I can imagine Marvel’s “Blackest Night for The Siege variant cover exchange” press release didn’t sit too well with you folks at 1700 Broadway. All the same, I bet you’ve probably thought it over, sent out a few interoffice emails, and maybe called a meeting or two to discuss how you would respond to it, and in the end, decided to take the proverbial high road. That’s a commendable stance, and one you can’t be faulted for taking. But I for one would like to say a few words on behalf of taking the low road.
Let’s not mince words. Marvel’s Blackest Night return idea is what is colloquially referred to as a “dick move”. Marvel can talk all they want about wanting to lend assistance to retailers, but all this really is is a weak, childish game of one-upsmanship. Turning the other cheek is one way to go, DC, but really, where’s the fun in that? Taking the low road gets a bad rap these days (I blame the Golden Rule), and can actually be all kinds of crazy fun.
Here’s what you can do, DC, should you decide to heed my advice and fight fire with fire. The plastic Lantern rings were an enormous hit, and I know there’s still a sizable demand for them. At my store (Houston’s Bedrock City–now with four convenient locations!), we gave the rings away to customers when they purchased the Blackest Night comic it was tied into, but we were hoping to be able to put together some complete sets of rings to sell on the side to customers who wanted rings but didn’t want to buy issues of titles they don’t normally read. Sadly, we had already exhausted our supply of black rings from the Blackest Night #1 promotion, and the blue and red rings ran out pretty fast, making compiling complete sets impossible. As I mentioned in my last post, Marvel’s Dark Reign miniseries tie-ins like Lethal Legion, Mr. Negative, Zodiac and the others were for the most part dead on arrival. I’m sure the store I work at isn’t the only comic shop still sitting on a stack of the buggers. So why not steal one of Marvel’s idea, and offer retailers your own incentive program?
Let’s say when a retailer turns in a set number of stripped covers from Marvel’s Dark Reign minis, you send them a complete set of the Blackest Night promo rings. I think stores could charge $10-$12 for a complete set, so trading in 3 covers to get one ring set seems like a fair swap, even with the $3.99 cover prices the comics carried. Or, stores could give the ring sets out to their customers who buy copies of whatever Blackest Night tie-ins they might still have on the stands, thus providing a better use for them than trading them for a Deadpool comic they may not be able to sell for a fair price. By offering rings for Dark Reign scraps, you’d be flipping Marvel’s strategy back around on them by boosting your big event at their expense.
Sure, you’ll have to foot the bill for the rings yourselves, DC, and it’s unlikely to earn you anything other than a little good will from retailers. But this isn’t about making money, or really even about helping retailers. This is about which publisher has the biggest cajones. It’s time to drop trou and show us what you’ve got, DC.