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What if the surprise villain in the new Fantastic Four movie is just a completely faithful adaptation of the Impossible Man?

§ January 28th, 2015 § Filed under fantastic four, retailing § 11 Comments

So I put it in my Twitter feed, I put on my store’s website, I put it on the store’s Facebook page, so what the heck, let’s put it here, too:


My first response upon cracking open the case of these Dancing Groots was “oh no, they have ‘try me’ buttons” which means I can expect to hear these every single day for what little remains of the rest of my life. And then the thought occurred to me “I wonder what it would sound like if I pressed all of the buttons at more or less the same time,” quickly followed by the idea that I should take a video of it and share it in all the places listed previously. And thus, there it is…the Camarillo Local Groots Choir, performing just for you.

In other news, there’s buzz about for the new Fantastic Four trailer, mostly because we’ve been hearing terrible things about changes made to the concept that strayed perhaps too far from its comic book origins, and this is our first look at what the filmmakers were actually doing. And…well, it at least seems like it will look nice. Some have noted that the trailer seems a mite too serious for something that’s called the “Fantastic Four,” but the more somber tone does differentiate itself from the previous FF movies. Plus, it now looks like a highbrow sci-fi movie rather than just another superhero film, which I find a bit more interesting, and perhaps more in line with the actual origins of the comics. Well, okay, maybe not the “highbrow” part, but you know what I mean.

As for the reported changes in the FF’s origin….I don’t know, I think so long as we end up with something approximating the characters and relationships we know from the comics, it almost doesn’t matter how they start out. It’s almost enough that the receive their abilities from scientific misadventure, which is close enough. (And most people going to see the movie won’t notice or care that the origin’s been fiddled with.) At any rate, the trailer did its job: it’s piqued my interest in a film I was somewhat indifferent/mildly negative about. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to someday have an actual Doctor Doom in a Fantastic Four film who was Reed’s college roommate who blew up his own face in a failed experiment and later got armor from monks, but there’s always the next reboot in, like, four or five years from now.

Meanwhile, Giant Robot Mike devastates the city.

§ January 26th, 2015 § Filed under retailing § 3 Comments

So folks have asked how I feel about the two big events forthcoming from DC and Marvel — DC’s Convergence, in which they replace all of the regular series with two-part semi-out of continuity mini-series for two months, and Marvel’s Secret Wars, apparently leading into a line-wide reboot of of their titles — and my somewhat sarcastic and wearied response was “picked a great time to open a store.”

Wearied because my initial reactions were “how am I going to order these” and “will my comic saver customers want all these Convergence tie-ins even with the characters they normally follow” and “oh boy, more first issue Marvels” and so on and so forth. Like I also said on the Twitterings, while Fan Mike is intrigued and wants to see what happens, Retailer Mike is dreading having to decide on numbers for these things.

Now, particularly in the case of the Convergence event, it’s late enough in the process that we have information on what actual titles are going to be released but early enough that I can still get feedback from my customer base on what titles they’d actually be most interested in. Specifically, I can directly ask my pull list customers which titles they’d want for sure. I’ve already had a few check in with their Convergence lists, so with any luck I’ll have the comic saver situation under control. I’d like to make the assumption that because they get, say, Flash in their pulls, they’ll want the Flash-related Convergence tie-ins…but they may not, because they’re outside the continuity of the regular series. And rack sales will be quite the trick to figure out, too.

Despite my initial response regarding the timing of these events vis-à-vis the opening of my shop, I’m actually in a pretty good position. I’m just starting out at a new, smaller store, so I don’t have the large customer base that I did (at least, not yet!). Ordering mistakes are thus at a reduced scale…if I order a comic thinking it will sell to a significant portion of my customer base, but it turns out to only appeal to a couple of folks…well, at my previous place of employment, that could have been an expensive bust of dozens of unsold comics, because I would have had to order more to anticipate what might have been demand from our many customers. But, since I’m at the smaller shop, my financial loss would theoretically have been less. It would still suck, but just not as badly, being stiffed with only a relative handful of copies I’ve ordered for the shelf versus how ever many I might have ordered for the other store.

Also, I’m paying very close attention to my order numbers and sales, and keeping tabs on what’s increasing, what’s descreasing, what my customers care about and what they don’t. Not that I didn’t do that at the old job, but we had years of sales histories to go on, and a fair amount of stability/predictability. In my new position I have to not only go by my weeks of sales histories, but also keep an eye on new customer growth and attendant product demands. I think I have a pretty good handle on what numbers I’ll need on these Convergence books, so I’m not really anticipating the scenario of taking a huge hit on any misordered books. I’m sure I’ll not get the numbers exactly…even with planning ahead, I may pull some of these books on spec for comic saver customers who don’t want them and they’ll be returned to the shelf, but I’m reasonably certain I’m not going to take a bath on these. Maybe a quick rinse.

Marvel’s reboot is still a little ways off, so I have more time to agonize over it. Likely it’ll lead into a wall of new first issues, and I think by this time we’re all old hands at dealing with new Marvel #1s. Once we get a little closer to the main event, I’ll have a better idea how many new Avengers-related titles I’ll be dealing with.

Anyway, Fan Mike needs to make sure he orders one of each cover for the Swamp Thing Convergence tie-in, and Retailer Mike better get his money for ‘em.

I’ve collected comics for less reason…well, okay, I haven’t.

§ December 29th, 2014 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 4 Comments

So it came time for your pal Mike’s Teen Titans collection to be given up to the store in sacrifice, but I’m still a’keepin’ a couple of them in the no-longer-so-vast Mikester Comic Archives: this special by Bob Haney and Jay Stephens, this issue of DC Super Stars that I’ve had since I was a kid, and this issue:


…the not-so-stealthy “crossover” with a superhero team that may be somewhat similar to the DNAgents. I partially retained it because it was illustrated by Nexus cocreator Steve Rude:


…but I was actually on the fence about it for a minute or so until I glanced through it and spotted this panel in the George Perez-illustrated back-up story:


I am an insanely easy mark, sometimes.

This was a hard run of comics to give up to the shop, but it helps that I recently just reread the early “prime” issues of the Wolfman/Perez run, up to about issue 50 or so, enough to realize that if I really want to keep these stories around for posterity, I’m going to want to invest in one of the recent reprint volumes. I don’t know if you’ve looked at your copies of those earliest issues lately, but time and paper stock has not been kind to the printing on those. Or maybe it’s just a decline in my own eyesight, but that would mean I’m aging and clearly that’s not possible.

My pricing of the Titans comics hasn’t quite reached this issue yet, which, if you haven’t read the “Titans Hunt” storyline, was a much-needed revitalization of the Titans franchise, and really kept you on the edge of your seat wondering what was going to happen next. It honestly did feel like “anything goes” and had an energy to it that the series hadn’t had since its earlier days. The storyline certainly made me a fan of artist Tom Grummett, who I think was probably the best artist on the series aside from Perez.

Hopefully I didn’t just talk myself into keeping those comics, too.

• • •

In other news:

  • The article in the online version of the county newspaper about my store that I linked to a few days ago finally made it to Sunday’s print edition, resulting in a few more folks discovering my shop. It also resulted in a handful of customers of mine from my previous employment realizing “oh, that’s where Mike went.”
  • My post about shipping to prisons resulted in a couple of people contributing their own stories on the topic that I think you might enjoy reading. I certainly found them interesting.
  • Special thanks to ProgRuin reader/commenter Walaka for dropping by the store over the weekend! Always happy to meet in person my online friends!

The more I think about what they were doing with those covers, the more horrifying the weapons I imagine being crafted from them.

§ December 22nd, 2014 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 7 Comments

So I was asked to participate in one of these “know the new business” questionnaires for the county’s main newspaper, and just yesterday it was posted to its website (no idea if it’s in the print edition). It looks like it was slightly edited for space, which, in a shock twist for all of you I’m sure, I may have run off at the mouth keyboard a bit. It’s nice to get a little more local attention, and hopefully that turns into even more business heading my way.

My favorite response to my store of late was from a seven or eight-year-old boy, who took a couple passes around the interior of the shop and said the following to me, as immortalized upon my Twitter:


Excellent. My plan to bend the will of local youth to my nefarious ends continues apace.

Speaking of the Twitters, I was reminded by another fellow’s posting about having to ship, on occasion, items from our store to prisons. Blogging brother Tim noted that would make an interesting topic of discussion right here on Progressive Ruin Dot Com if I hadn’t discussed it before. I don’t believe I have, but to be frank, there’s not a whole lot to say about it, “he said before expounding upon the subject for several paragraphs.”

There may have been others, but there are two customers to whom I remember shipping items. One was a incarcerated fellow who, via a relative who’d come into the store, asked for a new Diamond Previews every few months or so. The only real requirement I recall was that the package feature a store shipping label of some kind on the outside.

The other, the one referenced in my Twitter posting, was a person who wanted Dungeons & Dragons gaming books. Like for the previous prisoner, a store shipping label was required on the package. However, in addition to that, I was told I needed to mark the outside of the package “HOW TO PLAY BOOKS,” which I thought was an odd way to phrase that, but maybe “GAME BOOKS” wasn’t descriptive or specific enough. Now, it’s been a while, but I believe another requirement was that only paper could be used for packing material. I don’t know if a specific type of paper was required, or forbidden…like, I could only use plain brown paper versus newspaper, but I’m pretty sure it was “paper,” versus, say, styrofoam peanuts, which I wouldn’t blame them for refusing because oy, what a mess.

One thing I do remember being told by the person arranging for this transaction in-store was that the hardcover D&D books would have those covers stripped off by the staff receiving and inspecting these packages. Apparently they didn’t want anyone with ill intent getting their hands on these bookcovers and…well, I wasn’t 100% sure what they’d do with them, honestly. I suppose they could theoretically be made into weapons. I wouldn’t one of these covers jabbed hard into my neck or any other softer bits edgewise…it probably wouldn’t kill you, but it would probably make you not want to do anything other than kinda lay down for a bit and try to not move. Anyway, I didn’t ask, and now I’m stuck relying on my imagination, picturing Sing Sing in flames, rioting prisoners armed with shanks carved from copies of Monster Manual II. But the reality is more likely dudes kinda bummed that the books had to be ripped apart, but figuring that was a small price to pay for some healthy distraction in an unhappy place.

I’ve only had limited experience with shipping to prisons, so those are my two examples of the processes I had to follow. Anyone in a retail position who’s had to do something similar, I’d be interested to hear about it.

“Established 2014″ reads the sign that I may someday get to display.

§ December 15th, 2014 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 7 Comments

So one of my behaviors that I’ve noticed since opening the new store is that I am, just slightly, a little bit defensive. Hopefully not obnoxiously so, but every once in a while someone new will pop in the door and say something like “oh, hey, a new comic book store! When did you open?” and I’ll respond with “just a little over a month ago butI’vebeendoingthisalongtime Iusedtomanageanotherstoreforyearsandyears butIownthisoneIknowwhatI’mdoingIswear” and that hasn’t frightened anybody off yet but I suppose it’s only a matter of time.

I think it’s a reaction to no longer having the history of my previous place of employment backing me up. I used to be all “yeah, we’ve been around a while…thirty-five years a while” and then leaning back, smiling with arms crossed, as I bathed in the awe and amazement. Okay, I wasn’t that smug about it well maybe a little but I liked being able to reassure customers that this wasn’t some fly-by-night shop and that I wasn’t some schmuck who didn’t know his job…we’d been at it for some time, we’ve got it down, don’t worry, friend.

My current circumstances require me to pretty much start again, to rebuild my reputation as a comic book guy who’s got it together, and so far I’d like to think I’ve impressed upon the newer members of my clientele that I do in fact know what I’m doing. This article in the city paper did help quite a bit in letting interested parties know my history in the business, and this page on my store’s site did the same. In fact, I was starting the “butI’vebeendoingthisawhile” info dump for one customer who pretty much stopped me with “yeah, I know, I saw the webpage!”

Now, the customers I have now who did know me from my previous funnybook-retailing life…I can only assume that they’re used to my particular quirks and, well, “better the devil you know” and all that. …Okay, I’m just joshin’ a little. I do appreciate their loyalty to me, and frankly, I’m touched that they came with me or, at least, are splitting some of their comic-buying business with me. (And for those of you who are curious…that wasn’t an unexpected result of my leaving, and things are still okay between me and my old shop. Read my reply to Roel here for details.)

I’m about a month and a week into this new life of mine, and thus far everything seems to be going great. I’m doing good business, I’m meeting new customers, and it’s beginning to feel a lot less like “I hope people will eventually come into this big box where I’m storing comics on shelves and in boxes, and also I’m so lonely” and more like “hey, I’m running a comic book store, look at all these people who want comics.”

I’ve also gone from “I hope I’m not making a huge mistake” to “why did I wait so long?”

Thank goodness.

Still kind of wondering what 250 consecutive issues of Youngblood would have been like.

§ December 12th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 14 Comments

So I was being a little sarcastic on the Twitters the other day (“what? Sarcasm? On Twitter? The devil you say!”) and posted my surprise at being asked about new issues of Spawn.

That wasn’t just me randomly abusing a comic for no good reason. I was actually genuinely surprised to encounter real Spawn fandom in the wild, after years of my usual Spawn-related in-store interactions primarily being 1) “They’re still making Spawn?” and 2) “What’s my Spawn #1 worth?” (and related, “Will you buy my Spawn #1?”)…oh, and 3) someone busting through our ceiling and stealing Spawn comics.

Now, I am in a new location with a new store, which means a new marketplace with new customers and new demands for product and I’ll stop saying “new” now. What was a mostly moribund seller at the old shop may be a best seller at the new one. Okay, perhaps “best seller” is pushing it a bit, but that anyone is exhibiting any enthusiasm about Spawn at all, and I mean enthusiasm about current and future Spawn issues, not just “ah, I remember reading Spawn 20 years ago,” is bit of a refreshing experience for me.

The other possibility is that Spawn #250 is coming out, with the attendant promotional push, and perhaps that’s helping to stir up some interest in the title again. I made a somewhat mean joke on that darn Twitter account a while back about there being more variant covers for Spawn #250 than I had customers looking to buy it, but perhaps the joke is on me. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I hope I’m not super-offending any Spawn fans out there. I’m really not trying to. Yes, I poked a little fun at the comic, but you have to give it credit for still keepin’ on keepin’ on, after all these years, with Savage Dragon as the only other original Image Comics launch title still hanging out on the racks with a mostly-consistent publishing run. And, at my previous employment, we did sell Spawn…just not a whole lot. I had a few pull list customers who got each issue, and then we’d move fewer-still copies on the rack.

Perhaps in a marketplace where every other comic has a Big New #1 Issue! Relaunch! Reboot! about once every year or two, a comic that just keeps coming out, ticking up those issue numbers into the triple digits, without drawing any attention to itself, simply generates that contemptible-familiarity you’ve all heard about. It’s always there on the stands, no longer the exciting monthly event it once was, but instead a semi-regular missive to those few fans still hanging in there and enjoying it.

I am curious if anyone reading this has been following Spawn for its entire run. I don’t mean “I read it back in 1992, and I just picked it up again recently.” I mean, you started with that first issue way back when, and stuck through the title through thick and thin, never missing an issue, and are now about to buy issue #250 which should be out Any Day Now. I know those fans are out there…there’s always someone who’s the lifelong fan, or maybe simply someone who kept getting and reading each issue out of inertia, or whatever. I would like to know what they think about having read the series as a whole. I mean…is it good? Am I missing out on something? Can someone even just give me a brief synopsis about what’s going on? The title seemingly has taken some fairly wild changes in direction over the years, and I have no idea what it’s even about at this point.

But anyway…250 issues of Spawn. That ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at.

How to almost sell a comic book.

§ December 11th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 5 Comments


So an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed over the last month at the shop is the enormous attraction DC’s Lego variant covers have had for customers. And I mean customers of all ages…little kids to full-grown adults just zoom right in on those comics. They are appealing…bright, friendly images that bring smiles to the faces of everyone who sees them. “Ooh, look, Lego!” and variations thereof I’ve heard plenty of times.

These covers are doing the job that, alas, many covers of late have not: catching the customer’s eye. Unfortunately, it’s bit of a bait-and-switch, since the contents are the business-as-usual superheroics and not Superhero Lego Adventures of Lego Green Lantern or, you know, whoever. These customers saw Lego Superhero covers, wanted Lego Superhero comics, and were almost universally disappointed not to find any Lego content at all beneath said covers.

This isn’t me busting on DC’s superhero comics…they sell just fine to the folks already inclined toward buying superhero books. I enjoy several of them myself. But this feels like a huge missed opportunity, particularly since many of the people attracted to these covers weren’t necessarily typical consumers of what DC and Marvel usually offer. I hope this didn’t poison the well for any future theoretical Lego Superhero comics, in that people disappointed before by the false promise of those Lego variants may see an actual Lego Superhero comic on the stands and think “nah, that’s just a different cover on a regular superhero comic…that’s not what’s inside” and give it a pass.

I’m hoping there will be some kind of comic book tie-in to the forthcoming Lego Batman movie, but I also hope DC and Lego don’t wait that long to capitalize on that desire from the funnybook-interested public, at least at my shop, for capes ‘n’ tights ‘n’ plastic brick adventures.

(On the plus side, at least these Lego variants were freely orderable and I didn’t have to jump through the usual hoops to get them!)

In which I kept typing “Infinity Man” as “Infinity Watch” when writing this post.

§ September 12th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

So in response to yesterday’s post, Adam says

“I would think 2 copies of Infinity Man and the Forever People would have covered your demand and left you with a spare stock copy.”

…and then Jer says

“Did you have high hopes for Forever People based on the bust-out sales success of OMAC? Or was it Didio’s run on Phantom Stranger that convinced you to go big?”

Har har, you cut-ups. But no, you’re probably not wrong…based on how sales of the regular Infinity Man issues have been, erring on the side of “barely ordered” would likely have worked out okay. But as I ordered the 3D cover version, I had no idea how it was going to sell…to use the examples cited by Jer, OMAC actually did reasonably well for us, though apparently not everywhere since it was one of the New 52’s early casualties. And Phantom Stranger…okay, to be honest, I didn’t make the connection between DiDio’s involvement in its early issues with his involvement with Infinity Man, since I was going more by the properties than the creative teams in my ordering strategies.

Now, with Phantom Stranger, the sales on the regular series were pretty much in the toilet. I mean, I liked it, but I also liked Frank Miller’s Spirit movie and I think we all know how that worked out. But I ended up selling about eight times as many of the Futures End 3D cover than I did of the last issue of the regular series. I mean, relatively speaking that was one of the titles I ordered the least numbers on for this Futures End hoohar, but octupling my sales is nothing to sneeze at, either.

When it comes to Infinity Man…well, I didn’t order a lot of the first issue, but I ordered based on my hope that some of the local OMAC sales would follow through to this new series. They didn’t, at least not entirely, and I ended up having to cut orders right quick. But when I ordered the Futures End tie-in way back when, I suppose my thinking was “okay, the series probably isn’t going to be a gangbuster, but people may pick it up because of the novelty cover, and what if there’s a rush on the covers again? WHAT IF?” and I ended up picking a number to order and hoping for the best.

It’s not as bad as all that…I didn’t order a lot of them, and it’s in the lower range of numbers I’ve ordered on the Futures End books. But it’s not moving quite as quickly as its 3D brethren, though I’ll see exactly how well or not well it’s been going when I go over stock numbers in the next week or so. Without having an exact count on hand, my feeling is that it sold more than the regular series has so far, but not enough to be in any danger of selling out anytime soon.

Greg says

“I’m pretty shocked because they’re selling terribly at my store here in AZ. It’s a very heavy superhero crowd, but they have plenty from last week and it looks like they’ll have plenty from this week. Can I claim DC Fatigue based on two anecdotal examples?!?!?”

…and then Corey says

“Yeah, they’re not exactly flying off the stands at the shop I work at. I think the Death of Wolverine series has stolen DC’s thunder, because people are going nuts for that instead.”

I am curious about how orders and related sales on the Futures End event are overall. If fairly moribund sales are the case generally, then the next time DC does this (if they do it again) everyone will under-order and we may have a repeat of the panicked buying from the first year. Or nobody will care. I am throwing my money down on one of those two extremes…don’t tell me I can’t make the hard choices. I do believe that these will be okay sellers in the long run, even if they don’t fly off the shelves right this very moment. They are neat looking covers, and sometimes that’s enough to get people to yank them out of the back issue bins weeks or months down the road.

Corey’s reference to Death of Wolverine reminds me that I let myself get suckered into buying enough of the regular cover in order to match the sales plateaus required for the Skottie Young and Deadpool variants (more on that sort of thing here). However, in this case, it paid off…I sold those 1/100 and 1/75 variants for pretty good money, which helped pay for all the regular covers I thought I was getting stuck with…but the regular covers are selling really well, too, so I’m not going to be stuck with as many as I thought. Or, perhaps, any at all, ultimately. If anything, I’m wishing now I ordered more of #2, which is also flying off the shelf. Of course, everybody is sort of half-mocking the gimmick of the character’s supposed “death,” and yeah, we all know he’s coming back in another big ol’ event series down the road, but that’s not getting in the way of people being excited about the “Death of Wolverine” story itself. And, you know, that’s great. It’s been a while since people have been excited about Wolverine, based on how the fourteen recent different monthly series have been selling, so it’s nice to have a reminder of the days when Wolvie could appear in a comic, and by God, that comic sold.

A quick note about DC’s 3D comics.

§ September 11th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments

So far it looks like I’ve done…reasonably well on the ordering of this year’s batch of DC’s lenticular covers. The first week releases have not sold entirely through yet, though a few titles did sell out (and are surprisingly available for reorder, which tells me that plenty of copies were printed). And, the titles for which I do still have leftover copies, the leftovers are within reason and will likely sell through eventually, even if it’ll be out of the back issue bins. In short, I don’t feel like I was stuck with too much overstock, and I don’t feel like too many people missed out due to quick sellouts.

In even shorter, getting the numbers I actually ordered resulted in successful sales and happy customers.

Of my worries from the beginning of this post, the actual answer appears to be “everyone ordered enough, or at least there’s plenty still available to order” and thus no shortage-caused rush like last time. The novelty of the covers themselves still holds its appeal, and I do have several customers asking for one of each. Frankly, I don’t think the covers this year are quite as eye-grabbing as last year’s, as reducing the main image to a smallish box surrounded by a frame isn’t as impressive, but they don’t look bad by any means.

Plus, it didn’t seem to matter that the one-shots are nominally tied to DC’s New 52 Futures End weekly series, which is just sort of dragging along saleswise, at least in these parts. In fact, it seems like the tie-in is mostly name only…and thematically too, I guess, since the weekly and these one-shots take place five years in the future. The one-shots seem mostly standalone, at least the ones I’ve read. Swamp Thing was pretty good, but of course I’d say that, and Batgirl allowed Gail Simone her coda to her run on the series. I hear tell Grayson was pretty good as well, though I haven’t looked at that one yet.

It’s too early to say how the second week’s run of one-shots are doing, though so far, so good. They’re not “sell the second the doors open on Wednesday” so much as “will sell steadily over the next couple of weeks or so.” I expect them all to sell within my expectations…

…except, um, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Someone invent a time machine and go back and tell the Mike of four months ago to knock that order down a dozen or two.

I’m including the price guide’s prices mostly out of sheer perversity.

§ August 18th, 2014 § Filed under retailing § 2 Comments

So last October I said that a year from then I’d probably look at the aftermarket on those special 3D covers DC released to much wailing and gnashing of teeth mostly due to their botched distribution. Okay, it hasn’t been a year yet, but, you know, close enough, and also I suspect once this year’s batch of DC’s 3D books get released I’ll have a whole new array of problems to complain about without having to worry about reflecting back on last year’s as well.

Anyway, I’m not going to go through every single 3D cover and its pricing because that’s crazy talk. My initial assertion was that the panic pricing and profiteering that resulted in books only out on the shelves for a few days getting priced at two, three, five times cover price would eventually settle down, with the 3D editions maybe going for five or ten bucks at most. Let’s pick out just a couple and do about 10 seconds of eBay research for each, starting with the one that was probably the biggest: Batman: The Dark Knight #23.4, introducing the Joker’s Daughter.

In fact, as I was Googling up the exact issue number, since I’m old and can’t remember exact details like that any more, one of the first results is a message board query asking why this particular comic was so rare, and if DC deliberately kept the print run on that low. Well, the answer is “yes,” actually, but not for the reason this person is likely thinking. Not to go into the full details again, but DC more or less set print runs based on each book’s sales history, and Dark Knight was not exactly a top-seller. It wasn’t limited in that DC was trying to create a “hot collectible” (an accusation that gets leveled at publishers quite frequently, even though they don’t directly benefit from aftermarket pricing) and what I think this particular message boarder was implying.

But, let’s look at pricing. The Joker’s Daughter issue was hard to find and in high demand (either because it was in short supply or because it introduced a Joker spinoff character, or even perhaps possibly both), and it was commanding some fairly dear prices right out of the gate. I recall seeing prices upward of $40, if not more. Now…well, my previous Googling also turned up an Amazon page for the comic, where prices start at about $37 and run all the way up to $85. This is for copies for sale, not sold, so some of those higher prices may just be wishful thinking. A look at eBay reveals copies having sold for anywhere from $10 to $30, with “pro-graded” copies sealed in those plastic containers selling for much more, with one copy selling for $66. [NM price in the most recent Overstreet Price Guide: $12]

To take another of the “hot” covers, let’s look at Detective Comics #23.2, with Harley Quinn. This was one that was generally selling in the $20 range, as I recall, though to look at eBay now, copies have gone for as little at $13, and topped out at $36 (with at least one slabbed copy going for $125). Most seem to be in the $20-ish range. [NM price in the most recent Overstreet Price Guide: $12]

At the opposite end of the scale, let’s go with the one 3D cover we were actually allocated more copies that what we were ordered: Justice League #23.1, featuring Darkseid. That goes for a whole $3 to $6, with the slabbed copies going for stupid money, as usual. Anyway Overstreet has this at $5.

One more: Batman #23.1, with the Joker (the one I wanted to order a billion of because it would sell forever but my nefarious plans were curtailed by DC’s printing problems) seems to go for about $10 to $15 on eBay…mostly closer to $10. Guide price: $5.

A quick glance at some other titles on eBay show some 3D covers, like Flash or Aquaman, selling for as little as $1, plus, you know, $5 shipping, so I guess you should probably factor that in. Plus, a general search shows that most of the other 3D covers seem to be around $1 to $5 or $6 as well. For the most part, there are plenty to be had at several mostly inexpensive price points. The expensive ones (aside from the copies in the plastic slab thingies) are the exception, not the rule.

Breezing through some of the price guide entries seems to show that, aside from the exceptions noted about, most of the 3D covers are listed at about $5 or so. That’s what we’ve been selling most of ours for over the last few months (though Joker, Joker’s Daughter and Harley do sell for a little more) and that seems to be a good price to keep the sales going.

Anyway, I guess I was mostly right back then, noting that price guides would reflect marginally higher prices on the 3D covers versus the issues around them (I mean, duh), and that I would be surprised that any of them were selling for over $10. I mean, that the Joker’s Daughter issue is still moving, in some cases, for around $30 is kind of a shock. Higher prices for the Harley and Joker issues aren’t that much of a surprise, since those characters are perennially popular.

In conclusion, sometimes hot market prices settle down to more reasonable numbers. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. And we’ll see in a few weeks if history repeats itself with DC’s next batch of 3D goodies. I’m guessing “no,” but we’ll find out soon enough.

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