Comics Creators

Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!


Part of it is likely down this week being SXSW week. Marvel traditionally does some sort of sale or giveaway to coincide with it.

The first time they did a giveaway was the year they shut ComiXology down because of it.


Yes and I sense that’s why they’ve gone with 99c and not free comics this time.


It is a strange sale, but this kind of heavy discounting seems to do fine for Steam sales and Humble Bundles and even Humble Comics Bundles, so it must have proven benefits.

There are some rather odd selections, too. Volumes 2 and 3 of Strikeforce Morituri, but not v1, for instance.


Which was perfect for me as I’ve only got volume one. :slight_smile:

I think they’ve limited it to trades that have only been published relatively recently, whether or not those trades collect older or newer material.


I’d agree that level of sale makes no sense - Marvel have to be making a loss unless they think they’ll get so many sales it’ll more than pay for the cost of the time it took to set up the sale in the first place.


Does it take a lot of time and money to set up a sale like this?

I agree that the thinking is probably just to shove this stuff out there and get a bit of traction with readers who might have given up on them to such an extent that they have no real idea where Marvel is at the moment in its storylines.

It’s worked for me to some extent, I’ve picked up a few trades.

In that sense there’s no loss - I’m paying them for stuff they wouldn’t have sold otherwise, and which doesn’t cost them anything extra to produce.


Probably not, but if you’re selling at 99c, the salary for say an hour to adjust the listings, has to be a bit more than whatever you get initially. Maybe it reverses over time, it just seems mind-numbingly low.

There’s quite a bit of truth to the John Lewis line: Never knowingly undersold.

There’s competition and then there’s acts that so un-level the field that there’s no counter to it and it can be very damaging, which this could be said to be.


I’d bet there’s a bunch of comic stores each sitting on a couple of hundred Marvel trades cursing out this sale today.


It is entirely possible that Marvels deal with Comixology is based on hitting certain sales targets.

If these shortfall targets should not be met it could cost Comixology a pretty penny.

Alternatively, it’s entirely possible that Comixology is trying to offload product to hit growth targets.

The contract is for 100 units at £1 per unit.
If Comixology fails to sell 100 units they are charged £2 per unit unsold.

If they sell over 125 units their cost price is reduced to .75p making it attractive to them to grow and at a bare minimum hit their target.

Happens in the UK liquor industry all the time.
Helps with forecasting and shareholders and stabilizing the business model.


I picked up a dozen of those trades. Yes. Even Secret Empire.


Same here :joy:


To be fair, Marvel does weird physical trade sales at almost these ridiculous prices to clear inventory. If you pick up more than a handful, you’d be better off with an MU subscription for a month.

I do think it changes people’s perception of the value though. However, Marvel has been doing that for a long time. I think it’s why they struggle to keep an evergreen trade market going.


I’m amazed that anyone other than Bendis, Millar, and Kirkman (I know there are others I’m being dramatic!) can afford to have a decent living these days with some of the page rates that have been thrown about recently.

It is incredibly tough to earn a decent living just off comics.
These sort of sales establishes some bad behavior and make it even tougher for people to break into a very small marketplace.


I think that only applies to Marvel, DC have no difficulty and it’s known Marvel has enough classic material, they just don’t put it out.

The other Marvel-specific reason that I’d add is much of their stories rely on their internal continuity, they have less freestanding items than DC. Which gets us back to Marvel’s focus on the event cycle for the last 14 years.


Which to be fair, is really business as usual for Marvel, which has never had a reboot (only many, many retcons…). In a lot of ways, what they’ve done in recent years was expand classic company tactics like Captain America joining the Avengers, the Kree-Skrull War, the ‘80s X-Men, and of course, Event 90s. It’s just, they adopted the 90s DC model of literally having a new line wide crossover event every year. And DC fans from that era know every event was supposed to and did to some extent change the landscape. Hell, Underworld Unleashed may not be well-known today, but that’s how Lex Luthor became the character we know and recognize today. The (first) Man of Steel reboot gave us a fat Luthor who poisoned himself with kryptonite, so he replaced himself with his own clone, who was his “son.” Neron gave him a permanent new (slim) body and returned his trademark bald head. Although it’s also worth noting that “Lex Junior” is responsible for the look of Lionel Luthor in Smallville. (I’d argue Lionel was the star Luthor of the series.)


I can go into a shop like “The Works” here and get three paperpacks for £5. If I go into Waterstones, I’ll pay anything anything upwards of £7 for one book. That’s a crazy level of savings, there must be barely any profit in it, it devalues the books, and it’s going to hit Waterstones hard. I don’t know why the publishers allow The Works to do it.


The Works is selling stock that bookshops like Waterstones returned because they couldn’t shift it. That’s why it’s full of terrible autobiographies and those romance novels you love.

Different customer bases.


Different customer bases and different business models. You can’t accidentally overprint a digital comic and find yourself stuck with a load of them that you need taking off your hands.


I assumed David was being sarcastic.


I did consider that and then thought it was David so didn’t take any chances.