When asked at its Wednesday press conference this week whether Marvel would be able to get its books on schedule so that all of the 'Nuff Said' books ship during December (see 'Comics Big Two Duke It Out in December'), Marvel's editorial management expressed confidence. Bob Greenberger said that he thought that a few December books might slip into the first week of January, but that all the rest would ship in December. Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada maintained that Marvel was 'way in control' of the late book issues, specifically on the X-Men titles. He announced that Marvel was shipping 13 titles next week, and that Igor Korday had been brought on board to get the New X-Men title back on track.
We took a look at how serious the problems are, and Marvel has some catching up to do if it's going to meet its December schedule. Of its top twenty-five books scheduled for October, eleven titles, or 44%, did not ship during the scheduled period, including four of the five top titles solicited that month. As of today, six of those eleven late books have still not shipped, including two top five X-men titles -- New and Ultimate. To get back on schedule on those books (or at least to ship in the correct month), three issues will have to ship in the next six weeks, a daunting task for Marvel's editorial department. (Of some solace is the fact that books lower in the ranks are in better shape, with only two of Marvel books twenty-six through fifty that have not yet shipped.) And whether the shortened shelf life that will result if Marvel does ship the upcoming issues that quickly will impact sales is another issue that retailers will have to deal with.
No-one denies that under Quesada's leadership the Marvel editorial product has improved significantly. But now there's a more mundane test of management -- will the trains run on time?