Selling out the Market

Yesterday, Marvel announced another "sell-out." Ignoring for a moment the idiocy of promoting the ability to sell out of a title that the company new the demand for ahead of time, I'd like to compare the company's response to this "sell-out" (that's it for the mocking quotes, promise) with their response to selling out of nextwave.

As you may remember, last week I wrote about the less than stellar plan Marvel has for the reprint of nextwave. Possibly because my influence extends to the upper echelons of Marvel Editorial, they have decided to scrap a similar plan for part one of Planet Hulk. Or, more likely, they're stealing a page out of DC's promotion for 52. Both go to great length to point out that there will be NO reprint until the entire storyline is complete. Dan Didio likes to point out that his goal is get people buying comics on a weekly basis, to bring back that excitement of waiting for the next issue instead of the excitement of waiting for the trade. Now, trying not to be cynical, I'll assume that neither company is afraid of these "epic" stories being utter trash therefore allowing those waiting for the trade to get a heads up and avoid the product entirely.

Instead it seems like both companies are intent to destroy whatever long term success these stories may have in pursuit of short term hype. What possible economic reason could Marvel have for NOT reprinting the first issue of "this epic story destined to return Hulk to greatness?" Both companies seem to be trying to force stores to order as many copies as possible, again for fear of missing an opportunity to make a sale.

What's particularly interesting about Marvel's choice in this case is the timing. The Press Release came on the same day as Joe Quesada's latest tease with Newsarama. Quesada, understandably, is wary about retailers getting into trouble by over ordering based on hype. Now, his bigger concern is retailers inability to cope with returnability and over ordering because they can just send it back. But it stills seems a bit like the left hand not knowing what the right is doing.

What I can not wait for is the moment when the majority of those people who have real significant influence over the industry realize that keeping product available will make it much easier to expand the market and make everyone more money in the long run. Instead, we seem to have both DC and Marvel engaging in the same regressionary tactics to swallow up as much market share as possible. Pretty soon they're going choke to on it.


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