The Man At The Back wrote from the Marvel Comics panel at the Diamond Retailer Summit at Chicago for Bleeding Cool.
Featuring: CB Cebluski, Editor in Chief, Jason Aaron – Avengers and Thor, and Peter Charpentier, Senior Manager, Merchandising & Promotions, Publishing
Some observations about the room, the Marvel panel was jam packed, even more so than the earlier DC panel. Overall they really didn’t show anything that new, this panel will likely be repurposed for C2E2 without much change. There were very few retailer specific mentions.
CB started the panel off by saying he was a little nervous to be up there in front of everyone, and indeed he sounded a little breathless through the whole presentation as he rushed through a lot of material in about 40 minutes.
CB made a specific mention of retailers, and how he is very much one of them. He told a story of how he worked at Magic Dragon in Medford Mass during his four years of university, and that when he moved to New York, and knew nobody, he was told to go visit the guys at Jim Hanley’s Universe, where he is still friends with people 22 years later.
Marvel – Selling Comics, Making Memories.
Comic shops are where memories are made. Fans remember their first comics, and more importantly where they bought them. CB shared stories about some of his first comics, and the memories of the places he bought them. For him it’s not just about selling comics, it’s about making memories. Dan Buckley still remembers when his mom set down a coffee cup on his brand new issue of Alpha Flight #6 (the snowblind issue with the all-white cover) and she left a coffee ring on the comic.
While he wasn’t making an official announcement there, CB did tell us that he wants to be much more retailer friendly than other EIC’s, and because of this, he will be visiting 3 stores in the next few months and spending a day behind the counter. One store in the East, one in the midwest, and one on the West Coast. He wants to see how comics come in, how Wednesday releases work, and even how weekend rushes happen.
He then went into a bunch of new comics.
Fantastic Four #1
Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, this will be Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny and the kids. There will be extended billing options.
Marvel Universe Magazine is a new 64 page spotlight magazine which will feature previews of all of the new Marvel initiatives.
April 25th issue of Comics Shop News is cover to cover Marvel.
Captain America #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Francis Yu, Coates has a very unique take on Cap, and there were some Alex Ross covers that got some applause from the retailers.
Amazing Spider-Man #800 has initial orders of 300k, and there is a lot of buzz about Dan Slott’s run coming to an end, as the last several issues have gone back to 2nd printings.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley, Nick is going back to basics, with core characters, core villains and core concepts including using New York City as a character in the book.
Life of Captain Marvel #1 by Margaret Stohl and Carlos Pacheo – It’s a retelling of her origin, everything is still in place, they’re just expanding on things, and fleshing other things out a bit more. This is a simple, neat, and very interesting origin story which at the end will allow you to sum up who Captain Marvel is in one sentence.
Avengers #1 by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness got a good reaction from the crowd. This is where the announcement about the new trade dress came up. The covers will have a smaller UPC area, and they will include the issue # of the current run, as well as the legacy issue #.
Jason Aaron told us that this will have the contemporary Avengers as well as the Avengers of 1million BC from the Marvel Legacy one-shot. Issue #7 will be the origin of the prehistoric Ghost Rider (who rides a flaming woolly mammoth) with art by Sara Pichelli.
Aaron said that he is keeping the roster to 7, with a rotating 8th for each arc. Every story arc will be an event with “earth shattering consequences”. The stories will focus on different areas of the Marvel Universe, and will cross over regularly with what is happening in the other books (he made specific mention of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America).
Thor #1 by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo. CB said that if issue 705 made you weep at the end, 706 will make you full out bawl. This is the emotional climax of Jason Aaron’s Jane Foster story. The new Thor #1 represented the beginning of the final 3rd act of Jason’s Thor stories, and everything up until now has been building towards a war of the realms. Jason said that he is trying to tell stories he has never done before, and is trying to out-weird “Weird World”.
He is bringing back Baldur (who is currently the king of Hel), and will be bringing back Hela.
Cosmic Ghost Rider by Donny Gates and Dylan Burnett, this is spinning out of Thanos, and the character’s popularity took them by surprise.
You are Deadpool by Al Ewing and Salva Espin, this is a choose your own adventure style story, CB said that he was never a Deadpool fan until he read this book, but it made him go back and read it twice because it’s such a great concept and Deadpool is perfect for this story.
Wakanda Forever by Nnedi Okarfor focusing on the Dora Milaje, and with three different 1 shots featuring Spider-Man, Avengers, and the X-Men.
Infinity Countdown by Gerry Duggan and Aaron Duder, there will be several Countdown stories which will also tie into the cosmic stories but also show how the Infinity Stones are affecting the rest of the MU.
Captain Marvel by Jim McCann, Daredevil by Jerry Duggan, Darkhawk by Chris Sims, Black Widow by Jerry Duggan, Champions by Jim Zub.
Jerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr. Focusing on Thanos and what they have have been counting down to. CB promised us that this will have one of the biggest “Oh Shit” moments of the summer in comics.
Hunt for Wolverine #1 by Charles Soule and David Marquez.
Wolverine is back, but where is he right now? This is not just his friends searching, but also villains who all want something different from him, and his non-mutant allies who have different reasons for wanting him back.
The Adamantium Agenda is focusing on the New Avengers team of Luke Cage, Spider-Man and others searching for Wolverine.
With the X-Men, CB has challenged the team to start figuring out what the modern day questions that can be asked. What is the new take on things like “The third Summers brother” and Wolverine’s Origin.
Mystery in Madripoor, which is all about the women in Wolverine’s life and will feature a major change for one of the characters in the book.
Marvel Knights 20th anniversary. Joe Quesada is back in the office regularly and helping to mentor CB. They will be re-collecting the key classic runs including Daredevil (Guardian Devil), Black Panther, and Captain America’s New Deal.
Marvel Superhero Adventures is a new series by Jim McCann and Dario Brizuela. This is more cartoony looking stuff like the Lil Marvels stuff from a few years ago, and will all be #1’s.
Marvel Rising #0, there will be a free issue out April 25th, heavily influenced by video games and is aimed at girls with characters like Mz Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and Ghost Spider (Spider Gwen). There will be a father’s day even around Marvel Rising.
Questions for retailers:
First off was what one retailer called the 99 cent elephant in the room. Why are Comixology offering day and date trade paperbacks for 99 cents?
CB said that this will sound like a cop-out, but that comiXology and Amazon are able to set their own price points, and they are doing this without Marvel’s influence. One retailer said that he will not be ordering the Marvel Knights 20th anniversary products if they are available day and date for 99 cents.
CB said that Marvel is currently addressing this with Amazon.
Up next was a question about Variant covers and the initial order numbers for variant covers. CB agreed that it is a bizarre practice, and he said that he is looking at ways to fix it.
He wants to be a forward thinking, retailer-focused executive, and he gave his email address directly to the retailers in the room saying to please contact him with any concerns.
There was another question from a very passionate retailer who said with all of the success of things like Netflix and Movies, why is Marvel publishing not trying completely off the wall things, like a crossover of Star Wars and Marvel. CB said he has specifically asked about that and was told straight out no.
One woman in the crowd asked if there was an idea of doing a Mother’s Day event. CB said that it was too late in the planning cycle for this year, but he has an incredible idea for both a mother’s day and a father’s day event for 2019 that will be huge.
One retailer asked what Marvel would be doing to get people into stores, and how Marvel could leverage their Netflix and motion picture success to get more people into stores?
CB said that the head of Marvel’s movie marketing department was now in charge of all marketing at Marvel, and that he would be tasked with driving more people into stores.
Rich adds – that answer is very, very interesting…
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