So is Marvel lowering their number of $3.99 books or not?

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201010201429 So is Marvel lowering their number of $3.99 books or not?

Marvel’s solicitations came out today* and industry watchers were standing by with microscopes to scrutinize a proposed 1) drop in the number of $2.99 books and 2) decrease in the number of books altogether.

On #2, there seems to be some corroboration with what was said at the NYCC retail breakfast, according to Bleeding Cool, which does a big count of all titles in all families. Compared to December, there is a 17 percent drop in the number of titles, and a 20 percent decrease in total cover price.

December: 93 comics – 20 titles at $2.99 (22 pages of story), 55 $3.99 (22 pages of story), 16 titles at $3.99 (30 pages of story). 2 comics $4.99 (44 pages of story)

Complete cost: $353.07 for 2218 pages of story (16 cents a page)

January: 78 comics – 28 at $2.99, 49 at $3.99, 1 at $4.99

Complete cost: $284.22

However, on point #1, there is less evidence. Todd Allen also does a title count of the new books and finds 7 titles at $3.99 vs. 3 titles at $2.99. (Three of the $3.99 books are licensed titles, it should be pointed out.)

Selected, indeed.

Marvel does seem to be undergoing a bit of course correction. We are hearing from creators that previously planned Marvel miniseries based on esoteric characters are being scuttled left and right. But their price drop seems to be rolling out in a very piecemeal fashion.

* ALSO, jeebus, it is hard to find anything on Marvel’s website! If we hadn’t seen Agent M tweet the January books we wouldn’t have ever been able to find it on this labyrinth.

Comments

  1. Marvel’s website is EXTREMELY difficult to find anything on. Meanwhile, DC’s website is just darn ugly.

    It’s a shame to think that lower price comics will equal esoteric character titles being dropped in favor of (more profitable, I’m sure) multiples of Deadpool/Avengers/X-Men books.

    I’m already mourning the death of Hawkeye & Mockingbird, cause I swear that book is dead. And it was actually one of Marvel’s BEST titles. Books aren’t even given a chance anymore. You can’t gauge how a title will inevitably sell when you only give the book five issues to deliver big, can you? How many golden age books would have bit the big one based on that thought process (though I know it was a different time back then.)

  2. AwesomeDude says:

    DC’s site could be prettier but for real you can find stuff on there.

    Marvel is totally not navigate able.

  3. Marvel’s website is truly terrible, although I’m pleased to see they seem to have finally sorted out the search engine on the catalogue section. Only took them two years.

  4. Naveed says:

    The price cut won’t save the industry. The fans that cut back will not all return to their previous levels. I am a ‘heavy’ buyer, buying 40+ books a month and cut down on alot of $3.99 books. Especially those with corny backup stories or just bad stories period (HULK…is a good example). The good books out there are overlooked (Black Widow is another example) and don’t survive. they should reduce the number of garbage out there, that would be a good start. Marvel and DC seem to be in a war on who can pump out more books a month. Oh and I gree both websites are ugly, but on DC’s you can navigate and find stuff.

  5. AndyD says:

    Recently I tried to verify the content of some tradepaperbacks on the Marvel website so I wouldn´t order content I already have.

    Finally I gave up. The Marvel site is a mess and unnavigable. I can´t understand how the self-styled industry leader can have such a lousy, user unfriendly web-presence.

    This round is a win for DC which site is easy to use and navigate.

  6. Back in the day, we used to have these things called “mini-series”, where an esoteric character would have a limited number of issues to star in a story. It was a way of testing to see if there was any interest in said character. Before that, we had “anthology books” where you’d get a bunch of stories all in one book. Anthology books fell out of favor some time ago, but could be adapted to digital publishing if a comic company was savvy enough to perform a whole-hearted experiment with it.

  7. Doug The Enabler says:

    Marvel’s website is useless. For a company full of creative types and detailed oriented people, you’d think they’d get on that.

  8. Blair says:

    Right out of the gate Marvel were very vague about which books would be dropping down to $2.99. Hopefully sometime this week they will clarify, assuming that someone there actually knows.

  9. Roman Bednar says:

    The January sales reports are going to be the most interesting ones we have seen for a long time.

  10. iSnod says:

    I agree about the January solicit report. When will the latest ones for Marvel and DC go up? They are really late this month.

  11. iSnod, both DC and Marvel have already released Jan. solicitations. DC’s on Monday, Marvel’s this morning. See the first sentence of this post.

  12. Kevin Hynes says:

    I release pigeons every Wednesday.
    Where is my press release?
    No really – where is it? I had it a minute ago.

  13. I bet both the recent drop in sales and Marvel’s lousy site design are both 100% because of internet piracy!

    And maybe because of the Siegle/Shuster and Kirby heirs’ lawsuits, but I haven’t been over to the Newsarama forums to find my evidence for this yet…

  14. Chris Hero says:

    This is great and all, but I’m more interested in the sales numbers that prompted the price cuts. Icv2.com just released their analysis today and their headline is:

    “It’s Official: Q3 Comic Sales Sucked”

    That’s Icv2 saying that which is kinda like wow….

  15. Cerebro says:

    Speaking of sales, I supposed here is as good a place as any to ask…where are the Marvel and DC August month-to-month sales columns? Pretty soon it’ll be time to start posting the September numbers

  16. I second what Cerebro is asking. Where ARE the August month-to=month sales charts?

    Also, quite a few sales charts seem to be missing from the archives.

  17. Chris Hero says:

    I miss the sales analyses, too! I really enjoy the insight provided on this site!

  18. LOL no DC sales report yet because DC has done good thing for the industry with the price decrease and there’s not enough snark attitude the guy can put up about how bad the sales are to combat that.

  19. “LOL no DC sales report yet because DC has done good thing for the industry with the price decrease…”

    LOL on the idea that DC is suddenly being altruistic to the comics industry with the overhyped ‘price decrease’. Waiter, someone needs a reality check, pronto.

  20. “LOL on the idea that DC is suddenly being altruistic to the comics industry with the overhyped ‘price decrease’.”

    That DC’s motives might not have been altruistic doesn’t mean that their actions can’t be a good thing for the comics industry. It remains to be seen what the effect of the price drop will be, but if does end up being beneficial, does the reason DC did it matter?

  21. I see they’re releasing an Atlantis Attacks Omnibus. I remember Conan cameoed in one of those — any idea if that will be cut? I know the Conan issues of What If? aren’t collected.

  22. And reading further illustrates this:

    What If? Classic Vol. 7
    Collecting WHAT IF? #40-42, #44-47 and material from WHAT IF? #43.

    Issue 43 was a Conan one.

  23. Damn… I saw “Atlantis Attacks” and thought “Atlantis Chronicles”! razza frackin…

  24. Snikt Snakt says:

    “I see they’re releasing an Atlantis Attacks Omnibus.”

    What a waste of paper, that whole annual tie-in series was one of the worst ever done IIRC.

  25. Yeah… but there’s enough nostalgia, and 40-year-old collectors who will shell out the money, to make this a viable product.

    Hmm… “Seven Brides for Seven-Headed Serpent God” Does Julie Taymor know about this?!

  26. I meant the sales analysis in my last post – sorry about not being clear! My mistake!

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