We've seen some grumbling about this on Twitter, but a redditor (presumably a pissed off retailer) has revealed what some of the order requirements are for Marvel's controversial Hip Hop variants. When Axel Alonso spent weeks fending off claims of cultural appropriation via dishonest question dodging in carefully-scripted, Marvel-controlled interviews on Comic Book Resources, a major component of his flimsy defense was that the covers were his tribute to Hip Hop, an art form that he loved. However, just as we told you at the time, Marvel's plans were, all along, motivated purely by corporate greed. If you need any more proof, just take a look at some of the requirements revealed in this infographic (click to see a bigger version):
That's right, if you want to get your hands on the Sam Wilson: Captain America #1 variant, homaging A$AP Rocky's Long. Live. A$AP., you better be prepared to order 175% of your last Captain America order, and if you want to purchase the Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II homaging Guardians of the Galaxy variant, you need to order 175% of a past Guardians of the Galaxy order. The extravagant scene in Marvel's offices when all of these vastly inflated orders come in is going to look like it's straight out of a rap video.
Now, you may rightfully point out that this image comes from Reddit without a verified source, but we have seen frustrated retailers making reference to both the high requirements and the confusing nature of the All-New Marvel NOW! reboot orders on social media, so we're inclined to believe this is for real. We did put out a few calls to retailers for verification, and though no one has offered to speak directly, presumably for fear of Marvel's wrath, we have gotten confirmation that this "looks about right," and if these aren't the exact numbers, the concept is basically the same. We can verify that one retailer (who did not wish to be interviewed) revealed on Twitter last week that the variants required "VERY HIGH" order percentage increases of regular covers based on past orders, and, when combined with "months of poorly-selling Secret Wars tie-ins" and an already difficult to project line-wide #1 issue reboot, was "approaching the Heroes World debacle" in terms of how damaging it could be to the retail market.
And if you think about it, Marvel's greed is pretty shitty for comic shop owners. We already know that retailers must purchase non-returnable comics from Diamond months in advance, taking all the publishing risk away from Marvel and putting it on shops. When those retailers need to not only gamble with how many comics they think they can sell, it's pretty ballsy to also ask them to do it with so many brand new books at once and, on top of that, make them perform various mathematical equations to figure out how to qualify for the variants as well.
Fans don't benefit from this, because if they want to own one of these admittedly cool covers, they'll need to pay a grossly inflated price on ebay. Retailers only benefit by taking on all of the risk, and there's just as good a chance (if not moreso) that they'll end up stuck with a bunch of unsold copies of #1 issues that they have to eat the cost of. The only ones who benefit from these kind of "incentive" variants are publishers. Big shocker, I know.
But hey. Axel Alonso is just a poor kid whose life was changed by Hip Hop at a diner in Oakland, and the Walt Disney Corporation is just paying tribute to Hip Hop with these extremely lucrative variant covers that they're not paying the original artists they're homaging for. You know, in the same sense that Suge Knight pays tribute to his business partners by running them over with his car.
Stay tuned and we'll update you as soon as we can verify these numbers.
(Note: Outhouse forum poster Jethawk brought this to our attention.)