Marvel is kicking off its 'tsunami' line with a 25 cent first issue of Namor, the anchor title in the group, which will ship in April (along with #2, at the regular $2.25 price). Marvel COO Bill Jemas called the ordering decision on #2 another 'IQ Test' for retailers (for his first, see 'Jemas: Marvel No Overprint Policy Is IQ Test for Retailers'). Here's how Jemas described the promotion and the 'test:'
'Namor #1 will be a 25 cent book. And we're going to ship Namor #2 in the same month as #1. One of the things we realized early on was that as long as there are trees we can make as many books as we want in any given month. We're giving retailers the opportunity to make their normal monthly profit on that new book with issue #2, and to go ahead and start issue #1 with a significant fan base -- hundreds of thousands of readers instead of tens of thousands of readers. And the tough issue for retailers is 'What will they buy on issue #2?' Will they buy it as if issue #1 was not a promotion or will they buy it as if issue #1 was a promotion? And now we're back to the IQ test category, because I'm telling you if we call the top 10 retailers (or the top 20 retailers because the cream is rising) they will all buy Namor #2 more aggressively than they would otherwise have bought Namor #2 without the promotion in the first instance.'
Namor was chosen as the anchor book not only for the character's position in Marvel history, but also because the property is being geared up for movie stardom (see 'Movie and TV Notes'). According to Jemas, 'Our job at Marvel is once we know a property is going Hollywood, and characters are going to hit the big screen, we make a real effort to do what comic books do well, which is help to get a groundswell behind the character early. One of the reasons that Hollywood is so interested in comic books is that they like the fact that comic book fans create, and in general are pretty good at predicting, media trends, so our job is to get out there and make Namor work in the comic book market.'
For info on the full 'tsunami' launch, see 'Marvel 'Manga Style.''