Enough About the Cover Price, Already

Drawing the Line at $2.99

Literally not worth the paper it's printed on. Which is expensive.

In These Tough Economic Times, there is nothing wrong with knowing the value of a dollar. I can appreciate that as well as anyone. Believe me, we’re living on macaroni and wishes over here at my house right now too. When financial woes and job shortages are all anyone seems to be talking about, it becomes more important than ever to feel like you’re not throwing wads of twenties into a furnace. All of that is a given.

Having said that: I never want to hear anyone crabbing about how much they paid for a comic book again as long as I’m out of the ground. There’s room in my heart for one more pet peeve, and I think I may be giving this one a good home.

Maybe this gripe is just standing out more to me than normal (you know, in These Tough Economic Times) but lately it seems like any time some of you fellas end up with a book that wasn’t five and a half stars, you march straight over here and pipe up with, “I paid [less than I would for most of the cups of coffee I get on the way to work every day and finish in the car] for this travesty [punctuation indicating that this was robbery on par with the crimes of Bernie Madoff].” If I bought a comic, got it home, and discovered it was actually a recipe book illustrated with photos of the author’s nieces and nephews, I would not march in here bellowing about how I got took as much as some folks around here who just didn’t like The Fearless all that much.

This is a hobby, and if all you can think about is how much it’s costing you, you might not actually enjoy it. It might be time to switch to action figures, or ceramic cows, or something else where what you get is exactly what you saw the instant you picked it up at the store, no more and no less.

At the very least, it might be time to dig out your library card. You get the books later, but it has the power to magically transform your outrage into relief: “Oh, thank Christ I didn’t pay for this by the chapter last year. When this is over, I get to give this back and never have it sitting in my house again.”

No, you’re not going to like every issue. You wouldn’t like every trade. Have you given five stars to every movie you’ve ever seen? Did you pay more or less than four bucks to see them?

The thing is, you’re starting to go into the shop with your arms crossed. The creators don’t stand a chance if you begin by looking at the cash register, saying, “This better be amazing. It costs almost as much as that Whopper I ate in ninety seconds earlier.”

And as for “Well, I’ll download it, but it better cost twelve cents and come with a free backrub”… I don’t have the strength to get into it right now.

Every page you look at, on average, took a guy his entire day to draw. Maybe more. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse, but at least be conscious of it. Somebody had to write it, ink it, color it, letter it, print it, and digitize or ship it. Those people are having Tough Economic Times, too. They get paid. They get laid off. They’re not trying to trick you or rob you. They owed you exactly what they gave you, more often than not.

Feel however you feel. Just settle down a little.

Lois Lane in Action Comics #2

Above: I paid four dollars to look at this. That's Lois Lane.

I’m not sitting in judgment, believe me. I’ve been so guilty of this way of thinking, this whole thing might as well be called Note To Self. My particular Achilles heel is the disposition of the staples. I’m very, very aware of where the staples are in a book in any given month, and if the story ends within two pages of those staples, it doesn’t matter if the book was 130 pages long; that imaginary miscarriage of justice is good for at least three all-caps tweets on a Wednesday. Part of the reason I need to switch to digital when buying DC’s New 52 is that they keep filling half the issue with sketches and behind-the-scenes “DVD extras” that get me paying attention to those staples. (Is there any greater act of publishing hubris, by the way, than putting those extras in single issues? DVD extras are on DVDs because you saw the movie already and liked it enough to buy it, and want to know more about it. Putting twenty pages of those sketches in a brand new book? “Now that Random Issue #3 blew your mind, I bet you want to know how we did it, huh?” Not really. All I really want to know is how much worse rushing Rags Morales to finish a monthly book could have possibly looked when compared to letting the fill-in guy make Lois Lane look like Dorothy dropped a house on her sister. But perhaps I digress.)

Of course, even without staples the digital version tells you which page you’re on every time you flip to a new one. There’s no escape. Other than changing your mindset.

This is your semi-annual reminder: we are doing this because we like it. It is fun for us. That doesn’t mean that any creator who didn’t make it fun for us for one eleven-minute interval is a thief. Give it some thought. Thank you for your time.

Jim Mrockowski looks forward to reading the sentiment “…and that’s why I have to pirate” below.


  1. Thank you for this. Comics are the least expensive hobby I’ve ever had! I read 20 something books too I think. Haven’t counted in awhile because even on my heaviest week it’s at the most $20, or the price of a movie trip, or 1/3 of a new video game.

    • The comparison to movies is not a very accurate comparison. How are you spending $20 at a movie? The movie itself is about $10 a ticket. If you are taking a spouse then you both are getting enjoyment so for $20 you are getting entertainment for two people, if your wife reads the comics then this comparison is equal.

      On the time front a 2 hour movie is probably the same length of time it takes to read 5-6 comic books; however a video game entertains for Months. Considering I spent $52 on Modern Warfare 3 and have logged nearly 22 hours that’s about $2.50 an hour in the first week.

      These comparisons don’t hold water.

    • @nmoline-You are forgetting about refreshments at the movie. Where I live (suburbs of a large city) it is over $10 for a movie, and if I want to upgrade (3D or better picture screen and sound, not IMAX) it is another $2-$3 bucks. Then popcorn starts at $5, drinks and candy at $4, and those are the starting prices. So $20 a person is easily reachable.

    • He spends 20 at a movie because Burritoclock is a gentleman and a gentleman must have a medium drink and nachos while enjoying REAL STEEL.

    • @MisterJ I don’t see how refreshments fit in with this comparison. You don’t HAVE to get refreshments to see the movie, and therefore the cost of refreshments shouldn’t be considered part of the scenario. I see how in the real world someone could say that it is part of the movie going experience, but including them would be like including the bag of chips I ate while I read comics into the price of the comic books.

      I agree that the movie comparison is not accurate. The issue is, there really isn’t anything you can compare comics to. They are completely different from anything else.

    • @JimAdkins-Simple, look at the original statement. Burritoclock (love the handle, by the way) says, “price of a movie trip.” He does not say, ‘cost of ticket prices.’ As such, all things trip-related and independent to said trip must be accounted for. To leave such costs out would be altering the original statement.

    • Ha, what a silly way to argue the point nmoline. I’m not going to even go into the “I don’t spend $20 bucks at a movie! So therefore… IMPOSSIBLE” stuff. I’ll just say that, as was the point of the article, I actually ENJOY reading comics, so regardless of the actual TIME spent reading an issue you have to figure in the time I spend reading about comics on sites like this, then we have to figure in the time I spend thinking about the various comics, then we have to add on top of that the time I spend discussing them with friends. So, as some one who actually likes the hobbies I choose to do, I think I get just as much enjoyment from my comics as the “22 hrs” you spent in Modern Warfare.

    • Also, yes, I specifically said movie trip because I knew someone would try to argue a movie doesn’t cost $20. But I guess if you don’t realize that there are little ancillary cost to everything you do we can half explain why everyone is too broke to buy a few comic books a week….

    • I don’t know about you, but i don’t go see a movie week in and week out, but i do buy at least 20$ worth of comics every week…. just saying…

    • @MisterJ You have a very valid point with “price of a movie trip.” I was under the impression that we were discussing the original comparison of “Have you given five stars to every movie you’ve ever seen? Did you pay more or less than four bucks to see them?” from the article. The price of a movie trip can be subjective.

    • The ventriloquist goes to heaven, the dummy doesn’t.

    • I like the comparison to movies. Both industries have been seeing less business over the long run and have done much the same to make up the losses.

  2. I have a line on cheap, but quality, ceramic cows if anyone’s interested.

    The library is the best when you can’t afford comics. Well, the best legal option, anyway. The library kept me more or less in the know the 10 years or so when I wasn’t buying comics.

    Strangely, or maybe not, I enjoyed comics a lot more when I was reading them without really knowing what was going on right then, and just cared about getting a Spider-Man story. Maybe that’s another article.

  3. Well said Jim and the library is my favorite place too. I got to read Long Halloween, Year One, Dark Knight Returns, and Runaways v1, 2, & 3, Superman Brainiac all in the last month and it cost me…….. well, drawing the line at 0.00!

  4. It’s just a crazy scheme to turn a profit!

  5. I have found myself buying more DC books recently though because most of them are $2.99 and most of Marvel is 3.99. I like both Marvel and DC equally. And it’s not that I am unwilling to pay a dollar more, but why should I if there is equally good product available?

    • Yeah, there are so many good books out there for $2.99 right now, a $3.99 book really has to be appealing for me to try it out.

    • It smacks of arrogance from Marvel, its as if they think they’re above competing or simply producing higher quality product, when public opinion right now seems to suggest DC are creatively kicking their arses.

      However I’m worried it’s going to have the effect of making DC go UP rather than the other way around.

    • Why would it? They went up, decided it was a mistake and went back to 2.99 already.

    • As a guy whose paycheck is earned by selling comics, I’m sad to see that all this is doing is making people buy less books. Over the past few months I’ve noticed a growing trend of customers just cutting titles off their list. Some because they don’t care for the title any more, and some because the price of maintaining their subscriptions is just getting too steep.

      I’d love to be able to suggest a cheaper alternative to customers, but if you’re really into Wolverine, it’s not like I can point to a DC book that will scratch that itch; I can only hope there’s a DC book you happen to like.

    • @gobo I didn’t realise that…great stuff!

    • Same here. Uncanny X-Force is the only $3.99 book I’m getting from Marvel and I’ve dropped it and picked it up a few times already due to the price. It really seems like a poor business plan. I don’t know if the execs at DC actually care more about the fans but they sure do a better job of looking like they do.

    • @mega: yup, they are winning the PR battle.

    • @MrGraves That’s what I hate to see too. I actually LIKE going to different stores, even IF I don’t buy anything, it’s cool to have the option to check out a multitude of retailers. Without those new book sales, well, there go some stores.

  6. Actually, I have to say, I don’t agree at all in this case. Specifically regarding Marvel’s pricing practices.

    While I understand that comics do cost a lot of money to produce, there is a real feeling that Marvel are exploiting the loyalty of their fans. That BOOM or IDW – not to mention the even smaller publishers – are forced to charge $4 for a 22 page comic book is one thing but it’s a perfectly valid complaint to wonder how the hell Marvel can charge $4 for 19 pages of story when a relatively less profitable publishing company like DC only charge $3. Worse, Image – a much, much smaller enterprise than either of the big 2 – have managed to keep the pricing at $3 far more often than Marvel do. And when they do charge more, they make use of the $3.50 price range before hitting the $4 price point.

    I especially hate the argument that Marvel’s defenders fall back on time and time again: as long as the comic book is good who cares if they’re charging $3 for 25 pages or $4 for 16 pages. With that line of thought in place, Marvel can continue to exploit their customers with frankly duplicitous pricing (was there EVER an announcement that their $4 books are going to decrease in page count?) and less than honourable business practices.

    So, yes, comics are priced as they are often for a reason and, yes, expecting a Dark Knight Returns for every $3 or $4 you pay, may be completely unrealistic but the idea comics readers should simply bow down and pay whatever a blatantly corporation asks of them, is an absurd one.

    • So don’t. Who’s making you buy comics? Is Joe Q. holding your family hostage?

    • Um… please excuse my godawful grammar towards the end of my last post. English is, in fact, NOT my fifth language – I was just in a bit of a hurry when I wrote it.

      Still, my point stands.

    • And MisterShaw, I actually don’t buy Marvel’s $4 comics. I HAVE drawn that line in the sand. There are definitely some very promising looking books that Marvel are putting out but I simply feel I have to put my foot down somewhere – even if it means going without Ultimate Spider-man, Jason Aaron’s Wolverine titles and Uncanny X-Force.

    • I agree completely with you. I don’t buy $4 Marvel books or $3 Marvel books. They’ve lost me as a fan. Marvel is the greediest company and I’m happy to take my business elsewhere.

      And this rant by Jim M is asinine. If the price for Marvel books was $5 or $10 or $20, would you care then? I think so. Some folks will gladly fork over their cash to Marvel – but some of us won’t.

    • @Ilash – you do realize that Marvel has higher page counts than DC right? Think that plays into it at all?

    • Well, they don’t, though. Yes, in theory their $4 comics are supposed to be 22 pages long but I have heard more and more reports that that is very often not the case. Sometimes they even have less than DC’s 20 pages!

    • You’re reaching. Regardless, you don’t know how their expenses work or if they have higher margins than DC. You don’t know what it takes to support Marvel’s creative team – which is probably significantly higher per writer/artist than DC, and you don’t know how the cost of ink, paper, or whatever else has inflated since the 2.99 price point became the norm.

      You don’t know it, I don’t know it, and anybody that calls Marvel greedy doesn’t know it.

    • What bothers me most is that a lot of Marvel’s better looking miniseries, which I would buy, are $3.99. These books are essentially ads for the creators who are looking to get an ongoing series, and I can’t support them at that price.

    • it’s so great people can get motivated to stand up to corporations over the price of their hobby. Now if only the population can get equally motivated about corporations more generally …

  7. Say what you want about cover price but digital comics should be between $.99 and $1.99 at the most.

    • Yes, but tell that to the publishers charging 14.99 for a kindle book! haha

    • Why? Printing costs are in the price of a print comic, sure, but server costs and the cost of digitising the comic itself have to be included in the digital price. I’ve yet to see any evidence of the cost of manufacturing a print comic VS the cost of manufacturing a digital comic, and therefore make no assumptions.

      Recently I’ve found that paying for a CD can be cheaper than buying an album on iTunes. No physical product does not necessarily mean a lower price.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if, say, a PR rep from either Marvel or DC could come out and clarify this point for us. I for one find it hard to believe that the cost of digitizing and hosting a digital comic equal that of the price of printing and shipping a physical comic to your local LCS. That being said, if a rep from a comic company actually spend the time to explain this process to the fans and justify this cost, maybe i’d be convinced. in my opinion, by not doing this, Marvel and DC have a HUGE PR snafu on their hands. either that or they are not in fact equal and they are trying to hide that fact. It wouldn’t take much guys, just explain it to us please!

    • @mikegraham6 While I do agree, it’s wishful thinking I think. Companies aren’t even releasing their digital sales figures at this point, and so the entire digital comics economy is still a mystery. Readers are still making a lot of assumptions, but the simple fact is there’s more to supply and demand than manufacturing costs.

    • @mikegraham6 that’s commercial in confidence information.

    • @bluestreak im not asking for a detailed cost breakdown, but an explanation of why the price needs to be equal would be more than appreciated by a lot of fans. Printing and shipping are costly expenses. I know there are expenses related to the production of a digital comic, i just don’t believe they are equal. Maybe im missing something but outside of paying someone to create the guided view, the hosting of said comic and comixology’s cut (which i’d assume would be comprable to that of an LCS’ cut), there’s not much else that would add to the cost of the production of a digital comic. I don’t need numbers, but i would like someone to tell how this can possible equal the cost of paper (which is only getting more and more expensive), printing, and shipping across the globe. If digital price pairity is only being used for the benefit of brick and mortar stores, they should own up to it. It’s kind of frustrating when you feel like your getting ripped off and no one is bothering to explain it to you (and this is why i will not pay $3.99 for a digital comic)

  8. Lois Lane looks like Monica Lewinsky in that drawing!

  9. If you don’t want to hear readers complain about price, then we don’t want to hear you complain about falling sales.

    • Jim doesn’t complain about that. Quite the opposite.


    • I’m not trying to be snarky, but I do not remember Jimski complaining about falling sales. Maybe he has, but I do not remember any of his articles complaining about it.

    • and Conor beats me to my point.

    • I think dharmabum makes a larger point that the two are related, not calling out Jimski in particular. To simply dismiss the cost argument by essentially saying “well, that’s what it costs to play the game” is ridiculous. The problem is that to those of us not steeped in the game, we’d play more if it cost less. I have gone in and out of comics largely based on price. I have said it numerous times, and I love the reviews and pull list feature on the site, but when it comes to digital comics and pricing this site is so out of touch with reality it makes me think there’s a couple future Republican front runners for President here. The defensiveness against this statement really illustrates that.

    • @PDubble; Jim does not complain about falling sales. In fact, as I said, it’s been the opposite. So to tell Jim, as dharmabum did, to stop complaining about falling sales is completely out of left field. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s not being defensive, that’s setting the record straight on this particular charge.

    • @Connor, reading what I wrote is hard, but not that hard. Again, I don’t think the claim was leveled literally, and you can’t see past that to even discuss the larger point in the reply to the reply. Niiiiiiice.

    • @Connor and for the record Jim’s previous article you cited was about the health of the industry versus what people say is going on. It was not a rejection of the idea that sales matter at all.

    • @PDubble: Oh, I read what you wrote. You insinuated some bizarre stuff I just chose to ignore in favor of staying on the topic at hand. Again, the topic at hand in this particular comment thread: Jim doesn’t complain about falling sales.

    • @Connor: He does comment on them, he thinks they’re not happening, at least in 2008 he didn’t. “‘Holy cow,’ I said to no one in particular, ‘if this industry dies any more, I’m gonna need to buy some more shelving.'” Again, his whole article was a refutation that comics were dying based on the downturn being largely a factor of the newly downturned economy, and even then certain areas were going up. You might want to read the article again.

    • @PDubble: I’ve read it. He’s not complaining about falling sales. He doesn’t complain about falling sales. Commenting does not equal complaining. They are two very distinct things.

    • @Connor, but it’s not “Quite the opposite.” The opposite would be glorifying the demise of comic sales. Quite the opposite would most likely be praying for less comic sales.

  10. I will say that 3.99 for twenty pages feels like a waste, but I don’t care really. We will always get a full story regardless of 20 or 22 pages. I’ve never looked at the price tag and held higher expections for what I was about to read. But then again, I’m a comic fan anomal in the fact that I don’t keep reading something I don’t enjoy.

  11. The only reason I check the prices of my books are because I don’t have a job and my grandad usually gives me the exact amount I need, because I check all the books that come out through the publishers website and add the total price including tax with the calculator, and sometimes they’ll have a new shipment of books that sold out in the store a week or two ago and I check to see if a can spare a couple more dollars.

  12. If anyone is living on a macaroni and wishes budget, maybe they should jump on “THIS BOOK IS TO DAMN HIGH” bandwagon too. 🙂

    Hobby or not, 4.00 for a comic is ridiculous, and does impact my purchases.

    In fact, I don’t buy any of my Marvel books anymore since the majority went to the 4 dollar line…and that DC is killing it right now.

  13. I definitely concur with everything here. I’ve known a lot of people in a lot of hobbies who seem to spend more time complaining how much the hobby costs than actually doing the hobby. That’s just ridiculous. When I find myself worrying that much about the money I’m spending on something, I tend to stop doing that something if I can.

    That said, I do understand the general intent of the complaint – comics have gotten shorter while also getting more expensive over the years, and that seems a little shifty to me, too.

  14. I try not to complain or mention prices in comics too much. I do keep a budget though because, at least with my life right now, it is a bit of an expensive hobby. I mean I have two jobs and even though I am loving my internship the first thing that popped into my mind when getting it was: “How does this effect my comic habits?”

    I’m fine with books being what they’re priced now. I think it they go any higher, $4.99, then I’ll have a problem. Also, with chopping down on page count, I haven’t felt I have been cheapen out with having less story. I think only once in the last couple of months I felt twenty pages was too short for a particular issue. Other then that, and I don’t even remember the specific title now, it’s been all good for me with DC.

  15. its easy to say there is no difference between 4 and 3 dollars an issue, but when you’re struggling, and have to thin your monthly list down to budget everything which do you think is going to get cut first? a phenomenal $4 like uncanny x-force sure, but a $4 that you’re interested in but not amazed like secret avengers or uncanny x-men? not gonna happen.

  16. As a comic fan that enjoys DC books being $2.99 (for the most part) & Marvel not being so generous on big name titles at the $3.99. If I thought Amazing Spider-Man was worth $3.99 then I want more QUALITY story & art. I stopped buying after Big Time in issues & now get in trades only. I only have 4 titles out of 20 that are above $2.99 w/ more pages– Justice League, Action Comics, All Star Western & Usagi Yojimbo (not at a DC or Marvel title but a black & white comic at $3.50 from Dark Horse). It is all about value so that is why I preorder my comics from DCBS and for me that works.
    If you buy it you have the right to complain about it ie Ron on the Marvel point one oneshot if you feel you were shortchanged in some way. You have some options, one you don’t buy the book anymore or two borrow it from a friend or three you get it from a convention/ get it on ebay really cheap


  17. Good discussion. The higher price point should absolutely influence a buying decision, current and future.

    However, once the purchase is made, focus on enjoying the book.

  18. i don’t believe Marvel comics are worth 3.99 so therefore i don’t buy them at 3.99. the only book i can justify purcahsing at that price point is Action Comics and that’s solely because of Grant Morrison’s name. I vote with my wallet. it just scares me that not enough people are following suit and therefore the price will never eventually drop, making 3.99 justifiable in the publisher’s eyes.
    that being said, im more willing to pay a higher price for an indy comic that needs my support

  19. Currently, I’m getting my DC Comics digitally for $1.99 an issue (and Action and JLA are on very short leashes at $2.99). Sure, I’m a month behind what everyone else has read, but it’s no big deal for me. At this point, however, I’m not willing to pay $3.99 for Marvel comics, with the one exception being Ultimate Spider-Man.

    I’d love to read the new X-Force, as well as check out the new X-Men and Ultimate comics, but I just can’t justify the $3.99 price tag. I’ll just have to wait for a sale before I pick up those titles.

  20. Hilarious article, brilliantly written as usual but completely wrong in every way I can possibly imagine. In fact, it’s so wrong I can’t decide from which angle to argue it. I’m paralysed.

  21. Right now DC is F’n kicking ass with their books and I like the fact it’s only 2.99. I understand this is a hobby but If I was into building models why would I pay 3.99 for paint when the competition sales it for less. The only title I like from Marvel at this time is X-Force but I did enjoy Un X-men but not enough to spend a extra dollar on it every month esp when they double ship it. Marvel makes so much money their is no reason they can not drop their prices to compete for their fans. I don’t like that we the comic buyer get shit cause we complain about spending a dollar more but the big corporation that is Marvel can’t take shit from the consumer for charging more seem like your just A Marvel guy who hate the love DC is getting right now.

  22. Great article.

    Yeah, there are some exceptions. Marvel in particular really tries to gouge the readers as much as possible. But if the comic is really something you like, then paying an extra buck for it shouldn’t matter. Is $3.99 too much for 20 pages of a comic? Not for Uncanny X-Force it isn’t. Hell no. Not in my opinion.

    If someone really feels the sting of paying an extra buck for a comic, then maybe they just don’t like that comic as much as they’re pretending to. It kills me every time someone gives a random comic series 5 stars every month, only to then take some incredibly touchy stand regarding a possible price-hike of $1, or double-shipping each month. They claim to LOVE the series, but they don’t want to get to buy it twice as often? They give issues of the series the same star-rating they would give issues of ’80s Alan Moore work, but all of their accolades about the series being a great representation of our cultural peak are apparently not enough to warrant an additional three quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and four pennies.

    The other side of this whole debate is something you alluded to, Jim: the work that the creators put into this. Whether it’s always great work or not, it is work. The creators would have to take a cut in pay for digital comics to be 99 cents. No way around that. It is completely naive to think that 99 cents for new digital comics is at all possible. The only way that could work out would be for Marvel and DC to farm out their creative positions to poor people in eastern Asia. (Of course, many of the digital utopians don’t seem to care that all of their Apple toys come from quasi-slave labor, so maybe they wouldn’t care if their digital comics were made that way also.) Even a $1.99 price-point for a brand new digital comic is probably too much. Many people don’t realize all of the extra labor that has to go into formatting the digital files so that they can be read (panel-to-panel or page-at-once) across various platforms.

    The bottom line is, if you really like comics, you shouldn’t care SO much about whether something is costing you $3 or $4. If $4 is too expensive for you, maybe you’re just buying too many comics. You may think that all of the comics you buy are 5-star comics, but they’re really not. If they were really 5-star comics, then you’d find a way to drum up an extra, what, $10 a month. Like Jim says, all you really have to do is forsake a few overpriced cups of coffee and you’re all set.

    And when I hear people who have at this point bought MULTIPLE eReaders, tablets, laptops, blackberries, etc, just over the last few years alone, complaining about whether a digital comic is one buck or two bucks, I just can’t take them seriously. There’s the pretense of caring about a budget, but even holding back on ONE of your electronic gizmo purchases even for a few weeks, until the price went down, would have equaled all of the imaginary savings you would have been getting from your 99-cent digital comics.

    • “Even a $1.99 price-point for a brand new digital comic is probably too much.”
      ^I meant to say that it’s “probably too LITTLE, given the continuing decline of the U.S. dollar.”

  23. Marvel’s higher prices are perhaps a result of their complacency with being market leader for such a long time month in month out; and if October sales were any indication of the months to come, lets just say that Marvel will be forced to do something to catch up and reclaim that piece of the sales pie chart.

    So yeah, I’m pulling more DCs than I ever had and I’m crossing my fingers that they will remain on top for quite some time, and then the suits who oversee the subsidiaries revenue at Disney will finally come to see how having an industry consistent pricing is actually healthy.

    Having said that, I can’t help but keep buying my favorites even at 3.99. But they are only 5 ongoings vs the 12 I’m getting from DC.

    Oh and if you are reading this and want to get great bang from your buck when reading Marvel, do yourself a favor and pick up Daredevil for 2.99 a pop.

    • Daredevil is so good right now. Will Fantastic Four be $3.99? It is the only book I would be willing to pay that much for but I really hope that it isn’t.

    • @Havok Brevoort has said that Marvel sales were actually up in October. they just lost relative to DC and as everyone on all sides have said “market share is only one indicator and not the most important indicator”

  24. Please. This isn’t a hobby – it’s an addiction. And it’s only human to get pissed when your dealer ups the cost without giving you more product.

    • HAHA-Damn I think your right

    • @BionicDave – Truer words have never been spoken. Comic book collecting is a form of addiction. It speaks to the OCD inside all of us.
      Ron made a comment in the recent podcast that he noticed that he is still buying ‘too many comics’ and before he knew it, he was at 20 books. This is an addiction. He wanted less, but still bought as much.

      Some will disagree, but try stopping this week. It’s like a smoking addiction- “Oh, I can stop anytime’. Right. Cold turkey is the only way.

      …and yes, comics are too d#@! high! Whether they are good or bad!

    • I’ve long thought that the addiction metaphor really helps explain illegal downloading of comics. If Bubbles on The Wire taught me anything it’s that if a true fiend can’t come up with his blast money, he’ll hustle, cheat or steal whatever it takes to get what he needs.

      Illegal downloading is just a bunch of fiends ripping off the stash every week. Bit Torrent is Hamsterdam. Marvel is the Barksdale crew, DC is Marlo Stanfield.

      I’m not sure we have an Omar.

    • @KenOchalek – To play off your ‘The Wire’ analogy. Wouldn’t Omar be liken to a comic book reader who steals directly from a comic book store owner?

      Feel free to expand.

    • Oh, Omar’s comin’.

    • i am jonesing for my next fix

    • Oh indeeeeed.

    • @Kmanifesto – Ehh, we’re just revealing how flawed the metaphor is when you dig into it. In terms of digital comics, I don’t think there is an Omar. On the print side, I think an Omar would have to be someone who steals comics at some point before the retailer can sell them…I don’t think that’s ever been much of a problem.

      In any case, I think when publishers play up the addiction angle or the “gotta have them all” mentality (like saying you don’t need to read any tie-ins to enjoy the event, then putting all the character beats in the tie-ins), while simultaneously raising prices, they inadvertantly push certain elements of their audience toward digital piracy.

      That’s not to say publishers shouldn’t be trying to get as many readers to want to read as many books as possible — that’s their goal as a business. I’m just saying that certain business and editorial decisions (like pricing and the distribution of story throughout an event) have created an environment where it’s very easy for the audience to develop an extremely cynical attitude toward the product. Which – in some people – makes illegal downloading seem less wrong.

  25. I don’t know about others, but when I complain about the $4 pricepoint — which is seldom, usually I just buy fewer $4 issues and keep it to myself — I have two reasons. The obvious one is that I want more money left in my pocket at the end of the day and having less when the item received in return seems not worth it it irritating.

    However, the second reason is that I believe the it is a poor long term business practice. The $4 price tag seems, to me, to be part of a business plan that shrinks the number of titles to an elite few that have a long established, older, more affluent fan base. A fan base that can, basically, be squeezed to cough up one more dollar. I care, because I think the long term effects of such a practice is choking the industry. Kids not reading comics? I don’t think the typical kid can afford comics anymore. So comic readers age, the number of comics sold drops, and Marvel jacks up the prices again to make up the difference. I think comic pricing is one of the reasons the industry struggles. So if I complain vocally, that is generally my reason. I may be wrong of course, but whether it is irritating or not, it is a valid criticism. The only thing I find more irritating than people bitching about the $4 pricepoint is the inevitable follow-up comment telling the complainer to shut up and not complain.

  26. Ron spent quite a bit of time on the podcast complaining about what he spent on a book. Granted that was a special case, but price does pay a factor on how you feel overall. If you know you overpaid for something then you just feel screwed/cheated.

    Its a hobby, but its a hobby that I got into when things were much cheaper. $4 a book is just too much money, and while I love comics and I’m loving the DC reboot, I’ve been giving some serious though about where my money goes. I think that should be said about any hobby that has a price to it.

  27. This is an “authorized flame piece” meant to attract comments.

    The author (Jim) waxes poetic on how we shouldn’t complain about the prices, while obsessing on where the staples fall.

    As a new reader here, I don’t know who ‘Jim’ is or his relationship to iFanboy, but why is he allowed to chide or subtly berate iFanboy’s readership? Is it because he knows better and wants to put us in our place? I don’t get the need for this article…Its a complaint about complainers.

    Way to poke readers in the stomach and throw dirt in their eyes. At least, I didn’t have to pay $3.99 for this insult.

    • Jim is one of our columnists. He’s an opinion writer.

    • Welcome to the site!


    • Really-Then @ jim your comments too @kman sounds like you don’t care about people who challenge your views and in turn you blow them off-better 🙂

    • And in my defence never called anyone a name

    • Jim pointed out that this is a habit of himself, that this piece is basically a note to himself. I assume that before anyone got angry about it, they didn’t actually finish reading it. It’s an opinion piece about comic books. You might not agree with it, but it doesn’t necessarily make the writer an asshole. Settle down out there.

    • Stick around long enough, and you will find that the mantra of this site, staff, and most of the regular members is “read what you like”.

      This article is another extension of that ideal.

      If you like a series, and you feel the cover price is worth the content, read it, your doing it cause you enjoy it. if you don’t like a series, regardless of price, no one is stopping you from dropping it. Yes it sucks knowing you bought something that you didn’t enjoy, but for every one of those times, there are numerous other times where you got your moneys worth and MORE (i know i feel that way with a decent number of my new 52).

      It is up to you, the consumer, to decide what is worth spending your hard earned money on. If you lose a few bucks along the way to unworthy comics, turn around and let the publisher lose even more when you drop the title.

    • Jim can point east, west, north, and south. He is talking down to people whom are his peers in this really not important life of reading comics. it’s insulting and his comments make him appear kinda like the planet Uranus-Alot of gas coming out them holes.

    • Just because y’all both read comics doesn’t you peers.

      If that’s the case every single person who saw Avatar is also my peer.

      It’s just an opinion.

    • are there a group of people around the world who watch avatar every wed of every week? if that were the case, then i would call that a club of peers who are connected by the love they share for this form of entertainment.
      especially if you frequent a website dominated by that form. doesnt mean we all take long winded walks in the park or that we even like eachother, necessarily, but we are peers. peer does not = friend.
      and in my opinion, avatar sucks big donkey dick anyways. if it does have a website, i bet its called the donkey show. hahahahahahah

    • i’ve noticed that most of the people who want others to stop bitchn’ bout the price of books have rather large pull-lists and the people on the other side of the argument have(not always, but often) smaller pull-lists. that leads me to the presumption that larger pull-lists = larger wallets.
      i wanted to know what jimski reads,so i click on the authors name and im told that he is an invalid user, yet he implies that kmanifesto should know who he is with his snarky comment. to be honest i have frequented this site for a while and i had no idea he was an opinion writer. all i know of him is that he doesnt mind paying 4bucks a book,lives on cheap pasta, dreams, coffee, whoppers and he wants people to stop “piping up” and “bellowing” even though he aknowledges our right to “feel however you feel” but also TELLS ME to “settle down” in the same sentence which is, any way you slice it, contradictory.
      people on a budget will always be “crabbing about how much they pay” despite the fact that jimski doesnt want to hear it “while he is still out of the ground”.
      i find it interesting that in his note to himself, I need to do so much. and if its really to himself, why the hell am i reading it along with hundreds if not thousands of others.
      if he is really living on dreams, how come he doesnt care how much money he spends? it begs the question that
      i cant help but wonder: do the ifanboy staff get any sort of discount on comics because of this site? whether its from local shops, the publishers themselves or any kind of middle man. im not hating, you guys certainly deserve perks for all of your work in the promotion of comics, but if he doesnt pay full price then he really has no business speaking on the woes of the less than fortunate in a “note to himself”.
      opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and we all think other peoples’ stink. except for a few whose salad we dont mind tossing! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    • I’ve been meaning to mention that bug to someone forever; I don’t feel like an invalid user. Thanks for the reminder.

      I do try to keep my pull list relatively current for looky-loos anyway: https://ifanboy.com/users/Jimski/comics/

    • no problem. glad i could be of some help. and thank you,if for nothing else, the linky-loo and the cute pet name. i dont feel like a looky-loo.

    • no staff members want to comment on the “discounted books” question? or should i just mind my own business? you can tell me to go fuck myself if you want, but your silence speaks volumes. almost as loud as your written script….

  28. Comics fans do a lot of apologizing and cheerleading for publishers and multibillion dollar media empires instead of acting like true consumers who’s business needs to be earned and maintained.

    Yes comics have hard costs, but thats not the customer’s problem, and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or responsible for it. If publishers can’t juggle their business expenses and maximize profits, and if the freelance contractors (creators) can’t figure a way to work more efficiently and run their own businesses better then the whole deck needs to get reshuffled. Do we really need 5-8 specialized tradesmen working on one 20 pg comic? Thats 1950’s style commercial arts inefficiency.

    We can stop acting like junkies who need a fix and more like discerning customers, maybe the publishers will try to get more creative with earning and keeping our business and provide better value for us. We the fans enable rising prices as much as the publishers try to squeeze it out of us.

    • *applause*

    • I think the biggest problem with your intelligent critique is that no one is asking the right questions. I think you’re on the right track, and I’d also ask “How much does ‘guided viewing’ cost on digital comics?” “What is the cost of shipping a comic to the store versus digital delivery?” “How much does printing a book cost?”

      I’ve said it before, the future of comics is tablet. I’m writing this on my iPad, which I use to view comics. The numbers just don’t work out in my head that it costs as much to digitally sell a comic as it does to sell a book at a third party vendor. I’m sure there will be people on this site who buy comics in paper form until the day they die. I have friends that only listen to vinyl. I don’t think anyone on here would argue the CD is due for a comeback.

      It’s true that comics have to be of high standards to compete with the thousand channels, myriad of books and hundreds of video games every consumer has at home, but the price point is a huge sticking point. To compare it to movies is very apropos because both suffer from dwindling audiences, and have much the same marketing strategy in response. Increase quality and price, and continue to reach out to new audience share by embracing tried and true formulas (how many Hulks do we have now? Who didn’t know Avatar was Ferngully repackaged?) with this flashier packaging. The problem is that the audience never seems to stick around past a breakout hit, so they go back to gouging the tried and true fans.

  29. i hate to be THAT guy but… DVD extra’s are slowly making a move to only appearing on bluray. Sucks.

    also, i whole-heartedly agree. People need to quit bitching. Its a DOLLAR more. Get a small drink instead of a large next time you’re ANYWHERE and shut the hell up.

    • Well, why not 4.99? That’s only another DOLLAR more. Would you buy $5 20 page books from Marvel? What about $6? It’s only TWO dollars more. Stop being such a cheap ass!

      How about you buy Marvel’s book for however much they want, and I will pass and bitch when I see fit?

    • Oh my! Did i just get put in my place!? A dollar is a rather tiny mole hill from which to make a mountain. I get some DC books too, but its because i like the character/creative team/etc. not because i’m bargain shopping at my LCS. It’s just ridiculous that some will never read Uncanny X-force or Spider-Island or whatever because they won’t throw down another buck.

      Follow up question: If you pass on the books that cost more… what do you have to complain about? You escaped the great economic swindle of Marvel unscathed. Should you not celebrate?

    • Dollars tend to add up when you’re buying X amount of books each week.

    • this is true.

    • If I can buy books for 2.99 that I enjoy, why do I have to pay 3.99 for other books? I only buy books for 3.99 if I really really love them (GI Joe, The Boys – which I dropped when it first went to 3.99 but I missed it too much). No other books do I feel that way about, especially not Marvel books.

      Why are the best selling books by the biggest publisher the most expensive? Because they can? I used to buy a bunch of Marvel books, but the extra buck pushed me away from a LOT of title (Ultimate books, Avengers, X-Men), and the ill will it created pushed me away from the 2.99 Marvel books.

      I love comics, we all do. But being upset about the rising prices of comics has been going on since they were 10 cents! (I guess I wasn’t around back then)

  30. I really don’t think $2.99 or $3.99 is all that expensive in today’s economy, but then again, I don’t read that many comics. However, I would probably think twice before paying more than $4 for a single 20-page issue and I don’t think I’m alone there.

  31. How many of you drink? I almost expect everyone except me to raise their hands. How many of you smoke? Maybe fewer, but I expect to see plenty of hands. How much are you spending weekly on something entirely non-tangible, then complaining about the price of a comic book? What about going out for lunch every day instead of bringing lunch? If you tip like I do, you just paid for a comic book. (If you don’t tip, you’re a jerk!) Concerts? Last bigger show I went to was about $30 for a one time event. Sure, it was a band I’d wanted to see for years, but a one time event nonetheless. Even the bar shows I prefer to go to are about $8.00, there’s two comic books. We all have to pay X amount for Y form of enjoyment in our lives. I’d MUCH rather pay $4.00 for a comic than $4.00 for a beer while I am out. That’s IF I could get away with any better than PBR for $4.00 The comic is there the next morning. The beer remainders go in the toilet.

    While I have the benefit of working at my LCS, I work for store credit. I could work elsewhere for cash instead. I don’t for various reasons, not the least of which is that working at the LCS almost entirely relieves the stress and frustration of my full time job. Are comics expensive? Hell yes they are. (Though I don’t know HOW expensive, compared to past prices, when adjusted for inflation.)

    We don’t know how much the companies pay creators. We don’t have an idea of what ad rates are. We don’t know their production costs. We don’t know how much goes to Diamond. Hell, even with $4.00 books being “greedy” Marvel might be running at a loss. They just went through a round of layoffs. My shop gets those $4.00 books for ~$2.00. How much is Marvel actually making off those copies? I think some people forget that there are a lot of middlemen in between Marvel and us.

    If you don’t like a book, quit buying the book. I dropped half the New 52 books I picked up after the first issue, then *gasp* loved the hell out of some $4.00 books in their stead. I’ll pay $4.00 for Avenging Spiderman all day long.

  32. I find it halrious that Jim’s article sparked a huge number of posts doing EXACTLY WHAT HE DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR! Maybe it was reverse psychology on his part, but the complainers have come out of the woodwork.

    As one of the resident crotchety old men (I’m older than most of you, and get off my lawn!), someone who is often disappointed (I have high expectations), and an semi-professional bitcher myself, let me add my $0.05 (adjusted for inflation). People love to converse, share their opinions, and generally complain about things. Just listen for it around you – there’s probably someone complaining about gas prices, or the government, or traffic, or a host of other things at any given time. Might be a friend, or possibly a stranger seated at a nearby table or walking down the street. And I understand it can get old, hearing the same complaints again and again.

    But people love to bitch! That’s part of human nature. The internet has made it that much easier. Anyone can get online and spew their opinion about anything. And here, we have a focused website to discuss comics. More than that, we can RATE AND REVIEW THEM! Wow, the ultimate in giving your opinion, right at your fingertips! And I’m sure a number of people are disappointed when something they spend $4.00 sort of sucks (or sucks hard, depending on your opinion). And, unfortunately, that is one of the things people are going to comment on – the price vs. enjoyment. (I remember when they started charging TWO cents for a bag of bruised apples on the side of the road during the Depression – you should have HEARD the complaints!).

    We’ve already established that comics are not a cheap hobby. The amount of time it takes to read a single $3.00 issue is brief. I haven’t timed it, but I am going to figure out the cost-per-minute and see, compared to other forms of entertainment. (I could listen to chapter plays on the wireless ALL DAY FOR FREE back in the day!).

    The bottom line, for me, is this – I don’t have the time or money to read crappy comics. Sometimes I inadvertently buy crappy comics, and I am disappointed. So I complain. But I try to make informed decisions based on what others say, and based on the price. I’m loving Ultimates, even though it’s $3.99 and has no heft to it. Compare it to The Sixth Gun, which feels and looks like a $4 comic, and it better be good enough to justify the price. To me, it is. But I reserve the right to bitch if a book isn’t good, and that includes remarking on the price. You don’t have to read my comments, or you don’t have to listen to someone say it, but it’s their right to express it.

  33. To Quote the GREAT Josh Flanagan from the letters column on 11/4/2011
    “You’re a fan and you and your money should be respected,’

    If something disappoints you SPEAK OUT ! Why NOT? As fans we may continue to buy a title hoping or waiting for it to get better, when it comes up short VOICE YOUR DISPLEASURE!
    I’ve eaten at restaurants and complained about the meal(if it wasn’t up to par), traveled and shared my negative experiences regarding an airline. Guess what? SAME goes when I like something! I reccomend movies or shows that I had a blast at. Part of being a fan is the community experience and the DIFFERING opinions that it presents!!

  34. Doesn’t DC carry 3.99 titels? If you enjoy what your reading and can afford it buy it if not stop complaining and find something else to entertain you.

    • As far as I know, DC’s $3.99 titles contain more than 20 pages of story. However, on the Marvel side, a $3.99 book may or may not have more than 20 pages of story. That’s kind of why Marvel is seen as the Big Bad in the pricing discussion.

      But I agree – buy the things you like if you can afford it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it (for any amount of money). If you can’t afford it….uhh…work harder you lazy bum (I kid).

  35. mmmmmm….whoppers

  36. I am always amazed at people saying “I would buy that book for 2.99, but not 3.99.” What are you going to do with that dollar? Is there anything that cost a dollar anymore? What makes sense to me is “I won’t spend money on that book.” If you really enjoy a comic, whether it is 2.99 or 3.99, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a buck. If you really like it, buy it. I was buying the Avengers books at 3.99. I wasn’t enjoying them, so I dropped them. If Marvel rolled the price back to 2.99, I still wouldn’t buy them. I don’t know what categorizes that extra dollar’s worth of entertainment. It should be either a book is worth your money, or it isn’t. I don’t see how it can be worth SOME of your money.

    • Good point! Still, those dollars add up, and for me every penny counts. As for that extra dollar, it’d be another buck going to my savings.

    • I think that if a dollar is so inconsequential, then all of you should give me a dollar!

    • Want to know what I do with that buck? I’ve got usually a buck of pocket change everyday or two. It goes into my Spider-Man shaped bank. Then, every 4-6 months, said bank fills, I take the coins to be counted (somewhere WITHOUT the 10% fee) and take my wife out to a nice dinner with the hundred or so bucks I get. So yes, those dollars DO add up.

    • @CrescentCityBlues Aww that’s sweet. I save my loose change and singles in a jar marked “Hooker Money.”

  37. Huh, just the other day i voiced my irritation at paying $4 for an okay comic when it should be great, and then this article pops up. Interesting. Anyways, I stand by my opinion. I set an extremly small budget for comics, so logically the ones i support should be the ones that blow me away or at least satisfies my needs in a comic. That said i vote with my dollar, and it seems a shame to support an “expensive” okay comic (JL) when there are greater comics for a buck less (WW, Batman). Its just being a good consumer, although Jim is right, i should bitch less. At least I a monthly quality flash and aquaman title for the last two months.

  38. my $ per week limit for comics is directly related to the avg price of a pack of cigarettes. I dont smoke, but if i ever manage to spend more than a smoker who smokes a pack a day does, I know i’ve got issues.

  39. Great article, although I’ll admit that complaining about backmatter is baffling to me. I know people would rather have more actual comic, but getting rid of the back matter doesn’t mean they will put more story pages, just that there will be less content. I love seeing extra behind the scenes content in single issues, and they don’t have to give us that, but I think it’s better than nothing at the very least.

  40. I don’t mean this as a slam against the pricing (even though I do agree with many posters above that Marvel’s pricing isn’t the big thing, it’s their flippant attitude about it), but how is it a Marvel comic with 19+ pages costs more than, or on par with, a magazine like Good Housekeeping or Vogue?

    Is it based partly on subscription rates and advertising dollars?

    Just to throw this out there, but I’d buy a crapload more comics if they were priced at 1.99 with a 20 page story sandwiched in 20 pages of ads. Being around this long, I’ve stopped noticing ads unless I really want to see/read it.

  41. Frankly, I never pay attention to the number of pages in a book until I hear someone say a particular book is now X pages. I don’t care as long as I get my fix.

    But here’s a reality fix for you – two years ago, myself, wife and two kids were one of those families who were “underwater” in their mortgage. At the time, I had been downsized at work and my wife’s salary wasn’t enough to cover monthly stuff, credit card bills, etc. We had to sell the home for half of what we bought it at, rented a home, still had collectors calling us (I still don’t answer my cell phone cause I don’t want to talk to them over and over. It’s coming! It’s coming!) and had to borrow a ton of money from relatives. Even a few friends, which is the worst feeling in the world. We even called United Way, but our income was just above what they said was in their realm of assistance. After two years of part-time jobs, having the electricity turned off for a few hours about five or six times (no, we made sure the kids never knew what was going on), and going for the best deals in services, products, etc., I got a full-time salaried job in my profession. We’re now working our way out of the hole. Thank God we didn’t lose more like so many unfortunate Americans have these past few years.

    My point is this: During that incredibly dark time, we had a few bucks to spend on ourselves, and for me, that meant comics. It also meant cutting my 25-book a month habit down to 5. Sometimes I was lucky to get into a shop once a month. Sometimes I didn’t, and my shop was so great in holding my books despite my sometimes-lengthy absence. As a reader since I was 6 or 7, this was a huge deal. How do you cut books you’ve spent many years or several months – truly compelling stories with characters and writers and artists whom you’ve followed for so long – out of your life? Do I cut something because of the price? Does this book have more emotional meaning to me? Should I go for my standard “fave” books or should I get something that I haven’t collected long, has a definite ending down the line but has an incredibly compelling story?

    If YOU really think about it, if YOU were in this situation, you might think twice about questions like # pages or the marketing strategy of big businesses. Seriously, and I hope this for everyone, is that when you decide what you’re buying every month, that you’re getting it because IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU, not because of the price, not because of the attitude of the greedy corporate culture.

    Thus endeth the sermon..

    • @Stevetwo, dude, i feel your pain man. I got similair money woes and i feel like me and my family are barely squeaking by. I mean, it’s the whole reason that i limit myself to only three titles a month. Yet there is an upside, the few comics that you support are probably be the ones you like, anticipate, enjoy the most.

    • @Dr.Casanova: Thanks, man. I hope you can get out of the hole soon, if you haven’t already. Just remember that you aren’t the only one going through this. Millions of others are in the same position, or worse. Keep the faith.

      And yeah, I was pretty much reduced to my standards like Amazing, the two main Bat-books and a Vertigo or two. Hard choices that make you appreciate the value of a dollar (whatever value is left in it that is).

  42. Is it just me or has Jim been spending quite a few Mondays seemingly directly addressing the whining going on during the weekly podcasts?

  43. Bit of a silly article really and some of the, albeit jokey, comparisons are ludicrous (if I bought 20 whoppers every Wednesday then the comparison to the cost of a burger might be valid, as I don’t, it’s not).

    If you honestly think that people shouldn’t pay so much attention to the cost of things just because they enjoy them then you’ve obviously never lived on a budget… I’m pretty sure most people here would buy and enjoy more comics if they were more reasonably priced. I know that my ever dwindling Marvel pull list wouldn’t be so sparse if they didn’t try to fleece me for $3.99 every time I want to read one of the comics they chuck out.

    Also, if you look at ‘cost of purchase vs. time spent enjoying’ then comics is considerably more expensive than cinema, dvds, computer games, books etc.

    DC’s $2.99 price point is a little steep for what you get, Marvel’s $3.99 default price is nuts.

    • Agreed. My pull list for comics is dismal. There are several new DC titles I wish I could pick up and several Marvel titles that I would like to try because I’ve heard good things about them, like Journey into Mystery. But the $3.99 price tag is nuts, especially when all you get is a measly 19 pages. I know a lot of costs go into making a high quality book but with a price point like that I’m not going to be able to keep up with this hobby that I love.

  44. I felt the same way when several people, myself included, were really annoyed with the slut-ification of Starfire and the way Catwoman’s sex drive was cranked up to 11 in her first issue. Then for that weeks podcast (and the following 2 weeks worth of podcasts) we kept hearing our views dismissed in a very blunt manner as if the people holding these views were just a bunch of cranks and prudes.

  45. The $3.99 is destroying the “casual” buy. All of my Marvel purchases are planned well in advance. I will never buy a $3.99 book on impulse. And I think that’s why DC sales have been through the roof. In this market you can still drop $2.99 on an untested property/creative team to give it a try. Otherwise, you wait for reviewers to weigh in, and then pick up the trade for a series that gets consistent praise. Meanwhile, the sales of a series go down because everyone is waiting for reviews. Then because of low sales, books don’t get reviewed and then they get canceled.

    It’s very funny that the premise of the article is the author hates people discussing comic book prices, and yet here we are. So Jim, because price doesn’t matter to you, buy every comic book that comes out, review them, and post your thoughts. Based on how you feel about the week’s books I will consider purchasing them. Thanks for your help!

    • He didn’t say price didn’t matter. Not in the least. Read the article before you complain about it.

      I agree with your first paragraph however.

    • To Softfoot’s point in the first paragraph:

      I wonder if our willingness to spend $2.99 to sample a title is BECAUSE we know that there are books priced at $3.99 that we perceive as too risky to try out? If we could roll things back and had books at $1.99 and $2.99, would the same behavior hold true or would sales increase across the board?

      Case in point (sorta), while I would have tried Spaceman #1 for $2.99 (because it’s Azzarello and Risso), the fact that it was priced for $1.00 made it an absolute no-brainer.

      This week, I’m going to try New Mutants and Generation Hope because I’m enjoying the new X-direction and they’re not priced at $3.99. But a $3.99 book like adjectiveless X-Men is going to require some significant buzz for me to consider it (especially after I tried the Lizard arc back in the spring and was disappointed in Gischler’s story).

    • dont complain about the complaining article thats about people complaining…..it gets redundant after a while, im just not sure exactly where it begins and it certainly never ends. heh-heh

  46. You are certainly free to complain as much as you like about the voluntary things you do for fun. And I am free to say, “Boy, I am tired of hearing that complaint right now.” And then you are free to say, “Why don’t you shut your mouth, you corporate-greed-loving fat-cat?” And that freedom is what makes this the greatest darn country in the world.

  47. Never has such outrage been generated by the reminder that comics are supposed to be for fun.

    I have to take it back, though. You guys sound like you’re having a blast.

  48. Please don’t encourage them to collect action figures. We have enough habitual whiners who complain about every little thing in that hobby, too.

    • The video game people scare me.

    • I went through a Star Wars period before Episode I came out, and I still sometimes think back to the time they were circulating a petition demanding that the Boba Fett paint scheme be changed from Return of the Jedi to the more honorable Empire Strikes Back. Somewhere, there is someone whose job it was to deal with that.

    • why wouldnt you be scared of zombies starring at a screen and pushing button for hours on end(like im doing right now……BOO! hahahahahahaha!). especially if they have a wii. you might get an elbow if your not careful. lol.

    • @jim
      sounds like an awesome if not easy job. i’ve actually never noticed the difference in the paint scheme. im a huge star wars fan and i feel ashamed that i am unaware of a slight color change in boba fetts costume(i dont really feel shame, but rather interest). i guess i have something to wiki for a few hours…….BOO!(just kidding josh, i think your a good enough ole’ boy with lots of interesting things to say)

  49. Library card.

  50. They should just create Netflix for comics.

  51. Please start writing about comics. And not the price, paper/digital, how to enjoy comics, how to collect, how to steal…

    • I will begin my next piece, “Remember ‘Web of Spider-Man #48’? Good Times.” this afternoon. I will cherish all three of its pageviews as if they were my children.

    • But these are opinion pieces…do you really want to read Jimski’s opinion on Hulk vs Thing? Or who he thinks is the best Youngblood artist of all time? While the resulting discussions are ultimately just as pointless as those examples, I feel like the “fan issues” topics generate more interesting comments.

    • I think I HAVE Web of Spider-man #48…

    • @houseian
      i think people should write about whatever the fuck they feel like. theres plenty talk about comics as far as im concerned.
      @ ken
      im interested in all the topics you listed and would love to read about all topics(not necessarily jimski’s opion, but why not)all of this is ultimately pointless but interesting all the same.
      ps. hulk would smash thing any day of the week!

    • I just feel that over the past couple of months ifanboy has moved away from discussing comics and now talks about the industry in the same way that every other site does. Ifanboy seemed more original, I guess its a natural evolution as a site grows.

    • @houseian: We always–since we started 11 years ago–talked about the industry on the website. Talking about the comics themselves is still the dominant discussion topic, by far.

  52. Also, Marvel offers subscription pricing on several of their more expensive titles. Almost half-off. Does anyone really still pay full price for their comics?

  53. Here is the problem, if you are charging a certain price I EXPECT a level book to warrant that. Paying 3$ for a book means I EXPECT Judas Contract every time. when I get Fear Itself I say the art is great (imo) but this story may be the worst ever written, HELL NO am I paying for that anymore. After that book I don’t read any regular Marvel titles anymore. I get that they will never go back to 2$ era but for some of the stories you get now it is shameful what they charge. When for a single 5$ bill can’t get me 2 comics or 1 really good one there is a problem. The industry is killing itself because no kid can or will spend this much money (in large enough numbers to help the industry) to read any more than 4 books a month at that price.

  54. is this site only for americans?

  55. People keep saying things like “It’s only a dollar” or “What are you going to do with the dollar?” How about buy another comic:

    3 @ 3.99 = 11.97
    4 @ 2.99 = 11.96

    PS: Anyone else remember when comic book pricing went up in smaller increments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_comic_book#Pricing) ? Why did they jump a whole dollar?

    • Because people paid it. For a while anyway.

    • It’s funny you mention pricing increases. If you look at that Wikipedia link you’ll see that since 1980 comics have basically doubled in price every decade and that they more than doubled between 1970 and 1980.
      What does that tell us?

    • I appreciate that books are much finer works of art these days and should cost something – but r3v’s comment here goes to the heart of the matter for me, There are a lot of 2.99 books that are as good or better than the 3.99 books, and I can get an extra book or two each week if I plan correctly. An extra book!

    • @r3v Dammit, you discovered my strategy!!(ha) and thats why I’ve been dropping Marvel Titles left and right!

      Math wins again ( shaking fist)

    • Prices did not jump a dollar across the board, but on select books. when the price increases stared i looked at my own buying habits and the raise of a dollar on the few books actually cost me (and probably most people) less than if they raised the whole line a quarter. Marvel expected a drop in the sales of the 3.99 books but not enough to offset the gain. what they found was the sales stayed high on those and people started dropping 2.99 books instead. This pretty much convinced them 3.99 was an acceptable price for a comic. Now they are slowly becoming unconvinced.

      remember when Dc did their hardcover/softcover experiment with the legion and titans books? an expensive format version followed by a cheaper version a year later. the expensive ones won out, but that makes sense, who wants to wait a year, but marvel tried something similar with the x books in the 90s, a nice offset printed gloss paper version followed by a cheaper newsprint version only two weeks later, again the more expensive won out. even the variant covers, often had standard cover versions for those who didnt want to pay extra for foil, die cuts etc. once again the expensive comics sold better.

      to paraphrase the rolling stones:
      i shouted out who killed cheap comics, when after all it was you and me…

      ok maybe it wasnt YOU per se, but it was me and it certainly was a whole lot of US.

  56. I may be free to do those things but a little thing called being “polite” is why I don’t insult you or anyone else on this site. And when I feel insulted, like when people have a legitimate complaint about comic book pricing or the portrayal of women in the medium but that complaint is dismissed as being out of hand, it is nice to have the disagreeing party be a little polite and say something like, I don’t know, “I understand where you are coming from but I disagree.”

    Just showing a tiny bit of courtesy and understanding for the opposing viewpoint can go a long way in preventing any feelings from getting hurt.

  57. “theres no crying in baseball”
    im never out to hurt anyone’s feelings(that would be pathetic) but i often enough say things with a sharp edge if not double bladed(two fold meaning)
    i often hear of the “portrayal of women” argument, but no one ever talks about the portrayal of men. sounds like a guilty conscience complex with aspirations to even the playing field, even though women are the only victims in this equation. we all get FUCKD’ sometimes and we all exploit our own sexuality sometimes(if only to our lovers). who gives a fuck if an artist portrays certain circumstances for certain situations. my wife and i love catwoman #1, so perhaps thats more of a body image issue for uncomfortable people(we’re not supermodels by any stretch of the imagination, but appreciate many body forms and say use every advantage you can). who is to say, no opinion is dismissed by ALL.

  58. I don’t mind paying 2.99 or even 3.99 for a comic. I used to get 40 comics a month in the 90’s, but I do feel the quality has gotten better with some titles. My absolute favorites right now are Animal Man and Swamp Thing.

  59. Thanks. Now please write something like this about late books.

    • aha! Discount on late books! Say, if a 3.99 book gets late, it will be 2.99? Although it might sacrifice quality by trying to put out on time.

    • That would be a real short column. “I don’t like late books.”

    • Nobody “likes” em. But for a while, it seemed like it’s the only thing that matters, a book coming out on time. Even to the extend that books that never intended to be monthly nor ever have been solicited got labelled as late if there wasn’t a new on out every month.

  60. You can complain about the price points by not buying. Why continue buying if it just pisses you off? Stop buying.

    We read comics to be entertained, and if it’s not the case anymore, why continue? One life, one choice. If the books doesn’t make you happy anymore, stop buying it. It won’t be your fault if you stop buying. You can’t blame anyone for staying away from anything that drives them nuts. If the prices get in the way of your enjoyment, STOP. You are not required to buy comics to live. THIS IS A HOBBY.

    If you buy a higher priced book and it does not satisfy you, then it is not for you. I assure you somewhere, someone is satisfied with their purchase of the same exact book. That’s the way art works. What appeals to you, may not appeal to me. So, if it’s not for you, don’t buy it again. So what if others rave about it? It does not appeal to you. Sure you can try the book again in the future, if it has gained enough curiousity to wash away you’re previous sentiment on the book. That’s the beauty of it.

    Why do all act like we are required to buy these books? We are not.

  61. Will someone please organize an Occupy Marvel campaign? We should dress as DC characters.

  62. The audacity of Marvel fans…..

  63. Marvel sure has the greediest shareholders. Let’s not forget that every corporation is obligated by law to take any legal measures possible to increase the value of the companies shares. In my opinion, this is the impact of shareholder greed and the Marvel execs who will do anything to please them at the quarterly meetings. Sadly, this is also why American jobs are on the auction block in almost every sector.

    When it comes to pleasing customers versus pleasing shareholders, corporate execs will make sure the shareholders win every time.

    • Marvel has no shareholders, there are only disney shareholders. and they aren’t any greedier than warner (DC) shareholders, or viacom, or sony or apple or google or anyone else. They buy stocks that they hope will increase in value. That’s kind of the whole point of investing. And its unfair and entirely incorrect to characterize all investors as greedy money hungry corporate raiders. I own stock as does everyone with a 401K, and i know im not too happy when i see it go down as it has in the past few years.

      it is as wrong to characterize ALL shareholders as bad, just as its wrong to characterize any group based on the actions of a small percentage of them.

      i am also getting tired of this discussion. it basically boils down to “i want more of this completely unecessary (but enjoyable) entertainment, so someone who has more money than me should sacrifice some of it so i can get more.” If you are reading this you have an internet connection and that means you have access to more free entertainment than you can possibly consume. try some of that.

      comics are NOT an addiction. spend some time with junkies or crackheads and you will see an addiction. Addiction destroys lives. This is a case of not being to distinguish between WANT and NEED.

      there are of course people who do find themselves pschologically addicted to various things. If you are someone like that and comics are your thing, then stop worrying about the price and get help. cheaper comics just means getting more of something you should stop. cheaper drugs don’t improve the lives of drug addicts.

      and as i type this i realize it fall entirely on deaf ears. there is no valuable discussion on this, everyone has made up their minds and just continues to spewtheir viewpoint over and over again. There is no dialogue, only simultaneous monologues.

      consider my monologue ended (for now)

  64. For me, it was the 60 cents vs 75 cents back in ’84. I just started earning my own money and Marvel was cheaper (plus i loved Spidey). I can remember how much that 15 cents mattered to me in my personal economy, so I can understand a dollar difference now. I still will stick with Marvel…it’s my universe.

  65. @abstractgeek Thanks for chiming in, and I agree with most of what you posted, especially the part about Comics not being an addiction. I’ve seen drug addicts in my volunteering experience and observed the destroyed lives that result from their addictions. I just quite smoking cigarettes “cold turkey” nearly three weeks ago and sure was easier to drop some comics from my pull-list than it was to drop the cigarettes.

    About my comments regarding shareholders and corporate execs, I guess I have a personal chip on my shoulder because my job was outscourced to a foreign country because labour was cheeper there. A decision that was made by the execs of the company that I worked for in order to increase profits and increase the shares of the company. I’m not pointing a finger at the sharholders, because they are just doing what they are freely allowed to do and they expect a return on thier investment. But I do believe that the decisions that execs make should be somhow regulated by the government so that domestic workers aren’t left unemployed.

    • i agree with that completely, and i think too many companies do make the choice to eliminate workers as a first resort. its shortsighted. there was a time when the stock market was more focused on the longer term. now its seems more about short term quarterly or yearly gains. This is the real problem. Amazons stock took a hit when they invested a good deal of their fairly large profit into upgrading their infrastructure. because this meant they didnt make as much in profit (despite huge sales) their stock price dropped, by investing in their own ability deal with their increasing sales, they and their investors took a financial hit. Thats crazy i admit i am not a financial guy (so its entirely possible im wrong about this, if i am someone please explain it to me), but the short term stock market seems much like the comics speculator market. buy low, hope for a quick rise, and sell before it drops. the housing market did that too, look how both of them turned out.

      it seems to me like the government isnt even needed. wall street and investors need to hold companies accountable for long term success not short term. If investors bought and sold stock based on that instead of short term profits and rewarded companies that took the long view, things would be different.

      in a way its vote with your dollars, hmm where have i heard that before.

      my problem is that i done even know exactly what stock i own, my 401k is a mutual fund that i dont check much and honestly i dont entirely understand what they send me as far as the updates.

      i really just realized i am relying on the people who invest for me to do it right, probably many of the same people who have caused at least part of our problems. i am entusting my future to them.

      i am going to die penniless.

      fuck, maybe i should just cash in the 401k and stockpile booze. after the global financial apocalypse, that will be like gold, it will still work, itll get you drunk, it can fuel a fire and sterilize a wound.

  66. I think one of the biggest problems is when people say, “well just don’t buy them!” Isn’t that part of the problem that’s hurting the industry? Higher prices are knocking out some older customers (like me) , and I’m sure that newbies to comics don’t walk into a shop and get excited about paying so much for one book.

  67. @abstractgeek In the post-apocalypse the man with the moonshine still will be king. 🙂

  68. late post=never read but…
    I find the difference between popular commentators and journalists is informed analysis derived from research.

    Comics fandom is expressing (however annoyingly in some’s opinions) a decrease in their “perceived value” of comics. But value compared to what? What should the value of a comic be based on /compared to?
    That is really the heart of the matter. It would appear that those individual value comparisons would be subjective but that is not necessarily the case. Research and analysis could reveal where fandom’s “perceived” loss in value of comics derives from and it’s merits in comparison to other aspects of our lives.

    Comics’ value compared to themselves? Versus inflation? National inflation or just against entertainment products? Do comics provide a good entertainment value when compared to other purchased entertainment products? What standards are used for such a comparison? The list goes on and on of points to raise and discuss.
    Instead we have “opinion” pieces that rather worrisomely teeter on the edge of a gospel preaching of “don’t think, don’t analyze, just consume and smile”

    People have a decrease in their “perceived value” of a comic. That exists. We may either say “yeah, yeah, we know, but we should all be happy, someone always has it worse, just do something else then” or we could try to analyze the roots of their perceptions and compare it to a metric for analysis to find any merit in their points.

    But that sounds supsicously like work someone should be getting paid to do.
    and then no one would get to talk about burgers.