I go through the Diamond shipping lists pretty thoroughly every Monday while assembling my 'Twas the Night Before Wednesday... feature for Blog@, and, once I'm done with that, I go back through and make my own little shopping list for that Wednesday (in part to make sure I have enough cash for everything I want to get that week, and in part because that's the kind of persnickety, anal retentive person I am).
When putting together that little shopping list, my general parameters are simply to keep it under $30, usually spent on books I'd rather read in single-issue chunks instead of later in trade. (If you're wondering, that's why my Weekly Haul features here on EDILW are almost always exclusively DC and Marvel super-comics; literary and/or non-super-comics stuff is what I usually try to get review copies of, or buy online to take advantage of discounts—sorry, local comics shop!—or borrow from a library).
This week I noticed that every single comic on my list was a DC comic. I don't think that happens very often. I went back to check the shipping list to see why there wasn't a single Marvel comic on it. Surely they were publishing something I wanted to read, right? They couldn't all be $3.99 books now, could they? (As I've noted here so many times I'm sure everyone's sick of hearing it, $2.99's as much as I'm willing to pay for 22-pages worth of DC or Marvel super-comic; which disqualifies a bunch of Marvel comics I might otherwise be interested in checking out).
If you don't want to follow the link over to Diamond's shipping list for this week, here's what the Marvel portion of it looks like:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #598 2ND PTG SIQUEIRA VAR (PP #875) $2.99
CIVIL WAR HEROES FOR HIRE TP $13.99
CIVIL WAR PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL TP $14.99
DARK REIGN GOBLIN LEGACY DKR $3.99
DARK REIGN HAWKEYE #4 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
DARK REIGN HOOD #3 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
DARK REIGN LETHAL LEGION #2 (OF 3) DKR $3.99
DARK REIGN SINISTER SPIDER-MAN #1 (OF 4) 2ND PTG VAR $3.99
DARK REIGN SINISTER SPIDER-MAN #2 (OF 4) DKR $3.99
DARK REIGN YOUNG AVENGERS #3 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
DARK TOWER THE FALL OF GILEAD #3 (OF 6) $3.99
DARK X-MEN BEGINNING #2 (OF 3) DAX $3.99
ESSENTIAL PARKER SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 4 $19.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #569 $3.99
GHOST RIDER TP LAST STAND $16.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN PREM HC VOL 02 WORLDS MOST WANTED $19.99
KID COLT #1 $3.99
MARVEL ZOMBIES 4 #4 (OF 4) $3.99
MMW X-MEN TP VOL 02 $24.99
MMW X-MEN TP VOL 02 DM VAR ED 07 $24.99
NEW AVENGERS #54 2ND PTG TAN VAR (PP #875) $3.99
NEW AVENGERS #55 DKR $3.99
SCOURGE OF GODS PREM HC VOL 01 (MR) $24.99
SECRET WARRIORS #6 DKR $2.99
SON OF HULK #13 $2.99
SPIDER-GIRL TP VOL 11 MARKED FOR DEATH DIGEST $12.99
THOR #602 2ND PTG DJURDJEVIC VAR (PP #875) $3.99
THUNDERBOLTS #134 DKR $2.99
ULTIMATUM #5 (OF 5) $3.99
ULTIMATUM #5 (OF 5) FINCH GATEFOLD VAR $3.99
ULTIMATUM SPIDER-MAN REQUIEM #2 (OF 2) $3.99
WAR OF KINGS ASCENSION #4 (OF 4) $3.99
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT TP IN THE BLOOD (MR) $16.99
WOLVERINE NOIR #4 (OF 4) $3.99
WOLVERINE NOIR #4 (OF 4) CALERO VAR $3.99
X-MEN FOREVER #2 2ND PTG GRUMMETT VAR (PP #875) $3.99
X-MEN FOREVER #4 $3.99
X-MEN LEGACY #225 2ND PTG ACUNA VAR (PP #875) $2.99
That's 38 new releases, 28 of which are comics books, and the remainder of which are either hardcover or trade paperback collections of comics. Is that a lot for a single week? Well, for comparison's sake, DC Comics has 23 new releases this week, 19 of which are comic books, and thus four of which are trades. Dark Horse and Image, meanwhile, have five and eight releases, respectively.
Of Marvel's 28 new comics, only four are at the $2.99 price point—X-Men Legacy, Secret Warriors, Son of Hulk and Thunderbolts— which works out to a mere one-seventh of Marvel's books being released this week.
Additionally, there are eight comics that are explicitly branded with a "Dark Reign" or a "Dark" in the title.
In one week.
I don't normally bother counting, so I don't know if this is an unusual week or not, but I have noticed that, in general, Marvel seems to be pumping out a ton of product each week, especially compared to their nearest rival DC, and that some of those weeks a lot of that is due to "Dark Reign" miniseries and one-shots (In fact, look closely at that list and you'll see relatively few of those 28 comics are actual ongoing monthly series; so even if Marvel insists few of their ongoings are actually selling at the $3.99-for-22 pages price, almost all of their miniseries and one-shots now sell at that price point, and that's the majority of what they're selling these days).
It may also be worth noting that this Wednesday is the fifth of this particular month, so this is apparently what a "fifth week" shipping list looks like in 2009. In the past, when monthly comic books came out like clockwork on a regular schedule, fifth week's often necessitated some sort of special event or book from the Big Two to fill the gap, since nothing was scheduled to come out on the fifth week of a month. Obviously comics aren't published anything like that these days, and a fifth week can actually turn out to be a pretty giant week.