Ladies and gentlemen of Marvel I want to start this letter with a note of appreciation.
I have been a fan of your characters since the early 90s when I used to spend all of my money to buy your comics. After purchasing my comics, I would rush home and immerse myself in amazing stories featuring Spider-Man, the X-Men, Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk and yes…even Darkhawk and Sleepwalker.
Your characters and stories allowed me to escape into a wonderful world of fantasy that was still somehow rooted in reality. With the turn of each page I could see aspects of myself, my friends and our lives reflected in the pages of your comics.
After an extensive hiatus, I returned to comics in 2017 and found that so much had changed. As is the case in life, some of these changes were good and bad.
I won’t bore you with my laundry list of good and bad things that I’ve observed but I do want to take a moment to highlight a few things that Marvel should consider.
Consider providing the comic community with insight into the inner workings of Marvel. No, I’m not talking about trade secrets but maybe a heads up why certain decisions are being made. An improved understanding of business decisions being made at Marvel will help collectors and readers to better appreciate reboots, discontinuations of titles, new title launches, etc. In the absence of real information, people will fill the vacuum with rumor and speculation, which often times leads to mistrust and misunderstandings.
Second, I urge you to reconsider your strategy with variants. Marvel is producing WAY too many variants for the market. The average comic doesn’t warrant multiple variants, and special milestone books certainly don’t need a dozen of them regardless of whether they are incentive variants, store exclusives or Marvel-produced variants. Comic shops and comic readers, by and large, have budgets, and your current variant strategy is a budget buster.
I hope that you can find a way to leverage the success of Marvel movies and TV shows to draw in new comic book readers. Millions of people have been exposed to Marvel’s intellectual property and it would be amazing to see a percentage (even a small one) of these people come into local comic shops around the country looking for the source material.
My last suggestion is around your customers. No, not Diamond and not local comic shops either but the guys and girls around the country that are purchasing your comics in local comic shops on a weekly basis. If you aren’t already doing this, please take some time to talk with your customers in formal market research. Some of the best ideas and suggestions can be sourced directly from your customers. Take the time to conduct 1:1 interviews and focus groups to better understand the wants and desires of your customers.
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