Marvel & Disney Synergy Gone Awry: Get Yer ABC TV Out of My Avengers!

The Avengers #19 seems like a pretty straightforward comic book. Folks in costumes on the cover presumably charging in a dramatic fashion at some kind of threat.

The Avengers

Stores opening at 5 AM on Black Friday? AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Now, I get that Disney owns Marvel now, and I’m not so naive as to believe that this wouldn’t make for some attempts at corporate synergy where the various properties would attempt to complement each other. That’s understandable.  But seriously, when you’re asking people to fork over $3.99 for a comic book, there are just some things that make less sense than others.

First, there is only about 21 pages of actual Avengers story in the book. Two ads can be found among the Avengers pages, along with a preview page of The Avengers #20, but then there are nine pages of this:

Disney's Prep & Landing

Santa's tactical recon elves prepare Avenger's Mansion for his annual home invasion? I guess.

Ok, I get it. It’s an ad for Disney’s animated holiday special ‘Prep & Landing’ flimsily disguised as a backup story in the issue. Fine. Sure. Not terribly interesting to most of the older readership of the Avengers, but hey, it’s the holidays, and I’m sure Disney wouldn’t mind owning that space on television.

But after that, there are seven pages of this:

Deadly Storm

A real life graphic novel based on a fictional character written by a fictional character. #meta-headache

It’s the “Exclusive Preview” of the graphic novel based on the fake mystery novels written by the fictional Richard Castle from the Disney-owned ABC hit show, Castle. Another ad for a product that, hilariously, already had advertising in the middle of the actual Avengers story in this comic. That’s right, one of the two ads I mentioned that showed up in the middle of the Avengers’ story was for the Deadly Storm graphic novel.

So, the extra dollar (most basic comic books with about 21 pages of story being $2.99) was for two long-form advertisements for other properties owned by the parent company. If there was actually a backup story in there I cared about, this wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Consider this, Disney/Marvel: you are charging four bucks for something a teenager could finish reading and admiring in less than 15 minutes. A video game of 10-12 hours of play-time costs around $60 ($5 to $6 per hour). A movie of 1 1/2 to 2 hours of run time can be rented online for about $4, cheaper if you are subscribing to some unlimited service like Netflix or Amazon Prime.  Even with DC’s “New 52” launch bringing some interest back into old-fashioned comic book publishing, this kind of competition for consumer attention isn’t going away. I’m not sure this makes much business sense … but regardless, I’m just an annoyed consumer.

And at least I didn’t somehow get charged a buck when I watched the Castle episode where he points out his own graphic novel.




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