Friday, July 29, 2011

The great Marvel Flashpoint cover cut up controversy

Marvel and DC, the big two in the comics industry were always friendly rivals. Note the past tense.
When Joe Quesada rose to the position of Editor-in-chief at Marvel the friendly part faded away. Pot shots became common and the hope of joint crossovers like they did in the eights and nineties became a thing of the past.
The biggest shot in the rivalry was fired last year.  At the time both companies were in the middle of big cross over events. DC had Blackest Night and Marvel had Siege. Both were selling well, but Blackest Night was getting better press. Marvel had a unique response.
Marvel made an offer to comic shops. Rip of the covers off of 50 Blackest Night tie in books and send them in and Marvel would send you a special variant cover of Siege #3.
Yes you read that right.
Destroy $150.00 worth of our competitor’s product and we will send you a copy of one of ours with a special cover.
Yeah I don’t thing Douchebag is too strong a word here.
The claim was that they were helping retailers get a return on unsold books, which is odd because you were not finding unsold Blackest Night books.
Marvel claims they received tens of thousands of covers. I never heard of any store taking up the offer. A search of EBay does not turn up any copies of the variant for sale. So it was a mean spirited ploy that got Marvel a lot of scorn and no real return.
DC took the high road and largely ignored the whole thing. The only response I ever heard were some jokes made by the DC staff at Emerald City Comic-con that year.
Really that should have been the end of it. But Marvel must have liked the press, because they are doing it again.
Right now Marvel has an event going on called Fear Itself. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it. It’s not getting much buzz. It is basically Marvel getting around to ripping off the plot of Blackest Night. DC has Flashpoint.  This event is getting plenty of buzz as it is the lead in to the September relaunch.
So naturally Marvel felt that history needed to be repeated.
For every 50 covers of Flashpoint books retailers rip off and send in, Marvel will send a variant cover copy of Fear Itself #6. Once again they claim it is to help out retailers in these tough economic times.
It strikes me as a desperate grab for press. DC has been overshadowing Marvel in the press with the upcoming relaunch. Sure Marvel has their movies, but in the end they are a comic book company and losing the limelight to DC must be intolerable.
It would be nice if they could find a way to do it without acting like jackasses.

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