Comics Creators

Marvel Comics: The CB Cebulski Generation Begins!




Same book… same book … in The Works (don’t have a link, but it’s here next to my desk with a price sticker on it): one third of £5.

These aren’t trashy autobiographies, these are top classics of the medium by timeless creators. In comparison, somebody just said he bought Secret Empire in the Marvel sale. Secret Empire :scream:


Then why did you wait to buy it in a three-for-£5 deal at the Works instead of full-price at Waterstones? :slight_smile:


Same reason people are buying super-low-price stuff in the Comixology sale when the same material is available at full price in Forbidden Planet? :confused:


But it’s not the same reason. Forbidden Planet aren’t shifting unsold stock to Comixology because it won’t sell at full price. Digital comics aren’t punted for pennies because they were left on a shelf or in a warehouse for months and didn’t sell.

Digital comics and physical books aren’t the same thing, but there’s a risk that one cannibalises the other. Which in the long-term would be a bad thing.


Many supermarket own brand products are produced by the same manufacturer as brand name products, but sold at a fraction of the price. It’s all about branding and assumptions of value.


Serious question: do people who buy digital only do so because of the price? Or, to put it another way, if Marvel charged full “shelf” price for their digital comics (and Unlimited didn’t exist), would you still buy digitally or would you go back to hard copy?

(This perhaps belongs in another thread.)


Some Marvel digital comics are sold at full price, on day of release, including through Comixology. Others are sold later at a discount. Other are sold through the Unlimited model.

People buy at all different price levels.


Ok so I know a little about this. It’s a little different with hardcover books but for paperbacks the system works like this. A publisher sends a book to a bookshop on sale or return terms. After a while if it isn’t sold and they want to free up shelf space they send it back. At this point as it has been ‘used’ on the shelf for several years they can’t re-sell it again to another bookshop as new.

So they sell them on in bulk to bargain bookstores, like ‘The Works’ (and there’s one out here that sells returned UK books called ‘Sun Books’). So you can have quite popular works appear like a classic novel or Game of Thrones or Stephen King because while it may be selling in Waterstones in Newcastle a small bookshop in Truro bought too many and sent some back.

The obvious downside to bargain stores is due to that the choice of books is rather random and sketchy. You may get volume 4 of a Marvel collection of the 3rd book in a trilogy and no more, and of course you will never get latest releases.


Which is one of the key differences with this Marvel Comixology sale. They’re selling digital copies of books that have just come out, at 69p a pop (when stuff like The Vision HC is at least £20 online, and more at your LCS).

You can see why retailers might be pissed off.


Are there that many people holding out to get, say, the Vision OHC that would just buy it digitally instead though?

Those trades are all recent digital releases, but many of them (Strikeforce Morituri, The Nam, the 90s Spider-Man stuff) has been out in physical trade for over five years now.


Agreed and it’s a bit of a weird quirk of Marvel’s marketing. Generally Comixology sales are of material that’s at least 6 months old and usually the price cut is around 50% off and not 90-95% like these. That usual model makes sense as comics shops make most of their cash on new material so they shouldn’t be too directly hit.

Purely speculation but the only real logic I can see behind this is as I mentioned, Marvel are desperate to promote their next launch and would maybe give them away if that didn’t crash Comixology the last time they tried.


Yep. I think that’s the most likely explanation. It looks a bit desperate but I guess they don’t have much to lose at this point.


The Three Musketeers is a slightly different animal as it is (or at least should be) public domain. Anyone can print copies and sell them for whatever they want. There are places in the US that specialize in stripped down reprints of Public Domain classics. One is Dover and their reprints used to be $1/book new. Not sure what they are now.

I prefer digital now. It is easier as I don’t have to preorder anything and either get stuck with something I don’t want or miss out on something I do. It allows for more discover for the same reason. I don’t have to store the books to have access to them. The color and art of new books also looks pretty great in the digital format.

The price generally only helps with material I was only slightly interested in. Once again, most comic shops have a 25¢ bin of low selling stock. However, like @DaveWallace said, it’s not like ComiXology is stuck with unsold stock with digital books. So there must be a different motivation.


I think with digital people buy at all levels, depending on their interest in the book. Personally, I buy some stuff on day of release, some stuff after a moderate price drop, some stuff only when it’s heavily discounted and there’s other stuff that I’d only check out for free.

Usually the publishers and Comixology are pretty good at judging when to discount books, and how deeply - usually at least a couple of months after publication, and often a bit more than that. You don’t want to upset people who have only just paid full price for something, and there’s also an element of not undercutting physical retailers too severely. But you want to get the extra cash from those people who would never buy at full price.

I think the reason this Marvel sale has captured people’s imaginations is that the discounts are just so deep and so soon after release. It does seem reminiscent of the previous free giveaways, but even then I think it was single issues rather than hundreds of recent collections that were being punted.


Yeah absolutely and we have to bear in mind that Comixology is a globally easily accessed shop. It’s the main way a lot of new people will see comics and $4 for 20 pages is pretty steep. So they’ll be looking at multiple customer choices. Even here some buy day and date, some all digital and some mixed with physical, I tend to buy a month late for the discount if I can, Dave doesn’t use Marvel Unlimited but I do, Sam uses Comixology Unlimited but I don’t. Ben still sticks to physical but only in trades.

I find Valiant comics very reliable and entertaining but never amazing so I only buy them in 99c sales, if they didn’t have them I wouldn’t buy them but as they do I’ve probably spent a couple of hundred dollars they otherwise wouldn’t have got.

I once saw the download number for their sample free books and the numbers are enormous, like Candy Crush or Pokemon Go models there’s an element there that if 1% pay for something it’s worth it and can bring in a lot of money. It’s not one we follow as established fans but likely important to Comixology and the publishers.


A lot of the non event/mini series trades in that sale are also mid run - volumes 2-4 or something. So some of it maybe pulling people in, who then buy the other volumes. There are no complete runs there - apart from the events and minis.


I’ve switched to digital for a few reasons - there are some definite downsides; no sell on and I much prefer the physical copy

However the upsides are

  1. I can keep current far easier
  2. I don’t need to order and pay for 3 issues in advance before I’ve even read the first issue of something (i preordered my stuff and that was a ballache)
  3. I’m not taking up any more space in the house
  4. If I need to move again I’m not adding to the ordeal
  5. No more struggling to get to LCS then finding a lot of the stuff I want is sold out when I get there

im probably worse off financially as intended to sell runs on eBay of comics i didn’t think I’d read again and also I lose the pre-order discount
However I save money as I’m not ordering stuff in advance and therefore getting extra issues of something I’ve decided I’m not Internested in reading any more


I think the Keeping Up aspect is a big part of it. It’s so easy to do it digitally - I don’t miss the days when I had to keep checking shipping lists to know whether I should look out for a book that week or not.

The space thing is a real benefit too, and probably something that means more to older readers like us. I’ve cut my physical collection in half over the past decade or so, and digital has played a big part in that.


I switched to digital for everything except Tom King’s Batman, and I’ve cut my comics reading by maybe 80-90%. I just don’t like digital as much.

If Marvel ever brought Fantastic Four back I would buy that in physical copies, but they seem pretty intent on not making that happen.


I cut to digital only when the second baby was born, and now I don’t even keep up on digital any more. I don’t know how much of it is a factor of time, how much of it is Marvel’s terrible quality, or how much of it is breaking the habit of going to the store and picking up stuff that looks interesting. But for the first time in 25 years I’m not buying new comics (apart from the Millar stuff). I’m not even making use of Marvel Unlimited. If I’m going to read a comic I just reread some of the old stuff.

I wonder if not making the trek to the store somehow disengages you from the hobby. Could that be an unforeseen side effect that’s negatively impact sales?