It has been pointed out rather vividly that Marvel’s trade paperback and hardcover line is underperforming in the bookstore marketplace. When it has successful mainstream movies in Spider-Man, The Avengers and X-Men in the theatres, Marvel’s collected titles are outsold in total by The Walking Dead, and its best seller, Kick Ass 2, is based on a three year old film that they don’t own so their profits are miniscule in comparison.
It’s not a good look. Criticism circles around popular, relevant books being kept out of print (after the Avengers, you could not buy The Infinity Gauntlet, and the recent DNA Guardians Of The Galaxy hasn’t been available, all while everyone is getting excited by the film). Comics Beat gathered a bunch of criticism in one, including Marvel’s Ruwan Jayatilleke (becoming Marvel’s rotweiler on this kind of thing of late) that Marvel were hitting their aggressive goals. There’s alos the critique that frequent restarts of numbering and confusing titles make it all but impossible for the browsing unfamiliar customer to find. And books that are in demand go out of print and stay out of print during periods where people would really like to buy them, driving aftermarket prices sky high and driving away potential new customers.
But it does feel as if Marvel are leaving a lot of money on the table and that Something Must Be Done.
Well, consider this a small bone. Marvel’s David Gabriel announced that four Omnibus books at least, which have been so out of print they regularly sell for hundreds of dollars above their cover price, will be reprinted.
Uncanny X-Men Vol 1, Fantastic Four Vol 1, Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 and Frank Miller’s Daredevil Vol 1.
These will start to appear in the June previews. Those omnis of our fringe characters and events won’t yet be going back to press as in many if not most cases these were hard sells to begin with. But I never say never…
For those Guardians Of The Galaxy-curious
Look for a special priced Star Lord mini Trade in June!
For some, at least, it’s a start.
UPDATE: Minutes after posting, CBR report that Ruwan has been fired at Marvel. Blimey.