Monday, 14 March 2016

Varying variations on a variant...

Variant covers. A poxy curse from the dark ages of comics when when the speculator market boomed and foil embossed gate fold covers where released for issue #1 of X-Force, a comic produced in such numbers entire rain-forests were pulped to make up the paper deficiency. Seriously the only reason this piece of shit sold five million copies is because people were buying all the multiple covers, sealed in a bag with a shitty trading card. You can pick it up in a 50p bin these days.

   Well they're back. They're not as flamboyant as the hologram, wrap around cover that doubled as a small bungalow back in the nineties but artists are employed to put very good art on the front of very random issues. There's fake action figure packaging covers, blank covers so you can get them scribbled on at a convention and Scottie Young covers because everyone likes a cute version of Man Thing burning the flesh from a rapist's face. 


   The reason they are back is because Diamond and the suits in charge of publishing need a way to keep a dying business model alive, I can only guess because they are too chicken shit to try something different.

   How it works is, Retailers gamble on the popularity of a comic, factoring in standing orders and requests from customers. They then order the comics from Diamond, the Distributors (middle men). BUT, in a market where periodicals are becoming a bit of dumb way to shift comics Diamond and the Publishers need to create incentive to make the floppy viable again. They're like fluffers basically. Hence the reassurance of the alternate cover.

   With the aid of advertising the customer can now go and order the alternate cover they might like, sweet yes? Not for the Retailer. You see you only get X amount of alternate covers for X amount regular issues ordered, so in order to get the issue of Thor where he's a cat on the cover the retailer might have to order a shed load of comics that will wind up in the 50p bin if Diamond enforce their NO RETURNS policy, which is a standard policy for them, what a bag of arse. 

   I would love to know what the thinking is behind this. You see the alternate covers are usually put in the back of trades, or readily available to anyone with access to the internet and a decent printer sooo what's the bloody point? No one should be that desperate for an alternate cover without OCD and the Publishers shouldn't be encouraging the wilting floppy business model. Could it be to keep artist and writers in work? Well no, as the body of work produced for digital and trade should be the same, it's only the release schedule that's changed. Well what about the sheer joy of alternate takes on comic covers? Well they are undeniably cool in some cases, so how about releasing them as posters OR...release them in greater quantities so there's a better chance to pick one up, except of course that defeats the object of the shitty sales incentive.

   So yeah, we don't need alternate covers, they are an artificial way to boost sales figures which in turn are propping up a business model that needs to be allowed to collapse in its own hole. A way to stop this is to vote with your heads, not the part that has a serotonin deficiency, you don't NEED that cover by Liefeld, no matter how funny it is, so don't buy it. Think of your retailers and trust me they will think of you...

   The lads at mine knew I was a Thor fan and a cat fan so they got me this without even asking, bless em'.