Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Comic Book Economics

Karen: I came across this statement from Chuck Rozanski, the president/owner of Mile High Comics, stating that this years' San Diego Comic Con will be his last, as it is no longer a profitable enterprise for him (he claims he will have lost $10,000 at the con). He blames publishers for offering limited edition items, claiming it diverts money fans might otherwise have spent on his comics. I find this to be a rather dubious claim. I think there are plenty of other reasons for his situation (like the fact the Mile High's books always seem to be priced higher than everyone else's). But his statement brought up a number of thoughts and given that we've been discussing comic book economics here lately, what with Doug's selling of his collection, I'd like to throw out some discussion starters for the group to chew on:

1) Has the era of the comic investor all but disappeared? By that, I mean the fan who buys books intending to hold on to them and sell them later, hopefully for a profit. We already have seen that most modern era books are not increasing in value. What about Silver and Bronze books? Has the prevalence of TPBs and hardbacks made the comics themselves less desirable?

2) The San Diego Comic Con has become the premiere pop culture event. But that's just it -it's no longer a comic book convention; I would wager most of the attendees are not comics fans but fans of the related genre films and TV shows. This makes one wonder: are the comics now really just IP (intellectual property) for other media to draw upon?

3) Rozanski complains that publishers offering "exclusives" stole business from him. But could it be that he needs to rethink his business model? Does it make sense at a convention like SDCC to have a 7-booth display? I also find it both ironic and insulting that Rozanski refers to the "greed and avarice of comics fans" -you mean the same people you have been selling to for years? While I feel for most of the comic dealers who try to compete at SDCC, I felt that Rozanski's column was questionable at best, self-serving at worst.


Humanbelly said...

This is a great, great, great Open Forum topic, Karen. I'm. . . sadly up to my eyeballs at the moment, and am just hoping to at least be able to chime in w/ my take on Chuck R & other things later on this evening. . .

HB (trapped in a bureaucratic/administrative miasma. . . )

PS-- re: the captcha's? For some reason, mine have all simply defaulted to this thing that says "Photo Sphere". Maybe I've achieved a frequent-user pass???

William said...

Karen, to answer your questions:

1. Yes, I think the era of the comic book "investor" peaked in the early 90's and has been in rapid decline ever since. I myself made quite a bit of money selling off some comics at flea markets and at yard sales in the early to mid-90's and now (unless it's something really rare and valuable) you practically can't give them away. I think the main reason is that people had too high of expectations for the long-term value of certain newer comics, and a lot of "investors" got burned.

And yes, I also think that TPBs and other collected volumes have reduced the value of some older comics. As we have noted in the past, we are living in the golden age of reprint volumes. Things like Marvel Masterworks and other such collected editions was one of the major factors that encouraged me to recently sell my own collection of Spider-Man comics. (Of which most people around here know, I got much less for than I thought I would). However, I have most issues of Amazing Spider-Man in some reprint form or another. In fact I literally have all of them (up through 2006) in digital format. Which brings me to my final thought on this subject.

If comics continue the trend towards going digital, then that will certainly spell the end of comic collecting for profit. Because if you can make virtually unlimited copies of a book without having to actually print it, (which means it costs pretty much nothing to copy) then it has no collectible value whatsoever.

2. Yes, I think that SDCC has become more about comic book based movies than the actual comics they originated from. That's not necessarily a bad thing however, because the massive amounts of money generated by such movies (and TV shows, etc.) keeps comics in the public consciousness, and helps to secure the future of the medium for generations to come. (At least until they change the name of the thing to San Diego Movie Con).

3. I read Chuck Rozanski's article and firstly, he sounds like a child whining about how unfair life is. It also sounds like he doesn't believe in the free enterprise system, and thinks that no one should make any money selling comics except him. And on top of that it seems like he loathes his own customers. You know, all of those dirty comics fans who are filled with "greed and avarice". He didn't seem to mind that "greed" when they were buying from him. Speaking of which, I don't think I'll be buying any comics online from Mile High anymore. (Which I have done many times in the past).

Second of all, "The times they are a changing, Chuck!" All comic retailers are having a hard time in today's market, as people (kids especially) move away from printed comics and gravitate towards comic based movies, video games, and digital format comics. What does he think? That Marvel and DC are not going to sell consumers what they want, just so he can sell more back issues that give absolutely no income whatsoever to the publishers.

Marvel Comics originally made 12 cents a copy off of Amazing Fantasy #15, but since then people like Chuck Rozanski have made millions re-selling them for ridiculous amounts of money, of which Marvel doesn't see a dime. So, really he has nothing to complain about. For whatever reason, the back issue comics market just isn't what it used to be. Just like the typewriter business isn't what it once was.

William said...

Obviously I had a little more time on my hands than Humanbelly. lol

Anonymous said...

To add to question 1, the really valuable old comics are from the time before comic collecting was common. Most comics ended up in the trash. So there are limited copies available. And really good quality copies are rarer still.

One of my lessons from the 80s is that anything billed as a "collectors item" is never going to be worth anything, whether comics or beany babies. I blew a fair bit of cash back in the day buying multiple copies of the latest big thing and sticking them in bags. Should have invested in savings bonds instead.


J.A. Morris said...

Re:Do reprints reduce the "investment" value of comic books?

I remember when the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne/Austin X-men issues were reprinted for the first time in 'Classic X-men' in the mid-80s. Dealers & collectors said that it decreased the demand and price for the original issues. I didn't care about "collecting" these stories, I just wanted to read them, so I subscribed to the reprints.

But let's look at some of the stuff that's been reprinted during this Golden Age of reprints. I just reviewed some Nova reprints the other day, and reprints of Guardians stories from Marvel Presents.

Were those issues really worth anything prior to the reprints being published? Was anyone plunking down $100 for Nova #1? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes.

1. There might still be some speculators who buy comics with the intention of selling them at a profit, but they will undoubtedly get burned. Modern era books don't increase in value, because the supply is greater than the demand. The customers are collectors who save their comics, and dealers order extra copies of supposed key issues (#1 of a new series, death of a major character, etc.), so they will never be rare. It's hard to sell something when everyone who wants it already has it.

2. The comics medium is obsolescent. Today's top ten best-sellers would have been considered marginal in the 1960's, and most other titles would have been cancelled for low sales. DC and Marvel exist almost solely as IP, so that Time-Warner and Disney can maintain trademarks and copyrights, so that they can use the characters in movies, TV, video games, and toys.

3.Rozanski presumably bought new comics from distributors at wholesale prices, then sold them at retail prices. He probably bought people's collections of old comics, then sold them for twice what he paid for them. That is how it works. Maybe he thinks that "buy low, sell high" is just good business practice when he does it, but "greed and avarice" when anyone else does the same thing.

BTW, the captcha seems to work when you just type in "Photo Sphere." :)

david_b said...

I agree with all the comments/points thus far, and will add some points..:

1) I never felt comics were a solid investment at any time in the first place, so I've never had any (ANY) misconceptions on value, barring some of the Silver/Gold greats like FF, Spiderman, Batman or Supes. It's always been a fickle, more whimsical hobby. Ask a guy on the street whether he's willing to buy a Daredevil ish 1 for a grand..?

That being said, I view it just under coin/stamp/sportscard/car collecting. The old adage is true, 'Its only worth what someone's willing to pay for it', which is obviously true for any non-currency investment to varying degrees.

2) SDCC, good or bad for the industry..? Source material for another column in and of itself, but the industry has been defined and redefined several times now. It's like the TAMI Show in reverse.. Where the 1964 TAMI Show was one of the last big times you saw all this diverse music talent on stage together, which have since separated to form separate music segments, SDCC (and other big cons) have served to bring so many diverse industry areas together. Comics, movies, vintage stuff, older scifi entertainment actors signing glossies, current stars doing selfies, costuming, wargaming, you name it. No longer in small hotel lobbies and conference rooms on the 3rd floor, it commands millions in revenue, now rewriting new industry promotions, deadlines, movie scheduling, you name it.

We'd never would have imagined this back in the '70s, but 'The Geeks have all grown up'. And they have MONEY.

3) Rosanski..? Just a small fish in an ever-growing pond.

4) Getting back to the first point, I can generally assess the worth of my collection based on what I recall paying for some issues. So while I rest in knowing there's dozens of competing bidders worldwide with paypal accounts perhaps waiting for me to sell my Avengers 16, I'm not anticipating reaching any particular price goal for it.

Case in point: I bought a minty 1968 Jeff Long MMM figure for $40 bucks and I decided finally to sell him a few years later while my former wife was selling her mom's bedroom set. I went to check my PayPal one day and saw I got in $400.. I assumed it was for the bedroom set. Surprise, surprise. As long as more than one bidder bids on your auction, the seller's always in much better shape.

Nice column today.

Edo Bosnar said...

On the first question, I think William sums it up quite nicely, and I also second David's point, i.e., I think looking at comics collecting as an investment has always been a dubious prospect.

On the second question, yes, as much as we may not like it, in the wider world the comics are just an IP used to generate merchandising and film & TV revenues. And the San Diego Con pretty much reflects that reality.

On the third point, i.e. Rozanski and his open letter, I really can't believe that "greed and avarice" line. Like Karen said, he's basically insulting, well, pretty much all of his customers. And yes, Karen, good point about Mile High's prices.

Doug said...

David, in answer to your posit about asking the man on the street to plunk down a grand for DD #1...

If you've not seen my latest comment in last Friday's discussion about the selling of my collection, I reported that a single buyer paid me (I got the Paypal transfer overnight, in fact) over $1200 for 14 comics out of my Avengers run, and that included $889 for my copy of Avengers #1. Now obviously someone coming onto eBay to specifically look for comics is not the "man on the street", but I was flabbergasted (read: overjoyed) that someone would plunk down that kind of money for a Good+ copy of that book. If we believe the Overstreet Price Guide, it was "worth" in the neighborhood of $700 max. So those folks are out there.

And price guides could be an ancillary topic here today. Karen brought up the Comics Buyers' Guide in last Friday's post -- did anyone ever take a gander at their price guide? Or at Wizard's?!?

I moved a link to Friday's post over to the sidebar where I have my little "advertisement" about my selling. I hope to continue to add comments on my experience. So far I have learned a lot, and have already made a lot of mistakes. I'll elaborate at a later time.

And by the way, on Friday I'll be posting auctions for Avengers #s101-150, as well as Fantastic Four #s 48-52 and Amazing Spider-Man #s 39-40, if anyone is interested in such things.

I am loving the depth of commenting today. Karen wondered to me yesterday if today's topic would be worthwhile. I guess so... ;)


david_b said...

Actually Doug your story serves more my 'willing to pay' adage more so that the 'guy on the street' example..

(Trust me, unless I'm totally wrong, that construction guy I passed on the way in this morning's not up at 2am sniping Silver Age comic deals in the last 10sec of an auction..)

But I do agree with most reflections on our changing entertainment media.. With the reduced importance of print in today's generation (replaced by DVD-ROMs, comic book movies retelling the old story, etc..), I see future generations will place lesser and lesser value on the actual media it was originally printed on. Can we compare it to long-playing records..? There are purists willing to shell out hundreds for rare LPs of Elvis, Beatles, etc.., but while I suspect most previously established media will still be collectable, it'll be for more and more peculiar collectors/purists. When I primarily played records 30yrs ago, I'd dream of rare bootleg LPs. Now, I'd grab 'em for collectability and frame on a wall (like that 'Man From UNCLE' soundtrack album I'm bidding on now for under $10..).

Price Guides..? More as a so-so guide for sellers perhaps, otherwise I personally believe it's all gone eBay auction results.

Again, my MMM figure's a prime example. Never saw anywhere a loose, minty figure going for $400. But as a rare occurence, it did.

Just my humble ponderances.

Dr. Oyola said...

Comics as an "investment" was never a good idea (I basically explain this to my father-in-law about once a year, when he asks about the value of my comics. . . again). Essentially, the idea took hold of the luck of happening to have a copy of a rare or special issue in decent shape and tried to codify it, and in return the industry tried to manipulate it with their "collector's items" and "exclusives."

Diminishing returns.

As for the Mile High guy, he's just ranting. I think evidence of this is when he says that he can't believe the industry is undermining the retailers, when that is EXACTLY what happened in the 90s with all the X-Men hologram cover variants, BS, etc. .

Furthermore, what would Marvel or DC care about the back issue market? They sell collected trades and don't see any money for a sale of Avengers #4 or anything.

I don't like trades too much and prefer the original issues for older comics (see my post on the topic here), but at the same time I am not gonna pay more than five bucks for a comic. I don't care what it is!

I also have no interest in SDCC or other huge cons, as ALL I am interested in is comics (not movies, not toys, not celebreity panels, not cosplay) - I mean more power to folks that like that stuff, but I am not huge on them. I do want to go to a small con one of these days just to peruse the longboxes.

Anonymous said...

Oops! There was supposed to be a link in that last comment.

Steve said...

I think there are at least two things working against comic book vendors (not just Rozanski) at SDCC:

(1) the average Comic-Con attendee tends not to spend a lot of money in general (There was a recent NYT article about this, although the comparison was to the average amount spent by other conventions hosted in San Diego)

(2) there is just simply much more competition for dollars at SDCC - not just whatever exclusives DC or Marvel might be peddling but video games, action figures, t-shirts, etc.

I'd need hard data to back up these assertions - and I'd like to hear from other comic book vendors whether they've had similar experiences as Rozanski.

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

Steve, great points. I'd be interested if Topless Robot or someone's blog would somehow break down the dollars spent by attendees.

Totally arm-chairing it, I'd say all the autograph lines bring in the some huge bucks, followed closely by SDCC toy exclusive sales and yes, vintage comic deals (except for Rozanski's booth, of course.. Who wants to buy from a whiner..?).

But I may be totally wrong, having never attended one of these biggies.

Speculations, anyone..?

Anonymous said...

Such a great topic! And so many different directions to go in under the umbrella of "Comic Book Economics"...

I'd just like to touch on what Osvaldo said about comics as an "investment". I think it's safe to say that none of us regulars here got into comics for $. We got into comics because we love comics (brilliant observation, I know). And yet, there is a certain amount of "validation", if you will, that comes from being able to place a monetary value on our hobby.

I'm not really sure of where I'm going with this but here goes: in this ever-changing world of comic books, digital comics, variants, intellectual property, etc. how can one put a true value on all this stuff? All I know is that if someone told me I could get a lifetime of enjoyment out of buying, reading and collecting comic books and then someday sell my collection and break even, much less make a profit, I'd feel pretty darn good about it.


Karen said...

I would agree that the price guides are practically meaningless now. Ebay rules and while you can set your auctions hoping to get something near Guide price, reality can be very different. I think Doug is a smart man to sell now, as I doubt the market for Silver and Bronze books will improve in the coming years, as the people who actually care about and want these books are only getting older and shuffling off this mortal coil.

SDCC really hasn't been about comics for at least ten years, maybe longer. When I went in 2003 after an absence of about 20 years, I was stunned by both the size of the show, and by how marginalized the comics dealers were. It was the same thing, even worse, in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008...they just kept getting pushed into smaller, more obscure parts of the floor. The cost of setting up a booth was too much for many. The fact is, the show just isn't about comics any more. So unfortunately, you have to readjust expectations, or just go to other venues.

Rozanski complains that the publishers don't share the exclusives with dealers, and I suppose he has some right to feel they are not being good partners in that sense. But I also am not sure how they would set up distribution of these exclusives to every dealer that would want them. I think the problem really is that the nature of SDCC has changed while Mile High's way of doing business has not. I also find it somewhat perverse that a dealer that is well known for having high prices is going to complain so much, and take fans to task for their "greed." It's the free market system -if you have something they want, they'll buy it. Obviously, Mile High didn't have what the fans at SDCC wanted. get over it. Or -seek other venues.

Humanbelly said...

This has been a very good discussion indeed-! Nice job, teammates.

My thought on question 1) is that the era of the comic book investor was maybe an artificial era in the first place. Really, it was just a ridiculously self-perpetuated bubble of frenzied price inflation driven, not by true investors, but make-a-buck-while-it's-hot grifter-types who were all-too-willing to lead a less-than-savvy fans down the primrose path. And flailing (at the time) Marvel was all too willing to suck up those fast dollars at the expense of the longevity and well-being of the industry.

Uh-- that's my take on it, anyhow.

I mean, I'm kind of GLAD it's disappeared, because I'd still like to live a few more decades and possibly enjoy and increase my ol' collection if the prices actually deflate over time. . .

2) It was last year or the year before that Chuck R and a few cohorts were speculating about pulling out of SDCC completely and having a simultaneous "true" comic book convention, like a block away, because of the truly 3rd-rate status the stalwart dealers had been relegated to. There's no way around the fact that it's a pop-culture event-- and it may long past time for it to identify itself as such, and drop "comic" from its corporate shingle. "Pop-Culture Con" isn't any less appealing to my sensibilities.

3) Hmm-- Chuck's latest message contained a link to the letters in question-- but it seems to be disabled (!). Not having read them, I. . . am willing to give him a whole lot of latitude, just from being familiar with how he writes. The guy goes with whatEVER is coming in to his head at the moment he sits down at the keyboard-- I completely recognize a fellow-traveler in that sense. He doesn't self-edit, he doesn't really compose, he just GOES! So those newsletters often go right 'round unusual bends (trouble with their farm; endless risky business ventures; the cut-throat world of ancient Native American pottery collecting; his wife & kids; his tattoos; his West Nile Virus [mayble Lyme Disease?] struggles). The man fully says what's on his mind at that very moment. And if we step back-- at that very moment, he'd had a lousy, aggravating, disappointing time at an event that he always works himself & his team to death to make a good showing for. He. . . was upset and said some unkind, piquant things that really seem to be driven by the moment rather than by his true convictions. His prices are high, yes-- but like KOHL'S he's pretty much always running some kind of major 40%-60% discount promotion. And honestly, his books do seem to be consistently about 1.5 full grades up from what they're listed at. I rarely order anything above VG-- and always receive a handsome product.

Just bein' the devil's advocate, is all I'm sayin'. . . !


Doug said...

For anyone interested, I just wrote a reflection on the past couple of days' selling over in the Collecting/Selling post from last Friday. It's linked on our sidebar, near the top.


Anonymous said...

Thanks BABs for another great topic. I think Karen's post really laid out the meat of the argument. SDCC was not something that changed overnight, but evolved year to year. To say that some of the regular attendees were somehow caught off guard would be more to do with their failings than SDCC. To look at Mile High's business model, his numbers seem sound enough. He knew what he had to produce, he's been able to do that in past, both at SDCC or other conventions. But, to me, yes as a US American, the heart of his argument is that people don't come to SDCC to buy comics anymore. Well paint me blue and call me Shirley, no sh!t Sherlock. What was your first clue??? As you say the "market" changing, did you attempt to change your business model? Was your Grand Plan to keep doing what you've always done, just with more drive and determination??? To misquote Lloyd Dobler: You've just described every great failure story!

But that leads into my second topic. What Mile High deals in, when selling back issues, is a moving target. It's not just having something, it's also the condition. If you are selling an X-Men 179 valued at $10.00 for a 60% discount for a month and then a 40% discount thereafter, what the Heck is the VALUE of that object. Apparently, the $4 you would get still keeps you in business as well as the $6 you might get later on. If no one would ever PAY $10 how can it be worth $10??? To now guote Mr Herman: What's it all mean!?!

I have a headache.

The Prowler (can't stop this feeling, deep inside of me).

PS: The magic word is Photo Sphere!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, it's me again. Please change "say" to "saw" in my original post. While we're at it, throw on a duvat, let's change the curtains. And windows windows windows, let's get some light in here!!!!

The Prowler (whoooooo, Hooked On A Feeling).

Humanbelly said...

Wait, a duvat? Should that be a. . . duvet? No-- no, clearly what yer lookin' for is a bidet. . . (heh).

Yeah, I'm a perpetual victim of non-proof-read fox-passes in my overly-long posts, as well. Usually something else is SCREAMING for my attention by the time I'm finally wrapping up, so I just have to bail and hit send, and hope that my, er, blinding intellect somehow carries the day through the bog of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors. . . hoo-boy.

But yeah, Prowl, that apparent business model you described-- where a seemingly arbitrary "list" price of an item is cited in order to make the "sale" price look sweet is a gameplan as old as retail. As I mentioned before, it's pretty much how the KOHL'S discount department store chain operates. Just perpetual sales and discounts and coupons and special premiums that are somehow once-in-a-lifetime. I mean, you can get a perfectly good $20 watch there, but don't kid yourself that it was ever the $55 watch that it claims to be.

I think MileHigh may have made a big mistake in a heavily-leveraged, major facility purchase in this last year (or two?)-- a very risky move when dealing with such a volatile, unpredictable commodity as back-issue comics. The Stan-like enthusiasm and ambition and energy may have finally outstripped the hovering realities of how much (or how little, really) this market will continue to grow.

HB (LOVIN' the Photo Sphere!)

Doug said...

Twenty years ago I got my new comics via mail order from Mile High. They were cutting edge -- sent the buyer a floppy disk and a copy of Previews each month, and the disk got mailed back with the order. Rozanski published a newsletter that came with the monthly materials, and he did indeed advertise great sales. I got the first Hulk Masterworks for $15 in the shrinkwrap. But what I mainly recall is Rozanski pumping particular comics, books, etc. by saying "I'll get 25 extra" or "I'll get 40 extra". I never knew if that meant to cover consumer demand aside from his regulars, or if he was saying he was going to stockpile those extras. But I'm sure to many buyers, it meant that if Chuck was going to buy extras then I should, too!


Anonymous said...

Spoiler alert - I don't know who Chuck Rozanski is, and I haven't read his statement but it does seem odd coming from someone who is in the core business from which SDCC sprung up.

I personally think that Rosanski's main gripe is not so much the 'greed and avarice of comics fans' but rather that he hasn't been able to cope with the changing times in terms of the modern comics industry, specifically the profits (or lack thereof) to be derived from the sale of comics. In order for a traditional comic to be considered a hit, it has to sell in the order of a few thousand issues, a tall order in this Internet digital age. With all the competition from movies and especially video games, I'd be grumpy too when my I'm trying to sell comics and I'm getting stomped at the cash register because other forms of media seem to be getting more attention.

As for Karen's questions -

1) I think there will always be comics investors, especially the hardcore ones. Will modern comics be as profitable as years gone by? Most likely no, but you'll still have people investing in them, maybe not to get rich but to make a small profit. So, unless you have a mint copy of Superman #1 under your bed, most investors will be hard pressed to make any large profits nowadays.

2) I do think comics are the IP upon which other forms of media draw their inspiration from, e.g all the Marvel and DC movies which Hollywood is trying to mine from comics properties. As Karen mentioned, SDCC and indeed nearly all cons nowadays are multimedia events which blur the IP lines - a comic inspires a movie and then a videogame, or some combination of these three. The only safe bet is that if a media company thinks it will be profitable, they'll be chasing that property.

3) Unless a mugger pointed a gun at Rosanski and grabbed his wallet, he can't complain about anyone 'stealing business from him'. What he needs to do is take a long hard look at his business model, look at what his competition is doing that's supposedly luring away his customers and adjust his own business accordingly. He has to reinvent his company or he'll continue to lose money. As Darwin once said, it's not the biggest or smartest animals that survive, but rather the ones which can best adapt to their environment.

- Mike 'scraping together some coins to buy Doug's comics' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Brown Bag Comics said...

I have to say "BRAVO!" to this article for pointing out what I found funny as well. Chuck makes it seem like he has been for the underdog in this battle of comic dealers and yet, he takes great pride in gutting the market of any real competition and then buying the losing dealers' stock at a laughable price. Can he really blame his woes on DC and Marvel?
If you have paid ANY ATTENTION to ComicCon, it is that comics are taking a back seat to entertainment. That means you need to adjust your outlook and business practices. To keep putting forth a huge display/booth is financially irresponsible unless you adjust to what is being sought out.
And for the record - ComicCon is beyond the value of having a full booth of comics. You know that people in this economy aren't looking at prices on books that can only be reached without steep discounts. And the Con is too big for its own good.
We need to adjust and start making other conventions the places that are truly devoted to the comic fans. Even DragonCon is beyond comics. Maybe we need to start adapting to small, local cons, like the ones in Denver, Kansas City and North Carolina.
And STOP BLAMING COMIC COMPANIES! We all know that the name of the game is making money, and that is what they are doing. If the market is dictating it, then we will need to adjust and find a way to make comics viable again.

Edo Bosnar said...

One more thing about Rozanski and Mile High - from my perspective across the pond, I've never been too impressed. As noted, his prices are high, and his shipping charges for us non-US residents are pretty hefty, too.
My favorite major online comics dealer is Lone Star ( great selection (far more stuff than Mile High, at least whenever I've looked), probably the lowest prices (far lower than Mile High's, obviously) and pretty reasonable shipping rates (although they've kind of gone up in the past 2-3 years).

By the way, "Photo Sphere" is not working for me...

Dr. Oyola said...

Update on Mile High: Chuck Rozanski relents

jim kosmicki said...

Not only did Rozanski change his mind (at the very last moment to reserve a space for next year) but in the same newsletter where he explained that he was going to be there next year, he then went on to explain why he was having to raise the prices on his Mile High exclusive variants.

yes, the guy complaining that the publishers were taking all the money from dealers like him with their exclusives and variants proceeded to hawk his own variants in the same newsletter.

i am guessing that if a portion of those vendors had simply cut a deal to let Mile High have 10 or 20 of the variants at some reduced price so that Rozanski could sell them later, he'd be happy. It's envy at someone else selling something that they won't let Mile High sell too. (Long-time customer of Mile High, but haven't bought from them for years)

Dan Toland said...

I've had a lot of negative experiences with Mile High Comics regarding the sale of back issues (their customer service is horrendous and their prices are triple what any other mail order back issue store charges), so I have to roll my eyes a little at Chuck's dismay at the "greed and avarice" of comics fans. He has built his business doing precisely the same thing for forty years. The fact is that the middlemen are getting squeezed out, and publishers really don't owe him his business. Yes, he was instrumental in the creation of the direct market (and in so doing, helped to keep the industry afloat for quite a while), but the fact is that Blockbuster didn't expect the movie studios to save them from Netflix, and Borders didn't call on book publishers to stop selling through Amazon. I love my LCS, and they've made changes n recent years to remain successful; changes hat Chuck seems reticent to do. Morgan Spurlock's movie illustrated what a struggle SDCC is for Chuck, so why is he still renting seven booths when business is so scarce? The idea that he lost $10K solely because of con-exclusive items being offered direct doesn't hold water.

(Sorry. MHC tends to bring out the ranter in me.)

As for the pries of back issues, they are DEFINITELY coming down. I can say from personal experience that Silver Age comics are becoming downright affordable (barring big, important milestones like first appearances and such) in a way that they never were before. And as for Bronze Age comics, a dealer once explained to me that we live in an age when people in their forties are coming in and trying to sell their collections all the time, and almost without fail it's comics from the 70s and 80s; i.e., their collections from their childhoods. The market is getting flooded with Marvel Two-in-Ones and Micronauts and New Teen Titans, to the point where they're not worth anything.

david_b said...

Rozanski's relent..? I've not seen a more bare-faced 'face-saving' in years.

The "I'm-doing-this-solely-for-the-public-outcry.." drivel..?

Jeez, does he really think folks are still falling for that..?

Humanbelly said...

Man, I know it's beating a dead horse, sort of, but the whole "exclusive variants" scam-a-palooza makes me kind of hate retail comics in general and REALLY throw up my hands in exasperation about those folks (mentioned somewhere in the thread above) who would spend the majority of their convention time standing in line in hopes of having the "opportunity" to purchase one.

It's a comic book with a different cover.

It's effectively the same book.

While great covers are great covers-- the bulk of the enjoyment and time spent with a comic comes from the CONTENT. It just appeals to the most basic and coarse acquisitional tendencies in our natures. . . and purely for the enrichment of the publishers/companies. Ohhhhh I just hate it. . . (and have never, ever been impressed by the sense of false excitement that the promoters of said variants try to generate. . . )

HB-- still grousin'

Karen said...

Rozanski's turnabout is just, well, depending on your viewpoint, pathetic, inevitable, or another cry for attention. Seriously, I don't know what to think any more. But he really has some cojones, doesn't he?

Dan Toland said...

Humanbelly: The whole variant cover thing is another issue entirely. The games that publishers play to game the numbers are insane, and the variants are a huge part of that. The whole "You have to order ten copies of the main cover to be eligible to order two of the variant" thing is whats driving the business. Remember, Marvel isn't selling their comics to you or me; they're selling them to Chuck. That whole thing of "Fantabulous Comics #53 sold 40,000 copies" doesn't mean that 40K copies wound up in readers' hands; it means they wound up in Chuck's warehouse, and the variant gamesmanship is a big part of that.

Dr. Oyola said...

The only good thing about variants is that if I want to try out a new series I buy a variant cover, that way if I don't like I have a better chance of selling it on eBay.

david_b said...

The new Realm and Dynamite 'Classic Battlestar Galactica' covers are pretty sweet, especially the variant covers. Nice painted covers without the logo or terrible UPC symbol.

"Why don't they put those codes on the back and stop ruining good covers..?"

Ahhh, of course, to nurture the variant demand.

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