Legacy, Lenticulars or Just Plain Lunacy

It’s interesting how a publishing company like Marvel Comics lacks the collective ability to properly process constructive criticism, much less complaints.

When retailers and fans said to Marvel, “Stop constantly rebooting titles with a new #1”. Someone who clearly doesn’t understand English misinterpreted that to mean, “Try rebooting a title with a ridiculous number rather than issue #1“. Then some other genius at the House that ran out of Ideas decided to turn that into yet another gimmick. Even-though, Marvel’s been told repeated, people don’t like convoluted crossover events. If you need proof, just look at the poor sales for Secret Empire, compared to prior Marvel crossovers.

Now Marvel has started renumbering books in the middle of, you guessed it, recently rebooted titles. As an example, Venom magically jumped from issue 6 to issue 150 just a few months ago. How did they get to the number 150? Well, they factored in every Venom ongoing and limited/mini series to date, then changed the numbering on the current ongoing series to reflect that new number… Or “Legacy numbering” as Marvel calls it. Which is not in any way shape or form what should have been derived from the original criticism.

What should have been taken from this was, when you keep coming out with new #1 every time you turn around, it makes things confusing for new readers. It’s also a pain in the @$$ for current readers/collectors. I’ve said this numerous times, “a new #1 isn’t just a good jump on point, it’s an even better jumping off point”. However the greatest jump off point possible is some absurd new numbering system.

When Secret Wars 2015 happened, Marvel had just recently rebooted all their titles. However at that time, a 20K unmaintainable sales bump was all executives at Marvel Comics could see… Not the long-term damage this would eventually cause.

Look at what happened with Silk and Spider-Gwen. Two very similar books, both started the same month. Both had respectable sales, yet both were cancelled roughly at the same time as a result of Secret Wars 2015. They would both be rebooted a few months later, just like everything else.

There was no reason to do that with Spider-Gwen because it doesn’t happen in the Earth 616 continuity in the first place. Nothing, as a result of Secret Wars 2015, affected the title enough to warrant a reboot. As a result its sales were adversely affected. Magically Spider-Gwen is one of the few titles not getting Legacy numbering… I guess because it would only be a 5 issue difference, so why bother.

Typically comic sales seem to drop after a creative team leaves a book, and they are replaced with a different, or in many cases less impressive creative team. Sometimes sales drop because people are just tired of the book/character. Other times because the writer spends too much time on social media and not enough time doing their job… But that’s another article.

If a title has a sales slump, PUT A BETTER CREATIVE TEAM ON IT! The answer is NOT to take a cover gimmick and beat it into the ground for yet another unmaintainable sales bump. Using a variant cover gimmick to con retailers into order 175% of a book they already can’t sell… Common sense should dictate that’s not going to fix the problem.

In November 2017 Marvel will release Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #36. Something I’m pretty sure nobody asked for. However it’s the exact type of title that is 100% acceptable to release a new number #1 for… Because it’s wasn’t just cancelled, it was cancelled 22 YEARS AGO!

Spirits of Vengeance and Falcon are getting a new #1. So apparently the magic number for legacy numbering is 23 years or longer… Actually, there’s absolutely ZERO logic behind it. Well, at least none I could find.

Silver Sable is getting her book resurrected is do to a movie coming out in 2018. In Sony’s Silver & Black she’ll co-starting with Black Cat… And while I’m thinking about it, Black Cat has a much larger cult following than Silver Sable… So where’s Felicia’s book? Marvel could start that with a brand new #1 since Felicia’s has never had her own ongoing series. It’d be an issue #1 that would actually make sense.

If nothing else it would give J. Scott Campbell an excuse to draw a cover featuring Black Cat for an issue she actually appears in. The last time that happened was Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 issue 2 for those keeping track.

A Black Cat #1 with a regular JSC cover would easily sell double the number of copies Silver Sable #36’s will. Or better still, Marvel could just do a Black Cat and Silver Sable book to cash in on the future film. Why not put out a “Silver and Black” comic starting with a #1 since it never existed before… but I digress.

To wrap things up, Marvel needs to wake up. They need to knock off these gimmicks. Marvel is sorely in need of capable people running things, people who are concerned with publishing quality books rather than making a quick buck. Gimmicks like Legacy Numbering, Venomizing Everyone, Value Stamps, Lenticulars and all the other asinine ordering percentage nonsense are not going to right Marvel publishings slowly sinking ship. If you have doubt that the ship is sinking, Marvel published roughly 20 titles in August that sold less than 15K copies… That’s not including the True Believers reprints.

Quality titles with good consistent creative teams would probably help Marvel out a great deal. I mean, It seems to be working for DC. That’s how a book like Red Hood and The Outlaws, consisting of a B, C and D list character can out sell Totally Awesome Hulk at the same price point every month. Not to mention TAH introduced Batch H, which everyone seems to be wetting themselves over. Sadly, those TAH issues barely sold 23K copies each… With TAH22 not even cracking 25K copies.

Regardless, a quality slate of books seems to be about the only straw Marvel hasn’t grasped at yet. Just imagine how great Marvel comics could be again if they put half as much effort into creating quality content as they do with all these gimmicks.

Unfortunately that’s not going to happen until both readers and retailers stop buying into these gimmicks.

Till Next Week!

 

UPDATE 10/15/17 12:53pm: Thank you to everyone that’s commented! I’ve tried to respond to everyone up to this point. Unfortunately I won’t be able to continue to respond to comments because the replies are just taking too damn long. In some cases I’m addressing the same thing multiple times. So please read what others have written and the replies I’ve already posted to those comments. Thanks again to everyone that’s read and replied to this article!

69 comments

  • Mugroantics

    Phenomenal article Skot! I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not have articulated those points better myself.

  • Well put. Long overdue to be properly addressed.

    The only goal should be to put out a great product 100% of the time, but when the only people calling shots are overpaid bean counters, the only thing that will ever matter is the almighty bottom line to them.

  • I think that the “renumbering” should start off with where it last left off. So, I really hated when Marvel did renumbering where they put 2 numbers on the cover, a few years ago. As a collector, there should be unique numbering from 1 to infinity (so to speak) and no guesswork of the numbers in-between.

    So, if Marvel stopped The X-Men at #544, then the next issue they release under that title should be #545 even if it’s been 6 years since that issue with lots of re-launches in-between. I don’t want them to release some random number than figure out how to number the collection in-between and say, oh that #1 issue is really #545.

    I think that would have been the best relaunch with the collectors in mind. Counting random releases is insane to the OCD collectors, the very lifeblood of the hobby who spends countless hours inspecting the edges, corners, spine, surface and pages of comics for the best condition and are very knit-picky. I want to see X-Men #545, #546, etc.

    Marvel made their bed out of short term greed and poor insight, so now they should lay in it. Nobody trusts them anymore as collectors. Everything they say is a LIE… they’re telling the TRUTH 🙂

    • Skot Whitman

      I think that makes sense with titles they’ve recently axed. That’s probably what they should have done after Secret Wars 2015. But after 22 years, ok, they can start it with a new number one if they really want to.

      The big problem, as you mentioned was with books with 400+ issues, things like Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men, now trying to figure out what issues you need is a dumpster fire of issues #1’s, #2’s, etc. Now there’s the problem with, again as you mentioned, Some collector trying to find… Venom #69 through #149 which don’t really exist.

      Marvel believed rebooting with a new #1 was the way to go, most books only receives a 20K copies shipped from Diamond bump, they the titles fell right back down to below what they were selling prior. All this rebooting really did what stall for time and create a disaster for the collectors market long term.

  • Wow…that is a great article…
    Marvel is the cliche “can’t see the forest for the trees”

  • Keith S.

    I pretty much quit marvel when they did their renumbering launch that left me with several series that had 6 issues runs.

  • zraximus rouge

    Truer words were never written. Great article about a flailing company. IMO the marvel cinamtic universe is a major reason marvel Comcis suck. Movies are the cash cow right now a comics are suffering.

    • Skot Whitman

      I 100% agree, they’ve put all their eggs in the cinematic basket. While that’s great for them now, what are they going to do in 10-20 years? They won’t be able to use much of their current nonsense stories and they’ll have already burned through the good stuff long before then.

  • When Quesada took over and launched Marvel Knights, I thought it was supposed to fix the things that we are now seeing again from Marvel. They have not learned their lessons, only doomed to repeat them.

    DC has done their share of gimmicks and renumbering, plus A & B covers for books that come out twice a month. However, their content has been superior to Marvel’s, so some of this stuff can be overlooked.

    • Skot Whitman

      I agree DC is not without it’s faults. I really like the B covers DC has been putting out and the best part is shops can order all they want, no stupid ratios or you have to order 200% of a failing title. Granted DC does still use ratio variants from time to time, but it’s nothing like it used to be.

  • I agree… Renumbering all those great titles that have been out from decades was a sacrilege in the first place!!!!

  • as a confession from a Marvel homer, me, I completely agree. They’ve kept titles on that should have been cancelled a while ago, dumped good books with decent sales for some unknowable reason or just downright ruined good storylines with cooky event stories.

    I for one liked the Hydra Cap story and how Secret Empire started out, that ended really quickly with several crossover prequel or mid story books that broke the flow. the way they wrapped resolved the problem was completely lame as well.

    The story lines they’ve gotten into lately haven’t really been “for kids” but they’re writing them as if their adult readers are 12 years old.

    • Skot Whitman

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      I didn’t read the Hydra Cap story because… well I knew it wouldn’t /couldn’t last. Just another in a long line of gimmicks.

      Half the time I have no idea “who” Marvel is writing for. The other half the time I’m wondering where they find some of these artist they’ve started using lately.

  • Dale Valiant horton

    Great article, The new numbering will confuse and anger comic readers for generations to come. I do like some of marvels stories at the moment but they are along way from having even 40% of books worth reading imo.

    • Skot Whitman

      You’re right Dale, it’s not all bad… but a lot of it is. There’s probably 2 or 3 books from Marvel I read monthly and a hand full I read periodically, based on character, arcs or creative teams. Marvel’s a big reason I don’t believe in collecting runs anymore, I just buy the issues I want (or think I want) and ignore the rest.

  • The funniest thing in all this is that when Marvel started their All-New-Marvel-Now-All-Marvel-Different-Now-Marvel… they started numbering their books with tripple digits. LOL

    Their books would be lucky to reach issue 10 let alone 100 lol.

    Redwolf #001
    Drax #001

    Yeah ok!

    Was Marvel thinking hey we put triple digits on the covers fans will buy the books because with triple digits we are guaranteed not to get renumbering??

    Amazing Spider-Man should NEVER have been renumbered, let alone have 4 volumes now!!

    Legacy characters like Spider-Man should have stayed on legacy numbering.
    There is a certain pride and prestige of having a comic reach 1000 issues!

    DC was smart to return to legacy numbering on Action and Detective, but it should never have been renumbered to begin with but DC have a better reason what with their universe being completely rebooted.

    • Skot Whitman

      Ah, yes! I almost touched on DC a little bit, but try to keep the articles to 1200 words or less. When DC did the new 52, they rebooted everything. Now that they’ve started Rebirth they went back to the original numbering for Action and Detective, which kinda makes sense since the new line of books is kinda a merger of everything.

      With Marvel there’s no possible reason for there to be like… 6 (?) ongoing Guardians of the Galaxy series with issue #1’s over the years. With a book like Amazing spider-man this is not the first time they’ve tried to go backwards and pick up the numbering. Marvel did this with spider-man volume 2 midway through and it’s a mess when trying to hunt down books online.

  • Everyday Comix

    Well said brother. I’ve honestly stopped pulling Marvel books because it’s all confusing or just doesn’t last long. Not worth my time or money at the end of the day. I’ve been sticking to DC and Image books.

  • One of the things that keeps me from reading Marvel are the confusing reboots. Feels like a gimmick. How many #1s have we seen from any one given title in the past few years?

  • Great write up!
    As a Marvel fan for over 25 years (off and on reader) I can’t even keep up any more. I’m still not even sure what exactly happened in the new Secret Wars. Ghost Racers?
    I collect 1960’s/70’s/80’s Amazing Spider-Man, but I don’t even read the new issues. I stopped with the latest reboot because it was basically Iron-Man, and it was terrible. A guy at my comic shop recommended I read the new Spectacular because it “feels” like classic Amazing Spider-Man…which makes me wonder why Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t just read like Amazing Spider-Man…?
    I can appreciate the idea behind resetting the numbering, but I agree that it makes no sense how they came up with some of the numbering.
    I’m sick of 100 different universes (there should be one) and terrible cross over events.
    The only thing I am happy about is that Kraven the Hunter is supposed to be hunting bad guys in the new Venom book (I’m biased, but I have been wanting a story like this forever)
    Rant over!

    • Skot Whitman

      I’d agree with that rant for the most part. Spectacular SM does “feel” more like Amazing used to… Adam Kubert drawing it helps too.

      I’m good with a single universe and then ONE alternate universe to play around with some things that might not be a good idea to jam into the main continuity right away. ONE, not 100.

      DC has 3, Earth One, Earth 2 and then the Elseworlds stuff which I’m also fine with because they seem to have handled it pretty well. Also the reason DC has two Earths was to fix the exact type of mess Marvel’s seems doomed to continue being. Secret Wars 2015 was supposed to fix all that, which clearly it really didn’t.

  • Excellent article! Marvel has lost their way. Is is due to the big owners that they randomly have to have a 9.99 issue of Deadpool in the regular series? That’s a jump off point. Constant renumbering? That’s a jump off point. Set up a limited series with X number of issues than add another and another and another. Jump off point. They need to re-evaluate what sells and downsize. There is no need for there to be that many Marvel books on the shelf. In the end it just hurts the retailers. When you have to take a calculus class in order to buy lenticular covers that’s ridiculous!

    • Skot Whitman

      Absolutely! Those $9.99 books almost never are anything more than a collection of inventory stories that are pretty meaningless over all. I won’t lie, once in a great while there might be a story by an artist who I really dig, but that’s the exception and not the rule.

      If Marvel cut some of the dead weight and moved out of NEW YORK CITY, that might free up some cash to produce a quality product also. Yet another lessen Marvel should learn from DC Comics.

  • gattz

    Great article, really enjoyed the read.

    As a relatively new comic fan (<5 years, with only the last 2 being very invested in the hobby) I find all the renumbering and excessive amounts of variants a bit tiring. It feels difficult to keep up with everything. Like many others seem to be saying, the new #1's feel more like a jumping off point than one for jumping on. Why not continue numbering as normal but add, "#1 in X story arc!" or, "#1 from X, Y, Z, creative team!" in a banner at the top of the book or something like that? I don't know.

    I do have to admit I'm a bit of a sucker for lenticular covers and the like, but I'm kind of realizing (in part to this article as well as my LCS owner) that maybe they're causing more harm than good. Hell, I've never even read the series before and now I'm interested in it because they have a shiny cover? Geez, it's not good for the wallet. Maybe I'm worried they'll shoot up in price or something and I'll regret not having grabbed them. Maybe that's exactly where Marvel wants me.

    Sigh.

    • Skot Whitman

      There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to shiny things or variant covers. The real issue with Marvel right now is they know they have nothing to offer but a shiny cover. Compound by the fact that your LCS was expected to order in some cases 175% of a book they can’t sell to have the privilege of getting the shiny thing… that’s a horrible thing for Marvel to do to a LCS. Especially when Marvel’s main competition, DC Comics has realized, “Hey, order as many as you want of shiny things and variants!” oh and as a bonus the insides are actually worth reading too.

      Also remember you don’t need to buy everything, I sure as hell don’t. Buy what you like and forget about what everyone else is doing. Who care’s that you don’t have every hot book, if everyone has all the same books than that’s kinda boring. The diversity within a collection is what everyone should be striving for.

  • Idk I always try to look at the bright side of whatever is going on at the moment. For example the fact that popular new character like batch h making their first appearance in an almost failing book is not a bad thing at all. It’s great that the book didn’t have a huge print run and will help that book become much more desirable if the character stays relevant.

    For the numbering I think it makes sense in most cases, just add up all issues from all vol. and then you get the number in most cases…. same way DC did it with action comics and detective comics. Don’t know why no one complained about it being confusing in those two cases but everyone can’t figure it out when marvel does the same thing.

    Personally I didn’t care much about these lenticulars until I heard that due to ordering requirements they will be harder to get than standard covers. When I got wind of that I immediately pre-ordered my favorites. I also think the value stamps coming back is interesting.

    I guess instead of letting the reader in me become bitter I just chose to let the collector in me embrace what marvel does do well at the moment which is there variants and more limited covers geared towards the collector.

    I also have been reading marvel comics on and off since the 80s and I don’t really remember marvel comics ever really being 100% great reading material. It’s always been hot or miss. Some great some terrible, imo there has always been more terrible than great, we just remember the great and forget the rest. But I think as we all advance in the hobby we just read more titles and realize how much crap there really is but idk that’s just my theory.

    • Skot Whitman

      Not a bad theory, I think there’s truth to the idea that we only remember the good stuff and forget the bad.

      Part of the problem though is exactly what you said here, ” I didn’t care much about these lenticulars until I heard that due to ordering requirements they will be harder to get than standard covers. When I got wind of that I immediately pre-ordered my favorites” Because it was harder to get you’re all over it and that’s the kind of thing Marvel’s counting on. They don’t have to worry about the insides because they’ve got people chasing covers which put’s retailers in the position of ordering stuff they can’t sell. Which, as sales over the last couple of years have shown, retailers have dialed back on ordering books just to get ratio variants. That’s part of the reason why something like ASM sales are down 50% from January 2015.

      As far as the DC numbering that you mentioned, I said this in an earlier reply, “When DC did the new 52, they rebooted everything. Now that they’ve started Rebirth they went back to the original numbering for Action and Detective, which kinda makes sense since the new line of books is kinda a merger of everything. With a book like Amazing spider-man this is not the first time they’ve tried to go backwards and pick up the numbering. Marvel did this with spider-man volume 2 midway through and it’s a mess”

      So now there’s this double legacy numbering going on with some of the books that’s going to be wicked confusing for anyone coming into comics in the future. If a year from now someone new to comics wants to try and put together an ASM run from scratch. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be stuck trying to explain to them why there’s 4 issue 1#’s, and why hundreds of issues don’t exist.

      • Excellent article. A personal observation if I may. I recently began cataloging my collection (40 years of collecting) using an online service Comics Price Guide. What a nightmare cataloging my Amazing Spider-man run, among other Marvel titles, i.e. Fantastic Four, Avengers. I obviously have lone runs with ASM being the largest run. With so many damn volumes, you begin logging in the books, then all of a sudden, the numbering changes and then picks up again using a different volume number that is under a different category of Spider-man. My point being, even the online cataloging price guides struggle to keep up with this numbering fiasco. Couple that with the comics being in many different long boxes and the confusion goes even further. DC’s Batman and Superman titles were much easier to catalog. I feel that the New 52 and Rebirth re-launches were much easier to identify and catalog. Remember when ASM began renumbering? They used to put the “original” number somewhere on the cover along with the new number. Why can’t they just do that?

        Just my 2 cents. We could discuss this topic forever… which is the whole purpose of this great web-site isn’t it? Thanks Skot. Great job!

        • Forgot to also comment that I think the Spider-Gwen and Silk relaunches, after a relatively short Volume 1 run, was one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in 40+ years of collecting. With all the variants of the early issues of these 2 titles, if I showed you three different covers of Spider-Gwen #2, could you tell me which volume it is? Volume 1 or 2? It’s nuts. They shouldn’t have done it.

          • Skot Whitman

            Thanks for commenting, as for Spider-Gwen vol 2, yes, I could, only because I just happen to remember which were which. Also I can read the barcode… which not everyone knows how to do.

      • Feel bad for people that collect full runs now. Your runs are now incomplete and good luck figuring what books you need to recomplete it.

  • I love the lenticulars but not one Marvel title has my interest so I passed. DC has my interest currently and will get my $ for all their covers. Great article. Thanks for your work.

  • Legacy numbering is a GREAT idea, in theory, but we all know they will be rebooted in 6 months.
    If they just put a year or VOLUME number on the covers or barcode, everything would be fine.

    • Skot Whitman

      Exactly, new #1’s will happen when they reboot yet again after the next summer event cross over fiasco.

      As far as the legacy number, it WAS a great idea when they did it the first time years ago. This is the second time they’ve tried it. It’s going to be a dumpster fire for any new collectors coming into comics a couple years from now trying to put together an ASM run.

  • misfit138

    What I didn’t hear anyone complaining about was the quality of the Marvel printed product. I work in the industry and what I hear mostly from my fellow collectors and co-workers is that Marvels printing, using crappy paper, where the cover is the same weight or thinner than the interior pages. If you are charging $4 or $5 for a book I would like some quality printing. Look what much smaller publishers are putting out. They want a high quality book that can withstand a little accident and still be a 9.8. I just finished reading Providence by Alan Moore through Avatar, and even though I really can’t stand Avatar, they put out a nice high quality product for my $5. I wish Marvel would have continued the Superior Spider-Man book. That and The Vision are the best Marvel reads I have had since, well, the 80’s. The big 2 should be worried about Image and Dark Horse. Creator owned books are what’s happening and has been happening for 25 years (Capitalism- Yeah!). I will never have the feeling that I did in the 80’s as a kid though, where the X-Men had one title and everyone collected it and could talk about it. Now which of the 5 X titles are you reading, oh and Wolverine is on everyone of those teams. Marvel is making some serious mistakes right now. What killed comics in the 90’s was die cut crap, foil garbage, prism lameness and Bishop! I don’t like Cable or Bishop and don’t understand any appeal those characters may have. Lenticulars are hot, but the new Marvel ones are super lame. Out of all of the options I think I am getting 3 or 4. I really want to boycott them but the couple I liked I really want. These days Marvel is getting absolutely blasted by fans and sites for their lack of creativity. DC was very smart. They looked at Marvel’s one hit last year, The Vision, and hired the hottest writer in the business right now in Tom King (sorry Donny Cates, Tom has real characters to work with) to do the Mr. Miracle Maxi. I have mixed feelings on variants. I love them and hate them. I love getting a Dell’Otto book that few people have. I loved getting a Walking Dead 171 pink signature variant from my LCS for cover on Wednesday. That makes me feel like a kid again and makes me want to keep dropping money every week. Most of the Marvel comics that I buy these days are just some kick ass variant for titles I couldn’t care less about. I just recently bought a Moon-Girl variant because the cover was amazing. Marvel’s artists are horrible. I look at the interiors of hundreds of books a day and Marvel interiors are terrible. They are hiring a lot of crappy artists with loose styles, or no styles. Just crappy art that looks like Robbie Rodriguez drew it. Marvel please look at the past, you only have to look back 2 decades ago to Robin II and please stop producing crapola like what got me out of comics off and on in the 90’s. Great article. I have loved both of the recent articles about how lame Marvel is . Rehashed characters that are now of a different ethnicity or sexual persuasion is not creative, it’s super lazy. Weapon H is your big new character? Riri Williams looks 20+ years old in every book. Make her look like a 16 yr old. I need to go re-read my Vision series!!! It’s the only good Marvel from the last 18 months. Oh, they just happen to be reprinting it every month right now for that reason!!!! Great article, well thought out, and keep them coming. Hopefully Marvel will see some of this feedback and make some sweeping changes. Get good artists. Hire good writers and up your quality. I am not saying to produce a book like Vault comic’s Heathen, but give us some Image level print quality. Nuff said.

    • Skot Whitman

      It’s funny you mention Heathen and Marvel paper quality in the same comment. I typically mention Heathen’s cover stock as what I ‘d like to see on a book.

      Your right, Marvel books have crap cover stock and they should be embarrassed by it, can you imagine an indy publisher using a cover stock practically the same weight as the interior paper. Marvel s the only company that has the stones to expect $4 an issue for something like that with a straight face. You’d think they’d have the sense to print on a heavy cover stock so they’d have less damages and returns… but like everything else they do these days, they just don’t care.

    • Very well thought out post misfit138. I say “Amen” to everything you said. I’m also in the printing industry and I appreciate the fact that Kirkman insists on printing his Skybound imprint on high quality paper and keeps the price at $2.99 (and occasionally 25¢). I’ll include Saga in this category too. Kirkman has also stated in the past via his letter columns that he’s NOT a fan of variant covers. In recent months, he’s obviously changed his mind. But I’m okay with that as the Pink signature Walking Dead 171 variant was a cool, nice surprise. Unfortunately, for those of us who did not get one, we’re missing out on 8 additional pages of story content not available in the other 2 versions of TWD 171. That’s fine though because I’m sure those pages will be included in the trade paperback, which I also collect. Great post!

  • Scott Robertson

    Agggg don’t get me started on renumbering, the absolute headache of sorting out what’s what is a pain… I have a comic database and renumbering is my biggest headache

  • Somebody should sit all the staff at Marvel down and force them to hear this.

    • Skot Whitman

      It wouldn’t do any good, this all stuff they’ve been told hundreds of times from retailers… Maybe if people at the very top of heap heard it directly, possibly. I think usually the underlings don’t pass this information up the chain because they fear for their jobs lol

  • Do people still actually read Marvel? I thought we only bought their books to flip those variant covers!

  • misfit138

    Yes their covers are the only redeeming thing about the books. They discover Mattina and Dell’Otto and Granov and have them do covers, or variants, and then the interiors are garbage. I give them props for identifying amazing new talent, but those guys are so good how could they not identify it? I am enjoying Iron Fist with the Dekal covers and the Perkins interiors. Plus Perkins is a very nice dude. Spectacular Spider-Man and the Defenders are good reads right now too, but after that I have nothing. Marvel is so poorly run they sold off the rights to Spidey and FF!!!! How do you do that!!! I miss FF dangit!!!

  • All I’m readin at Marvel now is ASM, Spec Spider-man and Scarlet Spider (which is great by the way).

    Nothing else, and this is coming from a Marvelite.

    For the 1st time in 25 years I am buying more DC than Marvel.

    DC has done a fantastic job since Rebirth. I gotta give’em props for that. 80% of their comics have been good and entertaining and their event books really good.

    Marvel has mostly boring crap and their Event books are just plain crap.
    Haven’t read Venomverse yet though.

    It’s a shame because I always really liked and related to Marvel heroes.

    Marvel needs to wake-up and realize that their main client base are dudes in their 30’s. Not kids becasue letès be honest no 16 year old can afford to buy a 5$ comic book let alone 6 or 7 comics a week.

    With an older client base, you need to focus on storytelling.
    For me story is key and art secondary. Thatès not to say art should be total garbage ala JRJR or Mike Allred, but you write a good story and the fans will buy it.

    Right now as it stands, DC sells books to be read and enjoyed with potential flip afterwards whereas Marvel sells comics to flip with very often not even reading the book FFS.

    My 2 cents

    • Skot Whitman

      I’d agree with that for the most part. I’m a firm believer that Writing and Art both have to be good, or why bother having in the collection. I can read a bad story with good art, in most cases I just can’t struggle through a good story with bad art. That being said, art is very subjective.

      Marvel made a huge misstep by jamming diversity down everyones throat. That’s not to say I’m against diversity because I’m not. I think gender and race switching a bunch of characters was not the way to do things. They could have made changes and introduced minority characters more gradually over time. Which in all fairness they did do with some of them. It was too much too fast and with some characters they should have known would not go over well. Personally I like Falcon as Captain America, I thought that was pretty cool. Tons of cool action could have been done with him flying around and throwing the shield. Then they screwed it up by changing the creative team and rebooting it after 6 issues. That’s what lost me.

  • misfit138

    Marvel has or had a lot of lifelong readers, try guys in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s 70’s +, not just guys in their 30’s. Guys in their 30’s might have started collecting in the late 90’s or the 2000’s and that’s unfortunate because most of it was garbage.

    Marvel needs to stop venomizing everything NOW!!!! I am staring to hate Venom.

    I heard Venomverse was unreadable. I own the 1st book because of the Mattina cover and will never read it. Bought issue 3 also for the Mattina cover and I’m done. I also bought the Natali Sanders signed books and graded them 9.8, but that’s as far as I go. Covers are the only reason I’m buying any of it.

  • That’s just what I’m saying. We mainly buy the books for the covers nowadays, which is a real shame.

    I guess that’s makes us part of the problem too. As long as we keep buying those pretty covers, Marvel and the rest of the industry will keep pumping out their books without worrying about the long term consequences of poor writing and contrived plots.

    • Skot Whitman

      Absolutely, I’m just as guilty of it as anyone. Which is why I’m personally drawing a line in the sand with Legacy. There’s about 3 or 4 books I read and actually still enjoy from Marvel, I’ll buy those but nothing else no matter how pretty the cover is LOL

  • DC vs Marvel has to stop both are guilty of the same stuff. Is anyone really buying Supergirl B covers for the story?

    • Skot Whitman

      While I’d agree 100% that the DC vs Marvel hate needs to stop, generally speaking. Fact is, a retailer doesn’t have to order 175% – 200% of a book they can’t sell to get the Supergirl B cover. If a retailer only want to order DC B covers they can. DC has made the effort by listening to fans and retailers, which Marvel (publishing) has shown by their actions, have little or no interest in doing.

  • This article is fantastic and hits on many great points. As a reader who reads 8 (or sometimes up to 10) of Marvel titles each month (in addition to other DC and Indy titles), I am also frustrated at their lack of listening skills. Something has to change, soon, or we won’t have a marvel comics to worry about.

    However… that’s not the WHOLE story, is it?…

    These articles always seem to bash Marvel and exonerate DC when they (DC) are, in fact, doing the exact same thing, except they’re doing it alongside terrible supporting movies which makes them harder for the non hardcore fans to like. Let’s look closer at DC, shall we… We are in the midst of Rebirth which came after the previous reboot of new52 and now DC has just begun their own money grab with a convoluted crossover event in Metal. Add on top of that that EVERY DC title has at least one variant cover and many have more like 3 or 4. On top of that, the titles all get released twice per month to squeeze that extra $2 or even $3 from fans every month (Marvel has also begun to do this, but not NEARLY at the same scale DC is). Most of the titles look pretty terrible inside (even if they have a few fancy covers) and the stories apart from a few standout titles are also pretty poor. The piles and piles of extra DC rebirth titles that stack up in quarter bins at all of my LCS’s is laughable. No one cares. It’s white noise. I’m just as sick of seeing Harley covers as I am Venomized covers.

    Fans may not have loved crossovers, but August sales of the two Secret Empire numbers (#8 & #9) almost sold as much as the 2 batman issues (#28 & #29) which is DC’s highest selling title by far… roughly twice the sales of their next best selling books which also both happen to be Batman titles (All-Star Batman and Detective). As a matter of fact, after Metal and the two batman numbers in August, the next 11 titles on the sales chart for August are all non-DC. 10 of those 11 are Marvel. As a matter of fact, only 18 of the top 50 books were DC. Marvel had 29 in the top 50. Let’s all be careful that we see ALL of the numbers, here. Batman is really the only quality character that consistantly sells for DC and the title is wrought with gimmicks just like Marvel’s titles are. I mean, Batman/Elmer Fudd? Really?

    The industry as a whole is in trouble and it’s not just Marvel who’s to blame. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Marvel is doing it right, I’m saying that the model is the same… they’re both doing it wrong and not listening to fans. DC may not currently be in the same level of trouble that Marvel is in, but they are following VERY close behind.

    Thanks

    • Skot Whitman

      You bring up some interesting points, It’s nice to see some one sticking up for Marvel here because this has definitely become one sided in the comments. However with any statistics what we choose to include or exclude is subjective and somewhat telling. Sure Secret Empire out sold DC books but you’re neglecting to factor in that SE sold 20K- 70K copies LESS than issues of the last 2 Marvel event corssover titles, Secret Wars 2015 and Civil War 2. I do read the numbers and have for years. I was tracking sales figures back when 32K a month was cancelation range. Now we have books still being produced month that sell 15K or less.

      DC’s twice a month thing is debatable. Many of the DC books I read personally are not twice a month. The few that I do I kind like from the standpoint of I don’t have to wait a whole month between issues and have a better chance of remembering what’s actually going on.

      Is DC perfect? No absolutely not. And I’d say you’re 100% correct in pointing out that both companies do crossovers and gimmicks to push sales. The two differences I see in DC presently is that for starters DC has rebooted Batman twice, not 4 and 5 times like some main stay Marvel titles and not twice inside the same year. The New 52 ran for several years (52 issues/months in most cases) before DC did Rebirth. You’re correct that we see a lot of Rebirth books in the discounts bins. However the first few issues of Rebirth titles were FULLY RETURNABLE and if retailers couldn’t sell them, they had the option to send them back. I don’t see Marvel offering to do that, do you?

      They’ve also moved away from the ratio variant gimmick for the most part. Which I feel is huge. DC isn’t backing retailers into the corner and saying “if you want this fancy cover you’ve got to order X% of a book you clearly can’t sell”, it was bad enough with ratio variants and retailers having to order 25 copies of a book they can only sell 12 of. Both Publishers did that, hell DC I believe started that racket. However they’ve moved away from with a few exceptions, like event books like Metal as an example. Which I’m still not 100% sold on if we’re being completely honest.

      Since I’m being honest I’ll also say this. I want Marvel to clean up it’s act, I want Marvel to listen to retailers and be most successful. I want to read more Marvel books because like many, I grew up on these characters too. I’m actually glad Marvel has been making an effort with the X-Men titles after all these years.

      As far as sales figures go, I’m a firm believer that consistency is the way to go. It’s better to have a book sell only 30K copies a month, every month consistently rather than watching sales plummet lower and lower month after month. Books will start with high numbers after a new number one then level out over time. Which is what happened after Rebirth.

      I think you’re right, I personally bash on Marvel ALOT… but in my defence, Marvel makes themselves a super easy target. I would truly like to see them change for the better but until some heads start rolling over there, I don’t see that happening. If nobody calls them out, that’s definitely not going to happen.

      Thanks for taking the time to commenting and offering a different perspective.

      • Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply to my comments. You’re absolutely spot-on, here. As you say, I’m happy to see x-men related titles moving in the right direction. 8 of the 10 marvel books i mentioned that I read are, in fact, x-related titles. The others are Daredevil related. I think Soule is doing a great job with that title… but I digress.

        You’re also correct about the subjectivity of data. I was just trying to offer an alternate view. Either way, it seems we can all agree that we, as comic fans, don’t want to see iconic franchises destroyed by greed. Let’s hope they read these comments and articles and listen up, soon.

        Thanks again and great job… keep it coming!

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