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Wow, Early Shipping Worked as Planned for Two Whole Weeks!

When Diamond Comics announced their plans for comic book stores having Tuesday delivery for comics that went on sale on Wednesday, here is what they said:

Please Note: The current industrywide Wednesday new release day will remain unchanged, and retailers who do not wish to use the new option may continue to receive their shipments on Wednesdays.

This new program went into effect last week.

Today, Diamond announces (here‘s CBR’s story on it):

Due to the expected mass media attention scheduled for Tuesday, January 25th, Marvel is allowing retailers who have received copies of Fantastic Four #587 to make it available that day. No other new Marvel titles with an on-sale of 1/26/11 may be made available that day.

This unexpected opportunity is a result of both the new earlier shipping schedule and worldwide mass media coverage. Marvel cannot guarantee the secured press placement will hit on 1/25 (as other breaking news may bump it), though if it does, retailers who have received the issue may sell their copies. For retailers who don’t receive early shipments, or have customers calling in advance of the shipment arrival, Marvel encourages them to take down customer information and inform them when copies do arrive.

I am sure those retailers will be pleased to know that they can take customer information down.

I totally get why Marvel would want to do this, but boy does it put those non-early release retailers in a bind.

19 Comments

Diamond allowed it because it’s Marvel’s product and they make the rules for on sale dates, not Diamond. Same reason retailers were able to sell Blackest Night #6 early last year.

Good point, Ron, so I took out the part about Diamond!

Man, they’re really pushing this Death of H.E.R.B.I.E. storyline for some reason.

Doesn’t it feel like the FF death story is the first one of these that really flops?

Sales-wise?

No way – this will be a smash. They’re putting them in black polybags!!! That’s brilliant (as far as selling a ton of copies goes)!!

Doesn’t it feel like the FF death story is the first one of these that really flops?

You have WAAAAAAAY too much faith in consumers. It’s almost touching!

Maybe it doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t feel like the kind of thing that will generate much mass media interest. The cartoons were middle-tier. The movies did good business, but they never had much buzz. It seems as though most non-comics people would hear that Johnny Storm (or Sue, or Reed) died and ask “who?”

Maybe it is Ben Grimm. That is a bigger deal. However, we have been down this path a few times before and none of these deaths really stick. Folks that have snatched them up as collector’s items have been burned before. The genius of the polybags was that they forced sales of multiple copies, but no one is retiring on their bagged “Death of Superman” comics.

Maybe flop was too strong, but it feels like a potential sales disappointment to me.

The timing is just so perfect for having a black bagged comic. Everyone who remembers Superman’s death will want a copy of this book.

I don’t know, I think Captain America has even less mainstream buzz than the Fantastic Four and that still was a sales coup. Fantastic Four had two movies that did major bank. In fact FF1 outgrossed Batman Begins. As long as the media gives it major coverage I think it will sell okay.

Entertainment Weekly is already covering this. They, and their commenters, seem to agree with Dean:

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2011/01/21/marvel-comics-fantastic-four-kill-earlier/

I’m still not sure though, because if online articles and commenters reflected reality, crossovers wouldn’t spike sales. But they still do. Should be interesting to watch.

@ T.:

Captain America, the character? Totally under the radar.

Captain America, the brand name? I think had a resonance with people. Tell someone that Captain America died and that made an impression. That was true even if they couldn’t pick the dude out of a line-up (provided said line-up also included The Shield, Uncle Sam, Star Spangled Kid and Liberty Belle).

Here is another wrinkle, the Internet totally defeats the poly-bag. Someone will have bought it, opened it, scanned the big death scene and posted it on the Internet by the time I am making my morning coffee on the West Coast.

That’s the ostensible purpose of the black bag, but I think what it really does is remind people of the black-bagged Superman.

I mean, come on, it’s a black-bagged death of a major character that is going to be covered in the news! How can Joe Public possibly NOT want to buy that comic book?

@ Brian Cronin:

I sort of hope that you are right, but my gut say that it is out of step with the times.

Moreover, the FF has to be my #1 adapted comic property that you absolutely need to read the actual comics to “get”. Neither the cartoons, nor the movies, ever really captured the appeal for me. Even poor adaptations usually give you some hint of why people might have liked the original comic. Unless you have read Lee-Kirby and/or Byrne, I have a hard time imagining that why you would care.

Again, I hope that I am wrong. I adore the FF and it would be great to see them get a little moment in the sun.

Ah, black bagged Superman! Reminds me of when I first went to my LCS. Of course, they’d sold out of it by the time I got there, but those sweet third print newsstand copies I got a month later were SO worthwhile…

Ahem.

You seem a bit snarky here, Mr Cronin. I like it!

What’s kind of funny is that bleedingcool’s featured stories on the “secret shoppers” that Diamond has used (little old ladies, in a lot of cases), and the books these people were looking for were the big books of the week (Spawn 200, Batman and Robin 19, etc). So now letting one of the big books go early is kind of funny, even if it is Marvel okaying it.

Didn’t Marvel ok early release of Captain America Reborn 1, or they were going to, or something? How’d that work out?

Didn’t Captain America dying get a lot of attention from right wing commentators? I feel like there was a semi-”outrage” there that gave it some publicity that I don’t know if this will have.

This feels more like the “Spider-Man reveals his identity” thing, which was really big news in the comics world but nobody else cared, despite doing a press release and everything.

Seriously? We’re back to the black polybags again already? I was hoping we’d have another few years before DC/Marvel had come full circle to the 90s again…

Unbeknownst to the collecting public, half the black polybags will be filled with issues of DeFalco and Ryan’s Fantastic Four from the 90s.

Schrodinger’s FF.

Man, poor Sharon Ventura. I think we’ll all remember where we were when she died.

Unbeknownst to the collecting public, half the black polybags will be filled with issues of DeFalco and Ryan’s Fantastic Four from the 90s.

Schrodinger’s FF.

You forgot the !!!!!! points, Bill! Every! sentence! had! exclamation! points! in! that! run!!!!

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