General DC

Marvel and Disney Drop the Ball During Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

keep-calm-and-ignore-comicsI went into Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. expecting cross promotion from Marvel. And there was some, of the movies the television series is based on. During the debut of the television show, there were numerous nods to the comics that the Marvel movie universe is based off of. But, comics remain the bastard child who are not mentioned. And that’s a failure by Marvel and Disney. There’s no excuse here. There was a huge opportunity that was missed, that’s been missed with each movie release as well, so in reality I’m not shocked.

Disney owns both Marvel and ABC, the network the show airs on, and could mandate that this television show promote the material the television show and movies are based on. With a quick “learn more” graphic, or god forbid ad, traffic to Marvel’s digital comics store would spike (my guess taking it down in the process), selling more, potentially bringing in new readers, and getting people interested in comics, something many don’t know where to purchase, and some don’t even know still exist. But this didn’t happen, and for that there’s no excuse.

Here’s the reality of each of these fandoms in the United States and how they break down using Facebook data.

agents of shield raw statsWhile these numbers might look good, there’s some big gaps. Here’s what stands out to me:

  • 2.4 million – Fans of the Avengers movie who are not fans of Marvel Comics, 50% of those fans
  • 200,000 – Fans of Avengers comics and not the Avengers movie, that’s almost 50%
  • 400,000 – Fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that aren’t fans of Marvel Comics
  • 100,000 – Fans of S.H.I.E.L.D. that aren’t fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., over 56%
  • 400,000 – Fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that aren’t fans of the Avengers movie
  • 200,000 – Fans of the Avengers comics that aren’t fans of Marvel Comics
  • 0 – Fans of S.H.I.E.L.D. that aren’t fans of Marvel comics

So, if one looks at the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Facebook page there’s promotion for the movies, and even Entertainment Weekly, but going back I see nothing mentioning comics. At all. Ever.

Going to the Avengers movie Facebook page fairs better. There it actually mentions comics. With links to purchase! If Marvel doesn’t do that, all of those fans who don’t “like” Marvel might never hear about comics.

Between the page of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers movie, that’s 2.6 million people who might be interested in the material the movies and television show are based on. If I were Marvel, I’d be offering a free digital copy right now as an attempt to hook all of those potential new purchasers.

While we some of that on Facebook, though not enough, we saw no promotion on a television show that aired before millions. That’s a failure.


  • I think the problem is you are talking about two different mediums. Anyone who has ever seen a Marvel movie KNOWS that they come from comic books. The first thing you see when introduced to the film is the flip of the comic book strip on the Marvel title. That is about as far as you can go with it and I think it’s because your talking about an interest of people who READ and who don’t. It’s like true blood or King of thrones saying Read the books when you already know the source matarial is coming from that.

    Don’t get me wrong I would love for fans of the movies and tv shows to become fans of the comics but its simply not going to happen because its a different medium that either people are interested in or they aren’t.

    • I respectfully disagree. People – many people – read more than they ever did before. Regular books, admittedly, but they are still receptive to literature in some form. Granted there’s bound to be plenty of people who don’t care to slap down money every month to read a comic, especially when they have their TVs that give them entertainment they’ve already paid for. But this doesn’t excuse Marvel and Disney from marketing their products properly. It’s called Brand Synergy, and being able to master it is just good business.

      I think having a free download for a comic is a great idea. Have some kind of QR code or some crap come up during the show that gives viewers a free issue of whatever relevant comic Marvel put out. Maybe the first issue of the current Avengers title. Or mix it up every episode with a different download. That way you’re offering viewers a variety of things – at no expense to them (up front) – that could get them interested in the stories you tell.

      As I recall, Marvel does (or did) offer free downloads of random comics on a daily basis. It was usually obscure stuff from years ago, but it was still a start. Integrate the shows and movies with the recent Marvel NOW thing they have going. They can only benefit from this!