Can the Punisher + a skrull rifle take out the Sentry? It sounds like we’ll find out in the new Punisher series that launches in January. Jim McLauchlin talks to Joe Quesada about the new book in his latest MyCup ‘O Joe Column:
In 2009, the Marvel Universe is going to become a very, very scary place. It will be the type of place that’s begging for a guy like Frank Castle. With Punisher 1, we’re throwing Frank Castle right into center ring, hunting Big Game like only he can. It all starts with him standing on the edge of the Jersey shore with a Skrull rifle, his sights trained on the head of a major Marvel Universe player. You’ll have to wait and see who he’s aiming at, but suffice it to say, not since Civil War has Frank Castle been so affected by the ripple effects of the Marvel Universe—and never has it more needed his unique brand of justice. What’s the old saying? “One man with one bullet, in the right place, at the right time, can change the world?” Well, just imagine what Frank can do with a million bullets.
But can fans afford to buy another monthly title — esp. if the prices keep going up?
JM: One thing that springs to mind when you see solicits with all their shiny new listings and accompanying price tags is…those price tags. The world economy has been taking a beating over the last several months—or longer. How do you think comics weathers the storm?
JQ: Honestly…I don’t know. There’s an old adage that has circulated around the comics industry for many years that I’ve heard from many creators and editors that comics do their best during economic hard times. I’ll be honest with you: I have no empirical evidence that that is indeed true. I certainly hope so, but your guess is as good as mine. I’ve heard a lot of old adages about comics that weren’t even close to being true, some of which I’ve helped disprove myself. The one thing that I know about comics is that our fan base is ravenous. and they’ll do whatever they can to get their fix. But who knows how bad our economy will actually get? That’s the great unknown.
JM: Many smaller publishers have already moved off a standard $2.99 cover price into $3.50 or $3.99. Marvel and DC seem to be holding the line pretty well at $2.99. How inevitable is the bump up, and the death of the $2.99 comic? I know the standard answer is always “we hold the line as long as we can,” but what kind of thought process goes into making cover price determinations? How much are you involved on an editorial end? Or is it solely a business/sales concern?
JQ: I think it’s safe to say that the rising costs of everything everywhere are forcing us to evaluate pricing on a series-by-series basis. There are many things that go into the pricing of the book, but the ultimate driving force is cost. This can come from many places, from the physical material of the comic, to the shipping and distribution, to the price of talent on a book.
JM: Right now, it seems like pretty much all your limited series—Marvel Zombies 3, Big Hero 6, the Noir books—are at $3.99. Is this a planned “hedge” against a general price increase? Maybe you make a couple extra nickels here and can stave off bumping up Amazing Spider-Man and the like?
JQ: Let me leave it at this, Jim: We’re doing everything we can to insure that the largest number of customers and retailers can continue to get a large majority of Marvel Comics at the standard $2.99 price.