Monday, 12 September 2011

Marvel Point 1

As has been advertised just about everywhere, DC comics has recently rebooted all their comics and started them all with new (/slightly adjusted) continuity and new #1s. The idea is that the long & complicated history of comics is off-putting to new readers who will now be enticed to start reading. I'm not convinced this is a great idea for a number of reasons, but this post isn't about DC. It's about Marvel.

Marvel have been taking a different approach to get new readers in. Instead of restarting everything, over the past few months they've been having 'point one' issues. These are supposed to be stand-alone stories which give a taster of the series and encourage interest in buying subsequent ones.

In theory, I much prefer Marvel's approach over DC's.

In practice, Marvel have managed to mess it up.

Besides the problem of many not being very well written, or not even written by the regular writer, there's the problem of advertising. Again, beside the fact that Marvel haven't advertised what Point One is all about in the press properly, there's the following problem:

Take a look at these two covers:

One is for X-Factor #224. The other is for the special 'enticing new readers' issue, #224.1

Which is which? If you saw #224.1 on the shelf, would you, from a glance, be able to tell it's a 'jumping on' point? Nope, not unless you were specifically looking for it. It's completely ridiculous. There should be a giant 'POINT ONE ISSUE' banner across the top, with 'GREAT JUMPING ON POINT' splashed across it further down.

Really, what is the point of having #224.1 look exactly the same as all the other issues? #224.1 was new out this week so I don't have the sales figures for it. I really wouldn't be surprised if it sold pretty much the same amount as a regular issue.

As it turns out, this issue of X-Factor is actually one of the better Point One issues and does a good job of being - what .1s were supposed to be - a well-written stand-alone story which introduces the main cast and will want people to buy the next issue.

It's great having a 'new' product, but if you don't market it then it's doomed to failure.

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