A Marvel Comics spokesman reiterated Thursday the comics publisher will drop the Canadian price on its comics, but he corrected a statement indicating the same would happen for collected editions.
Arune Singh, manager of sales communications with Marvel Entertainment Inc., corrected a statement he provided Eye on Comics earlier this week, noting that Canadian pricing won’t be dropped from its books, only from its periodical publications.
“For the time being, Canadian prices will remain on Marvel collections,” he said in an e-mail Thursday.
That’s in keeping with what one Canadian retailer — Calum Johnston of Strange Adventures Comic Shops — learned recently. Another — Jay Bardyla of Happy Harbor Comics — reported that discussions between members of Comics Pro, a trade organization representing direct-market comics retailers, and representatives from Marvel and DC Comics indicated Canadian pricing was here to stay.
Comics Pro president Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics said one reason different stories are making the rounds is because different publishers may opt for different policies.
“I believe there are conflicting reports because the issue of whether to continue putting Canadian cover prices on periodical comics is still unsettled. What one publisher may do another may not follow,” he said Thursday. “The dialog happening now will lead to some resolution. And I believe the publishers will do what they feel best suits the majority of their retailers.”
Many Canadian retailers have called on Marvel and DC to drop Canadian pricing altogether. They’d rather just have a U.S. price printed on comics and graphic novels, leaving them to set their own Canadian prices based on exchange rates charged by Diamond Comic Distributors.
In a discussion thread on the Comics Should Be Good blog this week sparked by the initial Eye on Comics report on the fate of Canadian pricing, comics writer Ed Brubaker points out that at least one Marvel title did just that some time ago.
“I’d just like to point out that I did this on Criminal over a year ago,” he wrote.
The most recent issue of Criminal 2, the second incarnation of the series, lists the price as $3.50, with the words “more in Canada” right below that price. While it’s not overtly listed as a U.S. price, the note about it costing more in Canada implies it’s an American price point.
Still, while this is closer to what many Canadian retailers are looking for, one could argue it’s not exactly right. At the moment, the Canadian dollar is valued under its U.S. counterpart, so the “more in Canada” label is accurate. But a year ago, the loonie was valued above the U.S. greenback, which means technically, the Canadian price at that time would be “less in Canada.”
To be fair to Brubaker, though, the Canadian dollar has rarely achieved parity with the U.S. buck or exceeded it in value. The “more in Canada” label has been true much more often than not, historically.
Retailers such as Johnston and Bardyla said their plans in the face of continued Canadian pricing remains the same has its been for a few years now: they’re ignoring it and calculating their own Canadian prices based on the exchange rates they have to pay on the product.
Click here to read the first part of this report on Canadian pricing.