In which Mike once again ignores anything going on right now in favor of comics marketing events from 15 years ago.

§ August 26th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on In which Mike once again ignores anything going on right now in favor of comics marketing events from 15 years ago.

For some reason, I found myself flipping through a copy of the Overstreet Price Guide from 1992, and in my continuing backwards-looking efforts to drag my website into irrelevancy, I wanted to point out a couple things from its 1991 market report.

When the original X-Force #1 was released, each issue was factory sealed in a polybag with one of five different trading cards. Most folks nowadays, look back at X-Force with the feeling of “I can’t believe I fell for that,” but this is what Overstreet had to say at the time:

“Devilishly clever! One comic – but five cards. Many collectors bought a complete set of five bags which went unopened, and one extra one to open and read. Result – 3.6 million copies sold and a second printing minus the cards four months later. A huge success for the publisher, distributor, retailer and collector as the prices for unopened bags rose in the secondary market. This was a high water mark for Marvel, and the comic collecting universe in general and followed other highly creative, refreshingly innovative and precisely executed product enhancements to get all the sales possible out of a targeted product.”

It’s hard to believe now that anyone was ever that excited about X-Force #1. And thought it was a good thing, and not one of the indicators of the general instability and lack of healthy purchasing decisions in the comics marketplace. “Hindsight is 20/20” and all that, of course.

The report goes on to mention the multi-covered X-Men #1 (which outstripped X-Force in order numbers, but left many retailers stuck with copies), other successful gimmick covers (like Silver Surfer #50 with the foil Surfer) and some unsuccessful ones (like Daredevil #300, whose “spot-varnish” cover barely counts as a gimmick, compared to its flashier foil/chromium/die cut cousins).

It also mentions DC’s primary effort in the “product enhancement” arena, Robin II (declared a success, despite delays and production issues), as well as noting the good sales on Batman/Judge Dredd and the Batman & Dracula: Red Rain graphic novel.

Overstreet additionally notes the badly-bungled War of the Gods crossover series (where the multiple “chapters” of the story came out in the wrong order, making the event nearly unreadable), and has a frank evaluation of DC’s efforts with another little title of theirs:

“A Sandman push with T-Shirts, statues, trade paperbacks, a glow in the dark cover and other promotional gimmicks did little to produce long term additional interest in the title.”

Yeah, that Sandman book is never going to go anywhere. Surely people won’t be buying “trade paperbacks” of this series in real, major bookstores for years after the series has ended. But, man, that X-Force gimmick kicked ass!

YES, I’M BEING ENTIRELY UNFAIR. I just thought it was funny, is all.

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