Sep 6, 2011

WTF Moment of the Week- Polybags, Reprints & Chromium Covers

5:54 PM

If you were reading in the mid to late 90s, you were experiencing what some call the "gilded" or "dark-age" of  comicbooks   Everyone felt it-- whether you were a reader, retailer, creator and of course the companies felt the blow-back -- that resulted from way too much style over substance in a craft that was still struggling to find a semblance of legitimacy across mainstream entertainment.

Many readers like myself, stopped.  Shops that have been around for decades started closing.  Valiant and Image who in but a few years took significant attention and maketshare from DC & Marvel, started showing their true colors that resulted from overhype/overprinting books and simply over-saturation of the comic industry.  I recall some of the sales figures reported on Image and Valiant books were over 800K + and those same books can't even be sold today in the dollar bins.

History repeats itself in celebrating the death of a major character with a black polybag.

Every comic publisher was guilty of sleazy marketing gimmicks to sell books be it the polybags, hologram/chromium covers or multiple covers and reprints.  All of this naturally took precedence over the creators attached to the books.  And again everyone suffered.

So what up with this rant huh Omar?  I mean we are talking history and that wack-ass shit is a thing of the past right?!  Wrong!  If you haven't noticed, Marvel has been polybagging numerous titles from their Ultimate Comics line.  Sure, I got some but was paying no attention to that trickery, as I was merely interested in how Jonathan Hickman-- one of my fave writers would explore the Ultimates and Hawkeye.   Also, Marvel has made a bunch of noise today from unveiling their covers to the new Season One OGN line for Fantastic Four, Spiderman, X-Men and Daredevil.   

When I looked a little deeper into this at Marvel, the SVP of Sales- David Gabriel, boasted that "more news about the promotional and incentive covers(Season One lineup) for retailers would be released in the next few weeks."  Now I may be reading into this too much but is Marvel saying they will now be releasing incentive covers for graphic novels?!  Redick yo.

No more Valiant around, but Image is also playing the market by releasing very limited first runs on books and then immediately announcing sellouts with 2nd and 3rd prints to follow.  For some odd reason they seem to get it right on staving off demand but the poor retailers end up having multiple 2nd print issues of Gladstone's School of World Conquerors, Skullkickers or Morning Glories on the shelves.  Thankfully many of my friends that run a tight shop on ordering don't really have those problems.

Yep, even DC is getting into the fun with their announcement of 2nd and 3rd printings for all of their New 52 books-- specifically let's talk on Justice League #1.

Yes, a beautiful Jim Lee cover.  But do we really need additional copies on shelves of a 2nd print and 3rd when the 1st print has yet to even sellout at shops?!  Sure I get it, some peeps will  grab it but we all know that this is a way to play up that Justice League will sell beyond the 200K that it was last reported by Diamond Distributors.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of seeing some sick variants by Ethan Van Sciver, Adam Hughes, Jerome Opena, JG Jones, Oliver Coipel, Gary Frank and other dope artists out there but lets keep it real and not start bringing back that 90's hyper-color way of marketing comics.  Please?! 



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big O
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