Comics going up to four bucks has been a hot topic lately, with good reason. It’s a big jump in price from 3 bucks, and it’s coming at a time when people are screaming “Recession!” at each other like it was “bingo.”
Probably the best financial-based look at the price increase came from Conor at iFanboy, where he broke down price per page for trades and singles. Matt Silady hipped me to Marvel’s Ultimate trade and hardcover pricing a while back (ten cents per page on the OSHCs, approximately, saves you money, with Ultimate Power being the first to cost more than that), and I’d been paying attention to comic prices before then anyway, since I’d taken an axe to my pull list and gotten rid of 90% of the dross I was reading.
I found another interesting post this weekend, courtesy of Heidi Meeley. She breaks down some real-world equivalents for what you pay for comics:
12 comic books at $2.99 = $35.88
Monthly electric bill at $34.76
That is a big one, right?
16 comic books at $2.99 = $47.84
Cell phone bill at $49.95
Unfortunately, some form of communication remains a viable expense.
I buy most of my trades off Amazon at this point. Getting up to 60% off counts for a lot, particularly when it comes to OSHCs or Absolutes. As my attitude toward comics adjusts, I’ve become more comfortable with waiting to read, or even not reading, some stories. As the price of comics has gone up, I’ve become even more comfortable with waiting to read books and dropping other books entirely.
Basically, I don’t really have any interest in paying four bucks for a comic book, especially not when I can double that investment, add a couple bucks, and get six times the story. Four dollars for 22 pages is a quite a bit more than a bit much. I quit buying CDs when they went over 12 bucks for similar reasons. I started looking for sales. With comics, I’m looking for full stories. Serialization is good and all, and hanging with the gang on Wednesday is fun, but most stories are interminable when split up these days.
And with Marvel pulling tricks like sixteen pages of story and charging four bucks for books like Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes, which wasn’t even really worth three bucks to begin with, well, I don’t feel too guilty about making four bucks my hard line.