According to the most recent advertisement flyer for Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, it appears that Marvel reached out to the nationwide chain of liquidation and discount stores to offload an excess stock of unsold comic books:
In their advertisements, Ollie’s will sometimes include a small story which provides some details as to how the outlet chain acquired the merchandise. In regard to their acquisition of the Marvel stock, Ollie’s writes:
What’s The Story?
Marvel called Ollie’s looking to closeout over 250,000 graphic novels. Ollie’s answered with Avengers – oops, we mean, a vengeance. We bought it all to sell at a savings up to 80% off the fancy store prices. Choose from a selection of all the Marvel favorites. Selection will vary by store.
Among the titles featured are The Avengers: Age of Ultron Prelude, Civil War II, and Original Sin.
This is not the first time that Ollie’s has received a massive stock of merchandise from a major publisher or Marvel specifically. In January 2018, Ollie’s received 19 truckloads of merchandise from DC Comics, offering their titles for up to 85% off. Later in May 2018, they would receive a combined 115,000 Marvel and DC trade paperbacks worth $2.5 million in publisher liquidation sales.
There is a noted difference between past Marvel acquisitions, where Ollie’s purchased the stock through liquidation sales, and this most recent instance, where Marvel directly sought Ollie’s help in offloading unsold product. This difference has led to speculation that Marvel may be attempting to offload product en masse in an effort to artificially inflate sales numbers.
This is supported by the sales numbers of one of the featured titles, Original Sin. According to Comichron, the hardcover collection of the title did not appear on any top sales lists before 2018. Yet the Original Sin hardcover placed 5th in reorders placed between Sept 10-16 2018 and placed 40th in the September 2018 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops, with an estimated 1,819 units sold. For a story from 2014 that currently has little consequence to the Marvel comic universe nor any current movie tie-in to beat titles such as the recently adapted Infinity Gauntlet or the then-unreleased Dark Knights Metal trade paper back is surprising to say the least.
Marvel’s excess stock may also be the continuing result of poor quality trends that have led to a year of increasingly poor industry sales and widespread closures of comic book stores.
Regardless of why Ollie’s came to acquire the stock, readers looking for discounted titles have until November 21st to take advantage of Marvel’s latest sales strategy.