Later than Advertised

We all hate waiting. Noon appointment? Doctor didn't see you until 12:30, though, what makes his time so much more valuable (besides the medical degree and the possibility that she's making a diagnosis that could save or end someone's life)? We love the fast food, instant gratification, new episodes of Lost. We hate the line outside the restaurant, anything that delays our wish fulfillment and summer reruns.

In comics, though, there's something of a generally resigned notion that some comics are going to be late. More than that, it's almost a given that high profile books are going to be inordinately late. The complaints usually come from fans, disgruntled that the delivery of the next piece of the never ending story isn't delivered as promised. Tom Brevoort discussed Marvel's improvement in this area, which led Johanna to do some research in a post of her own. To which I can only say, thank you for saving the me the time of doing said research myself so that I can use that time to compile this woefully late post of my own.

Complaints from retailers, though, are based not so much on the merits of story but on the merits of sales. Late shipping hurts sales, or so I've been told. I will note that outside of Civil War and Infinite Crisis, our highest selling single issues of any title are Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 & 2, so we'll have to see what the impact on sales of #3 are (I'm guessing not much). Ultimates sells really well as does Astonishing X-Men. Then again, Green Lantern has just about died here after hitting an all-time high with the first One Year Later issue. I don't have any way of quantifying how lateness affects sales, but from the perspective of those readers that Brevoort seems to be addressing, it would certainly be easier to wait longer if the reader was getting a bigger chunk of the story. The sales of Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness certainly don't seem to have been adversely affected by that books delay. Which is all a long-winded way of saying that, as with many other complaints, quite a bit could be easily solved by shifting some titles to a serial trade format (or if they absolutely must be published first as singles, keeping them off the schedule until the work is completed). A model akin to British television series may not be out of order.


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