Don’t Judge This Book By Its Cover

There’s a new Marvel Zombies book out this week. What makes this one special, after the glut of Marvel Zombies-related comics that have been put out since the original mini-series surprised everyone with it’s popularity? The fact that this one has pretty much nothing to do with Marvel Zombies at all.

Zombies HandbookToday, Marvel released Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities. It’s a Marvel Handbook featuring, well, angels, demons and various monstrosities that have seen print in a Marvel comic. But aside from the cover and a three-page entry on the subject, nothing in said handbook relates to Marvel Zombies in any way, shape or form.

It’s disgraceful that Marvel would blatantly attempt to deceive their customers by plastering the name of a popular franchise on the cover of a book, when the inside of the comic is something else completely.

I’m sure many comic readers (myself included) don’t always look inside the comics they buy when they pick them up off the shelf at their local comic store. Anybody who buys their comics online would have no way of knowing that this has almost nothing to do with Marvel Zombies.

But I feel particularly bad for the owners of comic stores. I mentioned the book as I was paying for my comics this afternoon, and the owner of my LCS was noticeably dissatisfied when he replied “Yeah, I don’t think that one’s going to sell very well.” Comic shops have to order their books months in advance, and often completely based on speculation. They can’t possibly keep track of what each book is actually about, especially if some of the hundreds of comics produced monthly apparently don’t come with an accurate description. But based on the name recognition of the Marvel Zombies franchise, most comic shops probably ordered more copies of this than they would have if it had more accurately been solicited as “kinda sorta featuring Marvel Zombies.” Now that it turns out this comic has only marginal ties to the Zombies franchise, retailers will probably be stuck with a lot of comics they can’t get rid of.

A few weeks ago, DC released the Justice League Wedding Special, which not only didn’t feature a wedding, but was more accurately Justice League of America #12.5. I didn’t think you could get any worse marketing than that. Turns out, you can. Only instead of cheating themselves out of some sales, this time the publisher is cheating themselves into some sales. And that’s just wrong.