Interesting (and partly nostalgic) look behind the scenes at Marvel Comics (and the state of the industry as a whole) in the early 1990s. I’ll admit that back then I bought into the whole spiel as much as the next comic geek on everything Marvel and Image spat out.
In 1991, Marvel Comics was enjoying unprecedented success. The company went public in July; the stock went from $16 1/2 to $18 on the first day, trading at a volume of 2.3 million shares. In August, a rebooted X-Men #1, available in five variant-cover versions, sold nearly 8 million copies—doubling the record that had been set by X-Force #1, only four months earlier. Given a mandate to top the sales of each previous quarter, Marvel ramped up production of its foil stamp covers, embossed covers, and glow-in-the-dark-ink covers on other titles. The company hired as a consultant Richard T. Rogers, a marketing superstar who’d masterminded the introductions of red- and green-colored holiday season M&Ms and king-size bags of candies—in other words, getting people excited to buy the same old thing in a new package, and getting them to buy in bulk.