Prices of Comics - What the Heck?
Imagine standing in a comic shop (or maybe, if you're lucky, in front of a spinner rack), looking over the comics in your hand. You only have about four or five, not enough to have a complete story in some cases. But then you look at the corner of the cover to the UPC, and begin adding the prices.
Before you know it, you're already above $10.
Just two years ago, you could still get comics for $2 an issue. Still high, but easy to calculate. It was also easy to justify. The cost of printing had gone up. At least, that was the excuse that the companies gave, and we were willing to accept it at the time.
But then, Marvel decided to hike up the prices, and DC soon followed. But why? Nothing had been changed in the quality of the production. Comics were still 32 pages, with ads, and the same color. The worst part was when comics like Daredevil went from $2.50 to $2.99, and were only 32 pages. Damn glossy paper. In fact, Marvel had even lowered the page count in many books from 40 to 32 prior to the price hike.
While price had always been an issue with many consumers, it was the simple 26 cent hike that made many begin to wonder if comics were worth it.
I'd been on the internet for a while at that point, and frequented many comic book related websites and message boards. It was shortly thereafter, though, when I started to see many creators, and other people in the comics field pop up. So now, we all had people to talk to that could answer our questions.
Shortly after Joe Quesada became Marvel's Editor-in-Chief, and he got his own forum on the Marvel message boards set up, the question of rising prices was asked.
His response: It's the paper.
Now, I respect a lot of what Mr. Quesada has done, both as a creator and as EIC. From what I've seen, I think he is a pretty decent guy. However, I don't buy that excuse for a second. The paper industry is the reason why the price of comics has more than doubled in the last decade? Bullshit.
Then how does he explain the fact that Marvel is now upgrading all of their titles to glossy paper, but keeping the price the same?
Now, Marvel's even going to the point where not all of their books have the same price. It's all dependent on how well it sells, and what tier it's in. (Example, books like Avengers, FF, Spider-Man, and X-Men, all started by Stan Lee with various artists, will stay at $2.25. As you get farther from those characters, into books like Thor, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel, the prices get higher.)
Then, when this topic is discussed on the DC Comics message boards, I see certain people always trying to rationalize it. One person will start the argument that teenagers can't afford comics. The other will come back saying comics aren't in a vacuum, and that teens can afford comics, but they don't want to. The person will also go on to mention CCGs, video games, and other higher priced forms of entertainment, not to mention the fact that "teenagers have an unusually high amount of disposible income." Or maybe they say that teens get their money from parents.
As a teenager, I didn't have a lot of disposible income, and I did collect comics. Rarely did I buy video games myself. Occasionally I would, but that was usually after receiving a large amount of money as a gift. With comic-buying, there was little room for anything else. My parents gave me no money beyond my meager allowance, and anything I wanted, I had to buy.
But maybe I was weird. Actually, I'm pretty sure I was, but this is not the place to discuss that.
The point is - comics cost too much, and no one is willing to take the blame. No one is willing to lower the price, either.
All I can say is, when the day comes that I'm not able to buy a new comic for under $2.50, I'm gone. There are plenty of back issues out there for me to get. I don't need to waste my money on overpriced comics. As it is, I have severely cut back in recent months on new purchases, and that pisses me off, especially with such great new series coming out.
Feel free to argue with me on the Batman message board. Use the link on the side of the page.