Thursday, January 14, 2010

Siege Perilous

Yesterday, Marvel Comics, finger on the pulse of the Jemas era, decided that retailers had ordered too many copies of DC comic books.

To backtrack a bit, DC Comics, in order to draw attention to certain books, included an incentive to retailers, that if they ordered a specific amount of comics, they'd become eligible to order multi-colored sets of rings specific to their latest crossover, Blackest Night.

And many happily took them up on the offer. Some, not so much, either begrudgingly did so or simply opted out.

What happened was some shops simply gave the rings away with purchase of the corresponding comic or bundled them in bags, selling them as a set of seven or simply, did not order them.

And like what happens in most business when you order something heavily, you have a few copies left unsold.

Enter Marvel on a white horse.

For those retailers who may have unsold copies of DC's Blackest Night tie-ins waiting to be sold or added to back issue bins, Marvel gives them the opportunity to shred the covers off, send them to Marvel and upon doing so, they are eligible to receive one free very hard to find copy of a Siege #3 Deadpool variant.

What. The. Fuck. Marvel.


Instead of doing the best work you can and trying to place your books back in the Top Ten of the retail sales charts, this what you come up with; a promotion highlighting the competition's two month old promotion?

This just so preposterously wrongheaded on so many levels that I find it hard to believe it made it out of the meeting stage.

It's up there with tugging on Superman's cape...

Oh, I guess you did. And you know what happens when you tug on his cape, right?

Well, here's why I hope it fails, any supposed "loyalty," to either, be damned.

One: in order to receive a Seige #3 Deadpool variant, a retailer has to be willing to shred up to 50 copies of Marvel-approved DC Comics titles, with those titles being:

Adventure Comics #4
Booster Gold #26
Doom Patrol #4
Justice League Of America #39
Outsiders #24.
R.E.B.E.L.S #10

What many don't is that many of the comics listed are not returnable to the distributor and the only way to recoup the cost of them is to actually sell them. Not tear them up and send them to Marvel.

Two: Any retailer who does so is asking for a loss. What happens is that comics are ordered with predetermined discounts to the retailer and if the retailer willing destroys his product, even with the discount factored in, is being asked by Marvel to eat a loss. In return, for eating the loss of 50 comics, the retailer's rewarded with ONE comic book.

So, for example, if a retailer ordered fifty copies of something at a discount of 54% of $3.99, he gets the book at a cost of $1.83. So, if he shreds that fifty times, he's being asked to eat almost $92 worth of product. Add in the cost of shipping the product to Marvel and he's easily looking at having to sell one Seige variant at well over $100 to recoup his losses to DC Comics AND Marvel.

Third: What the hell does Deadpool have to do with Siege, anyway?

Fourth: If a retailer chose to order too many in order to qualify he has no one to blame but himself and Marvel providing anyone an out is simply rewarding bad business acumen.

So, I say this to my fellow comics retailers; while it may sound like "fun" watching Marvel stick it to the competition, what's actually happening is that your small business is being asked to choose sides stuck in a pissing match between Disney Comics and Time-Warner Comics.

So, beware; what may look like a white horse could eventually become a dead one with which to flog or worse, a Trojan and we all know how that one turned out.

P.S. Now, if they had real balls, they'd ask retailers to send in unsold copies of Blackest Night but that'd take, you know...


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