Marvel's Big Time Spider-Island Mistake!!

How can a publisher of Marvel's caliber fail to meet the demands with a proper supply?

Paperback not available till Oct. 2013

As a young teen, I was a huge Spider-man fan, and I used to be blind and naive enough to ever think they could do no wrong with the popular webslinger that is the very icon of the popular comic publisher. That was however before the infamous middle finger to the long time fans that was One More Day and Brand New Day. I was many of the former die hard fans that swore off all SPIDER-MAN titles, but I just refused to buy any as long as Joe Quesada was the EIC at Marvel. This isn't a blog about OMD, and I'm pretty well tired of people telling me about "all the great stories that followed". As if that justifies creating one of the most broken stories in comic history that treats your readership like morons who have the long term memory of a six months old.

Well, with Quesada no longer EIC I became open of buying the series. However, not enough to invest in the high priced monthly series. I follow events online and see if a story is interesting enough. I don't care about spoilers, and events in these series never have any long term hold to effect enjoyment of reading. I do the trade waiting when it comes to SPIDER-MAN. It was mainly because of my love of Humberto Ramos' art that I actually purchased the digital trade of SPIDER-MAN: BIG TIME on Comixology. I really enjoyed it, but I felt it was a bit over hyped. I might have enjoyed it more if people hadn't been repeatedly doing nothing but trying to convince me to come back to SPIDER-MAN becasue "Big Time is so great!"....... There is something to be said for underselling to make for a better reading experience.

I followed the news of SPIDER-ISLAND on Comic Vine, and Ramos' art had me seriously anticipating the trade for this story. Unfortunately, Marvel isn't especially good about announcing trade releases, and it was never appearing on Comixology. It was ultimately released in January 2012, but I didn't learn about that until around September. That's when I was putting together my Amazon wishlist for the holidays. Just out of personal tastes, I prefer the paperback edition of comic trades. Hardcovers can often be heavy and awkward to take anywhere. I'm also not thrilled about the idea of spending more on a story I've never read before.

Bet you didn't see this mistake coming.

So, imagine my surprise when the Amazon store has the hardcover edition available now, but the paperback edition wont be published until October 2013. That's nearly two years after the story arc ended, and 22 months after the hardcover edition has been available. That is inexcusable. I understand wanting some gap between the releases, but this is insane. You'd think they would get the hardcover out for the hard core, but also want the paperback available soon for those who maybe aren't as invested but still want to read it. It's basic supply and demand. It's why they put out DVDs and Blu-rays at the same time for new releases. You strike while the iron is hot and interest in your product is high. This is more a case of striking while the iron is dead cold.

I was looking forward to stuff like this, but not enough to wait two years for it.

Whoever is in charge of distribution at Marvel must be working under the assumption that making the more expensive version the only one available will make them more money. Unfortunately for them, I'm not biting at that bait. Since they can seem to wait to earn any profits from the paperback. I can also wait to buy it. Providing by in that time I don't lose interest or forget about buying it at all together. In which case, they earn nothing.

In an industry that struggles with dropping sales, and trying to undercut online piracy. You'd think a publisher at Marvel's level wouldn't be making such a Big Time face plant. You'd think they'd want the largest possible market share. I'm not going to stoop to reading some online pirated version, but it's far more likely that making me wait this long will only result in me never reading it, period. Which is a shame since I was really interested before this.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

8 Comments Refresh
Posted by G-Man

I absolutely do not see this as a problem at all.

Posted by danhimself

hardcovers of regular novels often come out well over a year before the soft covers

plus the hardcover is only an extra 5 dollars

I've never been the one to want to take my books anywhere anyway....I wouldn't want the paperback getting screwed up either

Posted by SUNMAN

patience is a virtue

Edited by FoxxFireArt


You don't see a problem with not putting out more options to the consumer as soon as possible?? There's a reason why new movie releases put out DVD and Blu-rays as soon as possible. You get people while interest is high. I wanted to buy the paperback edition, but making me wait two years will more likely mean I'll forget about it or lose interest.

Trade paperbacks are probably one of your best tools in getting more reader attention. You're more likely going to find trades in bookstores, where people who may not be regular readers see your product. The more available and affordable the higher your market share. If Marvel thinks it's a smart move to only publish to the hardcore and not try to be more available to the casual as well. That's not a good sign. I'd think you'd want more people to be able to read as soon as possible.The product is ready. They're just refusing to put it out until October of next year.

Posted by JonSmith

G-MAN HAS SPOKEN! This thread is at an end.

Posted by FoxxFireArt


If these sort of gaps are the standard, then that says more about the problems in publishing as a whole. It's fine if you like the hardcovers. I personally don't. Why not make more options available to more people?


So, Marvel can be patient to earn more profit. Are sales really high enough that they can just not market to more people?


Nice elitist attitude you got there, buddy. One person speaks, and that ends a conversation?

Posted by JonSmith

@FoxxFireArt: I was kidding, chill.

Posted by SUNMAN

@FoxxFireArt: Marvel's sales are generally pretty good, but I can't say I know how they are at the moment. My comment was more to suggest fot you to be patient TPB often take some time to come out. I wasn't really commenting on Marvel's business practices. I'd assume there is a methods to Marvel's madness, they have been doing this for a while. I'm not sure why the TPB is coming out so late, but this isn't an unheard of length of time to delay a TPB.

For me if I'm buying the TPB instead of the monthly issues. I'm generally willing to wait for it. Meaning the comic isn't a got to have immediately for me.