Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Discuss: Marketing Ploys


david_b said...

Mixed benefits.. I'm sure nearly every comic collector STILL has a sealed copy of the 'Death of Superman' bag (mine's buried... somewhere, unless I did toss it).

Like most would say, the embossed covers of the '90s got a bit out of hand. I liked some of them, but like the Vision one shown here (and the red FF Torch issue), you can't make out anything..!?!

I bought a few of them for fun, so I guess the marketing partially worked but the real effectiveness is creating 'sustained interest', keep 'em coming back for more.

I like them as 'collectable tokens', but as with most gimmicks:

Here today/gone (to eBay for $$$) tomorrow.

J.A. Morris said...

I bought only one extra copy of a 90s gimmick cover. This one, because, the bars kept getting ripped:

I will admit to buying 2 copies each of 'Alpha Flight' #1 and 'The Thing' #1 in 1983. I actually thought they'd be "valuable" someday!

Redartz said...

I was one of the many who bought multiple copies (and various covers) of Todd McFarlane's Spiderman book in 1990. Needless to say, they still collect dust in a box.

Variant covers are obviously a big draw to some these days, as Marvel's recent ploy to exchange a limited variant for returned DC books testifies. Some of these covers are quite attractive, but many are nothing more than gimmicks. I feel the emphasis should be on the story itself. Who cares if a comic has a scarce cover if it is painfully bad to read? And like David b said, the point is to keep the fans coming back. A riveting story will; gimmicks probably wont.

starfoxxx said...

As i quit collecting @ 1991, I missed alot of the really crappy ploys, but I sure fell for the Spider-Man #1, X-men #1, and Legends of the Dark Knight multi-cover ploys. Legends' first arc was actually pretty good, but the different "color" covers was just weak.

I picked up alot of the 90s crap in quarter bins the last few years. The Avengers foil covers were so lame, as were the interior stories/art. And I think they sold for @ $3.00 way back then!

Inkstained Wretch said...

My theory was always "disregard the hype and just buy the comics you actually like."

It served me well.

Dougie said...

I really liked the Avengers in this era: foil covers, matching jackets, Deathcry... Love is rarely rational.

Lemnoc said...

Like collecting Franklin Mint coins stamped out in the millions by the Treasury, the value is undermined by sheer commonness. Like some kind of inverse square law, a thing *intended* to be remarkable is rendered less so by every impression.

Why is Action Comics #1 valuable? Because most of 'em were ground up as trash in newsprint drives.

Ultimately, the only people likely to pay a lot of money for a collectible comic is someone who really likes comics. The Ponzi scheme-as-marketing ploy seemed a cruel trick to play on the fan base.

ChrisPV said...

Stop. Renumbering. Series.

All this talk about wanting to be new reader friendly goes right out the door when, say, someone wants to start with Avengers. But it sure is hard when someone comes in asking about reading up on the Avengers in light of the new movie, and there are four different Avengers #1s to choose from, and two different New Avengers #1s to deal with.

Variant covers never really bothered me, because I have a simple strategy. Buy the one that's cheapest.

Fred W. Hill said...

I'd mostly already quit buying comics by the time they really got hot & heavy with the gimmicks and I never bought a comic simply for investment purposes. For me it was all about entertainment. When I was a kid it was about the characters, mainly Spider-Man, the FF and the Avengers, but as I got older it was more the writer & artist that would pique my interest.
Speculators apparently forget that comics, like most any other collectors item, only become highly valuable when they're both rate and significant. If a million copies of McFarlane's Spider-Man #1 were printed, the chances of any copy ever being worth hundreds, never mind thousands of dollars strikes me as pretty remote, especially since despite being a #1 of a new Spidey series it wasn't particularly significant, certainly not like Amazing Fantasy #15 or Amazing Spider-Man #1.

Fred W. Hill said...

Oops, dang typo, make that "rare and significant"!

William said...

The first gimmick foil cover I remember was for Silver Surfer (#50 I think). I bought it just because I was buying SS anyway. Like everyone else though, I fell for a lot of that kind of stuff in the 90's. (Sometimes they didn't give you much choice). Back then we were fed the standard diet of multiple covers, foil stamped covers and dye-cut covers. But there were also some more creative gimmicks as well.

Some of the most memorable for me were:

1. "Colorforms" covers on some of DC's Superman comics. (Those plastic cutouts of figures that you can stick remove and re-stick to a coated cardboard background to create different scenes). The first ever interactive comic cover.

2. Hologram covers. Some of those were quite nice actually. Especially the Marvel Spider-Man covers.

3. Animation cels included with comics. Most notably for the Spider-Man and Iron Man toons of the 90's.

4. Cassette tapes included with comics. I still have the unopened Spider-Man comics that have these bagged with them. Problem is, I no longer have a cassette player to listen to them on.

5. Covers with stuff stuck to them. Like DC's Eclipso #1 that had a plastic purple gem glued on the cover so that it looked like Eclipso was holding it.

Ahhh, gotta love the 90's. (Or not).

However, as bad as this stuff was it all pales in comparison to the latest "gimmick" that is truly ruining the comic's industry… and that is the inter-company multi-part crossover. ENOUGH ALREADY! I quit reading new comics a few months ago, and I recently went into a comic store, and I swear, I was so confused I didn't know what the heck was going on. Every Marvel Comic had a "Fear Itself" (whatever the hell that is) banner blazoned across the top. Then all the Spider-books were part of "Spider-Island!", and all the Ultimate books were under the "Ultimate Fallout" umbrella, while the DC books were all tied into "Flash Point"! Jeez Louise! I just quit buying new comics not too long ago and I was totally overwhelmed by it all. Imagine if you were a newbie trying to get into comics. You'd run screaming for the door after 5 minutes of trying to make sense of all of that mess.

If I had suddenly decided to jump back into the game and play catch up on all the goings on, it would have spent over $300.00 in one day. This multi-part crossover garbage has dug the comics industry into a deep hole, and they are trying to get out of it by digging deeper. They seem to think that by flooding the shelves with title after title and forcing readers to pick up every comic they publish it's going to increase sales and make them more money. When it actually has had the opposite effect. No new readers can figure out what the heck's going on, and old-time readers like me are jumping ship out of sheer frustration.

I have a great idea for a money making gimmick… it's called good storytelling. Let the writers and artists just organically come up with the stories that they want to tell, instead of forcing them to wedge their ideas into the "Event du jour". The comic-book industry survived for over 60 years on that premise, why don't you give it a try again Marvel and DC, and see what happens. You might be surprised.

Chris said...

I actually bought both the Avengers and Superman issue highlighted but (please correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think there was an alternative if you were currently collecting the title. Sure (esp. in the Superman example) the black bag the comic came in helped to add to the hype/ significance of the issue but in my view the real marketing ploys were the variant covers there to tempt people to buy multiple copies of essentially the same comic.

I too fell for this with X-Men #1 and Spider-man #1 but I didn't for Man of Steel #1 which came out earlier. Remember the newstand and direct sales only versions of Byrne's excellent revamp?

However, I quickly realised that this was a complete waste of money and adopted the strategy of buying the cheapest version of the issue I want. The marketing ploy didn't affect my decision on whether or not to buy a comic - that was based on more "mature" factors such as the creators!

I am actually quite amazed that the variant cover phenomenon has contiued to this day and seems to be getting stronger? Why? Surely the companies should put the best cover they can on the comic in the attempt to persuade more buyers to pick it up? Don't just make 1 in 10 a good cover. Madness!

Oh and before I forget - I loved and still do love the Bob Harras/ Steve Epting Avengers from this time. Each to their own eh? Could have lived without the crappy foil covers though. The only one that was any good was Silver Surfer #50.

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