As I do every Wednesday (a.k.a. "New Comics Day"), I took a look at the online listings from Diamond to put together this week's "buy list". Here's what I came up with:
Thazzit. One comic book.
Oh, there was a time when I bought at least five or six comics a week, but that was back in the heady days of the $2.25 cover price. However, even with the higher cover prices, I was still buying many more titles less than a year ago.
"Why could that be?", I asked myself. Here's what I came up with:
1. Cover Price: This is the most obvious answer, but one that certainly can't be discounted or minimized. With most new comics priced at $2.99 (or more), my threshold for dumping an underperforming title is much lower than it used to be, while my threshold for trying a new title is about as high as it's ever been. In fact, the only time I really experiment with new titles is just after "firing" an underperforming title (thereby limiting the financial hit). Adding to the mix is my increased attraction to trade paperback collections of popular series, since they're generally priced a bit cheaper than the combined price of the issues they collect. For example, I recently bought the collected edition of Ed Brubaker's first arc on Daredevil, and not only was it less expensive than the monthlies, but it also looks alot nicer on my bookshelf than stuck away in a box.
2. My Friendly Neighborhood Library: I'm lucky enough to live in an area with a great public library system, and using their online request and reserve system, I've been able to keep up with many of the truly exceptional contemporary comics...from Y: The Last Man and Fables to Ultimate Spider-Man<, Invincible, and Runaways... all without spending a dime (well, yeah...my taxes support the library...but you know what I mean). A great way to experiment a bit.....unlike paying $3 a pop at the comic shop.
3. Mega-Event Burnout: With both Marvel and DC Comics feverishly trying to top each other in Universe-Shaking mega-events for the past two or three years, I must admit I'm getting a little tired of it all. In short order, we've endured Identity Crisis, Countdown, House of M, Infinite Crisis, Armageddon, One Year Later, 52 and Civil War...plus all of their assorted prequels, lead-ins, tie-ins and specials.
4. Late Comics: I'd probably have at least one more comic on my list this week if either Superman or Action Comics bothered to come out on time. Or Green Lantern. Or Wonder Woman. Or The Ultimates. Well...you get the picture. It's a cry we've heard often from comics fans (just a few days ago from yours truly), but it doesn't seem to be getting through to the Big Two. To paraphrase from those old Orson Wells wine commercials, "They Will Make No Comic Book Before Its Time". It doesn't seem to matter that late books bleed readers and make life (even more) miserable for comic book retailers....what matters is getting it just right.
There are probably other factors I'm overlooking at the moment, but these four were the ones that jumped out at me. I'll most likely drift back into a larger comic list one of these days (against my better judgement), but for now, I seem to be at a bonafide "low ebb" of enthusiasm for the current new comics market.
Ahhh, but back issues on eBay? Now those I can't get enough of.