We've continued to receive comments on Marvel's Walmart program (see 'Marvel Reprints Ultimate #1s for Walmart') from pop culture stores.  This is the fourth such series of comments we've published.  For the third set and links back to previous comments, see 'Retailers React to Marvel's Walmart..., Part 3').


For Marvel's response to questions about its Walmart program, including its scope and Marvel's newly enunciated policy regarding distribution of its products in competing channels, see 'At Least Six Million Ultimate Spider-Man #1s in Print.'


The following is from Ron Catapano of Comics Plus in Mount Holly, New Jersey, who looked at the issue from a broader perspective:

The bigger concern for comic shops isn't just that Wal-Mart has Marvel comics but what are the terms behind the sale to Wal-Mart.


Comic shops are constantly being watered down by things like: (1) Pokemon cards being released to mass market stores before being released to the stores that were going to provide support for them; (2) Diamond exclusives being sold to music, video& game chain stores.  It used to be that Diamond exclusive meant comic shop exclusive.  Do we get a crack at Wal-Mart or Toys R Us exclusives when they are released. (3) Trade paperback comics being sold to book stores as well as other chain stores with terms that we do not have access to: (4) And now books that we have told our customers are only available at back issue prices of $8-10 are now being reprinted and sold exclusively in another market.


Do these other stores have to purchase their stock as far in advance as we do, or with as little information about the products as we get? Do they have options which we don't get, such as the ability to decrease their orders or to return unsold product?  We support long- term life to many of these industries yet we are constantly subjected to short sighted thinking.  Maybe if comic shops weren't treated like bastard step-children, we could provide the income that these publishers and distributors are looking for.


Catapano sent in a post-script prompted by some of the 'pro' comments he saw on the site: 

After reading the pro-Walmart comments I felt a need to respond.  While I will agree that more exposure for the comic market is a good thing, having Walmart sell comics at a better than 10% discount is most definitely NOT. Oh, but the people who read the Walmart reprints will flock to the comic book store to get the rest of the issues . . . nope, that can't be - because the rest of the issues aren't available. Maybe if we could get the trade paperback when we order it we could sell them a $14.95 tpb which contains the issue they already have and then tell them to come back in a month or so when the next tpb comes out . . . or even better, they can get the tpb at one of the big bookstores for cheap.      Thanks Marvel!


Hector Diaz of Jumpgate in Portsmouth, New Hampshire had this to say.

Despite the success Quesada has had in revitalizing Marvel's creative output, Bill Jemas has undermined that by causing the company to lose whatever integrity it might have had. When we heard that Marvel was reprinting after saying that they wouldn't, I wasn't surprised. If there is a fast buck in it, they'll go there.


Thanks everyone, for your comments; this has been a lively debate with lots of good discussion from all sides.