This summer, Marvel is replacing nearly their entire comics line with a wave of comic books connected to its summer event series Secret Wars. And as the official kick-off for that nears with May 2’s Free Comic Book Day release of Secret Wars #0, Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales David Gabriel talked with the major American comic distributor Diamond in an interview targeting Direct Market retailers. The publisher released several new pieces of artwork relating to Secret Wars including series such as A-Force, and we have them all collected in a separate gallery.
Gabriel announced for Secret Wars #1 sales-to-date total over 550,000. With several weeks until its release, Marvel will continue to stoke sales with retailer discounts and promotions – both for it and the various other series associated with the title as a brand. And it seems Marvel is not only going to be stoking sales with the launch of these Secret Wars titles, but also at the end with a new item similar to the recent Original Sin eyeballs: Infinity Stones.
“Retailers will be able to get packs of 6 Infinity Stones to help incentivize customers in stores, or just to continue bringing fans back to their stores!,” says Gabriel. “And if that isn’t enough, in July we’ll be offering special Landscape Variants on 5 books. These will be wraparound covers that along with the Battleboards and Secret Wars Standees will allow fans to create their own tableaus (and if they’re real clever they’ll be able to insert themselves into the scenes!)”
Marvel will also be offering special items to the “top 3,000 retailers” in comics, with a Secret Wars #1 poster by Alex Ross and free “Last Days” postcard bundles. They also announced the relaunch of their “Marvel First Looks” program for retailers who use Diamond, which will allow retailers access to select Marvel books in advance of their release to better gauge their orders.
(By the way -- image at the left is from Thors and yes, is called "Throot, God of Lumber.")
Gabriel says that while the “entire Marvel Universe” ends in the lead-up to Secret Wars, not every title published during the event will be Secret Wars related. Some titles such as All-New Hawkeye are presumably on that list, but it’s unknown what their footing is continuity-wise.
Gabriel did say that while 33 titles are ending in advance of Secret Wars, many of the Secret Wars series are taking the baton as a spiritual continuation. However when asked about the murky undefined nature of many of the Secret Wars series in terms of length, Gabriel couldn’t reveal more.
“Every month Marvel has ongoing series and limited series. That’s no different during the duration of Secret Wars. We marked series in Previews with #1 and we’ve been calling them ‘Secret Wars series,” says Gabriel. “This was the simplest way to convey to retailers that these series run throughout the length of Secret Wars and pretty much take over for our main Marvel U titles. For example, as Amazing Spider-Man gets its “616 Finale” in May, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows takes right over in June. For the most part the connections are pretty obvious.”
When asked about what the Marvel comics line will look like post-Secret Wars, Gabriel could only reiterate the announcement earlier this week of All-New, All-Different Avengers and Uncanny Avengers.
“As we get closer to the September and October Previews catalog, retailers will get a better picture of what the Marvel Universe looks like, but I’m afraid I can’t say any more than that!”