Marvel Comics Latest Variant Cover Scheme, Dirtiest Yet



affecting retailer bottom lines with nonstop variant cover an incentive ordering schemes over shipments of products they can't sell at chasing readers away with nonstop reboots and events is one thing marvel putting retailers in a no-win situation with their most loyal customers is publisher malfeasance I've been covering Marvel Comics very covered incentive schemes and how damaged they are to the industry since I started the channel some may say I cover it too hard but I truly believe Marvel's predatory practices drive readers away and put stores out of business Marvel's latest unannounced bloody variant cover scheme is much different than predecessors in my opinion and the opinion of many local comic shops it's even dirtier it's putting shop owners in a possible dilemma of choosing between their very own customers some retailers who went as far as not distributing them to loyal readers and even shorting customer pools before I get into all the details of CB s– apolskis latest marketing blunder I first want to give a brief history of variant covers and their impact on the comic book market comic book variant covers are nothing new to the industry the first arrived in the mid 1940s when Buster Brown comics printed covers with shoe company advertisements the first variant covers featuring different art came in 1955 obscure comic The Adventures of big boy had variants for the east and west coast the first modern variant cover was 1986 as Man of Steel number one the money-making idea didn't immediately hit with readers or publishers 1987's Superman number one strange tales number one use soggy you Jimbo number one and 1988 Batman The Killing Joke amazing spider-man 300 and Wolverine number one all released with zero variants there were actually very few variants from 1987 to 1989 the comic industry was entering a boom period at this time The Wall Street Journal and other publications begin writing articles identifying comic books especially the rare variety as good financial investments soon speculators flooded the market buying comics as investments for their kids college funds it normally takes time for a comic to become valuable on the open market with demand outweighing supply Marvel DC and a host of upstart publishing houses began manufacturing new rare books speculators who didn't read comics and do nothing about the industry eagerly scooped them up soon even retailers be in hoarding new books they thought would hold future value for resale prices for books like Superman 75 spider-man number one and x-men number one skyrocketed despite enormous print runs the comic bubble burst around 1994 speculation on manufactured collectible comics like Barry covers was a huge factor many were stuck holding books they ventured thousands of dollars in worth a tenth of their investment speculators of Bane in the comic market it almost folded entirely the comic market eventually stabilized despite playing a major role in the 1994 collapse variant covers never went away in fact their presence in the market has only grown there a more towards collectors rather than speculators these days over time variant cover incentive ordering schemes became major marketing gimmicks nobody uses this tool more than marvel comics they regularly distribute 50 or more variant covers for milestone issues and major title reboots DC plays a game as well releasing over 80 different variants for Detective Comics number 1000 variant covers can be a great thing for the market when used judiciously DC's current a B cover system is great the a cover normally features a teaser for the books content with the series trade dress the B cover is a terrific art piece of the title character with no trade dress for readers more in the art itself this is how variant covers should work given consumers choice is good business practice the comic industry's current variant cover strategy especially Marvel Comics is much more predatory in nature comic collectors are notoriously anal retentive Bunch many are completionist collectors they want continuous runs other favorite titles with every cover released in 2017 Marvel released their newest x-men books blue and gold for the launch they created variant covers featuring remastered Jim Lee art retailers needed buy 1000 of the first issues to have access to them making them very rare on day one my friend and co-host of comics aficionados dot is or was an x-men completionists the price tag for these books on day one was $1,000 his complete run of x-men books ended that day in the industry has been driving doc away from buying new comics with their shady practices ever since he used to spend over $100 a week on comics he now only buys back issues shockingly he spends all the money he saves on high-end vintage x-men comics he still has a love for x-men and comics in general he still spends his entire comics budget but the industry burned him so many times with variant covers and other schemes he abandoned new comics altogether which brings us to Marvel's latest very cover marketing gimmick most of you probably noticed a new variant cover strategy from Marvel Comics starting in June retailers received unannounced bloody variant covers promoting their upcoming absolute carnage of n the number is sent to each comic shop are seemingly random but most retailers agree it's about 30% in total June's amazing spider-man 24 Deadpool 14 symbiote spider-man 3 Fantastic Four 11 venom 15 and July's invader 7 Avengers 22 black cat – Captain Marvel an immortal Hulk 20 all received secret variants on the surfaced unannounced variant covers with blood splatter in the title seems rather harmless but the cover isn't the only thing different about these comic issues they also feature one-page tie-in stories – absolute carnage written by Clay McCloud Chapman and illustrated by fer Tesco mowgli alberto albuquerque or gerardo saying of all the one-page promos don't stand out as particularly interesting for the most part generally depicting carnage infected rats and birds the dream sequence in the deadpool 14 issue is certainly more interesting than the rest the one that does stand out is immortal Hulk 20 written by allying himself with graphics from Brian level it's revealed agents of carnage dug up Thunderbolt Ross's body and stole it most readers know carnage is hunting down anyone alive or dead that's ever won a symbiote for the absolute carnage event I personally don't get caught up in these marketing gimmicks much I bought an extra copy of Action Comics 1000 for my son and a savage sort of conan number one limited variant cover illustrated by ron garni a vast majority of these gimmicks don't do much for me personally including one extra page of content but even I'll admit I would much prefer the immortal Hulk 20 bloody variant Thunderbolt Ross is an important character in Hawke lore and this feels important releasing secret variant covers with exclusive content randomly it's a terrible marketing ploy this is likely the brainchild of David Gabriel Marvel Comics VP of Sales I don't think Marvel a ICCB Cebulski and his legion of doofuses led by Tom Brevoort and Jordan White thought this through before implementing it and I will say for the record I don't actually think CB is the devil I think he's actually a nice guy in way over his head I definitely do think he's surrounded by clowns Brevoort and white chief among them the second third and fourth order effects of this promotion are putting retail owners and shop managers in a terrible position I've seen reports of shop stating they received as many as 50% bloody variants to as few as 10% there's a rumor that big stores like Midtown and Lone Star received the highest percentages but that's unsubstantiated comic readers are a fickle Bunch they know there are books with extra content retailers are finding it hard to sell the regular books shipping the issues randomly has created indiscriminate winners and losers on the market stores that receive the fewest bloody variants are stuck with a glut of unmovable stock now and that's just the effect on retailer pocketbooks the most damaging consequence of Marvel's latest scheme is between shops and their actual customers most LCS is ordered based on their sub counts larger number of poles mean more interest and larger orders for shelf display in stocks I don't know a single retailer who orders comic issues at 2.5 times sub count its normally more like 1.25 or 1.5 times sub count meaning if a store has 50 subs for an issue they order between sixty and seventy five copies total yet Marvel only shipped 30% of the secret variants randomly most retailers didn't have enough bloody variance to distribute to customers with poles Marvel is forcing shop owners and managers to choose which longtime customers receive sought-after books with extra content there is virtually no way to do this without pissing off some many or possibly even all their most important customers affecting retailer bottom lines with non-stop variant cover an incentive ordering schemes over shipments of products they can't sell at chasing readers away with non-stop reboots and events is one thing Marvel putting retailers in a no-win situation with their most loyal customers is publisher malfeasance and I hate to say it but not all retailers are the victims of Marvel's latest variant cover scheme when word got out bloody variants contain extra content many retailers took them aside pricing them at $10 or more I've heard firsthand some retailers didn't have enough regular covers to fulfill all customers subs some simply didn't fill them all and sold books their customers pre-ordered and marked up prices this is scum bad behavior of the highest order by owners and managers who parts of customers agree to buy those books sign unseen not filling those agreements is repulsive greedy business if you had an order for any of the books I mentioned earlier that wasn't filled and saw a marked up bloody variant on here LCF shelf they screwed you over I personally would take my business elsewhere any comic retailer or manager that would screw their most loyal customers over for short term cash deserves to lose them permanently I'm normally a huge advocate of local comic shops but I always prioritize the needs of paying customers over everyone in the comic industry including retailers distributors and publishers it pains me to know LCS has treated loyal customers this way Marvel Comics latest variant cover scheme from CB Cebulski and David Gabriel generated buzz which I imagine was the point it was very short-sighted and executed extremely poorly I know retailers who contacted their diamond reps to complain they were told this is a new strategy marvelous testing and to expect more unannounced variant covers with extra content moving forward what are they supposed to do order 2.5 x sub comps to meet customers needs make another round of a possible choices on which loyal customers do and don't receive sought after Bank covers Marvel needs to work with their retailers and make this equitable before moving forward with this new strategy demand for bloody variants and their extra content is extremely high after our prices are very healthy but it's also put retailers in a terrible bind there is virtually no interest among readers for regular books without extra content retailers are having Fitz trying to move them worse shop owners and managers had to choose which of their most loyal customers receive them it's impossible to please everyone there's no right way to decide which subs receive which secret variants much worse some retailers sold out their most loyal subs for short term cash and didn't distribute bloody variants despite not paying a penny more for them I hope oil customers screwed by greedy owners and managers find a new place to do business you can't trust anyone who sells their own customers out for a short term money if you enjoyed this video please give it a like I would appreciate it very much it helps us attract more views for the channel subscribe for future commentary comic book movie reviews and don't forget to ring the bell for notifications if you want to talk comments movies and much much more you can follow me on twitter at west underscore from underscore TC with that solemn oppo and I'm out

19 thoughts on “Marvel Comics Latest Variant Cover Scheme, Dirtiest Yet”

  1. When ghost spider vol.1 came out 7 months ago…i order the 1 for 100 virgin variant. I even prepaid half of the cost bc i had a feeling it was going to be a hot cover. The week of release, they told me it was not shipped. The following week the shop workers said it came but it was not at the shop. Then they said if you want the book you have to pay double what we initially agreed to in the 10 days after the release, on Ebay that book was going for 350 to 400 raw. Then the following Wednesday one dude told me i wasnt going to get the book bc it is going to he sold on Ebay and the shop would never see it.

    I got on Facebook and blasted that LCS and then they wanted to apologize and offer me the book for 250 and i told then to shove it.

  2. I wish there was an environmentally safe alternative to polybagging, I like polybagged comics but it seems too wasteful to use often

  3. Like your X-Men friend I am backing away from new books this Fall. I'm wrapping up the Doomsday Clock, DCeased, and Unnatural series and then I'm out. Corporate Comics tactics have forced me out of my other regular monthly books as well. Diamond frequently shorts my LCS on books causing me to miss out on titles or Cover B editions. JLA #20 is an example. As a long time collector since 1980 (with a few on and off spots) this is a sad time. Thanks for the upfront and candid video.

  4. Shops like mycomicshop and midtown have no issue with practice like this. Before long, it’ll be 2 shops selling comics.

  5. So no wonder most comic shops that still tread above water have diversified the items in the store. Or survive by backlog.

  6. My pull just shipped yesterday so I'll be curious to see if I got anything. If not, I'll just read the book and move on. It's much healthier in the long run to not obsess over these goofy variants.

  7. +Thinking Critical They still didn't get the picture at all. Variant covers don't work and they are still trapped in the 1990's. I still prefer a single cover like those classic covers from the 80's where it makes the series compelling. This is why Jim Shooter said, "They Forgot What Business They're In" And this is true, Variant don't sell anymore, they are just driving customers away and fans walking away.

    If Shooter was put back in charge he would reall fire Amanat, Cebulski, Quesada and his regime.

  8. Great video! Their characters have never been more popular, they shouldn't have to scam people into buying comics. They really should try putting out good books consistently. I'd happily buy more marvel books if they were better. I'm dying for a good Ironman series. That character is insanely popular, a great Ironman series should be a top priority. It's almost like they're trying to fail at this point.

  9. this is why i don't buy variant covers it's all really stupid and plus seems like a cash grab in my opinion.

  10. Can confirm Midtown Comics had a plethora of carnage covers an hour before close on NCBD that week, like Immortal Hulk and Fantastic Four

  11. If Marvel was as adept as producing good comics that customers want as they are at producing ways that make customers want to leave the hobby , this video would have had a different topic .

  12. I just buy the stories or runs I like! Comic Companies are catering to the wrong people! They cater to spec people instead of the readers! 🤮 it makes it hard to support!

  13. You hit the nail on the head. This is putting shop owners in a really bad position where they really can’t win.

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