Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I Don't Buy More Comics

Tonight I was reading through my latest issue of Previews, a catalog I get from my local comic book store to order my weekly dose of books, and came across the most obvious example of why I am buying less and less comics these days. Behold, Batman/Doc Savage Special #1:

Doc Savage returns to DC Comics…and comes face-to-fist with the Batman! Superstar scribe Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS, JOKER) and the breathtaking art of Phil Noto combine to shine the first light on a shadowy new version of the DC Universe, where the thugs run rampant, corruption runs deep, and even heroes can't be trusted!

The "shadowy new version of the DC Universe" that this issue inaugurates is what most fascinates me, as this seems to be setting up a new pulp setting for the DC superheroes. I love this stuff, both the author and the artists look solid, and I would be quick to gobble this issue up, except for one niggling little detail...

On sale November 11 - 56pg, FC, $4.99 US

$4.99. Four dollars and ninety-nine cents. $4.99 for a "prologue" (so not a self-contained story) that also includes a sketchbook that the publishers think is a plus but is actually just filler when you charge over FIVE DOLLARS with tax for fifty measly pages of story!

I don't care if it's the greatest comic on the planet, I'm not paying five bucks for an issue of anything sight unseen, especially when I don't even know if it will be total and complete ass. Maybe I'll wait for the trade, when, in the unlikely event that it doesn't disappoint, I can pick up the complete story on Amazon at a 20-30% discount off the cover price in a format that looks good on my bookshelf.

Over the past year, I've dropped more than a few comics that I was enjoying (Booster Gold comes immediately to mind) and never picked up others (the Lovecraft pulp one of the independents put out) because I refuse to pay more than $2.99 for a comic book. I wonder if the publishers really understand what I could do with $5... I can buy a used paperback of most novels, a used copy of many current-generation video games, a DVD of even recently-released movies, or go on Ebay and get a trade paperback of their own comics. I've heard rumors that the Disney buy-out of Marvel might result in a price drop to as low as $1.99 to rebuild the casual market that's been lost over the past two decades. Based on this kind of nonsense, I can only hope it's true or I might end up not buying any comics outside of trades on Amazon and Ebay.

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