Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 3, 2005

Marvel: Singin’ Songs a/b the Southland

A smart and on the ball Heidi MacDonald was the first to pick up on Marvel's announcement to stockholders that they will be putting comics into the 5500+ 7-11s nationwide, and goosing their Barnes and Noble distribution from 50 to 300 stores. A lot of punditry was focused on the virtues of having comics accessible in the way they could be 7-11s, but I actually think the latter deal may be better for Marvel. The whys:
1. According to Marvel, the Barnes and Noble deal is built on success in the initial stores, while the 7-11 program will have to be built on past failures.

2. Marvel's current price points and formatting transfer much better to Barnes and Noble's specialty magazine and new book selection than it does to 7-11 with its sodas and hot dogs. If Marvel tries a new format or price point at 7-11, it may work and it may not.

3. Matt Brady's usual exemplary source work with Marvel suggests that the beneficiary of the 7-11 deal may be an only modestly successful younger kids' line.

4. My guess is that Marvel's expansion at Barnes and Noble will be urban to suburban. Rhetorical evidence suggests that the suburban big box stores are still somewhat untapped as markets for comics.

Anyway, I'm probably not alone in suggesting that perhaps the most interesting thing about the 7-11 deal is how DC reacts to Marvel's Big Gulp Sputnik; the potential for a two-company push into this area is probably greater than one. One other thing I'm interested in is if this could ever extend to 7-11's 25,000+ stores internationally, as American comics and American big gulps might be a pretty good match.
posted 7:41 am PST | Permalink

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