Thacher E. Cleveland of Dark Star Bookstore in Dayton, Ohio saw the comments by Garner Loudermilk chastising retailers for being unprepared for the demand for Captain American #25 (see 'Garner Loudermilk of Yamato Toys on Death of Captain America') and asserts that Marvel should have given retailers fair warning about the scope of publicy for the release:
I take issue with Mr. Loudermilk's comments about retailers accepting blame, and that 'if comic store owners didn't see this coming, then they have lost touch with their product and their customer base.' There's nothing about this ambush that has anything to do with being in touch with our product and customer base. This was a major event dropped in our laps with absolutely no warning of any kind. '[Y]ou read three months ago in Previews when it said someone was going to die,' says Loudermilk. All of the solicitations in the December Previews that Captain America #25 was listed in were *Classified!* so there was no way to know what was going to happen in that issue. According to Diamond (since my memory isn't that great), the FOC on Cap #25 was February 15th, a little less than a week before Civil War #7 shipped on the 21st, which included the *Declassified!* solicits. The one for Cap #25 reads as follows, 'Leaping from the final pages of Civil War, this is the *only place* readers can find out what happens next in the life of Captain
The Marvel Hype Machine for this didn't start churning until after Civil War #7, which I will admit makes some amount of sense given the series' ending. And yes, I was able to add some more issues after FOC as this got talked up more and more, but as every retailer here reports, when it became evident *how* big this was going to be it was far too late and the damage was done. I even ordered more of this issue than I did of the Civil War-proper tie-in books. Clearly, not enough.
I don't think any retailer on here wanted anything more than fair warning, which could have been achieved without spoilers, but with a phone call, an email or a posting on the Marvel page of the Diamond site. 'This issue will be as big as Spider-Man unmasking.' 'This issue will contain things that will be picked up by the AP and on TV news.' That's the kind of thing that gets my attention, not 'bizarre and shocking.' The only thing 'bizarre and shocking' is how someone thinks that by 'tak[ing] a long look around you and get[ting] back in touch with your store and actually read[ing] Previews (that's what it's there for) instead of blindly checking off boxes of what you order every month' we would have been able to glean that this was going to be on CNN, on the Colbert Report, in the New York Times, and on NPR.
Of course, I don't even know if that would be enough. Creator and company hype are reaching epidemic levels, what with every creator having a Website and blog and news-site getting information to everyone who wants it. There's nothing wrong with promotion, but it should be fair and honest, not carnival sideshow hucksterism. We were told that the end of Civil War #7 would be shocking and that there would be a death. Most of my customers found it underwhelming, and the death of Clor shocked no one. Then, the real shocker comes in the epilogue.
I mean, remember Fantastic Four: Death in the Family? 'One of the FF is going to die!' We meant it! For serious! I mean, we can't even trust that books are going to show up on time, now we have to wonder if there's going to be a media bombshell in them too.
I'm not surprised that the finger has already been pointed at the retailers for not being prescient enough to know that this was coming.
I'm expecting it from Marvel on Friday during Quesada's weekly address, but from anyone else I find it a little insulting. 'Don't blame Marvel or Quesada, because you misjudged the market, the buck stops with you, period!' says Loudermilk. There was no misjudgment of the market, there was miscommunication and disrespect from a company that should be our partner, not our enemy.
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