Monday, November 24, 2008
$4 For Funny Books? You Are Insane.
So in late October on Rich Johnston's blog, something I compulsively read despite not having regularly bought comics in years and having a love-hate relationship with the author (he talks endlessly on British things no one cares about, plugs his own stuff and seems somewhat of a hanger-on to the industry), it was reported that comics may soon go up to $4 a book. He came up with a neat little chart that can be found on the blog here:
Turns out that comics should really cost about $1.09, as opposed to the $3 they cost now. No. You are not going to get teenagers with disposable income to spend $4 on 32 pages of Spider-Man not getting laid and Batman brooding when for the price of 3 comics they can get a DVD, and if they choose to eschew comics they can get a video game a month. If they can pull themselves away from the internets and the Facebooks and the homemade porn made with the digital cameras with soundtracks by the Lil Waynes.
The economy is tanking. The bottom keeps opening up, and by this time next year we'll all either be living beyond our means on credit like the good ole days or be standing in a bread line with the rest of our commune amazed that Michael Moore was right when he predicted that this was the end of capitalism. Now, how this would end capitalism when the Great Depression didn't kill it, I don't know. Then again, I'm not a fat retard. The point is, when Scott Collegegrad gets laid off from his entry level data processor position that he didn't want in the first place as he has an English degree, what do you think he's going to cut out first? Food? Rent? Uncanny X-Men?
Also, a lot of comics seem craptacular. DC is going through some fuckin' Crisis, like, Crisis 8:The Douchening or something. Everyone in Marvel is a Skrull, or a Republican, or a zombie, or a zombified Skrull who watches Fox News. I would venture to say I, someone who read a lot of comics for 11 years, could not figure out the Watcher's ass from a hole in the ground nowadays. New customers are going to be confused, and when a lot of old customers like me occasionally get a grim existential feeling that Spider-Man will always struggle to get laid, Batman will forever be a jerk, Wolverine will never shave those sideburns, they're going to put the Washingtons back in their wallet and keep walking.
You can get the hardcovers from Amazon cheaper than the individual issues from the local retailer. And they come with extra stuff. Why even get the monthly issues? It's all paced for the trade anyway.
I'm not saying I don't like comics. I do. And I'm well aware that there's more stuff than repressed homosexuals in tights blasting each other with lasers and tasers and whatnot. There's Blue Monday, 100 Bullets, Fables, Walking Dead, Dork, and countless other unique titles I'm forgetting here. I'm not saying creators shouldn't make money. They should. Everyone from the artist to the assistant editor should make a living wage and be able to get by without selling comp copies on eBay or heroin on the street corner.
I'm just saying that comics are too expensive, and sooner or later the industry will hit a wall. They'll either blink and lower their prices and financial expectations, or they'll find themselves on The History Channel talking about the good ole days of comics and interesting radio.