As we move through the process of counting pages, stories, and ads in the comic books in our corpus, Ben asked a pretty basic question: Given that every ad that shows up here will have a unique identifier, can we link those across books? So, for example, if an ad for the Green Arrow television series appears in fifteen different DC Comics, can we note that it is the same ad?
The answer is, of course, that we can, but it is going to be a lot of extra work. Right now we are noting when ads are internal (ads in Marvel Comics for other Marvel Comics) and external (ads in Marvel Comics for a videogame) and a few other features, but we’re not specifically dealing with the content of the ad itself. Adding that line to the database is trivially easy - it would then be the matching up that would be time-consuming, particularly in cases where ads have minor differences in them over time (Charles Atlas ads, for example). Still, it is certainly worth doing and it is the type of area where we’d like to expand our efforts if we have time and funding to do so.
One place where it would be trivially easy to do this work, however, is corpus book #3240, which has the same ad in it twice! The ad is an internal ad for the first issue of the third Wolverine series (2010). There is an ad for it on the inside front cover of #3240 and also near the back of the book. At first I thought I was imagining it (these things tend to blend together a bit), but here it is:
At first I figured that must’ve been a weird editorial glitch, but then the exact same thing happened in corpus book #3239 (also an X-Men title) and I realized that, no, no, Marvel really, really wanted you, the reader, to be aware that there was a new Wolverine series launching in September 2010 and that Wolverine was going to hell.
I suppose it worked. Wolverine #1 (3rd series) was the top-selling book of September 2010, with just over 100,000 copies sold. That didn’t sustain, of course, as the title has been cancelled and relaunched twice in the eight years since (and also re-numbered at least once).
In a piece for Flow, Ben asked the question of what a comic book reader was worth to advertisers. He concluded, not an awful lot. As we move through the 2010s in order to code the advertising in comics, I find more and more evidence to support his contention. This particular comic book has thirteen pages of non-comics material (of thirty-six total) and only four have been sold to external advertisers:
Kids Headquarters, selling Marvel branded apparel
MadEngine.com, selling Marvel t-shirts and other clothes
AboveTheInfluence.com, a public service campaign of the ONDCP
All of the rest of the ads are for other Marvel comics, but most especially for Wolverine. In hell.