Thursday, June 4, 2009

So let's talk about good ol' Cap

There has been MUCH talk lately about Captain America #600 and Reborn #1. As a retailer, I have many things to say about both of these books. First of all, let me start off talking about Captain America #25 from a few years back. Most retailers were caught short with this baby, and I mean WAY short, mostly thanks to Marvel's lack of information given in the Marvel Previews. As a retailer, we must read the descriptions of every comic coming out and decide, using the solicitation the publisher has provided to Diamond, what we should order for that issue. As a direct market comic shop, using Diamond Comics as our main distributor for all comics we receive,we have zero returnablity options. Such is what we signed up for, we receive a larger discount than the news-stands in return for no returns (there are OCCASIONAL exceptions to this), and I'm usually ok with that, BUT Marvel had kept the contents (i.e. the DEATH of Captain America) under wraps until the day of release and then they told EVERYONE! Hey, I love publicity, but if you don't give retailers fair warning it can be frustrating for the retailers and consumers, when they can't get their hands on said product. (Don't even get me started on the whole Obama Spidey fiasco). So, now we have Captain America #600 coming to shops June 17th. Again, as retailers, we aren't given the FULL story as to WHY this book is SO very exciting, we just have to take Marvel's word for it. Many retailers have been burned, and I mean burned BAD in the past with Marvel's hype machine, so why should we listen to Marvel? Good question. Marvel is telling the retailers that we can get this book direct shipped to our stores for an ON SALE date of Monday, June 15th. Ok, weird, but ok. This is the first time that I know of, that one of the big two offered this kind of option to retailers. I'll bite, so I will let you know if it was worth the extra freight charges to get it drop shipped early, on Monday. Marvel is telling us that this is going to be a BIG deal, but how big, and why? We've seen the ads in various Marvel books with Cap and what looks like a female Bucky. And yeah, that sounds like something Marvel will try to get the media to grab onto. As discussed on other various websites we have no guarantee that the media will actually run with the story or not, it all depends on what other news needs to be reported that day. So if June 15th is a slow news day, comics shops across the county could well have another banner day, much like, but not nearly as crazy, as the Spidey Obama fun. IF you would like a copy of this much talked about Captain America book, please let your local A/F know, and again I really can't emphasis this more than enough, BEFORE the book comes out, and I don't' mean June 14th, I mean NOW. Get on the phone and call your local shop to tell them that yes you do indeed want to jump on the latest Marvel bandwagon to get your copy of Captain America #600 before it sells out. Marvel did offer some extra incentives to retailers to get us to order more,which is great and all, but the one incentive they COULD offer that retailers would really like to see is this: fine, Marvel thinks this book is going to be HUGE, ok, then ship out a double order to every retailer and make it fully returnable, or partially returnable or something. Make it easy on the retailer, not a strain on the retailer. And this isn't the only Cap-related nightmare we have to contend with, Reborn #1 is coming out July1st. See the above picture for Reborn on the right up on top of this post? Yeah, that is the advance art we, as retailers, have to go on for this book. FUN! Again, Marvel is putting all the strain on the retailer. Because of content, in the Marvel Previews solicitation we only saw the creative team listed, NO OTHER info, because it has to be a surprise! Again, I get it, and Marvel again is offering some kind of crazy scheme to retailers to get them to up their orders, with all kinds of incentive pricing, etc, but again, IF they made if returnable, we could all order with confidence. We would be much more likely to believe the Marvel hype machine if this was ever an option. Marvel IS giving us SOME advance warning this time around, for both Cap #600 and Reborn #1, which is a MUCH needed improvement over NOT giving us ANY or very little, such as for Captain America #25 or the ASM Obama event. This is what Marvel is saying " Reborn #1 is expected to receive Nationwide mass media coverage on June 15th." Ok, interesting, and yes Cap #600 will be here then, since I opted for the early ship on that issue, but will the interest be sustained all the way until July 1? I have NO idea. We don't even know for sure what is going to be in Reborn #1. There is of course, much speculation: is it a relaunch of Cap (The current Winter Soldier version) with the new female Bucky or is it Steve Rogers coming back to the land of the living? Or is it something else entirely? These are all good questions, and I can't answer any of them. When we see issue #600 of Cap and then two weeks later Reborn #1, we WILL have our answers, but it may be too late. Marvel has stepped up a little bit for Reborn #1, they have moved the "final order cutoff" to Tuesday June 16th. So when we get Cap #600, we will have ONE DAY to figure out IF we need to adjust our Reborn #1 numbers up or down. Nice touch, but again, we wouldn't have to play this guessing game if Marvel would just come right out and let the book be returnable OR double ship everyone with later returnability on unsold product.

Let's just say this is all very interesting, and I'll let you know how it develops. I would also like to say, we all know that Steve Rogers WILL come back at some point, most likely close to when the Cap and/or Avengers movie comes out, but until then, the Captain America book has been one of the most consistent books from Marvel over the last few years. When Brubaker first jumped on the book, I couldn't believe what he had done with it. Never in a million billion years did I think I would look forward to reading Captain America, month in and month out, but now I am STILL reading it, even when there was no Cap in the book, when it was just about Winter Soldier, and now with the new Cap, I am STILL reading it. Kudos indeed to the whole creative team on that book, and the editorial staff, for making it such a great book no matter who is starring in it.

Don't forget, if you want one or both of the above mentioned books, PLEASE contact your local A/F to tell them that you are interested. And do it NOW, not the day before the book ships.

Captain America #600 will be at shops on Monday, June 15th and Reborn #1 will be at shops on July 1st.


  1. The Marvel Hype Machine equals pain and suffering for both retailers and comic readers. All the gimmicks and truly bizarre, out of left field, plot twists rarely if ever lead to good story telling. All the shock and awe in comics (such as the death of Captain America and the unmasking of Spider-man) that create a buzz and sells books but often lead to disappointing conclusions and disgruntled fans. It's my opinion that a lot of less enlighten readers out there have been duped into thinking that the particular shock or gimmick is in itself indication that the story is good in the same way that action movies try to impress the audience with explosions and stunts and avoid story.

    The death of Captain America was a stunt to sell comics and far from an original one.
    Ed Brubaker's story has been a good one so far and has proven to be one of the rare exceptions of a stunt driven story but in my opinion it's been stretched a little too far.
    Is Steve Rogers going to be reborn, or will it be another of Marvel's fake out plot twists and end up being something completely unexpected. Does Ed Brubaker have any control over what the conclusion is or is it another editorial mandated stunt?

    Perhaps more importantly, do I as a fan even care any more? If the story is good I will most likely enjoy it, but I find I have lost the feeling of loyalty that I used to have with the Marvel characters. Half the time I don't believe that Marvel editors and writers really care that much about the characters and their portrayal. Many writers seem to want to re-imagine them into something we fans may or may not recognize.The bottom line is, I no longer trust Marvel to give me a satisfying piece of entertainment. That's not to say Marvel doesn't have anything worth reading, it just means that perhaps fans can not depend on the idea that Marvel always has their best interests in mind.

    I do trust DC however, because most of the time their hype has in fact led to many enjoyable and satisfying stories. So, for me, their track record is much better. The writers and editors seem to have a love for the characters I love and seem to want a faithful portrayal of them. That makes me happy and keeps me reading in a way that Marvel has not been able to.

  2. A certain Vol. 3 Thor issue revealed a little too much to me about the fate of Captain America. So much that I don't want to talk about it, but hey, I'm gonna call in and ask for Captain America #600 if it's still possible. :)

  3. Getting caught up on your blog here while I'm working, Lori. Forgive the late comment. Don't know if you'll read this but I feel better posting it.

    Bucky Barnes=good character in his own right and interesting to read about.

    Steve Rogers=Captain America.

    Conclusion: it's time for Steve to come back and save the world.

    What I'd like to see is for Steve to come back, lead the superheroes out of the mess that Civil War, Secret Invasion and Dark Reign have wrought upon the MU. Be Captain America at least one more time. Then, when Bucky's ready to give it back to Steve, he says 'Thanks, but no thanks. I've just died and come back to life, and while lots of super powered people have been through that...I never have. I need to decompress.'

    Then he goes somewhere to sort it all out in his head and sort of disappears in to that 'comics limbo' where Bruce Wayne is currently hanging out. This way, they aren't DEAD, thus removing the painful stinger of gimmicky storytelling from our wounded souls, but aren't present in their own books and can be brought back at a later point.

    And we can't say this approach wouldn't work. We all know Bruce isn't dead in Batman. He's just off somewhere, either recovering or in hiding for some reason. DC was smart not to kill the character 'onscreen'. This way, when they bring him back again it won't seem so far fetched. Let's see how they pull it off w/Cap.

  4. I like your thinking here Tom. I think Bucky makes an excellent Cap as well as Dick makes an excellent Batman. Very logical thought process here, so my hopes of Marvel doing something like this, are bleak at best. But again, I will give Brubaker the benefit of the doubt. He hasn't let me down yet!