Donald Riordan of Future Dreams in Portland, Oregon doesn't like the subscription ads in the latest Marvel comics:


Marvel has started placing full page 50% off subscription ads inside of many of their comics.  Comics that include She-Hulk #4, Fantastic Four #514, Mary Jane #1, Thor #81, Ultimate Fantastic Four #7, and this week's Fantastic Four #515.


I would like to know what Marvel's reasoning is for this action.  Why is Marvel using its position as publisher to undercut the entire Direct Market sales channel?  Marvel knows that we cannot match this kind of deep discounting.


I clearly understand that Marvel is free to offer whatever subscription plan it chooses.  But I personally believe that Marvel has stepped way over the line of a good faith relationship with the Direct Market.


This is not a bold attempt to expand the comic book readership from outside markets.  The ads have been placed inside the regular comic books distributed to the direct market, preaching to the faithful.  The majority of any subscription sales will come from the Direct Market and out of our bottom line.  This 50% Subscription Plan will remove customers from the Direct Market and from our stores.


This 50% off Subscription Plan will remove the opportunity for the customer to purchase on impulse.  Fewer sales for the Direct Market and fewer sales for Marvel.


We have been told for decades that the way to grow market share is to offer enhanced services and not to cut our own throats by giving away our profit margin.  For Marvel that means offering better quality books, with strong storytelling and cutting edge art.  It does not mean giving away the Direct Market's profit margin.


This program is wrong.  This program is poor marketing.  This program is very short sighted.  Marvel needs to stop these ads now.  Marvel needs to offer an apology to the entire Direct Market for this transgression.  Marvel needs to make it right.


The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of