Even if you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Captain America was assassinated this week. I haven’t collected comics since the mid 80s, but I have always had a soft spot for Captain America. My favorite Marvel comics heroes were always the ones who had some limitations, and had to rely on their ingenuity: Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Captain America were at the top of my list.
Of course, when I read the news, I had to stop by my neighborhood comic book shop, Free Time Comics. Of course, all issues of Volume 5, Issue #25 of Captain America were sold out, and had been since early in the day. The proprietor told me he started receiving calls from Cap fans before the store opened, and that he learned about the story from CNN. In other words, Marvel Comics blindsided the comics retailers.
It’s one thing to create buzz for your product, like DC Comics did with the death of Superman in 1993. And, from all accounts, the story is well written and drawn, so it’s probably worth the press and will give a good boost to comic collecting. However, leaving the retailers completely out of the loop was not the right thing to do, in my opinion. Sure, for those of us interested in reading the story, rather than collecting the near mint first edition, Marvel will probably release a second printing or alternate cover issue, and the stores will benefit from that. But they missed out on the initial rush of sales, and if there’s one thing that local comic book stores need, it’s sales. The proprietor at Free Time Comics indicated that he could have sold about ten times as many issues as he had on hand if Marvel had been willing to work with the retailers, like DC did during the Death of Superman issue.
What do you guys think?