This weekend, Marvel announced the release of A-Force Presents, two trade paperback volumes that collect introductory stories to several of Marvel’s most recent, highly successful female-led titles. Diversity in comic books has been something readers have long been pushing for and, when the publishers produce these titles, they are commercially successful. The first collected volume of Ms. Marvel was one of the highest selling titles when it was released in October 2014, and sales of Jason Aaron’s female Thor is outselling the previous run of the title (also written by Aaron) by around 30%.
With these collections, Marvel are looking to further expand the demographic of comic book readers. While digital comics are available everywhere, physical single issues are available almost exclusively at comic book stores. Collected volumes are available in bookstores but $17-18 each can be a prohibitive price point for readers who just want to try out something new. The first two A-Force Presents titles, scheduled for release in September and November this year, are set at $15 each. That’s still not as cheap as Image Comics’ $9.99 for first volume trades, but as an introduction to multiple characters it’s a great way for female readers who don’t normally read comics to try these out.
With trades having wider distribution channels this increases the visibility of these characters and, being more of an ‘event’ book, Marvel are more likely to purchase promotional placement in stores. It not only promotes the individual character titles but, through the collection’s title, promotes the A-Force team storyline that will spin out of this summer’s Secret Wars.
With new titles such as Spider-Gwen and Silk, and Spider-Woman starting a new run after Spider-verse, Marvel have significant scope to run further with this concept, and those are just the Spider-related titles.
Marvel have sales figures that clearly show how much existing comic book readers desire these titles. With A-Force Presents, they are taking the logical next step and packaging these titles in such a way they’ll be put in front of people who don’t necessarily read comic books but would enjoy them if they only had an accessible entry point.