mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Not that it's going to stop me from trying to sell a few through my Amazon link. 

Here's a thought that crossed my mind the other day: it occurs to me that selling Tales of the Black Freighter (the pirate comic embedded in Watchmen) as a separate story is like taking the choruses out of Greek tragedies and presenting those as standalone narratives.

Your thoughts, internet pals?

Now THAT'S how you sell a freakin' comic book. 

This is from the back pages of issue #237 of Batman (Dec. 1971), where surely it traumatized the children it didn't tantalize.

Also, from the Golden Age reprint in this same comic: Things Batman Doesn't Say Nearly Often Enough Anymore:

Friday, March 06, 2009

"So, did you see Watchmen yet?" "I did it 35 minutes ago." 

Customer Jim has a new column up over at Comics Bulletin, in which he discusses his most recent visit to our shop and his perusal of our bargain bins. He mentions that he was saddened a bit by the discovery of an issue of the recent Spirit series in there. I thought I'd use Jim's nice article as a springboard for some bargain bin discussion here.

Well, the vast majority of comics that are in our bargain boxes come from collections acquired at the shop. Specifically, they're the parts of collections that are basically "thrown in" with the stuff we're actually interested in buying, and thus not anything into which we have any real money. There's not really anything wrong with much of this dumped material. They may simply be "mid-grade," VG copies that are common and not terribly pricey (like those Doctor Stranges Jim mentioned), and thus not in demand by the more condition-conscious collector. Or (or perhaps, in addition) it may be that we've already got enough of it in stock, and it's not worth going through the effort to add more copies into the database and put 'em away in the back.

Some of the bargain bin contents come from overstock that we've pulled from our own backroom, but a couple of years ago we sold a lot of that bargain bin-destined overstock in a massive bulk stock sale (which some of you may remember reading about on my site here) so we don't have a whole lot of that any more. Not saying we couldn't stand to make another pass through the backroom and pull more overstock out, but we've got plenty of dumped-collection stock to go through before I do that again.

By and large I don't put a whole lot of very recent material in the bargain bins. Partially because I don't customers to think "well, crud, I just paid $3.99 for this last month, and here it is for a buck," and partially because I don't want people to pass up buying something new on the rack in the hopes of getting it out of the bargain box a couple of months later. In other words, when issues come off the new comics rack, I'm not keeping a couple of each aside to throw in the discount box.

But occasionally I'll dump a recent book into those boxes, maybe to encourage someone to try the series out, but mostly because, yes, I didn't feel like going through the effort to process the book and add it into the backstock, particularly if we've got plenty already.

This is the case with the Spirit book. It's not a huge seller, but it's a consistent seller on the new rack, but with little back issue movement. As such, I don't have any real incentive to maintain much of a backstock on the title. When we ended up with a couple of extra copies from some collection or 'nother, into the bargain bins they went.

The bargain bin is a useful tool to turn on people to some old, cool comics, or to help us clear out some slower selling items, or to otherwise expose that portion of our customer base that doesn't usually buy back issues to older comics at an attractive price. Plus, I have plenty of kids who come in with only a buck or two to spend, and the bargain boxes give them some old books to choose from without having to worry about paying high collectible values. If I can put some Curt Swan, Marshall Rogers, or even some Kirby into the hands of those kids, those bins have done their job.

And if they take home a few chromium/embossed Turok #1s, even better. The more of those that become Somebody Else's Problem, the happier I am.

In other news:
  • I have to admit, I have a lot of customers very excited about the Watchmen movie, with several talking about attending the midnight showing Thursday night/Friday morning. I'm going to get a whole lot of "have you seen it yet"s over the weekend, but that's okay.

    I imagine we're going to see a very strong opening weekend. The second week dropoff will be what I'm interested in seeing. Reviews are middling, but the comic fans I know who have seen it have really liked it, so who knows.

    If you're new to the material, and you need some background before seeing the film, pal Dorian can help you out. (SPOILERS at the link, if you honestly don't know the story.)

    Basically, the point of talking about Watchmen here is to justify my using one of my Twitter posts for the subject of this entry.

  • This probably belonged in yesterday's Swamp Thing linkapalooza, but hey, better late than never: a very familiar-looking plant creature from the 1979 2000 AD annual.

  • Here's a drawing of me from the soon-to-be-deceased Kid Chris:

    I threw a piece of cardboard behind it so you can see that it was drawn on Superman "S"-shield-shaped paper for extra nerdiness. I find the stink lines to be a somewhat unnecessary embellishment. Although I'd totally read Frog by Day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Everything's coming up Swamp Thing. 

Here are a handful of Links of Note that I've other come across or have been sent to me by you, the kind-hearted and generous readers:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

See more of Seymour

So, in just a couple of days, Seymour-Mania will be sweeping the nation!

The unsung hero of Watchmen, the moral center of the story, the steadfast witness to history, the indefatigable champion of the common man, unbowed even in an unpleasant work environment, undefeated even in the face of disaster. SEYMOUR ENDURES.

Seymour Fever! Catch it!

Also, this is allegedly going to be in our Diamond shipment today:

I'm not going to believe it until I'm actually holding it in my hands. And maybe not even then. I may just chalk it up to some delusion induced by consuming too many Diet Cokes.

When I went looking for a pic of the cover, I saw this on the official Marvel Comics site:


And yeah, yeah, I know, you don't need to explain banner ad placement details to me. Just enjoy it for what it is. Reminds me a bit of when you used to see some toy or candy ads with DC heroes in a Marvel comic, or vice versa.

Or maybe it reminds me a little of the greatest Pizzazz cover of all time. Well, okay, it really didn't remind me of that, but I'm always looking for an excuse to bring up that cover again.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The answers are "no," "no," and "no" again. 

Had one of these in a collection we're processing, and just felt like it needed to be shared (with apologies for stealing pal Dorian's paperback book club idea).

Monday, March 02, 2009

I think I'm just gonna lay low today... 

...and enjoy the continuing mayhem from this weekend from afar. However, I did come across these classified ads in Comics Journal #64 (July 1981) that I wanted to share.

I wonder if this person actually did find that job:

"WANTED: A FULL-TIME JOB in a Cleveland, Ohio area comic book store. Have had previous bookstore experience. Am willing to move to Cleveland from Mansfield to get this job! This is not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary want ad!"

This next one has me thinking:

"ARTISTS-WRITERS WANTED!! for teenage super-hero work (heroes of my own and What-If? variations on others). If you like it when the villain vs. hero outcome isn't predictable, this is for you!"

"Not predictable" - oh, so the villains win. Or maybe both the villain and the hero lose to a greater menace. Or they're fighting in the street and get hit by a UPS truck, killing them both. Or they just sorta mutually decide that it's a draw and go their separate ways. The outcome could be any of these things or something else entirely! UNPREDICTABLE!

This is a subscription ad for a comic collecting magazine:

"MONEY! OLD COMIC BOOKS are an investment as good as gold! Let us show you how and what to buy."

"Invest heavily in Howard the Duck. Surely nothing will affect future sales on this hot comic!"

"NOW AVAILABLE: COMPLETE CHECKLIST of comics used in 'Seduction of the Innocent.' Also available, complete checklist of comics used in 'Parade of Pleasure.' Each list includes illustrations. Each list $1.00 which includes postage and printing costs."

Saves you the trouble of pulling them out of the Overstreet guide, I guess (if it even listed them all at the time...I don't know). But there were (and still are) people looking for these, so I guess the seller was hoping people would buy his lists and use 'em as checklists as they wander around the convention floor looking for that one comic where Dr. Wertham thought he saw a vagina in the shadowed muscles of some character's arm or shoulder.

Er, anyway.

So I'm crawling back into my bunker. Let me know when the shooting stops, please.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Inside UFO 54-40 was just mean, man. 

Scans_Daily, the long-running LiveJournal community dedicated to providing scanned pages of comics new and old with varying levels of "fair use" (ranging from "well within" to "not even in the slightest") was taken down the other day. Johanna has a sympathetic take on the situation, whereas Kevin gives 'em an extra kick in the rear out the door (URL may not be safe for work). EDIT: And Lisa drops in some solid commentary about the situation, which I'm sure will result in the sort of reasoned, rational response the internet is known for.

I keep meaning to mention an odd coincidence involving once-former-now-current-again-employee Kid Chris. His home phone number is one digit off from the store's phone number. And he once received a call that went a little something...like this:

(phone rings)

Kid Chris: "Hello?"

Guy on phone: "Is this Ralph's Comic Corner?"

Kid Chris: "No, you have the wrong number...but I work at Ralph's Comic Corner. Can I help you with something?"

Guy on phone: "...What?"

Then there's the fact that Kid Chris' address is similar enough to the address of one of our longtime regular customers that the customer's Wizard subscription is often delivered to KC's house. But that's a story for another time. Er, except I just told the whole story. Never mind.

Seriously, there are moments when I think "they didn't really actually make a Watchmen movie, did they?" and then I realize we're less than a week away from it opening and it just blows my mind, man.

Sure, it's probably not any good, but just that it exists is enough to mess with me.

Because internet pal Dave is awesome, he made this for me:

Nearly all the endings result in some horrible death, except for the one that ends with you becoming manager of a comic shop, which in some ways is even more terrifying.

This is an archive page for the old Blogger version of Progressive Ruin, kept around to maintain all the old permalinks. Please visit the main page for the current version of this site. Thanks for visiting, and sorry for the inconvenience!

Copyright © 2003-10 Mike Sterling. Some images used are copyright © their respective copyright owners.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?