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Marvel’s Point One Program Looks Like a Dud

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Sometimes the best intentions don’t really work out.  Marvel decided to create a series of “.1” (Point One) issues of their various comics, as a jumping on point for new readers.  The idea being to have an issue to get new readers up to speed on what a title is about and to make sure the gateway issue is $2.99, instead of the hated $3.99 price point.

And how did that work out?  Looking at the March sales estimates from ICV2, we find:

Sales Rank Title Estimated Copies Sold
23 Uncanny X-Force 6 51,248
25 Uncanny X-Force 5.1 50,732
30 Captain America 616 44,394
34 Captain America 615.1 43,117
35 Thor 621 42,104
37 Thor 620.1 41,605
46 Hulk 30.1 32,163
50 Hulk 31 31,368
54 Deadpool 34 30,299
58 Deadpool 33.1 28,979

 

With the sole exception of Hulk, retailers ordered less copies of the “jump on” issue, than the regular series.  If you figure people picking up the title would also pick up the “.1” introductory issue, this is a flaming disaster and there aren’t going to be a lot of these comics finding their way into the hands of new readers.  It smacks of very low buy-in from the retail community.

Or, there’s the rose-colored glasses view that only new readers would pick up a “.1” issue and that the numbers of the regular title are higher because it reflects the belief that some of the new readers will pick up the next issue.

No, I really don’t believe the second interpretation, but don’t say I didn’t give a happier view on this.

What I _suspect_ happened is that a lot of people had the same reaction as I did to Iron Man 500.1 in February.  Iron Man 500.1 was little more than an origin issue.  Some would say a well done origin issue, but I found it tedious and very much NOT advancing the Iron Man story arc or setting up anything to come.  Just a “here’s the status quo” issue.  I probably would’ve returned it, had I the option.  Iron Man 500.1 outsold Iron Man 501 42,191 to 41,517, according to the ICV2 estimates. Would not surprise me if retailers didn’t see a big surge of happiness and new readers for Iron Man and did a little order adjusting.

That or the retailers mostly snorted at the concept and were treating it like an annual.

Captain America 615.1 set up Steve Roger’s return to the wearing the Captain America costume.  Hulk 30.1 introduced a new villain.  Thor 620.1 wasn’t even by the regular creative team, so I put it back on the shelf, immediately.  I didn’t look at the X-Force or Deadpool issues.  Hulk was probably the most involved in moving the story arc (starting one, really) and at least it had higher sales.

Any way you slice it, this really doesn’t look to have turned out the way Marvel intended, and unless we see a significant number of re-orders in the April numbers, this looks like a dud.  Looks like heavily discounted issues ($1, $0.25,  etc.) really are a better way to go for this.

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  1. Comics A.M. | Borders seeks bonus approval; Marvel’s ‘Point One’ sales | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

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