The average price of a Marvel comic will get anywhere between 10 and 500 pieces of fan mail. My non-award-winning column, "Mark's Remarks", will garner maybe one letter of comment every other month, and they're invariably taking me to task about something or other. But hey, if I can't stand the heat, I should give Stan back his soapbox, right?
So I get this one letter from a guy objecting to my assertion that Marvel is "right-sizing" its line of comics to "about 60 monthly titles, all told" (M's Rems, May week one). The correspondent calculates that I got the figure I did by subtracting Epic titles, reprints, British books, and non-superhero titles. In other words, he stated, Marvel's super hero line is just as big and hard to afford as it ever was. Sir, I still beg to differ. There are five of us editors in chief. This summer each of us has about twelve regular books in our stable. Five times twelve is sixty. No, that number does not include limited series or one-shots (like AVENGERS: THE CROSSING), but it does include Carl Potts' line of licensed stuff. Marvel really has down-sized, perhaps still not to the size where you can afford every last one of the line, but we've got to be closer than we were last summer.
Then I get this other letter from a guy accusing me of distorting the facts when I asserted that "Marvel's the only company offering the bulk of its line at #1.50" (M's Rems, July week two). He counted them up and found that the majority of Marvel's titles are at $1.95. Okay, I'm guilty of miscalculating on this one, with the extenuating circumstance being that the bulk of my line (the Marvel core titles) are a buck fifty. For the record, in our August shipping schedule, we have 31 titles priced at a buck fifty. That does not quite constitute a "bulk of titles". Had I to write that misleading sentence again, I would write: "That's why Marvel's the only company still offering any of its line at $1.50."
Thanks for keeping me on my toes, folks. (But how about writing me sometime when you don't want my head on a platter?)
-- Mark Gruenwald