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I: DEMOGRAPHICS

A) AGE

Total respondents: 467
Median age: 40
Average age: 42
Oldest: 62
Youngest: 18

This is the first Masterworks survey since late 2008, and after three years we've had a bit of a fall off in our respondent total. Perhaps this is due to the inconsistency of offering the survey, and possibly also some loss of active Masterworks purchasers as Marvel's Silver Age material has been almost thoroughly mined. That said, almost 500 respondents is still a robust number, and I'm sure that with a better marketed survey next year, we'll have even more folks taking part.

Our median age has remained steady, increasing one year for every year since the survey was launched nine years ago (when I was 31 years old and coincidentally had the same age as the average respondent).

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B) COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN

United States: 322 (69%)
United Kingdom: 50 (11%)
Canada: 29 (6%)
Australia: 10 (2%)
France: 8
Germany: 7
Netherlands: 5
Sweden: 5
Italy: 4
Spain: 4
Belgium: 2
Finland: 2
Norway: 2
Philippines: 2
Switzerland: 2
Brazil: 1
Greece: 1
Hong Kong: 1
Ireland: 1
Japan: 1
Malaysia: 1
Mexico: 1
New Zealand: 1
Portugal: 1
Singapore: 1

69% of all survey respondents live within the United States, whereas 11% live in the United Kingdom, 6% in Canada, and 2% in Australia. All other countries registered at below 2%. There were 25 different countries represented by 2012 Masterworks Survey respondents.

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C) STATES OF ORIGIN

California: 47
New York: 30
Illinois: 15
Massachusetts: 15
New Jersey: 15
Ohio: 17
Texas: 15
Florida: 14
Georgia: 12
Michigan: 12
Pennsylvania: 12
Washington: 10
Connecticut: 8
Maryland: 8
Virginia: 7
Minnesota: 6
Indiana: 5
Kentucky: 5
Mississippi: 5
Tennessee: 5
Wisconsin: 5
Arkansas: 4
New Hampshire: 4
Oklahoma: 4
Oregon: 4
North Carolina: 9
Iowa: 3
Louisiana: 3
Missouri: 3
New Mexico: 3
South Carolina: 3
Kansas: 2
Nebraska: 2
Arizona: 1
Colorado: 1
Delaware: 1
District of Columbia: 1
Maine: 1
Montana: 1
Nevada: 1
Utah: 1
Vermont: 1
West Virginia: 1

Respondents to the 2012 Masterworks Survey hailed from 42 different states and the District of Columbia. (States not represented include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wyoming.) California has the most respondents, with over 10% of the survey living in that state.


II: GENERAL REPRINT PURCHASING HABITS

A) MASTERWORKS BUYERS: DC ARCHIVES

Yes, I buy DC Archives: 72%
No, I do not buy DC Archives: 23%
No, but I plan on buying DC Archives in the future: 5%

Respondents who owned DC Archives were asked approximately how many Archive editions they owned. Perhaps not surprisingly, the two biggest cohorts were casual or starting fans who only owned 1-10 volumes (23%) and diehards who owned all of the DC Archives editions (13%).

Here is a general breakdown on ownership levels in groups of 50. (At the time of the survey, there were 153 total DC Universe Archives.)

1-50: 57%
51-100: 17%
101-All: 26%

* * *

B) MASTERWORKS BUYERS: SPIRIT ARCHIVES

Yes, I buy Spirit Archives: 34%
No, I do not buy Spirit Archives: 57%
No, but I plan on buying Spirit Archives in the future: 9%

Respondents who owned Spirit Archives were asked approximately how many volumes of the line they owned. Here is a general breakdown on ownership. (At the time of the survey, there were 26 total Spirit Archives by DC and 1 volume of the ’80s revival by Dark Horse.)

1-10: 40%
11-20: 9%
21-26: 14%
All: 38%
At nearly 4 out of 10 survey respondents, the category of those who owned the entire Spirit library – including the final volume published by Dark Horse – makes an impressive showing.

* * *

C) MASTERWORKS BUYERS: EC ARCHIVES

No, I do not buy EC Archives: 57%
Yes, I buy EC Archives: 36%
Not yet, but I plan on purchasing them in the future: 7%

Respondents who owned EC Archives were asked approximately how many volumes of the line they owned. With 12 volumes in the line, this is how the numbers broke down:

1-5: 27%
6-11: 24%
12: 49%

The once defunct line has now been revived by Russ Cochran, with two new volumes forthcoming in 2011.

* * *

D) MASTERWORKS BUYERS: DARK HORSE ARCHIVES

No, I do not buy Dark Horse Archives: 42%
Yes, I buy Dark Horse Archives: 51%
Not yet, but I plan on purchasing them in the future: 7%

Dark Horse has a wide line of titles offered up in their Archives series, including the Warren black and white horror anthologies, Gold Key hero comics, and Marvel’s Conan. The survey asked respondents who owned Dark Horse Archives to list the title lines they collected. With slightly over half of all survey respondents owning at least one Dark Horse Archive edition, this is a list of the percentage breakdowns for each title owned.

Creepy: 50%
Eerie: 46%
Conan by Barry Windsor-Smith: 43%
Magnus, Robot Fighter: 43%
Tarzan – The Joe Kubert Years: 41%
Doctor Solar: 34%
Nexus: 34%
Turok: 26%
Herbie: 25%
Green Lama: 24%
Flash Gordon: 22%
Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery: 21%
Doctor Spektor: 17%
Tarzan – The Jesse Marsh Years: 17%
Mighty Samson: 16%
Magicman: 15%
Nemesis: 15%
Roy Rogers: 8%
Al Capp’s Schmoo: 6%

* * *

E) MASTERWORKS VS. ESSENTIALS

For many years, Marvel mainly reprinted classic material in two formats: full-color hardcover Masterworks, and B&W softcover Essentials. This question asked survey respondents to define their Essentials purchasing habits:

48%: I never buy Essentials.
27%: I buy Essentials if they reprint material not currently in Masterworks.
10%: I buy Essentials if they reprint material I'm not willing to pay for in Masterworks.
7%: I buy Masterworks and Essentials of the same material because I like having them available in both formats.
5%: I only buy Essentials if they reprint material originally published in black and white.
2%: I almost exclusively buy reprint material in Essentials.

Survey respondents who owned Marvel Essentials were asked to give the approximate amount of Essentials volumes they owned. Here is the breakdown of those numbers:

1-25: 70%
26-50: 15%
51-75: 6%
76-100: 2%
101-125: 2%
126-143: 2%
All: 3%
As you can see, the vast majority of survey respondents own less than 25 Essentials volumes, and there is a steep dropoff after that, down to just 9% who own over 76 volumes.

* * *

F) OTHER MARVEL COLLECTED EDITIONS BRANDS

Respondents were asked to note which other Marvel collected editions formats they collected:

78%: Marvel Omnibus HCs
61%: Marvel Premiere Classic HCs
55%: Marvel Classic TPBs
55%: Oversized Marvel HCs
42%: Marvel Premiere HCs
34%: Marvel TPBs (contemporary material)
9%: Marvel Digests

Of the seven different categories, four of the top five were all hardcover formats. In addition, the top three categories were all formats designed predominantly to reprint classic material. This would correlate, of course, with the fact that the website began as a gathering place for mainly hardcover devotees of classic material! Still, nearly 1 in 3 survey respondents still keep up with Marvel’s contemporary output through softcover trades.

* * *

G) OTHER DC COLLECTED EDITION BRANDS

Respondents were asked to note which DC Hardcover formats they collected:

25%: DC Absolute Edition HCs
21%: DC Deluxe Edition HCs
10%: DC Omnibus HCs
3%: DC Comics Classic Library HCs

The now-defunct DC Comics Classic Library only retains a 3% ownership, a very poor number that seems to indicate there was something about the format that didn’t take with the typical survey respondent. DC’s ultra-premium Absolute format, however, draws a clientele of 1 out of every 4 Masterworks survey respondent.


III: ASSORTED MARVEL HARDCOVER OPINIONS

A) MARVEL OMNIBUS QUESTIONS

32%: I might buy Omniboo but only if it collects material I suspect will not be seen elsewhere in Masterworks or other HC formats.
24%: I prefer the Omnibus format to Masterworks.
15%: I buy both, generally whichever comes first.
12%: I might buy Omniboo of contemporary material, but I prefer the Masterworks for classic material.
11%: I do not buy the Omnibus format.
6%: I buy Masterworks and Omniboo of the same material because I like having them available in both formats.

In the aggregate, there is strong support for the Omnibus format among Masterworks buyers. Only a little over 1 in 10 Masterworks buyers do not buy Omniboo.

* * *

B) IDEAL OMNIBUS SIZE

The Marvel Omnibus format has had a wide variety of page counts across individual books, with volumes as low as 160+ pages (Devil Dinosaur) sharing the brand with those topping 1100 pages (Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, Punisher by Garth Ennis, etc.). Respondents were asked to weigh in on the ideal page counts for their oversized hardcovers.

32%: 501-750 pages
24%: 751-1000 pages
22%: Any size is ideal, I do not care.
11%: 301-500 pages
8%: 1001+ pages
3%: 300 pages or less

Both extremes took up the bottom end of the survey, with the massive doorstoppers garnering 8% support, but the super-small (for Omniboo) page counts coming in with only 3% support. Obviously, there is wide support across the spectrum for the large page counts we've been getting routinely from the Omniboo.

* * *

C) OMNIBUS BINDING

With books as big as the Omniboo, binding is an especially crucial component of the overall production value. Originally, the books were published with glued binding, leading to some inconsistency regarding ease of reading. But for the last few years, all Omnibus volumes have been published with sewn binding. Despite this default policy, we still felt it worth inquiring with survey respondents their feelings over binding issues.

32%: Whatever it takes to get the book to open flat; that's what I want.
30%: I prefer sewn binding, but am content with glued binding.
22%: I demand sewn binding and will only buy them if they are sewn.
16%: I don't care. Omnibus production values are fine with me.

As the numbers seem to indicate, most respondents are happy with either glued or sewn binding. However, nearly 1 in 5 declare glued binding to be a deal-breaker in regards to their purchase of the massive Omnibus editions, so Marvel would be wise to consider that should the topic be raised of ditching sewn binding.

* * *

D) OMNIBUS OWNERSHIP

50% + OWNERSHIP:

54%: Amazing Fantasy

In number one by a relatively wide margin is the reprinting of all 15 issues of the classic monster/sci-fi/suspense anthology that launched at the dawn of the Marvel Age: Amazing Adventures, Amazing Adult Fantasy, and the issue that featured Spider-Man's debut, Amazing Fantasy #15. This material was both highly coveted at its time of release, and also not available through Masterworks. Now that this Omnibus is now out of print, perhaps it will make a good candidate for Masterworks? We'll see how it fares in the Future Masterworks part of the survey...

40-49% OWNERSHIP:

49%: Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1
46%: Tomb of Dracula Vol. 2
45%: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1
43%: Fantastic Four Vol. 1
43%: Devil Dinosaur
43%: Thor by Walter Simonson
42%: Eternals

The next cohort of the survey is taken up by two groups of material: 1) comics not yet reprinted in Masterworks, and 2) some of the most highly desirable "evergreens" in Marvel history. Early Spidey and FF has shown that it will sell in whatever format Marvel publishes it in. And as for the rest, strong showing indicate that even oddities like Devil Dinosaur can appeal to the hardcore buying segment that covets Omniboo.

Of special note is the presence of Thor by Walter Simonson, a volume that had only recently been published when the survey bowed. Its placement near the top of the heap after such a short interval of time underlines how popular the material is with readers.

30-39% OWNERSHIP:

39%: Captain America by Ed Brubaker Vol. 1
38%: Fantastic Four Vol. 2
37%: Howard the Duck
35%: Captain Britain by Alan Moore
35%: Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson
33%: Tomb of Dracula Vol. 3
33%: Captain America by Jack Kirby
33%: Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1
31%: Captain America: The Death of Captain America
30%: Iron Man Vol. 1

The first appearance of contemporary comics material occurs with Ed Brubaker's critic and fan-acclaimed Captain America, with almost 4 in 10 survey respondents owning the first volume in the series, and over 3 in 10 owning the second ("Death Of..."). The rest of the cohort is taken up by more classic material, most of which has yet to see print in Masterworks.

20-29% OWNERSHIP:

29%: Incredible Hulk Vol. 1
28%: Daredevil by Frank Miller Companion
28%: Thor Vol. 1
28%: X-Men Vol. 1
27%: Wolverine Vol. 1
27%: Captain America Vol. 1
26%: Silver Surfer Vol. 1
25%: Captain America Lives!
25%: Secret Wars
25%: X-Men Vol. 2
22%: Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Vol. 2
22%: Secret Wars II
22%: Thor by J. Michael Straczynski
22%: Immortal Iron Fist by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction & David Aja
21%: Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Vol. 1
20%: Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 1
20%: Elektra by Frank Miller
20%: Iron Man Vol. 2

Towards the bottom end of the ownership levels, we see far more of a mix of classic and contemporary material. Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 1 seems a bit of a disappointment that low, whereas 1 in 4 respondents own Secret Wars, which caused quite a hubbub upon release due to its extraordinarily high list price.

10-19% OWNERSHIP:

19%: Acts of Vengeance
19%: Astonishing X-Men
19%: Atlantis Attacks!
18%: Squadron Supreme
17%: Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron
16%: Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades
15%: Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 2
15%: Ultimates by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch
14%: Alias
14%: Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 1
13%: Punisher by Garth Ennis
11%: New X-Men by Grant Morrison

The least owned Omnibus by survey respondents is New X-Men by Grant Morrison. As one of the very first Omnibus volumes, and also one of the very first to go out of print, this is not surprising. Similarly, Brian Michael Bendis' Alias and Daredevil runs were early targets of the Omnibus program, but they, too, went out of print rather quickly, and so occupy a seemingly low ranking on the list. But since this end of the list is virtually all contemporary material, perhaps it is pointing out the nature of Masterworks respondents to hew more towards buying classic material, at least in an expensive hardcover format.

* * *

E) FUTURE OMNIBUS VOLUMES

It seems that just as soon as book buyers have a new book on their shelf, they're eyeing the schedule for the next one! This section of the survey asked Omnibus fans to put together their wish list for future Omnibus volumes. The following is the list of top six choices.

1) Master of Kung Fu Vol. 1
53%, 948 power points, 77 first place votes

Towering over the field in first place is the Master of Kung Fu himself, Shang-Chi! Son of ––––– ! Wait, you mean I can't utter the words -----? Or -----? Or even -----?

And, uh oh. That's the reason we might never see this volume: While Marvel owns their original character creation Shang Chi lock, stock and barrel, the Sax Rohmer has their deadly hands over much of the supporting cast that appeared in the MOKF run. Therefore, licensing deals have to be negotiated and approved and...well, Masterworks line editor Cory Sedlmeier recently doused the fire burning with news that it was very unlikely we'll see this for some time. Sadly, we must move on to the next item on the agenda...

2) Marvel Monsters of the '70s Vol. 1
42%, 680 power points, 38 first place votes

There is quite a fervor for the early '70s monster monthlies to appear in future Omnibus volumes, and owing to the success of Tomb of Dracula, perhaps that's not such a surprise. We had left the choice all-inclusive, not discriminating between the likes of Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing, Frankenstein, and any of the other creatures that worked their way into the Marvel Universe during the early '70s. A multi-volume series could go a long way to covering them all.

3) Doctor Strange by Steve Ditko
33%, 554 power points, 36 first place votes

This edition would make a psychedelic counterpart to the first Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus, an all-Ditko exploration of the dread domain of Dormammu with Doctor Strange as your guide!

4) Not Brand Ecch
30%, 498 power points, 46 first place votes

It was the humor title that boasted the credits of legends Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Bill Everett, Marie Severin and more, and it is arguably the last major highlight of Marvel's Silver Age yet left to mine.

5) Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2
29%, 494 power points, 34 first place votes

Picking up where the first volume left off, this edition would be a Romita free-for-all, with his first two issues (#39-40) joining the issues collected in Masterworks Vols. 5-7, which featured Gwen Stacy in a more prominent role, the classic "Spider-Man No More" issue, the first appearance of the Kingpin, classic multi-part sagas featuring the Vulture, Mysterio, and Doctor Octopus, and the origin of Peter Parker's parents – not to mention both issues of the Spectacular Spider-Man magazine. And, lo and behold, this is on the schedule for 2012!

6) Infinity Saga by Jim Starlin
31%, 461 power points, 23 first place votes

The multiple miniseries that make up Starlin's cosmic opera have been issued in multiple formats over the last twenty years – in both hardcover and trade – and they all have one thing in common: They sell out. An Omnibus volume would pull together the cult hit series Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, and more goodies to make this an Omnibus not to miss.

And the rest of the field:

7) Alpha Flight by John Byrne: 28%, 438 power points, 19 first place votes

8) Fantastic Four by John Byrne: 25%, 432 power points, 24 first place votes

9) Fantastic Four Vol. 3: 24%, 373 power points, 16 first place votes

10) Invaders: 24%, 347 power points, 15 first place votes

11) Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2: 21%, 335 power points, 24 first place votes

12) Avengers Vol. 1: 18%, 281 power points, 11 first place votes

13) Incredible Hulk by Peter David Vol. 1: 19%, 254 power points, 10 first place votes

14) What If? Vol. 1: 17%, 216 power points, 5 first place votes

15) Champions: 17%, 211 power points, 3 first place votes

16) Thor Vol. 2: 16%, 210 power points, 3 first place votes

17) New Mutants Vol. 1: 14%, 181 power points, 4 first place votes

18) Excalibur Vol. 1: 13%, 165 power points, 1 first place votes

19) Wolverine Vol. 2: 11%, 163 power points, 5 first place votes

20) Captain America Vol. 2: 10%, 110 power points, 2 first place votes

21) Golden Age Captain America Vol. 1: 7%, 98 power points, 3 first place votes

22) Atlas Era Super Heroes: 7%, 98 power points, 3 first place votes

23) Thor by Dan Jurgens & John Romita Jr.: 7%, 94 power points, 5 first place votes

24) Incredible Hulk Vol. 2: 7%, 78 power points, 3 first place votes

25) Deadpool Vol. 1: 6%, 66 power points, 1 first place votes

26) Iron Man Vol. 3: 6%, 58 power points, 1 first place votes

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F) FUTURE PREMIERE CLASSIC HARDCOVER VOLUMES

Distinct from the massive Omnibus volumes which reprint wide swaths of material, the Premiere Classic hardcovers target specific storylines from Marvel's past. Respondents were asked what future volumes of classic comics material they would like to see Marvel publish as part of the Premiere Classic library, and given the ability to make up to 12 choices.

34%: Doctor Strange by Stern, Rogers & Golden (#48-55)
32%: Avengers: The Bride of Ultron (#160-162, 164-166)
32%: Machine Man by Barry Windsor-Smith
30%: X-Men: Classic X-Men (backup stories from '80s reprint series)
29%: Avengers: The Fall of Yellowjacket (#212-214, 217 and more)
27%: Starlord Complete
27%: Marvel Super-Heroes 1960s anthology (#12-20)
26%: Doctor Strange/Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment
22%: X-Men: Marvel Fanfare (all X-Men appearances from anthology)
19%: Skull the Slayer (#1-8, MTIO #35-36)
18%: X-Men: Nightcrawler (80s limited series)
18%: Daredevil: Hunt For the Purple Man (#146-154)
18%: Jack of Hearts (80s limited series)
18%: Hulk vs. Thing (greatest battles collection)
17%: Daredevil: Fall From Grace
17%: Silver Surfer: Parable
17%: Shanna the She-Devil (MF #56-59, MCP #13, 68-77)
17%: Infinity War
17%: Bloodstone (Marvel Presents #1-2, Rampaging Hulk #1-6, 8)
17%: Infinity Crusade
17%: Iron Man: Armor Wars (#225-232)
15%: Wolverine/Havok: Meltdown
15%: Iron Man: Falling Down (#162-170)
15%: Dracula: Tomb of Dracula (1991 limited series)
14%: Defenders: The Six-Fingered Hand
14%: X-Men vs. Spider-Man Vol. 1 (X-Men in Marvel Team-Up)
13%: Daredevil: Love's Labor Lost
13%: Black Knight (1990s limited series)
13%: Apache Skies/Blaze of Glory (Ostrander Westerns)
12%: The Falcon (1980s limited series)
11%: Hulk: Home the Hard Way (#269-278)
11%: Damage Control Complete
10%: Fantastic Four/Avengers: Domination Factor
10%: Doctor Strange (1999 limited series)
9%: Hulk vs. Wolverine (greatest battles)
9%: Dracula vs. the Marvel Universe
9%: Thor #496-502 (post World Engine run)
9%: Punisher: War Zone (#1-6)

* * *

F) PREMIERE CLASSIC LINE CONTINUATIONS

Respondents were asked to indicate which already existing Premiere Classic lines they'd like to see extended:

37%: Moon Knight by Doug Moench & Bill Sienkiewicz
31%: West Coast Avengers
23%: Captain America by Mark Waid
17%: Iron Man by Kurt Busiek
12%: X-Force

* * *

G) CLASSIC OVERSIZED HARDCOVERS OWNERSHIP

While not branded with the "Omnibus" logo, Marvel's oversized hardcovers (OHCs) also reprint contemporary and classic material. Historically, the OHC category has focused on contemporary Marvel, but the last couple years have featured more forays into classic material. Respondents were asked to indicate which OHCs of classic material they owned:

34%: Avengers Assemble by Kurt Busiek (any volumes)
32%: Avengers Forever
27%: Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby Vol. 1
26%: Marvel Visionaries: Steve Ditko
24%: Thor: Tales of Asgard
23%: Marvel Visionaries: Stan Lee
23%: Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby Vol. 2
21%: X-Men: Asgardian Wars
21%: X-Men: Inferno
20%: Marvel Visionaries: John Romita Sr.
20%: X-Men: Mutant Massacre
20%: Marvel Visionaries: John Buscema
20%: Marvels 10th Anniversary Edition
20%: Marvel Visionaries: Roy Thomas
19%: Complete Frank Miller Spider-Man
18%: Annihilation Classic
17%: X-Men: Fall of the Mutants
16%: Earth X
15%: Spider-Man Newspaper Strips Vol. 1
15%: Marvel Visionaries: Chris Claremont
14%: X-Men: Inferno Crossovers
13%: Marvel Visionaries: John Romita Jr.
13%: Daredevil & Elektra: Love & War
13%: Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty
12%: Wolverine: The Best of Wolverine
10%: X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga
9%: Fantastic Four: The Best of Fantastic Four

All five volumes were of Avengers Assemble, collecting the entire run of Kurt Busiek's "Heroes Return"-era Avengers, were included in one choice, and it tops the list. Early volumes of Avengers Assemble are now OOP and being brought back into print through Ultimate Collection TPBs. Marvel also seems committed to bringing much of the late '80s and early '90s Uncanny X-Men back into print through classic OHCs.


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