"Finally, we come to Trust, and this is the part of this that really bothers me the most: our suppliers don’t feel they can trust us enough to make a proper informed judgment of our stocking levels.
Let me be perfectly clear about a couple of things: its not just a Marvel problem, DC has certainly done it as well (most recently on the first month of Countdown, where they wouldn’t even officially confirm the series existed until the day Previews shipped). Further, I do really understand how much the impact of the internet has upon the ability to keep a “secret”.
On the other hand, I’m pretty largely unconvinced there’s a need for secrets when it comes to things like this. It was absolutely common knowledge when Superman died that it was going to happen, yet, even among comic fans, there was an enormous desire amongst the readership to see the execution of the story.
Here’s the difference between that and this: for Captain America #25, it’s not just that I didn’t have enough copies to meet demand from the waves of media interest. That’s pretty much a given, but nothing that could be planned for in any case. No, I think that the more fundamental problem is that I didn’t order enough copies to meet demand from regular readers who might be interested in the event. Even without the media frenzy, I think the book would have swiftly sold-through at retail, nationwide, regardless. Not in a day, no, but before the end of the weekend most certainly.
I don’t like telling customers “no”. I don’t even really like telling customers “Yes… but not today”.
Yes, indeed, we were told, in some venues (though certainly not ones available to the totality of comic book retailers), by means of personal assurances that we should order lots. And that’s always appreciated. But without the “why” attached to it, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between “lots” and “Lots” and “LOTS!”, if you see what I mean?"
He's right! Had we known about Cap #25 and been asked to keep it a secret, I think we could have. Maybe we'd have hyped it, saying "you'll want to be SURE to pick up Cap #25" but we could have kept it a secret, if it really needed to be a secret. We had people calling, wanting to know when that issue was coming out, not knowing we'd sold out two days prior. That is an indication to me that the secret could have been leaked earlier and not have hurt the sales momentum of the book. In fact, retailers not knowing could have hurt it MORE because we simply didn't have enough copies--none of us.
"Finally, I think there’s some very real concern about Wizard magazine having advance knowledge of this event (and, as a print magazine, clearly they had to have that information weeks ago), and it either accidentally, or very much on purpose leaking to their sales arm, and their affiliated retail stores, giving them a clear market advantage.For myself, giving an opinion as an individual, I believe that Wizard did engage in “insider trading”. I believe this because of the sheer scope of the eBay listings (all since taken down, by the way, once the story got out), and because there is a long history of anecdotal stories from the Valiant and early Image days of Wizard where they engaged in such practices in their local regional market of upstate New York. Having a circumstance where one source is the disproportionately largest disseminator of information (to the point where Wizard can “make” the news), where that source is also one of the most widely used “price guides” (and therefore can “set” the prices for an individual item), where that source also has arms that deal in direct consumer sales, as well as conventions and their “exclusive” manufactured goods, then I think that can not help but be a recipe for trouble.
Wizard is not doing anything, that I am aware of, that is illegal. The comics aftermarket isn’t a regulated one. However, I believe it is deeply unethical to report on news and prices while at the same time selling items that can capitalize on that news and those prices."
Again, this is dead-on. While Wizard did not engage in anything illegal, it does appear that they might have profited on insider knowledge - looks like they're ones Marvel and DC can't trust. Wizard has been accused of similar things in the past, and there are many people who point out every month the insane prices Wizard lists for comics in their monthly - while also selling these same comics on their web site.I think this was a great discussion of some of the things going on in the comic book industry that often get swept under the rug. Click here to read the whole column.