Marvel Comics isn’t known as The House of Ideas for nothing. The company is constantly innovating, especially when innovating is here defined as finding ways to spike comic book sales without increasing the actual readership of their comics. Marvel has tried everything from reboots to super-mega-crossover events to more reboots to more super-mega-crossover events to legacy numbering to more reboots to simply shipping extra copies of comics to retailers that they didn’t even order. Perhaps the most important Marvel innovation in this area is the incentive variant, where Marvel offers a special variant to retailers who order a certain number of copies of a particular comic, based on a percentage of their orders of a previous comic. It’s a brilliant plan, if Marvel’s goal is simply to look good in quarterly sales reports, which all evidence of the past decades seems to indicate is the case.
But no more! Er… maybe.
Asked at their presentation at the Diamond Retailer Summit at C2E2 if Marvel would eliminate this practice, which entices retailers to order extra copies of comics that no reader is actually going to buy just to get their hands on a variant they sell at an inflated price, Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski seemed to agree that the practice was myopic and self-destructive (our words, not his), and said that Marvel was considering getting rid of it.
Of course, that’s no guarantee, and it often seems like Marvel’s marketing department runs the show, as opposed to the people actually making the comics. But if nothing else, it’s refreshing and promising to know that Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief is looking at more than just the short term when it comes to comics readership.