So I just started working on the Diamond order this month, where I will be ordering a number of these items non-ironically, what ridiculous hoops I have to jump through to get the variant covers, which of these Image #1s will actually sell more than a couple of copies, and of course how many hundreds of Swamp Things I’ll need for our shelves.
The craziest thing this time around is that Justice League of America #1, with its 53 variant covers (American flag, all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia). Folks have been buzzing about this since it was announced, and by buzzing I mean “griping and / or mocking,” but now I have to decide how to order the darned thing. Sure, get a bunch for our state of California, obviously, and I’m already taking some special requests for specific states. I did joke on the Twitter that I wondered if I only ordered, say, the Wyoming cover, what the customers would think, other than “Mike’s lost his mind again,” which, frankly, they probably think anyway. But if it somehow turns out there’s one cover that ends up being the “hot” one for some dumb reason, like maybe they screwed up the flag on the cover somehow and now everyone wants it as a rare “error” collectible even though every copy of that specific cover will be exactly the same (and sort of happened before when they messed up Mexico’s flag on this Superman annual)…well, what I can do about that. “No, sorry, ma’am, the New Hampshire flag cover with the boat pointing in the wrong direction is sold out. No, I didn’t order enough. I’m sorry, I didn’t expect so much demand for the New Hampshire variant here in California. Yes, ma’am, I’m stupid.”
Anyway, personally I’m sort of tempted to get for myself the cover with the Virginia flag, since I lived there for a while as a child, and the flag is pretty cool, you’d have to admit. And I’d totally get the Louisiana flag cover if they replaced, like, Catwoman on the cover with Swamp Thing. But I think I’ll have to go with the California flag, clearly the most awesome state flag of them all, what with having a bear on it. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Our flag rules. Eat it, Vermont!
Elsewhere in the order form I have to decide how badly Marvel pumping out their books on a biweekly or even weekly basis is going to hurt their sales with frustrated fans. This week we had Cable and the X-Force #1 and Avengers Arena #1, and the second issues for both will be next week. Avengers #1, out last week, will have a new issue next week. We’ve already had four issues of Iron Man since early November, and three issues of All New X-Men since mid-November, with #4 due next week. Plus there are the last issues of a couple of the previous Avengers series which sort of log-jammed in there over the previous few weeks. This isn’t so much “giving the fans more of what they want!” as just plain ol’ rack-crowding. I’ve griped about this before…I understand the seeming advantages of it (cannibalize sales from other publishers, more of your product on the shelves, don’t give readers a chance to decide if they want to keep following the title), but there are disadvantages as well (cannibalizing sales from yourself, discouraging new readers with the expense). Much in the same way restarting a title has its plus of being a good jumping on point, and the minus of…well, you know.
And then there’s Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (and don’t get me started on that issue number). This is the next Marvel property to get a film adaptation, but is there enough buzz around that movie yet to drive sales on this comic? I mean, the GotG stuff of late has sold…okay, but not like best-sellers or anything. These are pretty much the definition of B-listers, which isn’t a bad thing, of course, but trying to decide to order this as a typical second-string book like I probably should, or ordering it with an eye on interest generated by a movie, which I probably shouldn’t since the movie is still at least a year off…makes it a tad more complicated than it needs to be.
It’d be a lot simpler if they’d dump the rest of those Guardians and just do a straight-up Rocket Raccoon comic. You know that character is going to be the focus of all the movie advertising, and hell, who doesn’t love space raccoons with ray guns? Nobody, that’s who.