Dear Peter David,
First of all, I have to say that I am a big fan. Your name on a book usually means an automatic add to my pull list (sorry, but even you couldn’t get me to read Iron Man or Superman.) I have suffered the cancelation of many of your books and Spider-Man 2099 is the book that got me into comics.
All of that being said, blaming those who wait for trade for the cancelation of All New X-Factor is disingenuous and contrary to how your employer has trained (for lack of a better word) their consumers. From your blog:
This isn’t a secret because I announced it back at Dragon*Con, but Bleeding Cool seems compelled to announce it incorrectly by stating that X-Factor is cancelled with #19.
Which is not true. It’s canceled with #20.
Also for some reason Bleeding Cool is associating it with the fact that Quicksilver will be returning to the Avengers and that’s why the book is going away. No, it’s because not enough people are buying it. Which is exactly the reason they cancelled “Gambit” as well, so it’ll probably be a long time before he gets to star in another book.
All I did was write a book that got tons of positive write-ups. Which I guess is enough to encourage people to buy it when it comes out in trades, oblivious to the fact that books get cancelled when you do that. Whatever.
Ignoring your issues with BleedingCool, there is no other way to describe what you are saying here as blaming paying readers for the cancelation of your book. Paying readers who made the choice your employer has basically told them to make: Buy the trades.
From what I can tell, issues #1 - #14 of All New X-Factor were $3.99 ($4 for easy math.) Even assuming full price, the first two trades, each collecting 6 issues, are $17.99 ($18.) That works out to $3 an issue. In all fairness, volume three seems to be vastly over priced at $25 for five issues, but with a release date of March 2015, I’m not convinced that will be the final price.
And All-New X-Factor isn’t the only book where this is the case. For the most part, Marvel trades are cheaper than their single issues, and yet somehow it is the fault of paying customers that they chose to make the logical purchasing choice?
From the comments section of the same blog post:
To the best of my knowledge, digital sales don’t count. It comes down to whether enough people are buying the book on the stands. And when enough people find alternatives and it kills the sales, the book goes away.
I have no idea if digital sales “count” or not, but when a customer can wait a month and save a dollar, what are they supposed to do? Marvel has told us that if we want to buy more comics, get more bang for our buck, we should wait.
Lets walk through the current state of comic books from a consumer’s point of view:
- Comics cost $4.
- Decompression seems to be the industry paradigm.
- Comics are generally perceived as being "written for the trade," and a collection of five or six issues can be more accurately described as "a complete story" than a single issue.
When you take all of that into account, blaming consumers for trying to save a few bucks rather than blaming the pricing strategies of Marvel does more than just insult your fans, but comes off as mean spirited and shows a lack of understanding what it's like to be a comic book consumer in the modern age.
Comics news sites are always running interviews where some big wig reminds us that events sell better, gimmicks make money, and dozens of other details that remind us that comic books are a business and "owe" us nothing. If we are to accept that Marvel has no loyalty to us and their main goal is to maximize profits (as it should be), why should we not behave towards comics the way we would any other industry?
Beyond all of that, the obvious question remains: why don’t trades (or digital sales if that is the case) count? That makes no sense. In what world can Marvel track individual sales but not trades? That is completely ridiculous and makes no logical sense. It seems to me, and probably most of your readers, that the problem isn’t the paying customers, but Marvel’s archaic sales measurement/cancelation policy combined with the afore- (and often) mentioned price gouging.
Mr. David, I mean no disrespect, and The Outhousers have been supporters of yours in the past (even going so far as to tell people to buy your products) and probably will be in the future, but if the options we have are to spend too much money on a comic – come on $4, really? – or take advantage of the mild (but still comparatively more expensive than other forms of entertainment) discounts Marvel offers on trades and digital, what do you expect us to do?
Comics are raising to $5 an issue, a trend started by Marvel’s AXIS event, but most of our budgets are either staying the same or shrinking. In all seriousness I ask; what do you want from us?
Your good buddy, RU
PS - what does a brother have to do to get the Sir Apropos of Nothing books back in print?