Marvel Comics wants you to catch up on some of their biggest series, and starting in February, they’re going to give you that chance, as they roll out a new initiative labeled Marvel Point One.
Announced Tuesday during a conference call with Marvel editors Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort, and SVP of Sales and Circulation David Gabriel, Marvel Point One will add an extra issue to many of Marvel’s leading series. Each issue will feature a lower price of $2.99 and will tell a self-contained story that serves as a jumping-on point for the series, laying the groundwork for the next year’s worth of stories. Each issue will be written by the regular series writer and most (but not all) will be drawn by the regular series artist.
See below for a list of the first three months of .1 issues.
The goal of the “Point One” as stated by Marvel is to offer new readers an easy point at which they can jump onto a series that they may not be reading. Marvel has tried similar things in the past, most recently their free “Saga” issues that seek to catch readers up. However, where the “Saga” issues have the advantage of being free, they have the disadvantage of being fairly boring text pieces, and not a dynamic, exciting story that is more likely to create a new reader. By giving readers a cheaper example of what each series is like, I’m sure they hope that they can attract some new readers to those series.
I can understand the point of the idea for a long running series or at least one that’s been going on for a while, such as Amazing Spider-Man or Invincible Iron Man, but I’m curious why they are doing this for new series such as Wolverine and Uncanny X-Force (both of which will be on their fifth issue). It seems odd to me that they would feel the need to give readers a good “jumping on point” for series that doesn’t even have enough issues for a trade to have been released. If readers weren’t interested enough in the first issue, is this special issue going to make them any more interested? It seems to me that they should hold off a while, or follow DC/Vertigo’s lead of releasing low price first trades to get readers caught up. That said, the lower price point and self-contained nature make sense for series that have been going for a while, and it seems like it would have been ideal to do this for Amazing Spider-Man this week as Dan Slott takes over.
Will this initiative have the desired results of bringing in new readers? The cynic in me says that people who don’t normally read comics are probably not going to be lured in by this, regardless of whatever marketing push Marvel is putting behind it. Issue #615.1 is just as intimidating to new readers as issue #615 is, and a slightly lower price is not going to get them to come back the next month. One of the other problems with this idea is that the Point One issues will not be released on the same day digitally as they are released in stores, and with digital apps emerging as a new market, it seems kind of counter-intuitive to ignore this market, or to use these stories to lure digital readers into actual stores. However, new readers are not coming in by themselves, and if Marvel doesn’t try new things, they’ll definitely not gain any new readers. I’m sure there will be a few new readers that come out for this, and while they may not get significant numbers, each new reader is a good thing.
• AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654.1
• INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500.1
• WOLVERINE #5.1
• CAPTAIN AMERICA #615.1
• DEADPOOL #32.1
• HULK #30.1
• THOR #620.1
• UNCANNY X-FORCE #5.1
• AVENGERS #12.1
• SECRET AVENGERS #11.1
• UNCANNY X-MEN #534.1