Controversy Over Marvel's Prostate Cancer Variant Covers

STL017668Can we make this three articles about Marvel Comics covers in a row? I rather think we can.

Every now and then, Marvel comics allies with a certain charitable organisation to create awareness raising variant covers. Marvel pays the charity a certain sum, and then uses the covers for promotional purposes, often making them tithed variant covers, so as to raise numbers ordered by retailers.

And so it is with Marvel's Prostate Cancer Awareness variant covers were originally solicited to be published at a 1:5 ratio with the original cover.,

Marvel has changed their mind however, so that retailers can order as many as they like, as long as they match or exceed sales on the regular cover with a previous sale.

So to order copies of the Prostrate Cancer Awareness variant of All-New All-Different Avengers #14, retailers must match their regular cover order with their total order of All-New All-Different Avengers #11.

Invincible Iron Man #13 must match #10. Mighty Thor #11 must match #8. Captain Marvel #9 must match#6. Captain America: Steve Rogers #6 must match #3.

There is a tendency for sales on monthly comics to soften over time, this encourages retailers to keep their sales steady – and then add some.

It has however been criticised by Robert Scott of comic book store Comikaze on ICV2, who writes

Retailers cannot simply order these variants and support Prostate Cancer Awareness, they must order the equivalent of a previous month's issue to qualify to buy these variants!  This means most retailers will have to order far more copies of the book than they actually need or want or risk looking like jerks by not supporting the effort.

Additionally.

 They neglect to work with an actual Prostate Cancer group, instead going to the American Cancer Society to come up with a message that subverts attention from Prostate Cancer and offers no education or resources about it.

And regarding variant covers at all,

Limiting this incredibly important message only to VARIANTS redux.  Speaking of limiting this to variants…  Retailers cannot simply order these variants and support Prostate Cancer Awareness, they must order the equivalent of a previous month's issue to qualify to buy these variants!  This means most retailers will have to order far more copies of the book than they actually need or want or risk looking like jerks by not supporting the effort.

As for the money

Oh yeah.  Let's forget everything else.  This is an important effort and after all, all of this extra money that Marvel makes from the additional sales of these variants is going to fight Prostate Cancer, right?  NO!  Just like the Breast Cancer and Bullying covers, Marvel is keeping the windfall.

Robert asks of Marvel.

 Rewrite the banner text to actually bring awareness to and further increase the survival rate from Prostate Cancer and then put it on every book in September!  Failing that, remove any qualifications and allow open orders on the variants, so that we can work within our communities and help spread the word!!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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