Friday, April 16, 2010

Four Dollars

Apparently people are complaining about the fact that comics are trending to four dollars apiece. I do not understand this complaint. At all.

Everything gets more expensive. Food, cars, movies, video games. This is just the way things trend. If you don't want to spend four dollars on a comic then, well, that's your choice. But you can't blame the publishers to for raising the prices. They're not trying to make you happy. They're trying to make money. If they calculate things out and figure that the only way they can make a profit/break even is to raise the price of the comics then they'll do that.

Again, if you're not willing to pay that much for a comic then don't. Take your money elsewhere. Buy something else. That is your choice. Screaming about it won't make the prices drop. Nothing will. Penny candy doesn't exist anymore. Neither do ten cent comics. We're all going to have to learn to live with it.



At 12:24 AM, Blogger Patrick C said...

I think it's more the amount of the increase in price, rather than the idea of an increase itself. When I began regularly collecting comics, they were $1.00. The increases since then have been from $1.00 to $1.25, $1.50, $1.75, $1.95, $1.99, $2.25, $2.50, $2.99, and now $3.99 for many titles. A full dollar jump is huge, and a 33% increase.

And while I agree, money talks and the best way to show the companies that you don't support the increase is to decrease your buying habits, I think a vocal outcry against the large bump in price (for 32 page comics, $3.99 for the comics with added features is more reasonable) can't hurt the situation. I know I have had to stop collecting several titles because of the hike.

At 3:01 AM, Blogger Adam said...

The issue Ryan is that comics ave increased in price massively compared to inflation. In the late 70's and early 80's you'd be looking at a dollar or less for a comic. Inflation has not quadrupled since then in any western nation.

They're also raising prices in the middle of a recession. If comic companies think this is the only way they can break even then fair enough but historically raising prices in a recession is a terrible idea.

Finally the amount of entertainment you get for your money has reduced too. Go read a comic from the 70's. Wordy, wasn't it. It takes a lot more time to read a 70's/80's era comic than a modern one. The increase in panel sizes, dropping of thought balloons etc means that comic are a much quicker read than ever before (well, maybe slightly more dense than earlier this decade which really was the apex of this trend). And this is at a time when video games deliver much more bang for your buck than ever before.

So more money for less above inflation and at a bad time for everyone whilst at the same time competing with much more cost effective entertainment options. I'm fully behind the complainers there.

As you say though solutions are a much more difficult prospect. If comic companies genuinely think they need to jack up prices to survive then so be it but i'm skeptical that it is the only option open to them. Both Marvel and D.C. are owned by gigantic media corporations than can absorb a loss so long as the character generation factory keeps running and makes them a profit in video games, movies, merchandise, etc. both companies have robust trade programs that are basically profit engines since the only costs are (pathetic) royalties and printing/distribution costs. Marvel have more than paid back their costs for the intial run of Runaways to the artist and writer even if the original periodical run had lost money.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Tom Foss said...

I'll echo the sentiment that the price raise is confusing. When prices on my Superman books raised from $1.50 to $1.95 back in '95, it was due to an increase in paper quality and a different printing process. I haven't really seen anything like that to justify the full-dollar jump this time around.

With one exception: I don't mind paying $3.99 for comics with the Second Features. That's extra content for my extra dollar, even if the page count might not warrant a full buck in charge. It's when the regular issues cost $3.99 that I start feeling like I should cut books. I understand that inflation happens, but I somehow doubt that the cost of printing and running DC and Marvel--especially since both companies are now part of massive multimedia corporations--has warranted a price inflation of this magnitude.

That, and it's counterproductive given some of the companies' stated goals. Want to get more new readers and kids reading comics? Raising the prices isn't going to help that (especially when that kid can grab a new manga book for the price of two or three much smaller floppies). Want to fight against people who wait for the trade? The drawbacks of waiting for the trade are rapidly diminishing, especially with the price hike. Trades are ultimately cheaper (especially when ordered through someplace like Amazon or a big-box bookstore), hold up better, stand in bookcases, ad-less, and complete. Floppies are...immediate? The number of people who care whether or not they're getting a story as it's first coming out--as opposed to waiting 6 months for a the collected version--is dwindling. And, of course, it's being dwindled on the other end by illegal downloads.

Like I said, I don't mind paying the extra price, but I like to feel like I'm getting something extra for it. With DC largely dropping Second Features, the only thing I feel like I'm getting from floppy-purchases is to read the story before the Borders customers do. And I'm not sure if that's worth such a premium price.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Patrick C said...

And with so many editorial 'mistakes' being fixed for the eventual trade, the TPB becomes the "actual" version of the story!

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Gorga said...

I've noticed that the DC kid's books like "Tiny Titans" are printed on old-school newsprint and sell for $2.50 (formerly $2.25).

Which makes them a lot more like the comics I was reading as a kid in at least two ways.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Gorga said...

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