Why Aren't the Promo Ads in Trade Paperbacks?

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08/09/10Why Aren't the Promo Ads in Trade Paperbacks?(Blog) (Forum)Trade Paperback(Back) (Next)

This is something that I've wondered about for a long time. Those in-house ads that promote a company's new title or story arc - why aren't they included in the trade paperback? It worked very well for Batman: Knightfall. Remember the full page ads, summing up the previous events and giving a clue to what's coming in just a couple short sentences? When the trades came out, those ads were included before each new chapter, and I thought it worked great. Especially if you were reading both trades back-to-back, and needed to put a bookmark in at some point. You could open it back up, read the blurb on the promo ad, and go, "Oh yeah," and keep reading. Nice.

The ads are what get you pumped to read that title or story arc to begin with. I think that's half the fun. The ads are what made me read the original Power Pack series, in 1984. I remember half page ads with silhouettes of the characters, and I think the Smartship Friday in the background. Now, I also seem to recall that I built another idea up in my head, than what the characters turned out to be, but still, that ad was what made me want to read it. If I ever get the trade of the first issues, I will probably look for a beat up comic that I can cut that ad out of, and slip it behind the backing board (yeah, I bag and board my trades, as much as possible).

House ad hype for The Death of Superman
House ad hype for The Death of Superman

Another reason for those ads is to see something you may not see in the book. When DC was promoting The Death of Superman, they used a silhouette of Doomsday in one of the ads, only the silhouette had a ponytail that the character didn't have, when the story came out. To me, that's the perfect kind of thing to put in the trade, with a little blurb about why they did away with the ponytail - sort of a sketchbook type of thing, only it's the ad.

What we are not talking about, however, is what Image did in the Wildstar: Sky Zero trade. They ran an ad saying that the trade paperback would have every letter, every ad, and basically everything to do with putting that story out. When the trade came out, it was there, but the ads were in sketchbook form, and were hard to make out. I don't actually remember letters being in there, but maybe they meant "letter" as in "lettering," not "letter" as in "fan mail."

The point is: I think the ads would bring a little extra value to the trades. It's kind of like getting the movie trailer on the DVD. Like in Murder at 1600, the Secret Service agent tells Wesley Snipes that he was "born to become a chalk outline." That one line made me want to see the movie, and it was cut out. Totally ruined the end of the movie for me, but that's another story. Still, on the DVD, the movie trailer is there, and I can show people what I'm talking about, when I say, "This is what made me want to see this movie." I think it would be cool to be able to do the same for the book.

Oh, and here's an afterthought: sometimes, having the promo articles in the trade would be cool, as well. Like interviews in Wizard or Previews, or promo art and info that was dropped to comic websites, like say, oh, Comic Vine. Having them all would get redundant, but having the best representation of those articles in the trade gives the reader - especially if it's a reader who picks up the trade five years after it was released - an idea of what was going on at the time, and what the creators were trying to do with the story. ...So I guess what I'm saying here is the trade paperback should have more "Easter eggs."


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