Since the implementation of Marvel's 'no overprint' policy (see 'Marvel's Jemas Explains...,' and 'Reactions...'), some retailers that were shorted on initial shipments due to a mis-pack, damage, or other reason were not able to get replacement copies and ended up short on their initial orders of Marvel comics.  Marvel has stated that their goal is to have enough books available to fill initial orders, but not to have any left over for reorders.  ICv2 followed up with Marvel VP Matt Ragone, who after consulting with Diamond -- Marvel's exclusive distributor to specialty stores -- told us that a number of steps have been taken to reduce the incidence of this type of problem.  He said that, 'Some of the availability problems over the past few weeks are attributable to some of [these] problems.  We've corrected those problems, and just this week made two additional adjustments that should also improve fulfillment of initial orders.'  


Based on the adjustments Ragone cited, it appears that various logistics issues were contributing to the inability to provide 'fixes' for shorts of initial orders.  Those included an incongruity between how long retailers were allowed to increase initial orders and when Marvel placed its print orders, and problems getting extras to Diamond.  The nature of these problems illustrate the difficulties of administering the very limited extras that are being printed under Marvel's new policy.  The number of retailers affected appears to have been limited; Ragone was unable to provide information regarding their numbers or the number of copies they ended up being shorted. 


One retailer told us, 'Last week Ultimate Marvel Team Up #1 shipped...I was shorted 24 copies from the 75 and did not receive the additional 22 free copies.'  When we followed up to see if the books were replaced, he told us, 'As of this week's invoice, I have been credited...This means they will not send me the copies I missed.' 


Ragone listed three specific steps being taken to improve fill rates of initial orders on Marvel comics:

'1.Changing the 'order increase cutoff dates' in the Diamond system to reflect when Marvel was requesting the purchase orders from Diamond in order to set the print runs.  Once the dates were coordinated, orders processed after that date are processed as backorders and confirmed to retailers as backorders.

'2.Making certain that Marvel's printers were shipping the overages (overprinted copies) to DCD, and 

'3.Having Marvel and Diamond systems reflect consistent data on the number of extra copies being allocated to cover shortages and damages. 

Hopefully these changes can help Marvel get back on track with fulfilling initial orders on new comics.