make no comment on Marvel here - except to say that the writing is on the Marvel titles I am choosing to read is head-and-shoulders above the quality I was reading at DC. I'm talking empirically better, not just subjectively better.

    I was very much a DC guy, and very much a DC guy that wanted the reboot. I have been thoroughly disappointed with the writing - across the board - even writers I love seem to be turning in work that is disappointing.

    I've said it before, elsewhere, but I don't even think the DC writing is BAD. It's just really, painfully mediocre.

    I seriously think that those DC sales are going to continue their steady drop.

    Even without them dropping much further the entire reboot has only seen DC gain a 3.2% increase in sales.

    That is hardly something I would call a success.

    I run a theatre company and a 3.2% increase in attendance would be cause for positivity, sure - but we sure as hell wouldn't be popping champagne for that.

  14. #14
    Great White North Brian from Canada's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,571

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Schnitzy Pretzelpants View Post
    Even without them dropping much further the entire reboot has only seen DC gain a 3.2% increase in sales.
    Is that physical sales or overall sales? Because one of the key talking points at DC during the reboot was that comic stores are a dying breed with hundreds gone over the last decade. The point of New 52 was to sync up digitally before the movies start to roll out, and on that I find it's a success.

    And we're completely contrary. As a longtime Marvel reader, I find today's Marvel painful awful — 99% of it. Overextended stories, characters that no longer adhere to their original concept… as an occasional DC reader in the past, I find DC's 52 to be woefully uneven but with some very entertaining stories still there, and some interesting developments of the core concepts that make me want to read the books.

  15. #15
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I really like this post and it has consistently addressed concerns that I have had about comics. I used to buy a large portion of Marvel's output but financial constraints have decreased my ability to buy as many. This would be fine, as like many others I would choose creators that I personally enjoy the most and follow their work, as opposed to just following characters. However changes in the shipping schedule place a burden on that as well, so I thought I would switch to trades as I could save my money and buy a cheaper collected version of stories. Perhaps I have missed this topic on this column, but now even Marvel's collected editions have risen stiffly in price as well when calculated by a dollar per issue or dollar per page rate. For example, Wolverine and the X-Men is a title I am interested in and decided at that point of reboots to trade wait, however each trade I see only collects 4-5 issues and charges effectively $5 an issue. I am curious why Marvel has decided to charge more for their trades on a per issue basis than even their monthlies go for.

    I have personally felt that the rapid shipping and price increases have decreased my ability to purchase comics on a monthly basis, but couple this with the constant rebooting and increase in price once collected, I have unfortunately lost almost all interest in Marvel given that I have no motivation/ability to keep up with their work.

    I think part of what appeals to me about Image and Vertigo is that when a new series comes out, the first trade is almost always at a more affordable price, and then subsequent volumes rise in price to the rate closer to the monthly price. So if I enjoy the first trade, I can justify the slightly higher price for the next one. I believe Marvel could learn a lesson from this; if they are going to constantly reboot their line, give some incentive to jump back in to titles by making the investment less of a risk. Though I do not see this with the DC universe either, I have picked up a couple trades of the New 52 as well because at the highest price the trade is still fairly priced based on the collection of monthly issues contained within (i.e. Action Comics Vol. 1 at 24.99 vs. Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 at 34.99 where Incredible Hulk even has one less issue). I would love to follow Jason Aaron's work at Marvel as I have found him a truly entertaining writer, but as far as Marvel goes I have lost all motivation to follow it.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •