Friday, May 21, 2004

Variations on the theme: At Newsarama, retailer Rick Shea examines the financial burden Marvel's variant-cover policy places on retailers, and what the return to multiple covers could mean to the industry:

"The good news on the variant front is that every copy of both covers of S/B #10 and Superman #205 will sell for cover price and not a penny more, at least initially, because they ship in equal numbers. Although, and not letting DC get off the hook, compulsive fans will want both covers, which will boost sales. Retailers who realized this increased their orders accordingly.

"On the Marvel side, the bad news is that an obsessive compulsive collector will have to shell out possibly as much as $100 for the level one cover of AXM # 1 and then as much as $10 to $20 for the level two cover, depending on where you get it. The irony is that Marvel will not see any extra money for these actual variants, but instead will see the money from the other books you have to buy to get those variants. So NXAX will be much higher on the sales charts that month (and that month only) than most retailers actually believe they can sell, thanks to the artificially inflated numbers. On the upside, I'm sure with this second variant that Marvel will indeed get that coveted number one spot edging out the tagteam of S/B #10 and Superman #205.

"Here’s the burn -- most people won't pay the ridiculous prices for the variants, but the completists will indeed give an arm and a leg to get a copy, and that's the part that I think could kill the industry. Someone spending up to $100 for a new comic when that could buy them 40 other great issues is a big waste of money. I won't hold back saying that. There are more good comics out now than there have been in a long time, and I'd hate for those 40 issues not to sell so that someone can have that uber-incentive cover with the same story as the $2.99 comic. I feel the same way about the CGC garbage with grading and slabbing new comics at 9.8 and selling them for ridiculous prices. Another thing the industry can do without."