Retailers reading over their invoices for comics and graphic novels shipping next week will be shocked to discover that Marvel Comics is shipping about 34 titles next week, to only about 17 titles from DC Comics. It’s a rare thing for Marvel to ship that many titles in a week (this week, for example, they only shipped about 17 or so), but to double the output of their closest competitor? That’s very rare indeed… Until you stop to consider that one of DC’s titles shipping next week is the next installment in their summer crossover Final Crisis.

So the question is, would Marvel release 34 superhero books on the same day just to try and bleed fans’ wallets dry on the week where DC tries to make a big push with their flagship book? Well, considering nearly every one of Marvel’s top sellers is dropping this week, I’m going to go ahead and guess here: Oh yeah, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Either that or it’s the sort of hideous oversight that betrays gross incompetence. But it was probably deliberate.

In addition to numerous Marvel comics scheduled to arrive in the month of June that were seemingly pushed from their original on-sale date to this week (including both Bendis Avengers books, both X-Men books, Brubaker’s Captain America & Daredevil, Millar’s Fantastic Four & Marvel 1985, and Ellis’ last Thunderbolts) this week also includes three of Marvel’s largest lateness-plagued titles: Hulk #4, Ultimates 3 #4, and even the final issue of Joss Whedon’s Runaways all drop next Wednesday. Plus another 20 comics. The complete list is below the cut at the end of this post.

About a month ago a bunch of retail ire was raised regarding these seeming ‘flood weeks’ of new product and assurances were made that this situation was being looked at, but it appears that no one is going to be happy with the solution. Retailers heavily invested in the superhero market are particularly vulnerable here, as their invoice for this week’s product is likely to be 2-4 times higher than last week’s invoice, and it is unlikely that their incomes will also be twice-to-four-times what they normally are; this is the sort of cash-flow crunch that can put a retailer right out of business.

In the end, it’s going to be comic book retailers that bear the fiscal brunt of these sort of shipping shenanigans. Most comics retailers have to pay for their books up front with increasingly smaller numbers of retailers getting 7, 14, 21, or 30 day payment terms. Marvel (and DC) are already paid, as will be Diamond comics. Customers can choose to buy their comics over the next week or two or three, however long it takes them to catch their budget up to their purchases. It’s comics retailers who end up sitting on these books the longest, waiting the longest to make the return on their investments, and as many retailers are chronically underfunded to begin with, this is a very serious issue.

This weekend is comic retailer Rory Root’s memorial in San Francisco and unfortunately many of the brighter and better-spoken retailers in the industry will be away from their computers, mourning a friend. I wish I could be there, but I can’t… but I do imagine that when everyone makes it back to their computers later this week the discussion on this subject will be quite lively.

Until then, please go ahead and have your say in the comments. I’m certainly not unbiased when it comes to Marvel, and maybe I’m completely off base here. But when I looked at my invoice and saw that, by quantity, I’m getting more 3 times as many Marvel comics next week as this week, I figured it was worth a post here…

- Christopher
Full list of Marvel and DC floppies shipping next week under the cut.

Marvel Comics Floppies shipping June 25th
34 line items (32 new comics, 1 new printing, 1 variant.)
APR082328 ANGEL REVELATIONS #2 (OF 5) 3.99
MAR082167 AVENGERS FAIRY TALES #3 (OF 4) 2.99
APR082297 AVENGERS INITIATIVE #14 SI 2.99
MAR082172 BLACK PANTHER #37 2.99
APR082263 CAPTAIN AMERICA #39 2.99
APR082264 DAREDEVIL #108 2.99
APR082267 FANTASTIC FOUR #558 2.99
FEB082223 HULK #4 2.99
APR082265 IMMORTAL IRON FIST #16 2.99
APR082276 MARVEL 1985 #2 (OF 6) 3.99
APR082277 MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #37 2.99
APR082287 MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #10 3.99
APR082241 MARVEL ILLUSTRATED MOBY DICK #5 (OF 6) 2.99
APR082295 MIGHTY AVENGERS #15 SI 2.99
APR082302 MS MARVEL #28 SI 2.99
APR082285 MYTHOS CAPTAIN AMERICA (RES) 3.99
APR082296 NEW AVENGERS #42 SI 2.99
APR082289 NEW WARRIORS #13 2.99
APR082286 POWER PACK DAY ONE #4 (OF 4) 2.99
DEC072217 RUNAWAYS #30 2.99
APR082299 SECRET INVASION RUNAWAYS YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (OF 3) 2.99
APR082306 SHE-HULK 2 #30 2.99
APR088083 SOLEIL SKY DOLL #1 (OF 3) 2ND PTG VAR (MR) 5.99
APR082308 THOR AGES OF THUNDER REIGN OF BLOOD 3.99
APR082312 THUNDERBOLTS #121 2.99
APR082248 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #123 2.99
JAN082127 ULTIMATES 3 #4 (OF 5) 2.99
JAN088333 ULTIMATES 3 #4 (OF 5) FINCH VAR (PP #809) 2.99
APR082314 UNCANNY X-MEN #499 DWS 2.99
APR082324 WOLVERINE FIRST CLASS #4 2.99
APR082325 WOLVERINE ORIGINS #26 2.99
APR082323 X-MEN FIRST CLASS VOL 2 #13 2.99
APR082315 X-MEN LEGACY #213 DWS 2.99
APR082311 YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #6 (OF 6) 2.99
DC Comics Floppies Shipping June 25th
19 line items (17 titles, 2 variants)

APR080190 BATMAN GOTHAM AFTER MIDNITE #2 (OF 12) 2.99
APR080248 CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY #46 2.25
MAR080223 CROSSING MIDNIGHT #19 (MR) 2.99
APR080205 DC UNIVERSE SPECIAL REIGN IN HELL 80 PAGE GIANT 4.99
APR080166 FINAL CRISIS #2 (OF 7) 3.99
APR080210 GREEN LANTERN #32 2.99
APR080177 HUNTRESS YEAR ONE #4 (OF 6) 2.99
MAR080231 JACK OF FABLES #23 (MR) 2.99
APR080213 JSA CLASSIFIED #39 2.99
APR080266 MADAME XANADU #1 (MR) 2.99
APR080267 MADAME XANADU #1 VAR ED (MR) 2.99
APR080257 NUMBER OF THE BEAST #6 (OF 8) 2.99
APR080260 PROGRAMME #12 (OF 12) 2.99
APR080259 SECRET HISTORY THE AUTHORITY HAWKSMOOR #4 (OF 6) 2.99
APR080182 SUPERMAN #677 2.99
APR080183 SUPERMAN #677 VAR ED 2.99
APR080262 SUPERNATURAL RISING SON #3 (OF 6) 2.99
APR080170 TEEN TITANS #60 2.99
APR080165 TRINITY #4 2.99


8 Comments on “Dirty Pool: Is Marvel trying to flood DC off the racks?”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. Chris Nolan.ca says:

    That’s food for thought, thanks! I had seen discussion by fans complaining about the # of titles on their pull list that they felt they needed to buy all at once… I’m sure they never consider the payment terms between retailer and distributor or the shelf space etc.

    Nitpick – typo on 1982 vs 1985.

  2. Ed Mathews says:

    They could put out 500 titles that week; I’m going in to get my Morrison fix.

  3. Pedro Tejeda says:

    They’ve been doing this for years though. Many stores list their Marvel books before their DC books, moves like this crowd out the competition.

    For the most part, a move like this wouldn’t even work if DC wasn’t so weak at the moment. Fans would keep going down the aisle to get the books they want.

  4. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Opening the floodgates says:

    [...] Retailer Chris Butcher noted on Friday that Marvel has about twice as many books coming out on Wednesday as DC does: Retailers reading over their invoices for comics and graphic novels shipping next week will be shocked to discover that Marvel Comics is shipping about 34 titles next week, to only about 17 titles from DC Comics. It’s a rare thing for Marvel to ship that many titles in a week (this week, for example, they only shipped about 17 or so), but to double the output of their closest competitor? That’s very rare indeed… Until you stop to consider that one of DC’s titles shipping next week is the next installment in their summer crossover Final Crisis. [...]

  5. Chris Williams says:

    Richard at Zeus commented on my article that the “end of quarter” theory holds up to last years numbers.

  6. Chris Nolan.ca says:

    Just checked the ‘top 10′ in my system. The only DC book to make the list is Green Lantern #32.

    If my math is right, Final Crisis #2 has 51% fewer pulls than the top title (New Avengers #42) and 10% fewer than the #10 spot held by Daredevil #108.

    It’s not full representational, but still interesting.

    FC#2 did make it to #6 for favourite cover though.

  7. Weekly Comic Shopping List 6/25/08 says:

    [...] I find it curious to see that in a week where Marvel is dumping 34 books on the market (see here and here,) I’m only getting three Marvel books, compared to the four from DC, 1 from Dark Horse, 1 from Image and 1 from Oni. Just because there are a lot of books doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be good. It’s worth noting that this is the second time I can remember this week that Marvel’s been accused of dumping titles onto the direct market and I believe it’s also the end of their fiscal quarter. The last time this happened, Marvel said they were trying to get books out so the numbers would help bolster the quarter.But I don’t know if you can judge by my tastes because I’m really looking forward to the All Star Batman and Robin hardcover.Also, I ordered a number of issues of Write Now and Draw from TwoMorrows as part of their $2 sale and they should be coming today or tomorrow. These mags will get added to my vacation reading list. [...]

  8. Paul O'Brien says:

    I agree that it looks dodgy, but I think it’s actually more likely to backfire on Marvel. This sort of tactic might work as a spoiler to distract from, say, BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. But for all the complaining, FINAL CRISIS was the number two book in May – it’s going to be racked prominently no matter how many books Marvel release against it. If anything, they risk squeezing their own titles off the shelves.

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