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Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Marvel in Target
Remember a couple of days ago when I was wondering if DC's back-log of children's material could sell in an over-sized format? Well, I was at Target the other day to drop off some film for processing, and I did my usual circuit of the store to see if there was anything that 1) I could use and 2) was cheap, when I passed the toy aisle and saw, there on the end-cap, a bunch of over-sized "Marvel Age" trades collecting issues of Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man. Only, I say "collected", when what would be more appropriate would be "highly edited and apparently bowlderized." See, each of these books is, maybe, 96 pages long, at most. But they each purport to collect 6 comics worth of material. With a standard page count on the ultimate titles of, what, 20-22 pages, that's a good chunk of material taken out. SRP on these things: $4.99. Or, roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of the price of an Ultimate trade at a comics store.
Now, I think it's important to note that this were being displayed in the toy aisle, not the books or the magazines. And they are cheap enough to be seen as disposable, yet large enough and thick enough that parents, once they get over the shock of "they still make comic books?", will see them as value for their money. And they certainly looked well-read. At least, the copies in the front of the display looked well-read. But the displays were still full. I discreetly inquired as to how long this material had been out and how it was selling from a clerk and was met with blissful ignorance that the store even carried such things. And I was then told that if I was looking for comic books I should try, well, the store I work at in fact. So, I have no way of telling if the damn things are actually selling, or just being mauled by kids in the toy aisle before being discarded.
And on a related note: I have always maintained that you can tell how well a product is doing by how many copies of it a store manages to keep in stock. Of the X-Men toy-line, all this store had in stock was the Gambit action figure. Lots and lots of Gambit action figures. And lots and lots and lots and lots of Spider-Man 2 toys and Shrek 2 toys and Harry Potter toys...