The Marvel Frequency and Pricing Scorecard

By Todd Allen

As you may have noticed, Marvel’s been releasing two issues of several titles each month.  It’s not always the same titles each month.  Marvel also might not be as into $3.99 titles as you might expect.  I took a look at the solicitations for July-through September, looked at the core Marvel titles (Marvel’s equivalent of the “New 52,” if you will).  No mini’s.  No Max.  No Ultimates.  No “.1″ specials.  This is what I found:

July

Twice a month titles:  13 titles: 6 @ $2.99 / 7 @$3.99
Once a Month titles:  22 Titles:  12 @ $2.99 / 10 @ $3.99
Total: 35 titles, 18 @$2.99 / 17 @ $3.99
Total issues:  48

August

Twice a month titles: 14 titles; 8 @ $2.99 / 6 @3.99
Once a Month titles:  23 titles; 12 @ $2.99/ 11 @ $3.99
Total: 37 titles, 20 @ $2.99 / 17 @ $3.99
Total issues: 51

September

Twice a month titles: 17 titles: 10 @ $2.99 / 7 @ $3.99
Once a Month titles:   20 Titles: 10@ $2.99 / 10 @ $3.99
Total: 37 titles,  20 @ $2.99 / 17 @ $3.99
Total issues: 54

Yes, every month, the number of twice-a-month titles is creeping up, as is the total number of issues for the month.  I suspect September might be a little heavier to wrap things up and clear the slate for some “starting point” issues and possibly the rumored creator shuffle in October, after AVX has ended.  Thor and Journey into Mystery are both 2x and in a crossover.  Punisher is 2x and #16 solicits as “The Punisher and Cole reach a shared conclusion. Prepare for the War Zone.”  “War Zone?”  Hmmm…

Notice how, in terms of regular series, Marvel has more $2.99 titles than $3.99 titles.  New titles like Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and Gambit are coming in at $2.99.  Avengers Assemble was $3.99, as were the X-relaunches, but for recent launches, you’ve got names like Fraction/Aja on Hawkeye and Burbaker/the normal Captain America art rotation transferred over to Winter Soldier for $2.99.  Marvel continues being a little more cautious about price than they used to be.  Is pricing more elastic than it was a couple years ago?

Are these actual trends?  It depends on whether or not there’s really going to be a shake up in October and if September really was just settle the table for that.  For that 3-month period it does look like trends.  That it isn’t the same bi-weekly titles each month, suggests they’re seeing how quickly they can get books out and can’t quite get ahead enough for full-on bi-weekly.  We’ll see how much further down this path Marvel goes.

As for the actual breakdown of titles and price, here you are

July

2x

Amazing Spider-Man – $3.99
Captain America – $3.99
Dark Avengers – $2.99
Deadpool – $2.99
Invincible Iron Man – $3.99
New Mutants – $2.99
Uncanny X-Force – $3.99
Uncanny X-Men – $3.99
Venom – $2.99
Wolverine – $3.99
Wolverine & the X-Men – $3.99
X-Factor – $2.99
X-Men Legacy – $2.99

1x

Age of Apocolypse – $2.99
Astonishing X-Men – $3.99
Avengers – $3.99
Avengers Academy – $2.99
Avengers Assemble – $3.99
Avenging Spider-Man – $3.99
Captain America and… – $2.99
Captain Marvel – - $2.99
Daredevil – $2.99
Defenders – $3.99
Fantastic Four – $2.99
FF – $2.99
Hulk – $2.99
Incredible Hulk – $3.99
Journey Into Mystery – $2.99
Mighty Thor – $3.99
New Avengers – $3.99
Punisher – $2.99
Secret Avengers – $3.99
Winter Soldier – $2.99
X-Treme X-Men – $2.99
X-Men – $3.99

August

Amazing Spider-Man – $3.99
Avengers Academy – $2.99
Avenging Spider-Man – $3.99
Daredevil – $2.99
Gambit – $2.99
Hulk – $2.99
Invincible Iron Man – $3.99
New Mutants – $2.99
Scarlet Spider – $2.99
Venom – $2.99
Uncanny X-Force – $3.99
Wolverine – $3.99
X-Factor – $2.99
X-Men – $3.99
X-Treme X-Men – $2.99

1x

Age of Apocolypse – $2.99
Astonishing X-Men – $3.99
Avengers – $3.99
Avengers Assemble – $3.99
Captain America – $3.99
Captain America and… – $2.99
Captain Marvel – - $2.99
Dark Avengers – $2.99
Deadpool – $2.99
Defenders – $3.99
Fantastic Four – $2.99
FF – $2.99
Hawkeye – $2.99
Incredible Hulk – $3.99
Journey Into Mystery – $2.99
Mighty Thor – $3.99
New Avengers – $3.99
Punisher – $2.99
Secret Avengers – $3.99
Uncanny X-Men – $3.99
Winter Soldier – $2.99
Wolverine & the X-Men – $3.99
X-Men Legacy – $2.99

September

2X

Amazing Spider-Man – $3.99
Avengers Academy – $2.99
Captain America and… – $2.99
Dark Avengers – $2.99
Deadpool – $2.99
Incredible Hulk – $3.99
Invincible Iron Man – $3.99
Journey Into Mystery – $2.99
Mighty Thor – $3.99
Punisher – $2.99
Uncanny X-Men – $3.99
Venom – $2.99
Winter Soldier – $2.99
Wolverine & the X-Men – $3.99
X-Factor – $2.99
X-Men – $3.99
X-Men Legacy – $2.99

1x

Age of Apocolypse – $2.99
Astonishing X-Men – $3.99
Avengers – $3.99
Avengers Assemble – $3.99
Avenging Spider-Man – $3.99
Captain America – $3.99
Captain Marvel – - $2.99
Daredevil – $2.99
Defenders – $3.99
Fantastic Four – $2.99
FF – $2.99
Gambit – $2.99
Hawkeye – $2.99
New Avengers – $3.99
New Mutants – $2.99
Scarlet Spider – $2.99
Secret Avengers – $3.99
Uncanny X-Force – $3.99
Wolverine – $3.99
X-Treme X-Men – $2.99

Comments

  1. … which is why I’ve dropped almost all my Marvel titles, and will have no Marvel books in my pull-list by 2013. Sorry but all the double-shipping and cross-overs are bankrupting me.

  2. SomeGuy says:

    The comics industry seems to be dying, having to sell more comics to fewer fans to stay afloat. This is something the sales numbers don’t account for, even if they look like they’re improving. Marvel’s “Exiled” sold five issues to the same basic readership, as evidenced by the fact that both titles didn’t get much or any crossover sales boost but each of the five issues sold about the same amount. In May, ten Marvel titles shipped two issues in the top 100, and five of the next 10 were “Exiled”. This does not seem healthy. The comics market is expanding, but not gaining many new readers. DC is getting the same boost in a different way, by canceling their bottom feeders and launching new #1 issues to get a sales boost, but so far I can’t find any New 52 title that has picked up readers as it goes along. All of them peak at #1 and sales either stay flat or fall dramatically. Not healthy, and not picking up many new or lapsed readers.

    At the rate this is going, I guess eventually every comic book Marvel and DC publishes will be a #1 issue, and they’ll publish an entire trade-paperback of issues each month.

    How long before this model collapses?

  3. Until they make paper illegal.

    Name 10 TV shows that are gaining new viewership episode-over-episode? Is TV “dying”?

    Serial fiction has a tendency to bleed readership, that is true, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new readers coming in — there are plenty of those. But the more titles released (or frequency of that publication) spread those readers out so as to make them harder to detect in the gross sales reports. But they’re there — I talk to them every day.

    -B

  4. I don’t know about the industry as a whole but I definitely think the big two are dying.

  5. Mikael says:

    Same song with nothing to back it up. At least if you’re going to claim that something is dying, show some proof – and you can’t just point to the article you’re commenting on either. Lazy.

    I was all set to pick up the new Captain Marvel – but Marvel decided to double ship the title. So in their rush to try and get as many issues out before the inevitable cancellation, they have instead turned me off completely from buying ANY issues. That’s not good business.

  6. Brian says:

    Marvel considers the Ultimate books one of their marquee franchises, so I think you need to factor those books in when looking at the pricing and the overall number of books. But I agree, it’s good to see new launches like Winter Soldier and Hawkeye coming in at lower prices.

    As for the double shipping, I worked it out last month and on average Marvel will publish 16 issues per ongoing title in the 12 months up to the end of August (based on solicited release dates). Of the 30 or so titles that will have a year’s worth of issues released by then, only 2 have an average one issue per month. The most frequent series, after Amazing Spider-Man, is Venom with 21 issues (because of the Circle of Four event), X-Men Legacy with 20 issues, and X-Factor, Wolverine, and Uncanny X-Men with 19 issues each. Uncanny X-Men includes pre and post renumbering issues.

  7. Eric Oliphant says:

    I get 2 issues of my favorite books a month more often. that is awesome.It helps all the marvel comics I read are not part of giant crossover events.

    I like reading one freqeunt storyline that is featured in one comic instead of being spread around several titles and spinoffs, oneshots and mini series. DEADPOOL,DAREDEVIL,PUNISHER, DARK AV, AV ACADEMY, HULK, WINTER SOLDIER,VENOM are way better books than they have a right to be.
    but of course it leaves me little room to read more Marvel titles, but plenty of room to read the best of DC, IMAGE, Valient etc.

  8. Rick H says:

    Ok, I work with numbers a lot, my job is a manufacturing engineering technician. I can say that in business, most decisions are based on data gathered from what has already occurred. To determine a real trend you would probably use the last 12 months worth of data. My point is simply to make a case to beg differ of your opinion.

    Having said that, if we look at Marvel’s numbers from May 2012 top 300 titles sold to retailers*. Here is what we see:
    • 94 comic book titles released (this includes additional copies reordered on at least 3 titles)
    • 51 at $3.99 or greater
    • 43 at $2.99 or less
    • 27 were titles with multiple issues
    • Not including the weekly Hulk Smash Avengers (5 issues)
    • To purchase one copy of everything would cost $334.00.
    Based on these numbers, in May 2012 Marvel sold to retailers 3,060,036 comic books at a retail value of approximately $11,181,203.00.
    Based on those figures, I would say that Marvel has developed this business plan intentionally, and most likely is rather enjoying it and will continue it until something more profitable comes their way.

    *figures come from the website: the Comic Chronicles

  9. Which rumoured creator shuffle is this?

  10. Nancy Boy says:

    I like that books like X-Force, Wolverine and the X-Men, DD, etc are coming out faster than monthly. I’d rather have more issues of great books and just drop the bad ones from my pull list. Hence I am down to like 3 DC books.

  11. Micah says:

    I don’t understand the hatred of double-shipping. Sure, fewer properties are being published and nothing new is being tested. But if you like the book, and you like the material, what’s the complaint? Buy stuff you like; stop buying stuff you don’t like.

    And I started buying Winter Soldier (Lark on art), and I pre-ordered Hawkeye (this is good will – let’s see if the creative team can match Iron Fist)

  12. HumpyCat says:

    Michah, I’m with you.

  13. It’s only a problem if you budget for your comics purchases like I do. Double shipping and endless crossovers means less of other comics I want to buy.

    Like it or not no one has an endless supply of disposable income.

  14. HumpyCat says:

    Ron, why not dump the the stuff you like least and get a great book if it ships more often? Crossovers are another story, but if Book A ships two times a month and is excellent, Book B ships once a month and is good, and Book C ships once a month and is crap, why not drop B and C for A?

  15. jonboy says:

    “The comics industry seems to be dying…”

    And has been since 1945. Therefore, I fully expect comics to last until at least 2072.

    Which is well past my expected expiration date.

  16. @HumpyCat

    Other than Journey into Mystery, Ultimate Spider-Man, or Winter Soldier I don’t find Marvel titles that great, or at least great enough to shell out twice a month for a title. Way more interesting stuff being published by the indie publishers. To each his own I guess.

    Now, if Snarked!, Popeye, Fatale, Saga, or Manhatten Projects shipped twice a month I’d be first in line. Again, to each his own.

  17. “Ron, why not dump the the stuff you like least and get a great book if it ships more often?”

    The answer seems obvious: DIVERSITY. You do not want to read only one thing, be it one of your best read, month after month. Each double shipping marvel titile means dropping another title to follow it. Most of those marvel titles are easy to found, months after, for a very cheap price in the discount bin.
    And they don’t even decrease the price. They want to speed the pace of a story? then release one 40p monthly comics instead of 2 Issues the same month.They ask an effort to the reader (to buy twice what they planned to), they should also make an effort.
    Their policy also discourage people to try one of their titles. I have been trying to jump on New Mutants and X-factor for months but they keep releasing 2 issues per month of crossover themed issues, and I had only one spot available in my monthly list so I haven’t been able to jump on yet.

  18. Shawn Kane says:

    “I have been trying to jump on New Mutants and X-factor for months”

    New Mutants was one of the few Marvel titles that I was excited about the last few years since I bought the original run from the start. I dropped it within the first year due to almost every issue tying into a crossover. I can’t believe how many issues in the book’s entire run have been involved in crossovers. THAT’S worse than double shipping IMO.

  19. Mike L says:

    I think it makes a better overall publishing strategy than trying to push a larger number of individual titles into a marketplace that’s not particularly receptive to new material — at least in the short-term.

    Long-term, by falling back on doubling up on what is consistently selling rather than trying to cultivate new titles, they’re not exactly fixing the problem, either. But if what they’re offering up as ‘new’ is a bunch of B-list characters that work far better in a team mechanic (*cough* Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Gambit), then . . .

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Publishing | Todd Allen turns an analytical eye on Marvel’s twice-a-month releases as well as the cover prices of the publisher’s comics. Overall, prices are down a bit and frequency is up, but Allen isn’t sure if that’s an actual trend. [The Beat] [...]

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