Late last year, Marvel announced its “Strip your DC event comics covers to get a free Deadpool variant” promotion, a juvenile attempt to show up DC’s premium-driven sales for what Marvel believed they really were (DC gave out free Green Lantern rings to retailers for ordering X number of copies of certain books). In January, I wrote this is an email to Mulele about the whole thing:
I think the bottom line is really Marvel should offer free variants in exchange for their own overhyped event bullshit comics, rather than wasting their time trying to make DC look bad.
The thing about DC’s promotion was: if the retailer buys 50 copies of a specific comic, they get 1 (or some? or 50?) green lantern rings, buy 50 of another specific comic, the retailer gets a red lantern ring, etc. If you are a comic shop that normally sells 5 copies a month of title XYZ, but then you order 55 to get the ring, and now you are stuck with 50 extra copies — guess what, it’s the retailer that fucked up, not DC. Marvel thinks they are pulling a stunt on DC, but it’s really mud in the eye of stupid retailers, who will now be rewarded for their stupidity.
Well, it looks like Marvel — like the CIA — has been reading my emails because apparently they are listening, and are now offering premiums for returns of stripped covers on their own books: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=27130 . This seemed like a ballsy move to me at first, but actually Marvel only stands to make money from this.
Back in the early days of newsstand returnability, retailers would tear the covers off the comics and mail the covers back to the companies for a refund. But in this case, the comics are still non-returnable. Meaning Marvel gets to keep its money and only loses a few bucks from the few premium comics it has to print up.
This time around — hypothetically — foolish retailers might order 55 copies of Marvel comic X so they can tear the covers off and return them for the premium. I can’t imagine anyone would actually do this, but let’s say it happens. The retailer then sells the 5 copies he would have normally anyway and strips the 50 others for the freebie. Then three more customers come in looking for the same comic. Whoops! All his extras have the covers torn off. He can order three 2nd printings of course (which cannot be stripped for the premiums) and Marvel has now sold 58 copies, and only has to give away 1 free variant comic which cost Marvel $1.18 to print.
Like I said before, I don’t imagine this scenario will ever happen, but in any case, Marvel cannot lose in this situation. They don’t even come off looking like idiots the way they did trying to sabotage DC.
Unrelated: Here’s a book on “self-publishing” that I will NOT be reviewing, but you can check out for yourself: http://www.co2comics.com/pages/how_to_start_a_comic_book_empire.html