Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Real Price of Comics

I couldn’t believe the excuses I was reading on Newsarama about the price of comics. I am going to address these excuses in as pleasant a manner as I can muster.

RE: Vince Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief of Aspen Comics.

"Any time there's a recession, people are going to be spending less, but publishers still have to pay the talent and they still have to print the books.”

Okay so your logic at Aspen Comics is, since people aren’t buying as many books, we’ll continue to print a large number of them and simply increase the price per issue to cover the ones that aren’t selling. Is that what you are saying?

"Costs are going up because printing companies need to make their profit and everybody's tightening their belt and reacting to the economy."

Ah, the generic “blame it on the economy” excuse. Did they raise the price of comics during the last recession during the 80’s? Seriously, raising the prices because people are buying less didn’t work for the car manufacturers, why would it work for a company that rarely puts out any books?

RE: Michael DeVito, publisher at Th3rd World Comics

First off, I’ve never even heard of this company and I spend a hell of a lot of time online.

“Despite making the top 300 in sales, we lost money on the book and ultimately the series. Raising the price would have made much better financial sense and probably would have had very limited impact on sales."

Or to put it in regular English, their book sold well enough but they didn’t make any money. Raising the price a dollar would have given them more cash in their hand. But what you are saying is that you wish you had of milked the people who bought the book for a little more cash, because it wouldn’t have affected the sales numbers all that much. Classy. Th3rd World has two Co-Publishers an Editor In Chief and a Business Director. That is where the money goes, boys and girls.

To say the rising cost of creators is partly responsible for the price increases is silly. Creators can only be paid what they are worth, if their books don’t generate the kind of numbers that are profitable, then they aren’t worth the money. There are many, many affordable creators out there that I’ll support in a $2.99 book. There are very, very few creators that can make me buy a four dollar comic.

Good old Joe Quesada, always good for a bit of corporate bullshit. He’s really like Stan Lee now, isn’t he? But without the creativity and charm.

“What I’m saying is that we do work very hard to keep the prices where they are and to keep the top talent here at Marvel and in comics. We could just let these people move to other industries but then where would we all be... Some of these guys could easily be making two or three times what they make in comics by working elsewhere."

Okay, so the Nu-Marvel logic behind the price increases works this way:
Marvel hires Damon Lindelof for Hulk/Wolverine comic that isn’t very good. The book takes forever to come out. However, because Mr. Lindelof works on such shows as LOST, you have to charge more for the books he works on? We’re paying more because Marvel wants to hire outside the comic industry, forcing the price of comics to rise? The industry did quite well without celebrity TV writers and I am sure he wouldn’t be missed. Of course good business sense would suggest that a name writer with mainstream success should be able to sell more issues based on name alone, those extra sales would great more profit and actually let you sell the issues at a cheaper price. But this is Marvel, it doesn’t have to make sense, its MAGIC!

Does this mean since Jeph Loeb was fired from HEROES, the cost of his books will go down now?

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