A) Masterworks Buyers: DC Archives
Yes, I buy DC Archives: 66%
No, I do not buy DC Archives: 27%
No, but I plan on buying DC Archives in the future: 6%
B) Masterworks Buyers: Spirit Archives
Yes, I buy Spirit Archives: 28%
No, I do not buy Spirit Archives: 57%
No, but I plan on buying Spirit Archives in the future: 13%
C) Masterworks Buyers: EC Archives
No, I do not buy EC Archives: 54%
Yes, I buy EC Archives: 32%
Not yet, but I plan on purchasing them in the future: 11%
D) Masterworks Buyers: Dark Horse Archives
No, I do not buy Dark Horse Archives: 60%
Yes, I buy Dark Horse Archives: 29%
Not yet, but I plan on purchasing them in the future: 9%
CLEAZER: Comparisons to the previous survey: EC Archives move up above Spirit Archives in this
year's survey in terms of popularity with Masterworks Survey respondents, as opposed to the previous survey, when EC Archives were just starting out. Also, the Dark Horse numbers went up while DC and Spirit went down. This could mean that DH's wildly diverse line of Archives (featuring disparate material like Steve Rude's Nexus, classic Gold Key material, and Joe Kubert's Tarzan) is continuing to find new fans as it keeps going in new directions.
* * *
E) Masterworks vs. Essentials:
33%: I never buy Essentials.
31%: I buy Essentials if they reprint material not currently in Masterworks.
16%: I buy Essentials if they reprint material I'm not willing to pay for in Masterworks.
8%: I almost exclusively buy reprint material in Essentials.
7%: I buy Masterworks and Essentials of the same material.
5%: I only buy Essentials if they reprint material originally published in black and white.
CLEAZER: These results are pretty similar to last time's. Of note, 7% of the people said they buy both Masterworks and Essentials of the same material.* * *
F) Other Marvel collected edition brands:
Here is a breakdown on the percentages in which Masterworks survey respondents purchase other collected editions by Marvel Comics:
63%: Marvel Omnibus HCs
53%: Marvel Classic TPBs
47%: Oversized Marvel HCs
44%: Marvel TPBs (contemporary material)
35%: Marvel Premiere Edition HCs
33%: Marvel Premiere Edition Classic HCs
14%: Marvel Digest
CLEAZER: The motto of the people on this board: "The more expensive, the better!"
GORMUU: Perhaps! Or "the bigger, the better?" Marvel Omnibus HCs being both redundant and complementary to Masterworks collectors (reprinting old MMs while at the same time serving up new volumes of classic material like Eternals and Amazing Fantasy), it's not too much of a surprise to see it on top, despite it's high ticket price. But then, Masterworks collectors have always been willing to spend more on books, as MMs have always been at the leading edge of direct market price points.
One thing that surprised me was the relatively poor showing of the Premiere Edition Classic HCs. Those things are selling, as evidenced by many quick sell-outs. Could it be they're just not selling to Masterworks fans? Hmmm...
* * *
G) Other Collected Editions:
Here is a breakdown on the percentages in which Masterworks survey respondents purchase other collected editions:
DC Omnibus: 48% (first year on survey)
DC Absolute Edition HCs: 44% (+1%)
DC Classic TPBs: 44% (first year on survey)
Comic Strip Collections: 44% (-2%)
DC Contemporary TPBs: 39% (first year on survey)
Conan TPBs: 32% (+0%)
DC Deluxe Edition HCs: 30% (first year on survey)
Dark Horse HCs: 23% (first year on survey)
Image HCs: 23% (first year on survey)
CLEAZER: This question featured an overhaul from previous years, especially since DC has begun to brand their hardcover editions (Omnibus and Deluxe Editions joining Absolutes and Archives) with a gusto similar to their Marvel-ous competition. Most of these choices are making their first appearance on the survey, so it will be of most interest to track them as consumers become more familiar with them.
As it stands, DC's Omnibus format stands atop this chart, seemingly attracting Masterworks fans with either its content (Jack Kirby's Fourth World and Death of Superman being the only selections so far) or its price point (at $50 list price it's considerably less than Marvel's Omnibus).
All the holdover categories from the previous survey show little to no movement on the chart.
A) Marvel Omnibus Ownership:
Breaking down ownership of the Omnibus library at the time of the survey produced the following results:
Amazing Fantasy: 39%
FF Vol. 1: 36% (+0%)
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1: 32%
FF Vol. 2: 32%
Eternals by Jack Kirby: 31% (+3%)
Captain America by Ed Brubaker: 28%
Devil Dinosaur: 27%
Silver Surfer Vol. 1: 25%
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1: 25% (+4%)
Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson: 24%
Daredevil by Frank Miller Companion: 21%
Alias: 13% (-2%)
New X-Men: 11%
CLEAZER: Amazing Fantasy takes over the top spot this year! Also surprising is the strong showing from Devil Dinosaur. Perhaps more people gave it a try due to it's low price.
GORMUU: Amazing Fantasy is the most owned Omnibus volume by Masterworks fans. Makes total sense, since this was a coveted batch of classic comics that was considered inevitable for Masterworks. Another volume of classic comics making their first bow in hardcover also top the 30 percentile range with Jack Kirby's Eternals. Strong showings for both volumes of FF and the initial ASM volume round out the top echelon, but it's a bit interesting that ownership of the first FF book didn't gain since the last survey, especially since a second printing was offered up to fans last fall.
CLEAZER: No potential Omnibus reprints fared that well when asked if folks would buy a new printing. The leader was Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson, with only 12% saying they would eagerly buy a copy. That's probably not enough to encourage Marvel to go back for another printing.
B) Future Marvel Omnibus Selections:
Here is the Top 6 list of future Omnibus selections as ranked by Masterworks fans:
1) Thor by Walt Simonson
55%, 1504 power points, 122 first place votes
CLEAZER: A title long sought after by many posters on the Masterworks board, it seems like Marvel could sell quite a few copies of this volume if they were to actually publish the book. Walt Simonson's run on Thor is one of the most respected runs on any comic from the 1980's, and many consider it the finest run on Thor ever.
GORMUU: Perhaps fans won't have to wait too long? After a long period of dormancy, the Walt Simonson Visionaries series of color trade paperbacks has been revived and completed in quick fashion, and with a movie on the horizon, perhaps we'll see this finally given hardcover treatment.
Interesting to note this title's commanding placement in the list. First place by a good margin.
2) Tomb of Dracula
48%, 1297 power points, 115 first place votes
CLEAZER: Considered one of the high points of Marvel's new Bronze Age titles, TOD turned out to be one of Marvel's surprise hits as an Essential a few years ago, and ever since then, people have been calling for TOD to get the hardcover treatment. Considering that Marvel doesn't have the rights to publish some of its other top Bronze Age titles like Mastser of Kung Fu and Conan, Tomb Of Dracula should be right near the top of their list of things to publish. The only question is whether it'll be a Masterworks or an Omnibus.
GORMUU: Hey, Cleazer! As I type this, the first TOD Omnibus has been announced for September release! So that decision has been made. As a "Masterworks First" type of fan, I'm a little saddened by this news. But only a little. Because this great batch of comics will finally be available and in hardcover, and that's worth celebrating on its own.
3) Dr. Strange (Ditko)
45%, 1016 power points, 54 first place votes
CLEAZER: This is a surprisingly high 3rd-place showing for Dr. Strange.
This would make a fine companion to the Ditko Spider-Man Omnibus.
4) Fantastic Four by John Byrne
40%, 960 power points, 34 first place votes
CLEAZER: Considered by many to be the second finest run on Fantastic Four, behind only Lee and Kirby themselves. This is material that people have long wanted in HC format, but based on the current rate of publishing, it would take decades for the FF Masterworks program to reach this point. Putting it in an Omnibus would be a solution that would satisfy a lot of fans.
GORMUU: It sure would. Me included! The Visionaries trades have completed Byrne's entire run as writer/artist, so the pump is primed for a look in hardcover. Some of the material would need to be newly restored, however.
5) Thor (60s era)
37%, 885 power points, 55 first place votes
CLEAZER: Kirby's run on Thor has always been considered by many to be nearly an equal to the run on FF. This Omnibus would reprint the earlier and lesser respected part of that run. We'd have to see if it sells well
enough to justify a second volume in the series.
GORMUU: If it was my decision to put out an Omnibus for the Thor movie in 2009, I'd go with the Simonson material, simply because the first three Masterworks worth of Thor from Journey Into Mystery isn't all that consistent when compared to the stuff that follows. But a Thor Omnibus series would have to start somewhere!
6) Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2
34%, 803 power points, 43 first place votes
CLEAZER: The first follow-up volume to show up in this survey would feature John Romita stepping into Steve Ditko's shoes on Amazing Spider-Man.
GORMUU: I'm a little surprised by this title's lagging in the rankings. Maybe folks are still caught up in reading Vol. 1!
And here are the rest of the rankings for future Omnibus selections:
7) Avengers (60s era): 31%, 658 power points, 27 first place votes
8) Fantastic Four Vol. 3: 31%, 699 power points, 34 first place votes
9) Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2: 28%, 634 power points, 34 first place votes
10) Incredible Hulk by Peter David: 26%, 509 power points, 16 first place votes
11) Secret Wars/Secret Wars II: 23%, 517 power points, 21 first place votes
12) Captain America (Kirby 70s era): 22%, 436 power points, 21 first place votes
13) X-Men (60s era): 21%, 456 power points, 15 first place votes
14) Captain America (60s era): 18%, 294 power points, 6 first place votes
15) Atlantis Attacks: 13%, 268 power points, 8 first place votes
16) Iron Man Vol. 2: 11%, 188 power points, 5 first place votes
CLEAZER: Considering that most people on this board seem to prefer older material when at all possible, that's a pretty
decent showing for a potential Secret Wars Omnibus.
GORMUU: Perhaps the Beyonder stuffed the ballot box? Nah....
* * *
C) Buying Comparisons Between Masterworks and Omnibus
When asked to choose the selection that most accurately described their feelings about Omnibus and Masterworks volumes, survey respondents replied:
30%: I might buy Omniboo but only if it collects material I suspect won't be seen elsewhere in hardcover format
28%: I prefer the Omnibus format to Masterworks
17%: I do not buy reprint material in the Omnibus format
14%: I might buy Omniboo of contemporary material, but I prefer the Masterworks for classic material
12%: I buy both Masterworks and Omniboo of the same material.
CLEAZER: A pretty wide range of opinions here. Suffice it to say, the Omnibus format has it's share of fans.
* * *
D: Ideal Omnibus Size
The Marvel Omniboo have pushed the envelope on book size, with many volumes topping 1000 pages, while a few of them are under 300 pages. This makes for quite a range of possible sizes, and also a range of opinion about which size is ideal! Respondents broke their opinions down thusly:
24%: 751 - 1000 Pages (-4%)
28%: 501 - 750 Pages (+9%)
6%: 1001+ Pages (-11%)
18%: 301 - 500 Pages (+1%)
19%: No preference
5%: 0 - 300 Pages (+2%)
CLEAZER: The trend here is obvious. The slightly more manageable 501-750 size takes over the first place position this year, confirming what we've heard from a lot of people on the Masterworks boards about some Omnibuses
being to big to read comfortably. For further evidence of that, the 1000+ size plummets down, losing two thirds of it's votes from last time. I think some people liked the idea of more pages in theory, but when they experienced the reality of these behemoths first-hand, they realized the extra pages were worthless if the book was unreadable.
GORMUU: I think your analysis is spot on, Cleazer. Although, I wonder if enough people have experienced the sewn binding of the new reprints of FF 1, Uncanny 1 or Amazing Spider-Man 1 (or the new Iron Man or Hulk volumes). The sewn binding on FF 1, the only one I own from that lot, was so nice it softened my stance on the big volumes. I'd still rather see them a bit smaller and, as you said, more manageable.
In fact, it's that thinking that led to our next survey question....
* * *
E: Omnibus Binding
The first Marvel Omnibus volumes were delivered to market with glued binding. A recent development has seen some of the classic material printed in China with sewn binding. The question was asked, "What is your opinion concerning the binding in Omnibus volumes?" Here is how the answers among Masterworks survey respondents broke down:
34%: Whatever it takes to get the book to open flat, that's what I want.
25%: I prefer sewn binding, but am content with glued binding.
25%: I don't care. Omnibus production values are fine with me.
18%: I demand sewn binding and will only buy them if they are sewn.
GORMUU: A pretty strong showing for sewn binding and/or a book that lies open flat (the latter an important consideration for the aesthetics of these bulky books). Only a quarter of survey respondents didn't indicate a preference. And almost one-fifth of respondents claim to be bypassing Omnibus volumes with glued binding.
* * *
F) Marvel Premiere Edition Classic HCs:
The survey had another straw poll, this one asking respondents to make choices from a list of ideas for Marvel Premiere Edition Classic HCs, standard comic-size format hardcovers that reprint "classic" comic storylines. The first editions in this library included stories like Kraven's Last Stand, Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, Wolverine Origin, Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith and the classic Demon in a Bottle storyline from Iron Man. Respondents weren't asked to rank the choices, and they could choose from none to four volumes. Here's how the basic list sorted itself, based on the percentage of respondents who chose the volume:
Avengers: Bride Of Ultron: 31%
Thanos: Infinity Gauntlet: 28%
Hulk vs. Thing: 26%
Thing: Project Pegasus: 26%
Avengers: Under Siege: 24%
X-Men: Asgardian Wars: 24%
Daredevil: Born Again: 22%
Iron Man Armor Wars: 22%
Black Widow: Web Of Intrigue: 18%
Dark Phoenix Saga: 17%
Hulk vs. Wolverine: 16%
Wolverine/Havok: Meltdown: 12%
Apache Skies/Blaze Of Glory: 11%
Punisher War Zone: 8%
GORMUU: This line has been pretty consistently delivering new volumes of late. In fact, Longshot is due for canonization this summer, and one of the ommissions from the list that I got a lot of grief for - the four-issue Magik limited series from the mid-'80s - is also due for the MPE Classic Library. As it stands, Avengers: Bride of Ultron makes its home atop the list.
A) When did you start purchasing Masterworks?
The original 27 era (87-94:) 54% (+2%)
The "Remasterworks" era (2003-2004:) 14% (0%)
The "Cory" era (new volumes starting with Vol. 33/Spidey Vol. 6) (2004-current): 18% (+2%)
The ComicCraft era (97-02:) 7% (-3%)
The Silver/Black era (2002 mini-relaunch:) 3% (0%)
The defunct era (94-96:) 4% (-1%)
CLEAZER: For the most part, these numbers are in line with past results. As time goes by though, it's logical to expect more and more people to have joined in the current (2004 through today) era, simply because that era is getting longer all the time.* * *
* * *
B) Masterworks Acquisition Habits
For the first time, Masterworks survey respondents were asked to note when and where they buy their books. As to the question of when Masterworks purchases are made:
I usually pre-order them so I can have them as soon as they are released: 38%
I just buy them whenever I can afford them. I'm in no hurry: 32%
I usually wait until shortly after the book is released: 22%
I don't buy Masterworks/I no longer buy Masterworks: 7%
And as for the primary place where Masterworks purchases are made:
Online dealers: 52%
From my local comic shop: 27%
Not one single place, mix of all choices: 14%
Second hand sources: 7%
At comic conventions/shows: 1%
* * *
C) Masterworks Ownership/Interest
Before getting on to the ownership statistics on this year's survey, you will notice that almost every book has had a slight decline in ownership percentage from last year. That may be due to new aficianados coming into the Masterworks' fold, and only having a small collection to start out with (for now). It could also be due to Masterworks owners selling off their books to fun Omnibus purchases or new editions of Masterworks that they simply haven't bought at the time they took the survey. The most likely explantion actually comes from looking at the results of the previous survey. Last time, ownership percentages were up by an average of five or six percent accross the board. It's possible that last survey was the exception, and this survey is simply the correction back down to standard levels.
That said, we're not going to look at every single change and say "OH Noes, it's going down!". Instead, we'll focus on the outliers that seem to drop more than average, or the select few that actually go up. First up, a look at Golden Age ownership:
I: GOLDEN AGE MASTERWORKS
Percentage of respondents who claim ownership of individual volumes:
Captain America Vol. 1: 40% (-2%)
Marvel Comics Vol. 1: 37% (-4%)
All-Winners Vol. 1: 36% (-4%)
Sub-Mariner Vol. 1: 35% (-3%)
Human Torch Vol. 1: 34% (-3%)
Marvel Comics Vol. 2: 32% (-2%)
USA Comics Vol. 1: 32% (new entry)
All-Winners Vol. 2: 31% (new entry)
Sub-Mariner Vol. 2: 29% (new entry)
Human Torch Vol. 2: 29% (new entry)
Daring Mystery Vol. 1: 26% (new entry)
CLEAZER: Not surprisingly, the older volumes have higher ownership levels. USA Comics Vol 1 is the highest debut title on the Golden Age list, actually showing up in a dead heat with GA Marvel Comics Vol 2. The most recent GA volume, Daring Mystery, comes in dead last on the whole survey, but of course many people may not have had a chance to purchase it yet. As seen in the question a few spots above, not everybody can pre-order or buy a book as soon as it's released.
GORMUU: Another interesting thing to note is the consistent 5-6 point drop from Vol. 1 ownership to Vol. 2. I wonder what the inevitable drops in ownership for Vol. 3 will look like?
Keeping our eyes on the Golden Age, we also asked survey respondents to chime in on the rate at which they'd like to see future Golden Age volumes. The current level as described by Marvel is 4 Golden Age volumes a year. Here's how survey respondents addressed this question:
0 (I'm not interested in GA Masterworks.): 34% (-6%)
4 (Keep the rate per year exactly the same.): 31% (+19%)
1-3 (A slight decrease in production rate.): 16% (-14%)
5-6 (A slight increase in production rate.): 12% (+4)
7+ (I love these! I want as many as possible!): 8% (-2%)
CLEAZER: This is a huge change fom the previous survey! The people who aren't interested in GA Masterworks are still in the lead, but their numbers have dropped this year. More importantly, among the people who actually do buy GA volumes, there seems to be a strong movement of support behind the 4 per year plan. Better still for GA Masterworks fans, it seems that Marvel is finally capable of putting out 4 volumes over a span of 12 months again. Half of the survey respondants support 4 or more GA Masterworks per year.
GORMUU: I think your mention of capability is key, Cleazer. The GA Masterworks line has been riddled with false starts and, even worse, haunted by the ghost of a near-universally reviled restoration job on Marvel Comics Vol. 1, the library's premiere volume. But production values on GA books gets better and better, and with widely desired books like Cap Vol. 2 and Marvel Vol. 3, perhaps those issues are being ameliorated a bit.
II: ATLAS ERA MASTERWORKS
Percentage of respondents who claim ownership of individual volumes:
Tales To Astonish Vol. 1: 44% (-4%)
Tales Of Suspense Vol. 1: 43% (0%)
Atlas Era Heroes Vol. 1: 41% (new entry)
Strange Tales Vol. 1: 39% (new entry)
Atlas Era Heroes Vol. 2: 33% (new entry)
CLEAZER: The most owned Atlas Era book is Tales To Astonish Vol. 1, yet again. Unsurprisingly, the rank of these 5 volumes matches up perfectly with the order of release. Tales of Suspense shows, a 0% ownership
change, which is well ahead of the trends on this survey. It's likely due to the fact that it was released just a few weeks before the previous survey, meaning a number of people hadn't yet purchased it, so it was undereported last time.
GORMUU: With less than a dozen volumes available and only one followup, this line is still in its infancy. Next year's survey ought to give a better glimpse at how fans are taking to these books when it comes to putting money down at the cash register.
Now, taking a look at the rate at which survey respondents would like to see Atlas Era volumes:
2-3 (Keep the rate per year exactly the same.): 36% (+12%)
0 (I'm not interested in GA Masterworks.): 26% (-9%)
4-6 (A slight increase in production rate.): 21% (-2%)
7+ (I love these! I want as many as possible!): 11% (-2%)
1 (A slight decrease in production rate.): 7% (-4%)
CLEAZER: "Keep the rate exactly the same" makes a big jump up in this year's survey, moving into first place. Unfortunately, there's only one problem with that. Marvel has already scheduled three AE volume this year, and it's entirely possible that we'll get a fourth by year's end. If Marvel keeps the rate the same for next year, it would be four again instead of two or three. I might have to edit this question on the next survey. Either way, 68% of survey respondants support keeping the AE Masterworks where they are or even increasing them.
As you can see from both the ownership percentages and the support for production rates, the Atlas Era continues to outpace the Golden Age in popularity. (Just look at AE Strange Tales versus the GA Sub-Mariner and Human Torch volumes.) That may be a good thing when you consider that there's a lot more Atlas Era material to get through.
GORMUU: I'm bullish on Atlas Era, although the recent price hike to $59.99 may put a dent in buyer enthusiasm, particularly as the choices get more interesting (some would say, odd!) We'll just have to see what happens next year!
III: MARVEL AGE MASTERWORKS
The following list shows the percentage of survey respondents who own particular volumes of Marvel Age Masterworks, the signature Marvel era that launched around 1961. Ownership of particular volumes may be in the first incarnation, the ComicCraft edition or "Remasterworks" editions. There are some subtle contents differences
between old and new editions of Masterworks, but generally the volume numbers all track together as far as ascertaining ownership. Of the 726 respondents, the following
percentage owns each volume (in ranked order- ties are ordered by actual volume ownership numbers. Books are broken into different tiers for easier analysis:)
AVENGERS VOL. 1: 67% (-6%)
CLEAZER: Only one title breaks the 65% barrier this year. As mentioned above, this lowering of ownership percentages may be due to either new people coming into the program and just getting started, or people selling off Masterworks volumes to upgrade to Omniboo. Or more like, it's a correction from last survey when all the ownership percentages went up.
Either way, Avengers Vol. 1 is the most owned volume among survey respondants this year.
GORMUU: I'd say that the fact that Avengers Vol. 1 is on top indicates the possible influence of Omnibus buying. Avengers has not been released in Omnibus format, and so fans are not (yet) upgrading their editions.
X-MEN VOL. 1: 64% (-6%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 1: 64% (-6%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1: 63% (-10%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 2: 60% (-9%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 2: 60% (-6%)
THOR VOL. 1: 60% (-2%)
CLEAZER: The biggest drops of all appear to be for Spider-Man. Perhaps a number of people unloaded their Spidey Masterworks after picking up that gigantic Spider-Man Omnibus. All credit to Thor Vol. 1 for only managing
to drop 2 percent.
GORMUU: X-Men and Thor look strong in comparison to their fellow volumes which normally sit atop the list, like FF and ASM. Again, on one side are volumes which have not been Omnibus-ed...
DR. STRANGE VOL. 1: 59% (-3%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 3: 58% (-9%)
AVENGERS VOL. 2: 58% (-5%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 7: 58% (-4%)
X-MEN VOL. 2: 58% (-4%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 3: 58% (-5%)
CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 1: 58% (-4%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 5: 57% (-6%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 4: 57% (-7%)
INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 1: 57% (-6%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 8: 56% (-4%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 6: 56% (-8%)
DAREDEVIL VOL. 1: 56% (-6%)
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 1: 56% (-5%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 4: 56% (-7%)
THOR VOL. 3: 56% (-3%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 9: 56% (-2%)
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 10: 55% (-1%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 5: 55% (-2%)
THOR VOL. 2: 55% (-2%)
CLEAZER: Nice hold for Spider-Man Vol. 5, compared to the other Spidey volumes. It probably didn't hurt that the BTP edition of Spidey Vol. 5 was printed last year, giving more people the opportunity to pick it up. Good holds for FF 9 and 10 too, though they were still kind of new at the time of the last survey, meaning a number of people may not have bought them yet.
GORMUU: I think it's important to note the overall strength of both Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Five volumes deep into Spidey and ten volumes deep into FF, over half of all Masterworks respondents own them all!
SILVER SURFER VOL. 1: 54% (-8%)
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 2: 54% (-4%)
AVENGERS VOL. 3: 54% (-6%)
X-MEN VOL. 3: 54% (-4%)
THOR VOL. 4: 53% (0%)
X-MEN VOL. 6: 53% (-1%)
AVENGERS VOL. 5: 53% (+1%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 6: 53% (-4%)
AVENGERS VOL. 4: 53% (-1%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 7: 52% (-4%)
CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 2: 52% (-2%)
DAREDEVIL VOL. 2: 51% (-4%)
X-MEN VOL. 5: 51% (-3%)
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 5: 51% (-2%)
AVENGERS VOL. 6: 51% (new entry)
NICK FURY AGENT OF SHIELD VOL. 1: 51% (new entry)
CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 3: 50% (0%)
THOR VOL. 5: 50% (+6%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 8: 50% (+2%)
DR. STRANGE VOL. 2: 50% (-2%)
SILVER SURFER VOL. 2: 50% (-6%)
CLEAZER: Big drops for the two Silver Surfer titles here, but once again, that's likely due to the Omnibus being released. Thor 5 and Spidey 8 both actually picked up a few percentage points, but that's just because they were both still very new at the time of the previous survey, and some people were still in the process of getting them. That said, it looks like Thor and Avengers have both put up the most impressive gains/drops throughout the whole survey. That likely speaks to both the strength of the material and the fact that Marvel's consistent releases for both titles have attracted interest and possibly generated some new readers for those two titles. Avengers Vol. 6 is the first new title on the list, further proving the strength of the Avengers name, but even more impressive is the title just beneath it. Nick Fury Vol. 1 came out a full nine months after Avengers Vol. 6, but still came very close to eclipsing it for highest-ranking new volume, despite the much shorter on-sale period. Nick Fury beat out a large number of other Volume 1's too, including Ant-Man, Sgt. Fury, Human Torch, Warlock, Rawhide Kid, Captain Marvel, and even Sub-Mariner! (Iron Man Vol. 1 too, but that volume has been sold out forever.)
GORMUU: I'll have fun watching Silver Surfer next year. Now that the BTP editions are both out and the Omnibus is sold out, I expect it to start creeping up a little in the survey.
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 3: 49% (-3%)
SUB-MARINER VOL. 1: 49% (-4%)
IRON MAN VOL. 1: 49% (-6%)
INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 2: 49% (-4%)
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 4: 49% (-2%)
X-MEN VOL. 4: 49% (-4%)
CAPTAIN MARVEL VOL. 1: 48% (+3%)
DAREDEVIL VOL. 3: 47% (-3%)
ANT-MAN/GIANT-MAN VOL. 1: 47% (-3%)
THOR VOL. 6: 47% (new entry)
AVENGERS VOL. 7: 47% (new entry)
INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 3: 46% (-2%)
SGT. FURY VOL. 1: 46% (0%)
IRON MAN VOL. 2: 46% (-4%)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 9: 45% (new entry)
DR. STRANGE VOL. 3: 45% (new entry)
IRON MAN VOL. 3: 45% (+1%)
CLEAZER: An impressive gain for Captain Marvel Vol. 1. That wasn't even a new title on the previous survey. Of the few Masterworks that are actually gaining in ownership percentage, Captain Marvel is the oldest, which
is definitely something to be proud of, since the "people didn't have the chance to buy it yet last time" excuse can't be used to explain away Captain Marvel Vol. 1's gain. It's possible that since Captain Marvel was the first new Marvel Age volume 1 when it was released, some people may have written it off as just some sort of gimmick and not a real Masterworks line. Perhaps after a few years of reflection they've finally accepted that it's a legitimate and worthy addition to the Masterworks line.
It's worth mentioning that Iron Man Vol. 1 is the lowest ranking of the original 32 Masterworks, but it's been in limbo for a few years since it's been sold out.
GORMUU: Interesting analysis of Captain Marvel Vol. 1, Cleazer. Perhaps since it's 3 volumes deep at such a fast pace has emboldened people to at least try out the first one. Captain Marvel will be an interesting line to monitor, since it's perhaps the most pronounced instance so far of a line getting really good with its third volume. What will ownership levels look like for the first two?
HUMAN TORCH VOL. 1: 44% (0%)
IRON MAN VOL. 4 : 44% (new entry)
WARLOCK VOL. 1 : 44% (new entry)
DAREDEVIL VOL. 4 : 44% (new entry)
UNCANNY X-MEN VOL. 6 : 42% (new entry)
SUB-MARINER VOL. 2 : 41% (new entry)
INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 4 : 41% (new entry)
RAWHIDE KID VOL. 1 : 41% (+1%)
CAPTAIN MARVEL VOL. 2 : 41% (new entry)
ANT-MAN/GIANT-MAN VOL. 2 : 37% (new entry)
RAWHIDE KID VOL. 2 : 32% (new entry)
CLEAZER: Rawhide Kid gets the double indignity of having both the lowest-ranked "old entry", plus the overall lowest-ranked Marvel Age volume. On the plus side though, Rawhide Kid Vol. 1 is one of the very few volumes
to actually gain in ownership percentage, and in this survey, that's something to be proud of.
Overall, a mere six volumes actually rose in ownership percentage: Avengers Vol. 5, Thor Vol. 5, Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 8, Captain Marvel Vol. 1, Iron Man Vol. 3, and Rawhide Kid Vol. 1. Five volumes were unchanged, which ought to count as a victory this year: Thor Vol. 4, Captain America Vol. 3, Sgt. Fury Vol. 1, Human Torch Vol. 1, and Atlas Era Tales Of suspense Vol. 1.
GORMUU: I'm disappointed to see Rawhide Kid down around the bottom of the survey. I hope the sales for the first volume are considered worthy, but the drop to the second volume seems pretty far, and at this point, it seems as if further Rawhide Kid volumes are a longshot. I hope this doesn't muddy the future of Western Masterworks altogether, though, as I do feel initial volumes of Two-Gun Kid or Kid Colt would do at least as well as the first Rawhide Kid.
Now, on to the rate at which survey respondents would like to see their Marvel Age Masterworks:
12 (Keep the status quo! One a month is nice.): 48% (+23%)
16+ (massively accelerated): 15% (new entry)
13-15 (a slight increase): 11% (new entry)
8-11 (About one every five to six weeks.): 8% (-2%)
4-7 (About one every two to three months.): 7% (-16%)
0 (I'm not interested in this period for Masterworks.): 7% (+1%)
1-3 (Only a small handful per year.): 5% (-10%)
NOTE: On the last survey, "13+" got 21%, so if you combine those numbers with the 13-15 choice, it actually went up 5%.
CLEAZER: Now that the Masterworks program seems firmly established, and both the GA and AE lines are up and running, it seems that people are quite content with the idea of one Marvel Age Masterwork per month, as that
option on the survey grew by a whopping 23% this year, nearly doubling from last time!
Adding this result to the results above from the GA and AE production questions, it's obvious that support is up accross the board for the current Masterworks schedule and even for expansion.
GORMUU: Yep, that's what it would appear. Of course, survey enthusiasm would need to match buying enthusiasm when and if that were to happen. Otherwise, it would be futile for Marvel to continue pushing the envelope on production. At some point, like DC Archives fans have learned the hard way, you hit a wall and then a retraction is possible, if not likely.
* * *
D) Trade Dress Questions
For those not already well versed in the different trade dress designs of Masterworks, a little history:
The "remasterworks" editions - the reprints of the original 32 Masterworks- came out in two different trade dress designs: one is the regular silver and black trade dress, the other is a variant based on the marble/foil design of the "original 27" books.
All new Masterworks published since the first new volume produced in 2004 - Masterworks Vol. 33/Spider-Man Vol. 6 - continue in this tradition, giving consumers the option of buying a variant dustjacket that resembles the old volumes, or building a collection with the regular versions which number only by character lines.
Here's how respondents break down on their loyalty to one trade dress design over another:
Regular silver and black edition: 53% (-3%)
Marble variant: 27% (+1%)
Committed to neither: 20% (+2%)
I buy both editions: 0% (-1%)
CLEAZER: Am I the only one left who buys both versions? Ouch, we're down to three people with this year's survey. I couldn't even round that up to 1%.
GORMUU: I used to buy both editions, but that time is a distant memory for me! I now buy only the variant. You're a dinosaur, Cleazer!
If only we knew the print runs of the books, we'd be able to determine how Masterworks survey respondents compare to the actual breakdown of marble variants to regular editions.
* * *
E) BTP (Back To Press) Questions
In 2007, Marvel began issuing BTP volumes of out of print Masterworks. At the time of the survey, the BTP program was put on a temporary hiatus, but Marvel is determined to continue the program at a future time, perhaps as soon as later this year.
The survey asked respondents to address their attitude towards the BTP initiative.
53%: I am content with my old Masterworks and will not be buying any BTP volumes
30%: I am only upgrading a few of my Masterworks with BTP editions, not all of them
9%: I have no idea what this question is referring to
8%: I have upgraded each of my Masterworks with the new BTP editions
CLEAZER: Looks like more than a few people will be participating in the BTP program, with 38% indicating some level of interest in the books. Unsurprisingly, the majority of people at the Masterworks board already
have their ducks in a row and have their Masterworks collections nice and caught up, but 38% is still a pretty significant number of fans who are happy that the BTP program has finally started up. A lot of happy fans are finally filling in the holes in their collections.
V: MASTERWORKS QUALITY CONCERNS
A) Basic Satisfaction with Masterworks:
YES, I AM SATISFIED: 62% (-13%)
SOMEWHAT SATISFIED, BUT GETTING BETTER: 28% (+6%)
SOMEWHAT SATISFIED, BUT GETTING WORSE: 6% (+5%)
NO, I AM NOT SATISFIED: 4% (+2%)>
CLEAZER: These numbers are down from last time.
GORMUU: Yes, they are. But still, 90% are satisfied with their Masterworks. The double-digit drop in total satisfaction shows that not all is positive, however.
* * *
B) Sewn Binding:
YES, I AM PLEASED WITH THE MOVE TO SEWN BINDING: 62% (-4%)* * *
I HAVE NO OPINION: 17% (-1%)
YES, BUT THE PRICE HIKE WILL HURT MY ABILITY TO KEEP UP WITH NEW VOLUMES: (+4%)
NO, I SEE NO ADDED VALUE FROM THE ADDITION OF SEWN BINDING: 8% (0%)
CLEAZER: Well, at least most people are happy with the move to sewn binding. Apparently everyone can sleep
better at night since they know that their Masterworks won't magically fall apart when the glue
reaches some imaginary expiration date 40 years from now.
GORMUU: I'm definitely pleased, although the magical solution where the books will lie open flat still proves elusive. I'm hopeful that the move overseas for the Omniboo, which has indeed resulted in sewn binding volumes that lie open flat, portends good things for the Masterworks. We'll see...
* * *
Another bone of contention for a vocal minority that actually seems to be growing is the presence of what seems to be glue that is gumming up the binding and, worse, causing (some) dustjackets to stick to the hardcover shell of the book. This issue started to crop up with the move to sewn binding, seemed to go away towards the end of the year 2007, but then came back in early 2008. We asked respondents to address this issue by choosing a statement which most closely resembles their feeling about the matter:
It was annoying, but no biggie: 43%
Glue? What glue? What glue problem?: 38%
I didn't buy any 2007 Masterworks so I have no firsthnd reference to what the heck you're talking about: 15%
The glue problem was so bad it had me considering dropping Masterworks altogether: 3%
CLEAZER: A massive 81% seem to think the glue is no big deal at all.
GORMUU: Yes, apparently it's definitely a vocal minority. I, myself, am in the "annoying but no biggie camp", although I really detest the dustjackets being glued to the hardcovers. Many people report never coming across that, so maybe it's just me, but it's a problem that, if not fixed, will definitely get an uptick in customer dissatisfaction come next year's survey.
It is funny that a whopping 38% haven't even detected any problem at all!
D) Areas of improvement:
Respondents were asked to choose any of the issues which they thought merited attention from
Marvel regarding quality issues with the Masterworks. Here is how these choices broke down among all
Excellent: 30% (+11%)
Above Average: 50% (-6%)
Average: 17% (-5%)
Below Average: 2% (-1%)
Poor: 1% (+1%)
Excellent: 37% (-1%)
Above Average: 46% (-1%)
Average: 15% (-2%)
Below Average: 0% (-2%)
Poor: 1% (+1%)
Excellent: 31% (+7%)
Above Average: 43% (-1%)
Average: 22% (-5%)
Below Average: 3% (-1%)
Poor: 2% (+2%)
Excellent: 24% (+5%)
Above Average: 34% (-3%)
Average: 33% (-2%)
Below Average: 8% (0%)
Poor: 2% (+1%)
Excellent: 25% (+3%)
Above Average: 44% (-6%)
Average: 27% (+1%)
Below Average: 3% (+1%)
Poor: 1% (+1%)
Excellent: 16% (+5%)
Above Average: 36% (+3%)
Average: 41% (-2%)
Below Average: 5% (-5%)
Poor: 2% (-1%)
Excellent: 28% (0%)
Above Average: 36% (-5%)
Average: 32% (+4%)
Below Average: 3% (0%)
Poor: 1% (+1%)
Excellent: 32% (-5%)
Above Average: 41% (0%)
Average: 23% (+2%)
Below Average: 3% (+2%)
Poor: 1% (+1%)
CLEAZER: Interestingly, we've reached the point where people are happiest with the paper stock now. Good to see that people are also happy with the linework and the coloring.
I'm guessing some of the low marks for editorial content are due to either not as many bonus extras as people would like, or perhaps the introductions. It's kind of tough to guess what's in people's minds when they give some of these average and below average marks.
GORMUU: Linework and paperstock get the highest grades above average. Apparently, Masterworks consumers as a whole consider them to be at a high level of quality. Binding? That's another story. Even with the improvement to sewn binding, only slightly above 50% of Masterworks consumers could be moved to rate the quality as above average or higher. Apparently, there's still work to be done in that area, and perhaps moving Masterworks printing overseas will bring that to fruition.
I presume the lower marks for content choices means fans are dissatisfied with some of the character/line choices. Perhaps we'll see more of that as we move into the '70s with some of the '60s material left undone. Or maybe the GA and Atlas Era fans are ancy that their needs aren't being met?