Visitors and Fish

June 10th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Chances are many of the readers here have worked a retail job at least once.

Of course, every job has its little annoyances but one of the perils of retail work, especially retail work in a field that certain groups of people are enthusiasts of, is having to spend long periods of time in conversation with people who take an interest in the things you’re selling.  Sometimes this interest is mild and tempered by a person’s natural social skills.  Sometimes it is passionate, and is not tempered by so much as a wrist watch that will allow people to see when closing time is.

All this discussion of mutual interests, theirs social and yours professional, will lead a lot of people to conclude that you are enjoying their company, or even that you are their friend.  Often the actual case is that you will get fired if you tell them to leave.

Having mostly had retail jobs in fields of heart-stopping dullness, I didn’t often have to put up with that kind of thing.  When I did, the relationship could range from mildly interesting to excruciating.  I vowed that I would never do that kind of thing to a helpless emloyee.

Guess how much time I spent at my local comic book store today!  Guess how much time I spent yesterday.

Some of you out there must have had jobs in comics in the past, and most of those jobs must have included dealing with people like, well, me.  Did it make you nuts?  Were you interested?  Pet peeves?

Those of you who haven’t been behind a counter; feel free to confess your sins, share your insecurities, or just talk below.  After all, if I get sick of you, I can just close the window.

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I Know You Got Pull

May 15th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I’ve been using Comixology to handle my pull list. They’ve got a pretty robust pull list feature going on, and it integrates with my comic shop, so it’s very convenient. Adding and subtracting things is just a matter of pressing a button. I dig it. Check it out, you might, too.

I pulled up my pull list to see how many books I’m regularly buying. This doesn’t count things I grab off the shelf, but it’s a pretty good representation of what I buy.

Marvel- Amazing Spider-Man #593
Vertigo- Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye #2 (of 3) (MR)
Marvel- Black Panther Vol. 2 #4
Vertigo- Young Liars #15 (MR)
Marvel- Amazing Spider-Man #594
DC Comics- Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1 (of 6)
Vertigo- Hellblazer #255 (MR)
Marvel- Amazing Spider-Man #595
Marvel- Immortal Iron Fist #26
Vertigo- Unknown Soldier #8 (MR)

That’s the entire month of May for me. Eight distinct franchises, a total of ten comics. That comes up to a hair over 30 bucks a month on average.

I pared my pull list down a lot over the past few months. I vastly prefer trades, and DC has done a pretty good job of chasing me away from a lot of books. In fact, I think I buy two main DCU books– Power Girl and Dance. I’m waiting for Batman & Robin to come back, and the Rucka/JHW3 Detective might pull me in depending on how the first issue goes. In fact, just looking at May… I’m not really bothering with the big events from either company. Final Crisis Aftermath counts, I guess, but I expect that to be good, unlike Battle for the Cowl or the other Aftermath books. It’s the only one that sounded appealing to me, anyway.

I made a decision a while back not to buy books I felt were mediocre. If I’m not loving it, or at least liking it a whole lot with a chance of love, I’m not buying it. Life’s too short to read bad comics, and if a comic isn’t pushing my buttons, that’s the very definition of a bad comic. The way my list is now, I really look forward to picking up my books. I know I’ll get a couple of books a week that’ll float my boat.

What’s your pull list looking like? Are you policing your stack by quality or price? I generally don’t buy 3.99 books as a rule, unless it’s genuinely extra sized, as in Amazing Spider-Man’s special issues.

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Comic Economics Linkblogging

January 14th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

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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