You may or may not remember the SIEGE #3 fiasco from last year, where Marvel offered a rather appalling incentive to retailers: they could receive one limited edition SIEGE #3 issue with a special J. Scott Campbell drawn Deadpool cover, and all they had to do was send Marvel 50 covers ripped off of select DC Comics books…books which happened to be related to the Blackest Night tie-in that was then dominating the comic market. Naturally, there was a bit of backlash. First off, the cover itself was not only fairly lame, but Deadpool doesn’t show up in the issue…nor does he show up in SIEGE at all.
It’s a shitty practice that has no need in today’s supposedly failing comic market. Why destroy 50 comics that customers clearly want for ONE single issue? It’s a double edged sword for the retailers. Either they destroy $150 worth of purchased product for ONE $3 comic that won’t last long and won’t make any profit, or they order over for each issue and hope they don’t order too many. And most importantly, it involves the destruction of comics, which are still valuable. First edition back issues are still a big market, and with this promotion, Marvel is destroying them. The fans were very vocal about this the last time it happened, with a fairly large outcry, mainly centering around the fact that the cover was unappealing and made no sense.
So naturally….Marvel is doing it again.
Yes, it’s the continuation of the “Comics for Comics” program from Marvel, which allows you to get a single copy of a variant cover for a single issue in exchange for 50 stripped covers of perfectly good merchandise. This time around, stripping the covers off of 50 select Flashpoint titles will net you a single copy of this Ed McGuiness drawn Fear Itself #6 variant. But don’t worry retailers…Marvel wants you to know they’re helping.
“In these tough economic times, feel it’s our duty to help,” explained David Gabriel, Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing, Sales and Circulation. “After the overwhelmingly positive response to our Comics For Comics programs, through which we received tens of thousands of covers, we’re excited to provide retailers with the chance to help their stores through selling an ultra-rate variant.”
In case you haven’t done the math: 50 of the DC Flashpoint titles, priced at $2.99 each, comes out to $149.50. Stripping these covers means you can’t sell them. The Marvel variant is $2.99 for a single issue, making a loss of $146.51 per single issue.
I will give credit where credit is due, though; the Comics For Comics program did start last month, but was much less publicized and actually offered a Deadpool variant to Wolverine #1 in exchange for 50 covers off of select Marvel comics.
The biggest issue with this and the SIEGE offer is that Marvel wants another company’s comics destroyed. This is a shitty practice all around, no lie, but I find this a lot less disconcerting when Marvel wants their own covers back. It’s not necessarily even that this is a new practice; pretty much every publisher of comics, books, etc. only requests a stripped cover for returned merchandise, with the understanding that the remaining portion of the merchandise be destroyed.
And that’s where I start to take issue with this. I don’t know about you guys, but I buy a lot of back issues. I see an issue sitting on a rack that I missed a few months ago, I’ll pick it up. I don’t always have enough cash on me when I’m in my comic shop. The books asked to be destroyed in this initiative are a wide range of #1 issues that tied into the Flashpoint event from DC, which have been HUGE sellers, well reviewed, and generally just damn fun. And now, Marvel wants you to destroy those.
And while it is a shitty practice, it does generate buzz, Twitter is, of course, exploding right now with rants and raves about the program and the destruction of the books. And that Deadpool SIEGE variant? It’s going on eBay for about $30 right now. The fans do want these, but surely there’s some other way to do this aside from destroying merchandise, right?