Comic Economics Linkblogging

January 14th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

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.

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12 comments to “Comic Economics Linkblogging”

  1. Man, comics gotta pull a digital revolution. Not everyone wants a shelf full of comics or CDs. It’s pretty okay to read off a monitor too.

  2. When I was still collecting, I was not buying lots of books, but books that I’d reread a lot (no way are my books going to get graded–they’d be thrown out by other collectors). That’s value for money for me. Nowadays, that’s a harder decision, given the price of monthlies.

    It’s partly why I prefer trades, even paperback versions.

  3. I picked up the last Millar Authority trade along with the Brubaker run and a few other things at Myopic Books in Chicago for like 35 bucks. That place has usually got an awesome used trade selection.

    But yeah, the last monthly I bought was Casanova.

  4. Shaman King volume 1 = $7.95 + tax.

    At 204 pages that’s about 4 cent a page.

    I love viz manga.

  5. Batman comics rules my life in the 90’s.
    Of course that was 10 writers ago.

  6. “Monthly electric bill at $34.76.”

    My monthly electric bill runs 80 to 200 dollars depending on the month. What general area does Meeley live and does anyone know what the job market is like there?

  7. I pay 30-40 a month in San Francisco.

  8. I pay what david pays, in southern NH. I don’t have AC (can’t afford it) and central oil-furnace steam heat is part of my rent (which got jacked up $20/month last year because of oil prices.) Also, during the day I usually have the lights off and just go by the windows, especially during the summer, which helps a lot.

    Most of my paycheck (when I have a job – kids, don’t go into prepress/graphic design!) goes for rent, and food comes out of what’s left, so yeah, $4 pretty much means no more spinner comics for me. That extra dollar’s half a loaf of bread, there. Or a full-length novel on the charity discount book table at the front of the supermarket…

  9. I would hate you both but I know both San Francisco and New Hampshire are WAY pricier rent wise than Phoenix…

  10. This is my hardline, too, David. It will be interesting how economics comes into comics in the following years.

  11. Also, Lurker, in addition to paying 3/4 of a 2x min wage paycheck for a creaky tenement bldg, this week we’re running average temps of 0F. It was around -15 last night, and got up to plus 15 by late afternoon (excluding wind chill.) I know it isn’t as bad as Minn. but still… Plus we always get a couple weeks of 90+ *humid* come july, to balance it out….

  12. […] • Blogger Heidi Meeley puts comics prices into jolting perspective by comparing them to the costs of everyday necessities, such as clothes and water. The cost of the average monthly is equivalent of three cans of generic vegetable-beef soup? Food or comics, indeed. [Comics Fairplay, via 4thletter] […]