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REBORN #1 follow-up

Brian Hibbs

As hoped, Marvel has officially extended the FOC date for REBORN #1 to Tuesday June 16th, so we should have basic information about REBORN in place before our orders are due.

Reborn #1 (MAY090412D, $3.99) is expected to receive nationwide mass media coverage on June 15, and in an effort to give retailers more time to adjust orders, the issue’s FOC date will be moved from Thursday, June 11 to Tuesday, June 16. The on sale date of July 1 is unaffected by the FOC adjustment.”

Therefore, Comix Experience WILL now be able to rack the book.

See, complaining in public does occasionally do some minor amount of good.

However, everything about this sort of hinges on trust: how much does one trust Marvel to be able to “deliver” “nationwide mass media coverage”. Clearly a news story has been brokered, but it is utterly an open question whether or not it will actually RUN (Any number of stories could very easily push it out of the “news cycle”), and, much MUCH more importantly, whether any one or not will CARE about whatever the revelation is.

There are several possibilities of what “Reborn” might be referring to, of course — some suggest it might be the return of the Cap from “Truth: Red, White and Black”, or, it could be the “Heroes Return” Cap (Since that version of Bucky is evidently in CAPTAIN AMERICA #600), or it could just be “our” Steve Rogers coming back from the dead. Or it could be something else. We won’t know until 6/15. Happy birthday to me!

One of those stories might entice the general public (and the “Obama Grandmothers”), one won’t even create a ripple within the Direct Market, and the last is likely to create a collective “So?”

(People seem to like Bucky-Cap just fine, after all)

If it IS the most obvious result (The return of Steve Rogers), then I’m willing to predict a still birth on this — Brubaker’s CAPTAIN AMERICA is a fine comic book, indeed, but rebirths almost never generate any real market heat, with the possibly notable exception of GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH which had on its side the fact that probably half (?) of GL readers actively disdained Kyle Rayner (the other half LOVED him), as well, to my mind, the idea that that would usher the return of the GL CORPS (Probably the best idea that comics, up to that point, had ever “thrown away”)

It is worth mentioning (largely because this is getting fairly confusing) that CAPTAIN AMERICA #600, the putative lead-in to REBORN #1, will be “early released” on the Monday the news is meant to hit. For those who wish to pay for it, natch. That kind of direct shipping cost is fairly likely to run at about 5% of retail on the book, completely wiping out the benefit from the order incentive that Marvel ran.

But if the news DOES hit, there will be a bifurcation in the market — because retailers have to pay the incoming shipping, additional staff and labor, etc etc, I’m not going to expect that a majority of retailers will actually pull that particular trigger. Which means the stores that DO will have a fairly hefty advantage. On the other hands if it is “just” “the return of Steve Rogers”, I don’t see a lot of civilian consumers biting — people like death, they’re less excited about returns.

(And, if you don’t believe that, I’m sure I could act as a broker on AS MANY CASES of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #500 as you might possibly want)

Comix Experience will not be one of those stores — partly because we have Tuesday delivery, so paying 5% of retail for a (maybe) 24 hours advantage doesn’t seem sensible to me; and partly because I’m not *expecting* any revelation other than “Steve Rogers returns” at this time.

What’s horrifically fucked up about the CAPTAIN AMERICA #600 portion of this game is that that, effectively, most retailers had about a 3 hour window (on a Wednesday, fercryinoutloud — when most retailers are frantically trying to help customers and don’t have time to be obsessively checking email every 3 minutes) to make the decision whether to bring in those Monday CAPs or not. If you waited until Thursday it was too late to place order increases. Too bad, so sad.

Whatever these books end up being, however they end up selling, Marvel in my opinion handled this very poorly — not giving retailers enough information OR time to make a properly formed decision. It was all “trust us”.

And so far in this case, I’d argue they haven’t given us enough reason to do so for these specific books.

On the other hand, they’ve generated a LOT of conversation, and way more “free press” then they would have otherwise, and I’m sure there are PLENTY of stores out there spiking their numbers up over all of these books. MARVEL is going to sell a whole lot more of these comics then they would have otherwise.

I just hope they sell THROUGH at retail.


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