The widely circulated news that Marvel would lower prices to $2.99 on new titles was "either misreported or misconstrued," says Vice President-Executive Editor Tom Brevoort.
The reports stem from remarks made on Oct. 7 by David Gabriel, Marvel's senior vice president of sales & circulation, at the ICv2 Conference on Comics & Digital at New York Comic Con, less than an hour after DC Comics announced its across-the-board price cut. Gabriel's announcement, characterized as a reduction from $3.99 to $2.99 for new titles beginning in January, was carried in separate panel reports by Comic Book Resources, Robot 6, The Beat, ICv2.com and other sites.
According to The Beat, Gabriel confirmed the information after the conference. His announcement seemed to be supported the following day in at least two Marvel panels in comments by Brevoort and Arune Singh, manager of sales communications. In the more than three weeks since the conference, Marvel hasn't issued a press release outlining its pricing policy or clarifying the widespread online reports.
But in the latest "Marvel T&A" interview with Comic Book Resources, Brevoort says there's been a lot of public confusion about Gabriel's actual comments.
"I think that the key thing, from my understanding of it at least, is that people either misreported or misconstrued what David Gabriel actually said at that panel," Brevoort tells CBR. "They kind of confused it a bit with the DC announcement and mixed them all together, and so it created what amounts to an unrealistic expectation for what would be happening in January. As I understand it, in the panel that David was in speaking about digital comics, he said that our digital comics sales had been really successful and that as a result of that, beginning in January we'd be able to start pricing some of our upcoming limited series and other releases at $2.99. This announcement came at around the time that DC announced that they were rolling back all their titles to $2.99, and people got very excited and confused and a little crazed, and I think that all of the particulars got lost in the shuffle. So now that the actual January catalog is out, people are going, 'Wait! Didn't you say all these books were going to be priced at $2.99?' No, we didn't actually say that."
As Robot 6 reported last week, just three of Marvel's titles debuting in January are priced at $2.99.
Talking to CBR, Brevoort goes on to break down what Marvel said at New York Comic Con: "One, we're going to be able to do more things at the $2.99 price point as a result of the success of digital comics, and two, that we're going to try to contract some of the wild line expansion that we've had over the next couple of months [the latter was revealed by Brevoort during the "Marvel's T&A Presents" panel]. It's not all going to happen instantly -- it's not going to be that suddenly in January we're down to only four Deadpool books. We're still going to have the same number of Deadpool books that we normally had (or perhaps a little bit fewer just to pull that all back.)"
We noted last week that a shift has begun, with a decrease in $3.99 titles and a rise in $2.99 books -- at least as compared to December. And on Friday, Marvel announced its "Point One" initiative in which select issues of 11 series between February and April will be priced at $2.99 as an enticement to new readers.
"... You’ll see more initiatives like that in the months to come," Brevoort tells CBR. "So really, what this kind of amounts to from my point of view is either people reporting the wrong message or reading the wrong message from those reports and then being upset that reality isn't exactly the thing they had in their heads."