Monday, January 14, 2008

Interesting article on the evolution of the comic book business

As new readers and fortune-hunters entered the marketplace, they gravitated heavily to the emerging art talent coming from Marvel. "Oh, absolutely," commented Chuck Rozanski, the owner of Mile High Comics and a prominent figure amongst comics retailers. "They had a huge fan base, and that's why they were able to step so successfully away from Marvel and to strike out on their own. See, part of that came from Marvel's philosophy, and Terry Stewart's philosophy, of making stars. And so Marvel in effect created the notoriety of these guys by really, really pushing their star power and using that to sell books, but then in the end it came back and really did bite them in the tail. I think to this day it's the philosophy of Marvel to downplay individual creators and to really emphasize the team effort and the editors and so on. Marvel to this day doesn't send people out that much on a promotional tour. You almost never see them set up at conventions in any real substantive way. They are trying to keep their creators very much under their thumb."

[snip]

In the midst of Heroes World, Steve Milo and various other retailers were approached by Marvel to buy excess inventory. He would win the lot and create Marvel Mart ads to sell these goods. He was able to see the extent of Marvel's disorganization. Steve related, "The unfortunate component was the fact that it really destroyed the distribution market. But we weren't a distributor, so it wasn't as big an issue. I mean, Marvel Mart was kind of silly. They just were never set up to do consumer retail sales, and they knew that. Marvel literally lost control of their inventory. They literally didn't know what they had or didn't have, and we bought, for pennies on the dollars, 300 trailer-loads sight unseen of Marvel inventory. We literally bought 300 tractor-trailer-loads of Marvel product.

Read much more.

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