Over at industry site ICv2, retailers are discussing the value of advance solicitations from a business standpoint. For David Luebke of Richmond, VA’s Dave’s Comics, they’re consistently not good enough:
As to the advance solicitations from Marvel and DC, even on the FCBD books, please grow up and stop playing games. We are professionals and when we order products from you, we need maximum info so we can make an intelligent decision to PROPERLY quantify our order.
That’s something that the Pasadena Public Library’s Nick Smith agrees with:
We have no idea who these comics are written for! Are they suitable for kids? Are they complete stories, or are they just pitches for an upcoming comics event? Are the covers problematic in some way?For us, Free Comic Book Day is a family event, and we buy comics for kids and teens, and use the day to help educate parents about comics and graphic novels. We sort them by suggested age range, and help families choose ones that are right for their family members. Our ordering numbers are based on information, which in this case is mostly lacking.Okay, so the DC one is in some way related to Superman, and the Marvel one is a crossover-ish book of some kind. Is Superman undressing Wonder Woman on the cover? Is Wolverine disemboweling a villain? These things matter, and they are well within the range of things that either company might do… or have the rest of you forgotten Catwoman’s bra-tossing on the cover of her issue 1, or Pepper Potts’ thong underwear display in an “all ages” issue of Iron Man? I can assure you, parents who come to our library haven’t forgotten…
Marc Bowker, of Alter Ego Comics in Lima, OH, gets to the crux of the problem:
The reason that publishers (primarily Marvel & DC) list items as “Classified” or “Top Secret” is because retailers are ordering out of an end consumer catalog. A retailer-only Previews has been talked about for years, and would be a tremendous benefit to the industry, allowing retailers to be treated as partners and giving us the tools to do our jobs to the best of our abilities.
I get that publishers are concerned about spoilers and retailers ruining it for fans – and I know that there are those online who’ll get access to retailer-only information and run it as exclusives or whatever – but I have to admit, the fact that retailers have to work from the same solicit info and Previews catalog as readers and fans has always struck me as a little odd. Given that it’s their money and livelihood in play when they’re asked to make orders, shouldn’t they be privy to just a little bit more information than the rest of us…?