Wednesday, 21 January 2015

1982: MARVEL GOES DIRECT-SALES-ONLY


From 1982: Marvel announces that three of its - ahem - lesser selling books (THE MICRONAUTS, KA-ZAR and MOON KNIGHT) were coming off the news stands... but continuing via the new-fangled Direct Sales system... better known as... your local comic book store.

This was a big move at the time... traditional retailers had always been the conduit for reaching would-be readers and, despite the inherent problems (crappy distribution, massive quantities of unsolds, dodgy business practices), was still the dominant outlet.  Comic Book stores were a relatively new phenomenon which would reach a smaller... but more committed readership.  

Compare that to today... when I was in Washington DC, I found only one bookstore that carried any US comics.  None of the myriad of convenience stores (all owned by one chain which appeared to have stitched-up the city centre) stocked any at all.  And I didn't see a single news stand or independent grocery store stocking them.  I realized quite how blessed we still are in the UK with WH SMITH (despite their poor customer service and ever-shrinking magazine sections) and independent newsagents still carrying a good range of magazines and comics.  I really hope we don't go the way of the USA.   

This page appeared in THE MICRONAUTS issue 39, cover-dated March 1982.  

8 comments:

  1. The reason that these 3 titles weren't doing as well as all the rest of the titles is these 3 and ONLY these 3 were dearer than all the rest. Sometimes they had a wraparound cover, but I would have preferred cheaper prices!

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  2. My local WH Smith's closed last March and the nearest specialist comics shop (Forbidden Planet) is about 20 miles away so for me we already have gone the way of the USA :(

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  3. I'd be lost without my Forbidden Planet store in town although my head is usually spinning trying to keep track of all the various comic series...just wondering Slow if you are still collecting the partworks series like the marvel fact file.....even in the last few weeks, several new series have appeared , first BUILD THE MILLENIUM FALCON and now JUDGE DREDD THE MEGA COLLECTION as you can see here:

    http://www.judgedreddcollection.com/

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    1. Hi Ed

      Today's MARVEL FACTFILE (issue 97) is THE MARVEL UK issue!

      It covers (flicking through now): The M-UK HULK stories, NIGHT RAVEN, Albion, SPIDER-MAN's UK adventure, MYS-TECH Central (cutaway), M-UK timeline, DRAGON'S CLAWS, CLANDESTINE, SLEEZE BROTHERS, THE KNIGHTS OF PENDRAGON, DEATH'S HEAD, REVOLUTIONARY WAR and MOTORMOUTH.

      I'll be skipping the MILLENNIUM FALCON (and BUILD A 3D PRINTER) series (although I bought the first issue of the test run of the former in Brighton last year without even realizing that it was just a local try-out) but I did get JUDGE DREDD today. It looks nice.

      It's a shame that the tested GERRY ANDERSON COMICS hardback series doesn't look, at the moment, like it is going forward for a full national release.

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  4. the cover looks fantastic...hope I can pick up a copy....either from forbidden planet or a newsstand on the street...

    apparently to collect every issue of build the falcon wlil set you back over a 1000 quid..that's quite an expense for one model...

    it was a no-brainer to get the dredd special however. I've definitely seen paperback and hardback versions of those Anderson comics but not as a part-works series...who knows what will materialise next on the shelves...?

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    1. The ANDERSON partwork did the obligatory finite local run (unfortunately nowhere near me) to test demand and then went on hiatus whilst the publisher mulled whether to go for a full national launch with TV advertising. Standard for the industry.

      It's gone quiet since... I'm hopeful they are waiting for the launch of the new THUNDERBIRDS TV show so they can piggyback on the overall merchandising push/ media buzz. Fingers-crossed.

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  5. a lot of fans said the new thunderbirds look more like a boy band than the original bunch...alas I wont be able to judge for myself as our cable provider has seen fit to remove ITV from the package.

    Yes, the Anderson part work series may yet appear..as you pointed out in your post on SPACE PRECINCT, the sales of Anderson related mags shot up when his old tv series were repeated. By the way, have you any cover scans of the short lived space precinct uk comic..?

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    1. Hi Ed

      I managed to pick-up a complete run of SPACE PRECINCT a while ago although I've no time to scan them at the moment. It's certainly a possibility for the future when work gets a little less manic.

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