Monday, April 18, 2011

CBXF Mailbag

We received an email and we couldn't help but responding.

Marvel needs to ****ing stop We are only four months into the year and how many major storylines has Marvel spoiled to the papers so far? This just ####ing ridiculous. We don't need speculators right now we need to grow the market. The worse thing is it robs every loyal reader of surprise that they spent issues worth of time and money to get to. Seriously #### you Marvel, #### you right up the ###. I am so happy I no longer given them any of my money.

CBXF's Tracie responds...
I was going to attempt to avoid the story when I saw that news had broke in the New York Post, this morning, about upcoming changes in Ultimate Spider-Man but looking at the press release, it's not too horribly spoilery.

You can read more about the news here:

I mean... The arc IS called The Death of Spider-Man. Whether that means Peter ACTUALLY dies, isn't apparent. Like the Death of Oracle, it's a vague enough thing, it could mean a lot of stuff. Maybe Pete is incapacitated. Maybe he gives up the identity to someone else. Maybe he goes into the Witness Protection Program, takes on a different name, so that it isn't *technically* "Peter Parker" under that costume. Any number of these things could happen in the story.
I don't feel like my investment as a reader has been abused or robbed. Would it be nice not to know these things in advance? Sure. But the payoff for me, as an Ultimate Spider-Man reader since the very first issue, isn't in who dies or who takes over what identity, it's how those changes are explored and how they effect the characters moving forward.

I don't feel all too cheated to see that there'll be a new costume and a potentially new person under the mask. "Death of Spider-Man" was going to have to mean SOMETHING, otherwise what's the point? And they're not telling me who's under the mask or the circumstances surrounding it and Peter so, at this point, they're just trying to get people interested in what's coming up next in the book, now that the polybagged final issue has been solicited. You're essentially just getting mad at seeing the solicitation for the next issue, a few weeks before they'd hit online with the rest of them.

And if you're mad about Marvel trying to drum up interest in major news outlets like the New York Post, you can't complain about not growing the market.

I mean, where do you draw the line between spectators and new readers? How do you reach out to the latter without attracting the former? Yes, it's a headline grab. Yes, it's more likely to attract a one-time sales bump than it is to grow it's audience. We saw it with FF #1 and we'll all be waiting to see the numbers on FF #2 to see how big a drop off there'll be. But I think all you can do in these scenarios is hope that enough people read it and like it enough to stick around. That's ALL you can do, isn't it? I mean, what else is there? Despite the success of the movies, comics themselves are such a niche thing. You're either advertising to your already existing market or you're trying to grab the attention of larger outlets by dangling shiny character death or New Gay Character in front of their faces, hoping you'll attract them and maybe, just maybe add a few readers.

In that respect, I don't feel too slighted in this instance.

What bothers me is when direct story reveals are put forth in the media before the issue even has a chance to walk out the door with me on Wednesday. I was furious when news headlines spoiled the reveal that Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy (Mia), had HIV. That hurt more than learning which member of the Fantastic Four had died, simply because I knew via the comic itself, it would be one of them. And there were only four to choose from so, barring any trickery of using the kids or HERBIE or something, I wasn't going to be TOO shocked. The real meat of the story was going to be in how that death was handled and what it would mean to the other characters. And, even knowing it would be Johnny to die, I was still deeply moved. It probably would've had even more impact had I not known about ANY death in the book, but that is, unfortunately, the world we live in now, thanks mostly to solicitations and the internet. It's gotten harder to keep secrets and companies seem to have to try harder to draw attention as the entertainment industry and media evolve and change.
You can't guarantee that secrets will stay secret and you can't expect companies not to publicize major changes to tentpole products/characters but what you can do is hope that the product itself is quality entertainment.


  1. See my issue is that this is the big last page reveal. This has basically become one of Marvel's major selling points in their solicitations. Basically all of Secret Invasion was built around these from New Avengers #31 to the Cabal reveal in Secret Invasion #8. I know it isn't that major compared to the fate of Peter but news stories like this are slowly taking more and more from comic reading experience.

    And the thing is it has already been shown these type of stunts don't get new readers. The Death of Superman and the related speculation damn near killed the market back in the 90's. Even the best selling comic in years, the Obama Spider-Man issue, did nothing to increase sales. These "leaks" have been coming out on a regular basis now for the last few months and they haven't done anything worthwhile. There are ways to go about increasing the market but cheap cash grabs like this aren't it. As I said before I am currently perturbed at Marvel's business practices. It is a cheap cash grab that could end up hurting retailers by leading some to believe there is more of a market for the book than there is.

    I know compared to other spoilers this is somewhat minor, but for me it rather symbolic. I mean if the actual readers can't even have the last page of the comic anymore what reason is there to follow these major titles anymore. This may just be me but in part what makes me want to get books every month is the desire to see what happens next. But if Marvel is just going to spoil every twist, no matter how small, part of that desire to get the book as soon as possible starts to fall away. I mean if you just reading for the quality of the story you may as well just wait for the trade and end up saving yourself some money.