John Secreto of Comic Swap in State College, Pennsylvania saw Marvel COO Bill Jemas' comments on ordering Namor (see 'Namor 25 Cents Kicks Off 'Tsunami'') and supports the concept, but has reservations:
Since you brought it up, I might as well throw in my initial reaction to Mr. Jemas' comment:
I think the basis for his argument is obvious. In my store we have used DC's Gen 13 and both the Batman and Superman 10 Cent Adventures and Marvel's Fantastic Four and Daredevil price reductions as great
promotional tools. We have ordered huge numbers of these comics and gave them away to all our subscribers and free at the counter to everyone. I think any store would be silly not to. With the promotion, exposing customers to new titles or titles they may have lost interest in, for what is essentially free doesn't take effort. And we have ordered subsequent issues more aggressively, with the hopes that customers will enjoy the promotional comics and either add the titles to their list or come back for the nextissue. And in most cases it has worked, especially in the case of Batman.
But there are some significant ways those cases differ from the upcoming Namor comic. The first, and I think most important, way they differ are the creators. In almost all the previous situations, the creators were well respected, talents in the industry. With Mark Waid writing Fantastic Four, people are going to be more interested. And he has proven himself yet again. And people love it. We have increased subscribers and certainly have had more talk about the book. This worked for many of the other promotions. Batman: Brubaker and Rucka. Daredevil: Bendis. Namor: Jemas and Watson? So while the initial, built-in promotion of the 25 cent comic doesn't take a high IQ for any good retailer, in this situation, we should all probably think long and hard before ordering the follow-up too aggressively.
The point is simple. What if the comic is horrible? While a great independent talent, Andi Watson has no track record in mainstream super-hero comics, especially one that will be directed at teenagers. And Mr. Jemas' recent writing has left much to be desired. We should order Namor based onthe success of Marville? Add to that virtually unknown (at least in America) artist, Mizuki Sakakibara, and we have a very uncertain ordering dilemma. So again the initial IQ test is a no brainer. There is no reason to treat this promotion any differently than the previous. We will certainly order hundreds of copies and give them away. But after that? More aggressive, probably a little. But not out of control. This has been said many times by many other retailers, but if Marvel (and specifically Mr. Jemas) have so much confidence in their comics, make them available after first printings. Or make the comics returnable. Prove us wrong. If it is that great, we will ALL make money from having the comic overprinted and available to everyone. I think it is about time Marvel shared some of the risk with the retailers.
We all want the comics to sell. I want to see more teenagers in my store. I want people to be talking about a Namor movie the way they talk about Spider-Man. But I think that Marvel could help us, and themselves, by making a good promotion into a great one. Make it one that cannot fail. This is just my opinion, maybe others can use it as a caution or bring some other ideas to the table.