I like to talk a lot about "guerrilla comics buying". Now is the time, we have a tiny window that DC has given us to show the Big Two that we mean business about the business of comics. They rolled their books back to $2.99 for 2011, and if we flock to those books - money talks, baby.
If we don't flock to them, frankly, we will have earned our fate. Before "hold the line at $2.99" our evil overlord masters were entirely to blame. We now have a choice. If January's numbers are indication, we are choosing....poorly.
|It's in our hands, now|
Why do I do that? Why should it make a difference whether Marvel or IDW is charging me too much money for a comic book? Isn't that intellectually lazy? Maybe it is.
I give the indies a dispensation primarily because they are not giant corporate entities. They don't have such reduced printing costs, because they simply can't do it in the same bulk. They can't attract those lovely toothpaste companies to come put those annoying booklets in their comics. In fact, most independent books advertise little other than their own product.
Right now I order the vast majority of my comics through DCB Service, and it's starting to chafe me. Not because there's anything wrong with DCB Service as a, well, service. You cannot beat those prices. I'm ordering my books for the same rate many local comic shops order their books at. Ordering at those prices allows me to get more books than I otherwise would be able to afford.
I'm not having as much fun, though. I still do visit my LCS every week, and purchase something every week. I find something to review for this blog, or something grabs my attention that did not when I first put in my order. But it's not the same. I get a box every other week, and it arrives at best several days after everybody else in the world has their comics. I feel "out of the loop", slightly disconnected, slightly out of synch.
|Che Guevara - big Secret Six guy|
The first thing I noticed when I broke down my February order is that I don't get as many comics as you might expect a guy with a comics podcast to get. I ordered 32 "floppies" and 6 books. Averaging four weeks a month, and I'm getting about eight books a week. That's substantial, but hardly what I would call "extreme" behavior. As comic book addicts go, I'm pretty low grade.
There's no way you can really stay on the pulse of the whole industry reading that few books. 32 books probably barely accounts for the Avengers and Batman books in any given month. In some ways I'm a charlatan as a comics "pundit". Just as a comparison, on John Mayo's latest installment of his Weekly Comics Spotlight he noticed that it was a light week for him. He only had 50 books to read that week. Now that's a commitment!
Honestly, I don't believe I'd read many more books than I do now, regardless of my monetary situation, because I just can't squeeze any more into my head and really enjoy it and keep up with it. There are days when my DCB Service box shows up right now it already feels like work when I see the stack that I have. Comics should never be work, and if you're reading so much material that you can't recall a thing about the prior issue until you start digging into the new one...you're reading too many damn comics.
So there is is. I ordered 32 comic books in February, and here's how it breaks down by company:
- DC: 10 books
- Image: 9 books
- Marvel: 8 books
- Dynamite: 2 books
- Boom: 1 book
- IDW: 1 book
- Avatar: 1 book
As you can see, I don't stray too far off the beaten path, and I don't really feel like apologizing for that, either. Dynamite should actually probably be better categorized as "Garth Ennis". I find myself retching at most of Dynamite's glut offerings. If Ennis walked, I don't think I'd give them a nickel.
The other stab in the dark I took this month was Boom's Planet of the Apes relaunch, featuring movie prequel continuity. I adore those first couple films, and if they can somehow capture that magic I'm going to be totally in love. I won't be in love with the $3.99 price point, though.
Speaking of, here's how my price breakdown looks for my 32 floppy comics:
- $4.99: 1 book
- $3.99: 7 books
- $3.50: 3 books
- $2.99: 21 books
So 18/32 comics were Marvel or DC books, or about 56%. I suppose that's healthy. I think ordinarily my Big 2 percentage is a little higher, but like I said, Image is really commanding a greater chunk of my curiosity lately. Kudos to Eric Stephenson, maybe? Somebody is doing something right over there. I can't lay enough superlatives on Morning Glories or Echoes, and I'm loving Who is Jake Ellis?, Savage Dragon, and Hack/Slash.
I'm actually a little disappointed in my DC allotment, though. In order to send the correct message, noticeable amounts of money need to shift in that direction. There are good DC books that I've yet to discover. Has anybody read Booster Gold that didn't like it? I'm ordering that next month. How about Freedom Fighters by the inimitable Jimmy Palmiotti? I shall rage against the machine and buy this off the rack next time in the shop, and also begin ordering it next month.
Listen folks, this is war, and I mean to send $3.99 to hell in a blaze of guerrilla comics buying. What's your sit rep?