By, essentially, being a sore winner.
Look, it’s bad enough that “Fear Itself” is a blatant ripoff of what DC has been doing with the Green Lantern books and expecting us not to notice, something Marvel seems to be doing more and more. I may have stopped buying DC books because of a stupid purple housecat, but I stopped reading Marvel books almost entirely when Mary Jane died due to Peter Parker’s radioactive man-parts in the most idiotic ripoff of “The Dark Knight Returns” ever conceived. Besides, my friends bitching about the terrible writing is usually enough to keep me up on the plotlines. But, the books sell, Marvel’s moving more comics than DC, Marvel is the undisputed sales king and that’s all that matters. Unless you’re Marvel upper management, apparently.
Marvel has just announced…well…here’s the press release:
As part of Marvel’s unrivaled efforts to provide support to comic retailers in 2011, Marvel is pleased to announce the return of their groundbreaking Comics For Comics program, offering all retailers a chance to turn unsold comics into a rare Marvel variant! The extremely limited edition Fear Itself #6 McGuinness Variant will be made available to retailers who return the covers of select comics.
Retailers – for every 50 stripped covers of the following comics from the below group sent to Marvel, you will qualify to receive one FREE Fear Itself #6 McGuinness Variant…With boxes of covers arriving every day, Marvel urges retailers to get theirs in by the due date to guarantee themselves copies of this stunning variant.
So, is Marvel taking back copies of its own unsold books that just sit on the shelves? Of course not! They want retailers to rip the covers off of the various DC “Flashpoint” tie-ins!
This isn’t the first time Marvel pulled this publicity stunt: they did the same thing during “Blackest Night”. To be fair, when they did it last year, they also did it with their own books, albeit after retailers called them out.
But this is still incredibly petty on Marvel’s part, especially when they’re trying to hide “waving our groins at our competitors” as “helping comics shops through these tough economic times.”
It’s especially dickish because superhero comics are an endangered species. As we all know, Marvel got bought out by Disney for $4 billion, which sounds like a lot until you realize Marvel had no less than two huge movie franchises with at least another two on the way. That’s because Marvel’s publishing was actually a financial liability; most of its income came from selling collectibles and their cut of the movies. Also lost in the hoorah over DC’s September reboot is the fact that they’re canceling twenty books. Marvel may be selling more comics, but make no mistake: both companies are struggling.
And even worse, it’s their own fault. I feel both could do more, way more, to save themselves and make the genre viable. I’m annoyed DC is rebooting the DCU AGAIN, but at least they’re making the comics available digitally day-and-date as of September and actually trying to bring in new readers, although the total lack of Vertigo is irritating. And at least they’re supporting Android on their digital campaign: Marvel’s not even doing that, forget clearing up their messy continuity.
Even so, that’s why I went to my friendly local comics shop and bought a copy of every Flashpoint issue they had. Taking superhero comics off the stands doesn’t benefit anybody unless somebody’s buying them, and Marvel should be ashamed of itself.
Also, the variant cover is, well, this:
And that’s terrible.
[ via the Monitors at Blastr ]