Robot 6

Marvel clarifies rollback policy, lowers Incredible Hulk price

Price rollback!

After nearly a month of online confusion and criticism regarding its announced price rollback, Marvel has clarified what titles may be affected by the policy.

“The pricing structure is that for limited series in the Marvel Universe that we roll out, we will price as many of those as we can for $2.99 for a 32-page book,” David Gabriel, senior vice president of sales & circulation, told The Beat.

He emphasized that the rollback will apply to 32-page limited series in the Marvel Universe, and not licensed titles or the marquee Ultimate line. However, the Incredible Hulk also will see a price reduction, and lose its back-up feature in the process.

“We had it at $3.99 throughout the event that was going on, and a lot of people were getting into the Hulk stuff but the price was becoming sort of a barrier to them staying with it,” Gabriel said. “The back-up features weren’t doing enough to propel enough sales on that or to keep them going. I actually had retailers begging me on that title to reduce the price … but only on that series. We did some math and figured some things out and moved some things around and that’ll be in the February catalog.”

The clarified policy differs significantly from reports coming out of the ICv2 Conference on Comics & Digital at New York Comic Con on Oct. 7, when the initial announcement was made. It had been characterized in several separate articles as a reduction from $3.99 to $2.99 for new titles beginning in January.  But Marvel Vice President-Executive Editor Tom Brevoort told Comic Book Resources last week “that people either misreported or misconstrued” Gabriel’s announcement.

The Beat interview with Gabriel and Chief Operating Officer Jim Sokolowski goes beyond the rollback policy to delve into the state of the market, digital comics and more.

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15 Comments

Well a few more articles and interviews and Marvel may finally have an actual plan for price reduction.

It’s very awesome that they’re reducing the price on limited series though. Now if only they’d stop advertising stories as ongoings and turning them into minis at issue 3.

The Coolest Dad (tm)

November 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

Other than dropping the page count and price on the Hulk (which they just admonished DC for less than three weeks ago), I still don’t see any definitive plan. He mentions dropping the price on limited series, but then gives the following caveats:

– Anything with more than 22 pages of story
– Anything with a back up
– Anything already being published @ $3.99
– Anything they consider a “marquee title”
– Anything licensed

So really what does that leave? One or two books at the most? We’ll see I guess.

“The pricing structure is that for limited series in the Marvel Universe that we roll out, we will price AS MANY OF THOSE AS WE CAN for $2.99 for a 32-page book,”

Oh, for Christ’s sake. This is just ridiculous. You know how many you CAN price at $2.99? Any that you damn well please! What’s stopping you? Oh, that’s right: GREED.

“The pricing structure is that for limited series in the Marvel Universe that we roll out, we will price as many of those as we can for $2.99 for a 32-page book,”

The key words here are “as many of those as we can”, which I don’t imagine will translate to that many titles. Now Marvel can turn around and tell people again when there are very few reductions that they are reading into the announcement. Reality is that Marvel had and has no intention of dropping prices on anything they didn’t already intend on publishing at $2.99. They were shaken by DC announcing their price reduction at NYCC and didn’t want to look bad in comparison, so they jumped to an announcement they weren’t prepared to make and then cancelled the decision without announcing it as a cancellation, but as people hearing what they wanted to.

And as for Incredible Hulks being reduced to a $2.99 price point…Hell yes, $3.99 was a lot to spend twice a month on a book I no longer enjoy. Unfortunately for Marvel, I’m not willing to pick the book up again now that I have dropped it, even at the lower price. I still don’t enjoy the story and haven’t since the end of Planet Hulk. I just feel like with 10 different hulks running around the book has gone too far from the loneliness, isolation, and search for acceptance that has been at the core of it since the inception and there are too many books I do enjoy. I’d much rather give $3.99 to Boom! Studios or sample something from Image or a smaller company than continue to purchase something I dread reading now.

Why were you reading Incredible Hulk if you hated it?

You listed many reasons why you hated it, but none why you continued to buy it.

I’m confused.

Man, am I tired of hearing about this. Makes me glad that Marvel’s price increases caused me to cancel my entire pull list a year ago.

Collected editions only now, thanks.

I never said that I hated the book, just that I didn’t enjoy reading it any longer. And I read it because I cared about the character and was hoping that either that creative direction would change or the creative team would move on. Comics are regularly changing direction and focus and I enjoy collecting without breaks in the series. Unfortunately, this direction has gone on for too long for me to continue to put money down on it.

Sorry, as far as I’m concerned, no longer enjoy might as well mean hate. I love Green Lantern, been reading since 1986. Dropped it like a sack of rocks in 2005. I get it.

I understand better, thanks. I would love not to have interrupted runs of books, but, whatcha gonna do?

Don’t you think it’s about time Hulk stopped being lonely? Doesn’t he deserve a happy ending too? I mean it’s been decades of Bruce on the run.

“Other than dropping the page count and price on the Hulk (which they just admonished DC for less than three weeks ago), I still don’t see any definitive plan. He mentions dropping the price on limited series, but then gives the following caveats:

– Anything with more than 22 pages of story
– Anything with a back up
– Anything already being published @ $3.99
– Anything they consider a “marquee title”
– Anything licensed

So really what does that leave? One or two books at the most? We’ll see I guess.”

The difference is that DC reduced page count below the norm, so that it’s just 20 pages of story instead of 22. So Marvel still has a legitimate argument. Basically they trimmed the excessive and not particularly well-received back-up story.

And I don’t know if you’ve checked the Marvel solicitations but they publish a buttload of minis and one-shots, so that leaves quite a bit that’s not $3.99 IF they keep their word. I think the major thing Marvel needs to do is cut back on the back-ups unless they’re absolutely necessary to the greater story, and they need to come right out and list “marquee books” won’t see a reduction.

DC made their announcement and Marvel had to say SOMETHING similar in kind. But upon looking closer at what Marvel said, it’s nowhere near as big as what DC announced. Marvel feels–and perhaps appropriately so–that they have enough big name titles in their arsenal that they can maintain a $3.99 price point for the majority of their books because they have enough people willing to pay that for their favorite titles.

The question is, though, is how long can that last? DC may have seen the writing on the wall ahead of time and may have been in a position where they had to do something major. Could it then be just a matter of time before Marvel has to make announcement that they ARE rolling back the majority of their titles to $2.99? If not, then it means that enough people HAVE voted with their wallets and told Marvel that $3.99 is okay…

Okay, so Marvel’s new counter to DC’s price drop is lower the price on one of their few titles priced at $3.99 that actually had content warranting the price… Marvel is very bad at this.

Also if you look at Marvel’s January solicitations while a few of those minis and one-shots are priced at $2.99 they are mainly ones at to be honest are low tier books, even than it is only 3 out of 10 titles. Plus tell how losing 2 pages is that bad, if you tell everyone to keep the stories tighter (which needs to be done anyway) you won’t notice a major difference. Even if you just tell people to cut back on two page splashes you can make up the difference. I would even be happy if DC just started putting in more interesting house ads.

This is as much a reaction to DC decrease, as DC’s decrease is them being nice to customers.

Paying more for the same amount is bad, I get it. I won’t reiterate my feelings on the matter.

But paying the same for less is bad too. Tightening up stories is good, but don’t limit the pages to do it.

ANOTHER BULLSHIT!!!!!!
BYE-BYE MARVEL, HELLO DC

funkygreenjerusalem

November 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Oh, for Christ’s sake. This is just ridiculous. You know how many you CAN price at $2.99? Any that you damn well please! What’s stopping you? Oh, that’s right: GREED.

to be fair to Marvel Staffers, which they don’t deserve for jumping up and down on DC and then later claiming they never said anything about dropping prices, editorial is probably desperate to drop the prices, but the suits won’t let them.
Think about it – the suits raised the prices to increase the worth for the Disney sale.
The new disney suits now don’t want to hear that prices need to be lowered for the good of the market.

DC has been restructured, but has the same corporate owners – it would be much easier to convince those suits of the cause and effect of the price rises.

Guess by Joe Q’s way of thinking at the start of the decade, we should stop referring to them as Marvel comics, and now start calling them ‘The Walt Disney Company Comics’.
You reap what you sow.

I like the part where Gabriel said that the Incredible Hulk was the only title that retailers asked him to lower the price on. Are you kidding me? Really? What retailers were these? I believe the general consensus from fans and retailers was the need for lower prices. Why would they say that only the Hulk should be lower?

Sounds completely like crap.

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