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April 26, 2009

Comments

Dee

I'm still waiting to see where cover prices will top off here in Canada. I'm definitely going to have to drop a few titles and I refuse to pay anything approaching 5 bucks for a comic!

Brian Disco Snell

Mark, the big reservation I have is that I want to support my local comic shoppe. I've got a 25 year relationship with them, and I'm a loyal dude. Plus, they're the only option in Kalamazoo that's not 45 minutes away, so if they go under, well, everybody's hurt.

Also, since my LCS gives "members" a 20% discount on all new comics, I wouldn't really be saving all that much...

ShadowWing Tronix

Considering the state of Marvel and DC Universes Proper, all I collect are a couple of Adventure and Johnny DC titles. Otherwise, it's just Transformers and Doctor Who for me, with the occasional mini like the Muppet Show. However, I am interested in the new Buck Rogers. Still, I'm going for cutting back. I like going to the comic shop for the discussion or at least to get out of the house.

Mark Engblom

Brian-

I can certainly understand wanting to support the local shop. I was torn for awhile, but this latest price increase seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Sounds like you've got a great shop. A 20% discount? Holy Moley!

Something else that mutes the impact for me is having a local library system chock full of great trade paperbacks to check out. That's how I've been reading great series like "Fables", "Invincible", "Y: The Last Man", and the Annihilation books without ever having to pick up a single issue from the store.

However, the one thing I will NEVER do? The bit-torrent thing (people looking at scanned comics for free). Pure thievery.

Jeff

I gave up going to the comic shop on New Comic Wednesday. I buy everything in trades now. And a mini here or there. When I do visit the local shop, I'm overwhelmed not only by the price hike, but also the sheer amount of books on the stand.

Thanks to our internet crazed culture of "anything you could possibly want to know in mere seconds", I can get fans opinions and then decide for myself if I want to pickup the trade. Nothing got me more mad than buying a stack of books and ending up with ONE good comic, and my money down the drain.

Yeah, I do miss the excitement of NCW, but my wallet is a lot heavier these days because of it.

Pat Curley

Most comics stores will negotiate pretty good if you let them know you have priced things online. I found it quite easy to get things like the Archive Editions at Amazon prices, for example.

I do think we're going to see the end of the pamphlet pretty soon; I've been reading far more electronic comics than hard copy for years now.

Nimbus

Like Jeff, I gave up buying individual issues years ago and only buy trades now. That was when floppies were just under £2 or so here in the UK. With the price hike to $3.99 and the pound-to-dollar exchange rate not so great at the moment, comicbooks are going to be over 3 quid a pop. For about 20 minutes of entertainment, it's not worth it.

Plus, there's the storage of these things (gone are the days when you'd just throw these things out like you do newspapers). Thank goodness for libraries and TPBs!

Mark Engblom

Thanks for the perspective from the "other side of the pond", Nimbus. I had assumed the exchange rate was still pretty good and that you'd still be able to get a good discount. Looks like that's not the case and you're in largely the same boat as we are here in the States.

Jeff-

Yeah, New Comics Wednesdays may be a tough habit to break at first, but that's just it: I don't like doing something just because it's habit. I think that's part of what's contributed to publishers thinking they can up the cover price an entire dollar with impunity, since the "New Comics Wednesdays" zombies will keep supporting them. Maybe if enough of us buck their assumptions, they'll begin to market these things in new, inventive, and more economical ways.

But I'm not holding my breath. Ultimately, I think each person does what serves them best. As admirable as it is to keep a local business afloat, at some point you have to bail if the conditions degrade to an economic or (in my case) philosophical breaking point. Of course, your mileage may vary.

suedenim

I'm not really changing my patterns much. I mostly buy DC, and I'm fine with their $3.99 for books with extra material in the form of backup stories that I happen to be interested in.

I've shifted away from Marvel lately, but more because I don't care for the general thrust of the Marvel Universe since Civil War. But the stuff I do read, I'm starting to shift toward trades, since I'm not much interested in the week-to-week goings on of the universe per se.

Mark Engblom

I'm happy to see DC offering more material for the extra cost, but I'm pretty sure that won't last long. It's a great way for DC to soften the blow, but they'll either go back to 22 pages for $4 or they'll raise the cover price to $4.25 or $4.50 by some time in 2010. Having been through the "DC Implosion" of the late 1970's, I see a similar mentality in play with their ambitious line of backup features.

John

Mark,

I've used subscription services for 25 years now. The small town that I was born in did not have a LCS when I was growing up, so I transitioned from the local Lawsons (like a 7/11) and pharmacy to Mile High Comics N.I.C.E subscription service. I think that I switched to Westfield in college (late '80's) probably for a better discount. When Westfield's discount lessened, I had a brief fling with M&M before settling down with DCBS where I've been since 2002.

As I write this it seems like I jump around a lot, but remember, this is just four suppliers over 25 years. A quick glimpse into the 'archives' show that the Feb 1984 X-Men has a UPC code, while the March issue has a Spidey head - thus probably the first issue from Mile High. So I haven't paid cover price since comics were 60 cents!

Of the three most recent suppliers, I was probably happiest with the condition from Westfield (fewest spine cracks or cover thumb imprints) but I'll live with a few imperfections in order to receive DCBS' 40% (and greater) discount.

The only thing you'll have to contend with are spoilers. A quick glance on Newsarama revealed the new mayor of NYC in one article before the jump - arrgh. However, I wait for arcs to be finished before I read a book anyway, so any spoilers I come across on accident before I get to a specific issue, have probably been forgotten by the time I get to the book. We're about the same age, and keeping up with kids' schedules leaves less room in the noggin for plot points.

Still, welcome to the Just Say No to $3.99 club. The two Marvel books that I get that went to $3.99 got dropped (New Avengers and Hulk) and I passed on Dark Avengers due to it's 3.99 price. I also just dropped Uncanny from future orders due to its pending increase. No 3.99 minis for me either.

I'm willing to give DC's 3.99 titles a chance since they're giving us extra content for the extra price.

Kudos to Usagi Yojimbo from Dark Horse. I understand that costs increase and prices must go up. Thus, I have no problem with IMHO a reasonable increase to 3.50. Plus being one of the consistently best series of all time doesn't hurt either.

One caveat, I do have a rather long unbroken run of Amazing SpM, so if Marvel ever raises it to $3.99, forget the Juggernaut, we'll see what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Thanks again for your most recent quiz, I always enjoy them.

John

Mark Engblom

Thanks for the great perspective on your experience with subscription services, John! You certainly "know whereof you speak". Your jump from service to service roughly corresponds with my own jumps to different comic shops based on life-change type stuff...although this is the first change not dictated purely by convenience or shop service.

I'm in the same boat as you when it comes to Superman books, especially the core "Superman" and "Action Comics" titles, of which I have many, many decades of consecutive issues. I love your "unstoppable-immovable" analogy...that's exactly it. But, thanks to saving some money with a mail-order service, that can's been kicked down the road once again.

I also like your "Just Say No to $3.99 Club"...there's a logo just crying out to be designed....or a T-shirt design (hmmmmm).

Glad you liked the quiz. They're fun to put together, too...so plan on seeing at least one per month from here on out.

Dean W.

I guess your skin is thicker than mine - I got sick of the high prices about 8 years ago, and now I pretty much just wait to purchase the graphic novel collections from Amazon, and the paperback ones at that. Once in a while, I'll buy an "event" comic monthly (GL rebirth and Alex Ross' Justice are examples), but after the terribly disappointing Final Crisis, I swore off monthly comics completely.

But I think the main reason I went to trades wasn't necessarily the sticker shock - it was really the value. This whole decompressed (or is the right word lazy?) storytelling trend made me feel like I was being ripped off. I mean there were issues where I feel like nothing happened at all. I'd get them home, zip through a few pretty pictures, and be done with it in 5 minutes. At least if I get the 6 issue collection, I might get one or two fight scenes, vs. possibly getting zero. What can I say? George Perez and Marv Wolfman spoiled me with the Teen Titans at an early age. I got used to getting a full story with good plot, fights, and characterization, all in an issue or two.

Bill

I've been with Westfield Comics for over 25 years now and have no real complaints. They don't sem to have as big a discount as some other services, but they have a great selection, and a huge back catalog.

My only complaint is having to order books 3 or 4 months in advance, so I sometimes miss out on the first few months of new series that I might like, or I end up not quitting bad books until I've bought a few more issues than I'd really like.

suedenim

DC seems to be a bit more consistent with their backup series plans than they were in the late '70s (post-implosion, technically, I believe.)

For instance, they had Dr. Fate as a backup series to The Flash, which doesn't make a lot of sense (Firestorm, OTOH, worked a little better.)

But on these books, it's plausible that a large number of Booster Gold readers will welcome a Blue Beetle backup, for instance.

Gamaliel

Gawd, I'm a dnosaur. I still remember the Sunday morning in 1960 (I think) when my family went out for breakfast, and the restaurant had a swiveling display of comics. I had a dime in my pocket and spotted a new Davy Crockett comic in the rack (definitely a Dell, no doubt a reprint). I took it to the register and was stunned, saddened and shamed when it rang up 15 cents, not 10. I returned the book to the rack.

In the months and years ahead, the comics I enjoyed -- primarily DC -- started bearing new price indicia on the covers, usually copy proclaiming "Still Only 10 Cents" or a big and bold "10 cents" inside a box. When the price finally sent up to 12 cents, I began my comic book boycott. I'd still buy copies for a nickel at used book stores, but I never bought many new books except in the early '70s, when DC offered a combo of new and reprint stories in 52-page books sold for a quarter.

Now I'm retired, and I recently discovered my local library stocks tons of DC, Marvel and independent graphic novels.

I can't imagine paying $4 for a comic book, but life is good for guys like me. I have decades of material to peruse at no cost, other than the taxes I gladly pay for my library system.

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