Robot 6

Top Cow offers line-wide subscription service for $15 a month

For a time, comic book subscriptions were a big part of any comic fans’ repertoire. Back when comics were available primarily on newsstands and the rare comic specialty shop, subscriptions provided by publishers promised a surefire way for fans to get every issue of their favorite comics in a timely manner, and, in most cases, at a discount. But in recent years, direct subscriptions from publishers have taken a back seat, with only Marvel and DC offering them, and only for a portion of their comics line. But now Top Cow is bringing it to their pasture in an inventive subscription plan for their entire line.

Announced on its own website TopCow.com, the California-based publisher is offering a subscription to its three core ongoing series — Witchblade, The Darkness and Artifacts – along with a surprise comic with a variant cover each month. This service is available for $15/month ($10 a month plus postage) for either 6- or 12-month increments, and would be shipped USPS First Class each month in one bundle to ensure no damage to the books.

When asked about the availability to add in mini-series and special one shots like Pilot Season to the package, Top Cow’s Filip Sablik said it’s in the works.

“We haven’t worked out the details,” the publisher explained,” but if the customer wants to order other items in a month and have them ship with their subscription, assuming they fit in the envelope, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

It’s an interesting prospect, and who knows — maybe we could see other publishers pick up on the idea.

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Comments

10 Comments

You know, this is tempting. Very interesting and very tempting.

Jonathan Soweidy

February 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I love mail subscriptions but this not a good deal. I have 13 DC mail subs and 6 marvel subs, and i pay about 21 bucks a month after rebates through mags sites (this in including seven 3.99 titles) they come via the regular post service a little dinged but perfectly fine.

Uh, so, $5 a comic? Isn’t the whole idea behind subscriptions for the customer to save money versus cover price for securing the company x-amount of certain sales? Chalk this up as one more basic business practice that comics are incapable, or unwilling to emulate.

Jonathan–how is DC’s subscription service these days? I’ve done the same thing you’re doing, but DC was *abysmal* as recently as five years ago. I can’t tell from the web site whether they’re using the same fulfillment service now (neither company handles it in-house). Marvel has a decent service, some dings yes but sometimes you’d get your comics early, too.

As for Top Cow, kudos for trying this. The price does seem steep, but it would be a fun package to look forward to every month.

If DC or Marvel did this sort of thing for downloads, I would be all over it. Say, 25 bucks a month for any and all titles? I would leave my LCS and not have to deal with mountains of paper.

I use Marvel’s sub service for 8 of my monthlies. I love it. Sure, they come anywhere from a week or 2 after release date, but for around $1.80/issue, you can’t beat it. Might get a bent corner or 2, but I haven’t seen any major damage in the 3 years I’ve been using it. I just wish they would offer some more titles. I have a feeling they are going to changing something with it soon. Axel had made a few comments in his weekly interview about uit without giving any specifics. I wonder if they are planning to do the same thing as Top Cow?

Jonathan Soweidy

February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Shaun – dc sub service has been great. They started up much faster then marvel and have arrived in decent shape. My biggest complaint is marvel’s lack of titles for subs. You can’t subscribe to fantastic out, incredible hulk or daredevil. Use ebates or fatwallet for cashback on subscriptions. Sometimes they do 52% cashback so a dc sub comes out to under 12 bucks for a year.

Oh. I thought this was going to be for digital.

Hi Joe C,

You get 4 books a month and our variants retail for $10 each, so you get a $20 value for $15/month.
If we get enough interest we’ll look at an option with a media mail shipping rather than first class to drop the cost on shipping, but the feedback we’ve received from fans indicated they wanted their books to arrive in as pristine shape as possible.

Take care,

Filip Sablik
Publisher Guy
Top Cow

Does anyone know how they will be handling variants. The Top Cow titles seem to have covers of everything and will we be getting consistent cover variants (say all cover A’s)?

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