I've complained about Marvel Previews having "Classified" solicitations in the past. For those who don't ever pick up a copy, it's when Marvel tells diddly squat about an upcoming comic instead of providing information that may actually inspire readers to buy the comics. In keeping with my New Year's resolution of 2009, I'm actually writing to Marvel instead of just complaining about it online. Here's the message that I'm sending Joe Quesada via MySpace.

Mr. Q.,

I'm sure that you don't personally write the solicitations for Marvel Previews but I have a complaint. I searched and searched Marvel.com for a way to contact somebody who would be responsible but came up empty. Thus, I'm bringing my comments straight to you through the only place I know: MySpace.

It's not an exaggeration (X-Aggeration?) to say that I hate it when a solicitation is "Classified." I think the reason Marvel does this is to avoid spoilers. If I wanted to avoid spoilers, I wouldn't be reading Marvel Previews. I expect Previews to preview what is coming up. Shocking, I know. I won't pre-order a comic that is solicited "Classified."

There IS a very small chance that I'll pre-order a "Classified" comic based on the creative team alone. It's happened but it's rare. However, the Siege one-shots in the current Marvel Previews don't even have the creative teams. Heck, they don't even have titles. (See page 13 of issue 78 if you don't know what I'm referring to.) That's six titles I'm not going to order and therefore probably won't buy at all.

Please cut out the "Classified" garbage. I really believe that you're only hurting yourself in the long run. Towards the future...

Jeff Alan Polier

PS. Whoever wrote up the issue also spelled "Spider-Man" as "Spiderman" on the same page. That's awfully sloppy work for a Marvel publication!




What do the rest of you think about "Classified" solicitations?

Views: 68

Comment by Eric L. Sofer on February 4, 2010 at 7:52am
You get 'em, Cava- I mean, Cascadian! (I have an excuse... I live in Cleveland. I'm a LBJ fan. :) ) What's stupider than a preview that HAS NO INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IT'S WHORING???

x<]:o){
Comment by The Baron on February 4, 2010 at 8:35am
"What's stupider than a preview that HAS NO INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IT'S WHORING???"

Great, now I have an image of a comic book leaning against a lamp post, and saying, "Hey, baby, you wanna 'go out'?"
Comment by Jason Marconnet (Pint sized mod) on February 4, 2010 at 10:32am
I guess we're of different viewpoints, Cav. I can see your frustration but the classified solicitation doesn't bother me. It is annoying but after DC spoiling Final Crisis #2 or #3 in the solicitation for #4, I'd take classified over a spoiler any day of the week.

I am glad that you took initiative to send your complaint to Marvel. It's more than I did when DC spoiled Final Crisis for me.
Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on February 4, 2010 at 10:48am
I think retailers should be given more information, but, as a fan, the classified stuff doesn't bother me.
Comment by Dagwan on February 4, 2010 at 1:46pm
There are literally tons of ways to include information in Previews that don't spoil a damn thing. This is laziness, pure and simple.

Let us know if JQ responds at all.

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Comment by Alan M. on February 4, 2010 at 2:07pm
Oh, I don't think it's laziness. The point of the classified listings isn't "We don't want to spoil anything and can't think of a good way to avoid that"; it's straight-up, in-your-face marketing saying "something SO big and SO far reaching is going to happen that even saying ANYTHING about it's follow-up will blow your mind." This way, they get the readers' attention (both positive and negative) with their classified listings; they draw eyes to the stuff that's going on now, as people will be curious what this big thing is; and it gives them an opportunity to do their own big product debut at their own time in the news cycle, when it's not hitting at the same point as everyone else's listings.

From a marketing standpoint, it's absolutely brilliant.
Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on February 4, 2010 at 2:11pm
Agreed...

Something tells me that people who hate it wouldn't be buying the issues anyway.
Comment by ClarkKent_DC on February 4, 2010 at 3:16pm
"From a marketing standpoint, it's absolutely brilliant." Really? I suppose it is if you're trying to win awards from other marketers. If you're trying to sell your product to actual cash-paying customers, however, I'm less convinced.
Comment by Doc Beechler (mod-MD) on February 4, 2010 at 3:40pm
I know it's hard to believe...but the VAST majority of readers don't even look at Previews...so it's kind of a moot point.
Comment by Alan M. on February 4, 2010 at 3:50pm
@CK — That's why I said "From a marketing standpoint" and not "From a sales standpoint;" I don't have the data to say one way or the other whether the "classified" approach has been helpful or not (though I would guess it has improved sales, simply because if it didn't, they wouldn't keep doing it).

I'd think the metric for determining whether it works for selling your product to actual cash-paying customers would be in the order data. Marvel (and, Dags, correct me if I'm wrong) gives retailers a chance to adjust their orders once the classified data has been released, so if orders go significantly up once the data is released, it is working; if orders go down, it's not.

Unfortunately, I don't know as those numbers are available for public consumption. But if they are, I'm sure someone who likes to crunch numbers (like Chris Fluit) could give us a sense of the sales success of this approach.

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