In the past, I've joked about how comic book fans (me included) complain about rising cover prices, yet...being the addicted idiots we are...just keep shelling out the cash (click on the image to the left for a lighthearted, yet all-too-depressing summary).
However, as Marvel stomps on the gas and blasts through the $3.99 cover price barrier (with other publishers expected to follow suit throughout the year), I'm here to say: I've finally had enough...and it's time to do something about it.
My little rebellion began earlier this week as I blew off the new issue of Thor...a character and series I honestly enjoy, but I refuse to pay four bucks a pop for it. It's not for economic reasons alone, though. Frankly, I can afford the price increase without much trouble...but as a matter of principle, I'm not going to put my stamp of approval on such a crass and clueless money grab.
A few days later, I came across a fascinating thread on Blog@Newsarama that asked how comic fans were managing their pull lists in the midst of this hellish economy and the cover price increases. The thread obviously hit a nerve (at this writing it's at 120 responses and climbing), with most of the respondents saying they will be drastically cutting back their purchases, both out of economic necessity and as a form of protest.
Within that thread, a few posters recommended taking a look at various mail-order comic book retailers, most of whom offer deep discounts for new comics and reasonable shipping costs.
I'd been aware of these online services for years, but had never seriously considered them until this week. After checking a few of them out, I decided to take the plunge and order ALL of my June comics through an Indiana outfit calledHeroes Corner. The savings were amazing. A batch of comics retailing over $37 will cost me only $20. To further save costs, I chose the "once a month" shipping option (which costs only about $5.00), so we'll see how it goes getting all my comics at once at the end of the month instead of as a weekly "fix" (which I've been doing almost as long as I can remember).
A bit of an experiment, to be sure, but I think the reduced frequency of getting comics will also help out in the long run by "breaking the cycle" and making comics more of a vaguely anticipated "surprise" in my mailbox than a weekly "gotta get to the store" habit. Further saving me money is the Heroes Corner policy of shipping all comics bagged and boarded, another rising expense I'm more than happy to eliminate on my end.
So...we will see. If the service of Heroes Corner is as good as I think it will be, this may be the way to go from here on out. I have some regrets about abandoning my local comic book shop, but this dysfunctional status quo is unsustainable...and I will no longer be a part of it.
Of course, this big change shouldn't have much (if any) impact on Comic Coverage, since commentary on the weekly comics zeitgeist has never been my focus, and never will be. Nevertheless, I'd still love to hear what readers have to say about their own purchasing habits in light of the economy and the boneheaded $3.99 cover price looming before us. What are you guys doing? Cutting back? Joining a mail-order service like me? Quitting altogether? Post your thoughts!