New Marvel PR hire Andrea Towers appeared recently on the Women of Marvel podcast to talk journalism, marketing, and comics with host Judy Stephens and editor Christina Harrington. Towers explained how networking with Marvel while working as a comics journalists helped build the relationships inside Marvel that eventually led to the opportunity to work there, something that was a bit of a dream for her:
“I was working at Entertainment Weekly before I came here, and I was doing basically all the comics coverage there. Interviews, Exclusives, stuff like that. And I worked with Marvel and covered their panels, did their announcements and stuff. I tried to spread the love, but it was kind of very clear that I had a very big bias for Marvel in general. So it’s kind of not a surprise I ended up here, but it’s fun that now I don’t have to be shy about my bias.”
Towers also spoke about the marketing push for Marvel Legacy, particularly the 53 homage cover reveal that rolled out on June 23rd behind claims that Marvel Legacy would change the comics industry:
“With Legacy, our biggest thing was figuring out a way to debut these titles that’s interesting, that will get people talking, and also we have like 53 of them. Normally we would just blast out an email, and we’re like, we can’t blast out 53 covers. We would pretty much just break the internet. So we were like let’s break the internet in another way.
And we came up with this really cool idea that the Legacy covers that are gonna accompany all our new titles were gonna be homages to older, well known, famous comic covers. I don’t think I even realized how cool it was gonna be until we saw them for the first time. I would see the covers as just prints, and be like, this is the new cover by the artist that our Legacy title is gonna be. And then when I first saw it, when I opened all the gifs, I’m like, oh my god, this is so cool, because a lot of them are just so well done that when they transition back and forth you can easily tell, even if you’re not familiar with the book, but you know the title, you know the cover. If you know comics, it’s really cool.”
But producing teaser images is only half the job. You also have to introduce them to the public and create excitement:
“And then we decided we’re gonna break the internet by giving seven or eight comic sites exclusive little bursts, like five or six gifs, and we’re gonna kinda roll them out throughout the day. Eventually we’ll post all of them all together. It’s kind of a cool way to tease it because obviously we have a lot more to reveal about Legacy. It’s one of our biggest Fall events, and we’re gonna be doing a lot more leading up to comic con, as far as information about the books and the creative teams. All that stuff is coming. We’re just trying to tease it out really slowly. But I think this is a really cool way to get people excited.”
As it turned out, the rollout received a mixed reaction, though that could likely be blamed on a press release sent out the day prior touting that the covers would change the comics industry. That turned out to be overstating their impact, which forced Marvel to repurpose an existing conference call with angry retailers to calm their panic, where Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso revealed that Legacy is merely a stopgap before a bigger not-a-relaunch to be announced later.
Bleeding Cool has heard that the decision to push hard for September’s books — despite the announcements being meatier for October and November’s comics — came from marketing, one of the departments Towers must work with as part of her role as sales and communications assistant. Though the podcast wasn’t released until June 29th, it was recorded the day of those announcements, so Towers was able to share her perspective from inside the eye of the storm. It might seem like a rough introduction, but Towers took it in stride, showing the positive demeanor required for this kind of job:
“I was scrolling Twitter when this started, because this all started this morning, and people were like ‘oh I’m so glad to see that this title is continuing, or this title.’ I forget people don’t really know.It’s like, ‘oh I’m so glad to see that Moon Girl still has a title.’ So that’s fun to see, everyone reacting to these covers and the rollout and the way they’ve been received by basically like the whole internet.”
And for fans looking for more than just covers, Towers teased lots more big announcements to come in the lead-up to and at San Diego Comic-Con:
“We have so much cool stuff. We’ll have a lot more Legacy announcements. We’re gonna announce stuff about Generations, as well as a bunch of stuff with Disney Publishing and Women of Marvel. There’s so much stuff that we’re looking to announce, and it’s gonna be really fun. Part of my job now is figuring out who’s gonna be on the panels, who we’re gonna invite, what talent we’re gonna invite, and that’s really fun because I get to look at everyone like, I know who’s coming to this panel and I know what you’re gonna talk about but I can’t say.
What’s exciting about San Diego is that Women of Marvel will be coming back, as per usual. Hopefully we’ll be able to announce the date and time soon. We’re looking to build some great ladies for the panel, so everyone who’s going to San Diego, you’ll have to stay tuned. We’ve got some great stuff in the booth – also mum, so we can’t talk about any of that – but it should be fun and exciting for those who are attending the convention to come by the booth and check it out.”