In which Mike probably should have just gone with posting more scans.

§ October 3rd, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on In which Mike probably should have just gone with posting more scans.

So, anyway….

Okay, I’ve been kind of out of it the last few days, and been a bit gung ho with the scanning and the image posting since, as I noted in this Twitter doodad a day or so back, I’ve not been up to writing at length about much of anything.

I wasn’t out of it enough to take a break or enter “Low Content Mode” or anything like that, but…I don’t know, I guess I needed to scale back and recharge the batteries a bit, I suppose. Thanks for your patience, and I hope you keep reading as I get back up to speed.

Yesterday we were puzzling out how to order on Captain Marvel #1, the revival of the very famous-deceased superhero. On one hand, this is the revival of a classic Marvel character, one that it seemed unlikely would return. On the other hand, will nostalgia for the character be enough to drive sales? On the other other hand, it is spinning off out of the Civil War crossover, and the CW one-shot that reintroduced CM sold very well. On the other other other hand, unless the cover for this new CM #1 has “from the pages of CIVIL WAR” on the cover, I don’t expect that same sales level. On the other…okay, I’ll stop, but you see the problem.

I’m fairly certain we’ve nailed down a pretty good number for the order, and if enough customers express interest between now and the time we have to do order adjustments, I can always bump numbers up then. Or bump ’em down, as it were.

Are any of you looking forward to the series? What sort of interest is out there for this book? I’m just kind of curious.

By the way, the premise behind the Captain Marvel series (in which a currently dead character is brought from the past to the present, knowing he’ll someday return to his own death) reminds me a bit of Marv Wolfman’s idea for reviving the Barry Allen Flash (second question down).

One of the things I keep meaning to do is get around to responding to some of the comments for my post last week, asking what was annoying and/or exciting you in the comics industry.

Someday I’ll get to it, but I did want to note someone’s negative reaction to the startling prevalent $3.99 price point on standard-sized comics from the Big Two, particularly on the mini-series. I do like the format for DC’s extra-sized $3.99 books, with the feature-length lead and the shorter back-up, though the comics themselves have had mixed results. Tales of the Unexpected was unusual, in that the lead was almost universally met with indifference, while the Dr. Thirteen back-up has been rightfully championed as a genius piece of work. I’ve had several customers (and some fellow webloggers) note that they’d given up on the Spectre story early on, but kept buying the book to follow the shorter supporting story.

Then there’s Countdown to Adventure, with Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire costarring in the lead, and a back-up featuring the Forerunner character from the weekly Countdown series…I tried the first issue, and it didn’t grab me. In fact, I’m trying to remember something about it, and I can’t. I guess it made just that much of an impact on me.

The newest $3.99 title in this format, Countdown to Mystery, has an improved mix on content. It lacks the mismatch in quality of Unexpected‘s stories, and it’s more memorable than Adventure. The main story, starring Doctor Fate, features Steve Gerber’s solidly weird and entertaining writing, and the Eclipso back-up, at least in its first installment, has me intrigued, and manages to make the Spectre more interesting in a few pages than the eight chapters of Unexpected.

…Okay, I’m perhaps being a little too harsh on Tales of the Unexpected. Tell you what, I’ll give it a rereading and let you know if it holds together a little better being read over a shorter period of time than eight months.

Anyway, $3.99…don’t mind it for the extra-sized DC anthologies (or for the extra-sized books in general…surely we’re getting $3.99’s worth of entertainment out of World War Hulk), but I can really do without that price point on every mini-series that comes down the pike. Like Captain America: The Chosen, or Punisher Presents Barracuda…lose the slick covers, drop the cover price a buck. Yeah, there are probably complex economic reasons for the prices being the way they are…higher cover prices making up for lower print runs, that sort of thing.

Or perhaps it’s just getting everyone ready for the next big price level jump, as maybe three bucks just isn’t cutting it as a profitable price point for your standard issue comic any more. We’ve been at the $2.95/$2.99 funnybook price point for a while now, we’re about due for a change. So, what do you think? $3.50 by the end of ’08? $3.99 as the primary price point of your 32-page comic book by ’10? Or am I being overly optimistic?

And of course, there’s the inevitable argument for the transition of the comics marketplace from periodicals to paperbacks, which you can see on pretty much any and every comic book website, and in every comic book magazine, from the last few years. I don’t think the periodical magazine aspect of comics will ever go away, but I expect some kind of evolution to occur to the 32-page format in the near future, if that price point climbs up any higher. My personal vision, which I’ve think I’ve mentioned on this site before, is of a thick, 200 or 300 page comics magazine front-loaded with ads ahoy, about 1/3 to 1/2 of the book, in order to keep the cover price down. Of course, that brings up the additional problem of finding that many advertisers willing to pay for that adspace, and paying enough to actually make a difference in this theoretical magazine’s cost.

Oh, here’s where I’ve talked about this before…when I brought up an Amazing Heroes April Fools newscolumn about Marvel’s alleged new 100 page format, and how that may not be far from what we’ll eventually see.

Wow, I was all over the place, there. Sorry about that. Here, to make up for it, have an interview with Zelda Rubinstein. Yeah, I know, it’s an Ain’t It Cool News link, but dude! Zelda Rubinstein! And there are MP3s of the interview! And she totally dishes on Tobe Hooper! But don’t look at the comments section there, as I’m pretty sure it’s carcinogenic.

Also, dig this Cover Browser site, which features lots and lots of pages with lots of good-sized cover scans of comic books, pulps, and even some album covers. Scan quality can vary, slightly, but not too badly. A fun site to while away the hours if you’re trying to put off doing anything important.

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