Comics offer incentivesWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The shrinking comics industry routinely devises strategies to entice new readers and retain the old. DC Comics’ newest stratagem, “Holding the Line at $2.99!” addresses concerns about ever-rising prices, while Marvel Comics kicks off a marketing campaign to create “jumping-on points” among its aging titles and characters.
“This week sees the beginning of Marvel’s new Point One program,” said Monarch Cards & Comics’ Ed Katschke. “Point One issues are designed as convenient jumping-on points for new readers who might otherwise be put off starting a monthly publication whose issues number in the hundreds. Each Point One issue will be used to give a clear and concise ‘mission statement’ for the title, as well as introduce the lead character, their supporting cast, and provide a ‘story so far’ summary.”
Katschke zeroes in on one of the books he feels stands out among the others, one with wider media potential.
“‘Invincible Iron Man’ No. 500.1, by regular creative team Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca, performs its job well,” he said. “Tony Stark and his alter ego Iron Man are introduced through the clever storytelling device of Stark attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Through Stark’s eyes and his words we are given an easy-to-follow and entertaining rundown of the character’s storied history. It works as a nice segue for folks who haven’t checked out the character for years or who are only familiar through the recent films.
“Fraction is a gifted scenarist and scripter, while Larroca’s penciling and storytelling are crisp
and colorful. The whole issue is worth it just for the tantalizing glimpse of future stories presented in the stunning two-page spread at the end of the issue.”
Whether such a tool as a “Point One” issue will prove useful for a reader to build a collection remains to be seen. DC feels the key lies in costs and has already gained good word-of-mouth by locking the bulk of its titles at the $2.99 price point, while its competitors sit at the higher $3.99 cover price.
Cost versus content: the battle continues.