Just so we’re clear, I’ve got no problem with a Gold Lantern.

§ August 7th, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

A couple questions left by YOU, the readers, to my last post:

Steven R. rites in with

“So how long does the average ‘hot’ 2 or 3rd printing hold that value? Or I guess I should just ask which later printings have?”

I gotta be honest, I’ve not done a lot of research on that…nor in fact a lot of checking back to see what faddishily hot items have retained any portion of their values. I mean, I occasionally see things in collections with decade-old price stickers with enormous prices from other shops to remind me of, say, when people were knocking down doors to get the first issue of the Topps Comics X-Files. But I haven’t yet had that particular phenomenon occur in relation to the “2nd print variant” type of thing.

The first time I noticed that people were paying extremely inflated prices for recent reprints was, I think, the reissues of the early Ms. Marvels from 2014 (the first Kamala Khan run). That was during my last year at my previous place of employment (2014 in fact), when I had a rack set up for just Marvel’s many 2nd, 3rd, 18th printing, and when I noticed a specific Ms. Marvel reprint (which issue, I don’t recall) was apparently selling for a lot of money, my check of said rack revealed of course that was the one we didn’t have.

Checking on eBay now, I see pretty much all the Ms. Marvel reprints are being listed with high prices. Now, I suppose technically, from a collector’s point of view, the reprints are “scarcer” than the original printing, meaning lower supply, but I wonder if that actual demand is enough to drive up the prices quite that much. Or it may be a feedback loop, with people saying these are “hot,” people buying them because they’re “hot,” and then they become “hot” as a result. I feel like I’ve written about that sort of self-fulfilling collectible prophecy before, and I suspect it’s an aspect of the marketplace that will always be there.

Of course, I don’t have my price guide in front of me, so I don’t know if any of these Ms. Marvel reprint prices are reflected in there. The more extreme online auction house pricing often isn’t represented in Overstreet, but once I get into the store Friday morning I’ll look and update this post.

I do know I was surprised by a very high guide price being noted for a reprint of Incredible Hulk (one of the later printings of #377, I believe) and prices have been creeping upwards on the non-1st printings of The Killing Joke. So, at least for reprintings that have been on the secondary market for a while and have established a certain pattern of value, the price guide has changed to record those.

• • •

c sends the following alert message

“As a Legion fan, I don’t get the excitement over Gold Lantern. Yes, a Lantern in the Legion is cool, but what’s the huge deal? Is there something special GL related I’m missing?”

A Twitter pal asked me something similar, so I’ll paraphrase my answer here. Given the general casting about for any first appearance of anything, I would guess it has absolutely nothing to do with who or what the character is. The folks looking to “invest” in that issue of Legion, and the online sources driving that demand, don’t actually care about Gold Lantern, or Lanterns of any color, for that matter. It’s just that the comic in question fits the formula of “first appearance of [character/event] in [title] will be worth money!” and therefore must be acquired. That’s really it.

• • •

Robcat steals in on little cat feet with

“…When ordering stuff like that, do you use a Dart Board or a Ouija Board? And how many sides on the die helps when ordering? Is 6 enough?”

It…can be challenging. As I’ve noted before, I tend towards more conservative orders, as I imagine most stores do in the current marketplace. I try to order what I think my customer base can use, and not much more. Trying to guess which of these reprints or whatever will be “hot” is kind of a mug’s game as said hotness almost appears to be random. I mean, sure, you can look at something and think “okay, this might sell more because of that cover,” or other standard considerations when placing orders, but that gives you incentive for slight bumps, not “instant sellout, should’ve ordered thousands” numbers since again, who knows if that’s going to happen.

An example would be the first issue of Wolverine: Infinity Watch, where I saw the cover and thought “that’s gonna sell itself.” I didn’t order crazy numbers, but I ordered a bit more than I normally would have on a Wolverine comic (surprise, oversaturation has killed Wolverine’s sales, go figure) and it turned out I got it pretty much right. Sold a lot right away, had a few left over that eventually sold through over the rest of the month.

In contrast, there was literally nothing about that issue of Legion of Super-Heroes with the Gold Lantern that stood out to me when I was placing orders. By this point, Legion had found its sales level, and there was no reason to think it was going to change. Yes, there were characters making first appearances in this issue (not just Gold Lantern) but characters make first appearances in comics all the time, and not all of them get the Fickle Finger of Finvestment pointed at them. Ordering twice my normal order could just as easily left me stuck with unsellable copies. I think my one concession was that I kept my order numbers where they were for this issue, instead of dropping them down a wee bit as sales at that point would have warranted. So I didn’t raise orders, exactly, just lowered later than planned.

In conclusion, this is why your pal Mike’s hair is occasionally grey, when it’s not mysteriously dark brown again.

And don’t get me started on that whole “Gold Lantern” nonsense.

§ August 5th, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments

So theoretically on sale today at a comic shop near you:

Thor #3 3rd printing, already listed on eBay for anywhere from $8 to $13, though some deals are still to be had

Thor #4 2nd printing, selling for between $10 and $20 on eBay, with a “virgin variant” listed for $50

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1, also on the eBays for between $10 and $20

I was getting calls for all of these starting, of course, a day or two before release, too late for me to adjust orders for demand. And look, I’ve said it before…it’s not how I collected comics, but if you’re into it for speculation, well, it’s your money, you know? However you want to enjoy the hobby, fine.

But I wonder if this isn’t sabotaging some of these series. Like, if you want to read the new Thor title but came to it late, unless you’re specifically asking the shop to hold those issues for you, you’re not gonna get your mitts on the reprints of whatever you’re missing if you just take your chances wandering into the shop. That’s bad for the store, because if potential readers can’t catch up on a title they’re interested in, they’re not going to continue reading it. And the folks buying those reprints just to flip them online aren’t going to continue buy the series, so it’s not like they’re going to make up for lost readership.

(I know the solution for consumers is to buy digital — fat lot of good that does me — or waiting for the trade, which isn’t as popular a solution for folks wanting to buy the periodicals as you might want, or hope, to think.)

The answer would seem to be “order lots more of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th printings” but that’s a good way to waste money on dead stock if the whims of the marketplace don’t dub said reprint a “collectible.” And honestly, it seems almost random. A look at eBay listings for Star Wars: Darth Vader #2 2nd printing, also out this week, are mostly at cover price or less (though at least one outlier is going for $7).

I mean, I suppose it’s not entirely random…that Bounty Hunters comics has a cool Boba Fett cover, pictured above, and Mandalorians are all the rage right now. And those Thor #4s are being pushed as “1st Black Winter,” so I guess it’s mildly important, or something? But it’s hard to tell what’s going to get pointed at with the magical investment finger, turning something from “should sell okay, for a reprint” to “comic-shaped cloud of dust left on the rack where those comics used to be.”

And yes, I know there are sites and apps that do this sort of thing, which is what’s encouraging this kind of comic shopping. But even if I kept tabs on those, it still wouldn’t help because any increased demand those may inspire doesn’t materialize until, as I noted above, a day or two before the comic is actually due out. It would still be a crapshoot of “should I order more of this? Or more of that?” and hope I pick the right ones.

In conclusion, that sounds like a lot of griping, but mostly I just wanted to describe some of the thoughts I have to have when ordering comics. It’s a lot of juggling of numbers and potential scenarios and basically a lot more effort than a reprint of a two-month-old comic would really warrant, but that’s why they pay me the big bucks, I suppose. And if you’re wondering…yes, I ordered just a few extra of those Thors, as I’d been noticing that demand for them. Now did I get enough to satisfy the investors and have enough left over for the readers? I don’t know…we’ll just have to see.

The joke could very well end up being on me.

§ August 3rd, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 7 Comments


So ordering this Batman: Three Jokers series reminds me to some extent of what I went through when I was ordering that first issue of Superman Unchained at the previous place of employment. In short, I was attempting to balance what I was spending on a larger order versus the money I could make selling the comic including the premium values obtained by selling the rare-ish variant covers (the 1 in 100s, the 1 in 300).

Ultimately…I don’t remember exact numbers, but yes, the large amount of this book I ordered did turn into a significant profit, especially with the added sales of those pricey variants. It did leave us with some excess of that first issue, which left me wondering if perhaps I ordered closer to the bone, worrying less about the variant covers, I could have still achieved a similar money spent vs. profit made radio. Probably less money made overall, to be sure, but leaving us with less waste (especially since Superman Unchained had a short run and now when was the last time anyone asked for back issues on it?)

I don’t like taking big risks like that. In the case of Superman Unchained #1, I worked out numbers ahead of time and felt like, maybe on this rare occasion, we could possibly stick our collective neck out a bit and go for the variant gusto. But by and large, in a marketplace that is still in some sense recovering from the excess of the 1990s boom and the following crash, “ordering too much shit” is not a strategy comic shops should really be practicing. The advantage is, well, not having too much shit left over. The disadvantage is when the investor apps and sites call out “HEY! Unicycle Tragedy #87 features the first appearance of Some Guy in a Red Shirt in panel 3 on page 10″ and suddenly customers who had never even heard of Unicycle Tragedy before this are calling and emailing the day before release to get 5 or 10 copies of that issue…well, needless to say, you don’t have the stock to fill the demand.

As such, my general ordering style is “don’t go crazy, and if it sells out and you need more, order more.” And if you need to get second or third or fourth prints, so be it (assuming they’re not snapped up by investors, too…see current reprints of Thor).

But once in a while, you gotta take a chance on something, and this time around it’s this Three Jokers thing. …For those of you who don’t remember, and who can blame you because it was like three Justice League relaunches ago and at least one line-wide reboot, there was some League/New Gods hoohar where Batman gets hit butt into Metron’s Mobius chair and asks its all-knowing computer “what is the Joker’s real name?” and the chair tells him “whoa, dude, there are like three Jokers” and yes I’m paraphrasing. Also, Batman didn’t ask how many Jokers there were, we wanted names, man, so the chair should have just spit out three names, right? Right. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Anyway, this was somehow only four years ago, but feels like an eternity, particularly since 2020 alone feels like its entering its second decade. But here it nearly is, the long-awaited series that’s following up on that Justice League plot point. And boy, how to order this.

Let’s keep in mind I’m a smallish shop, surrounded on all sides by shops in neighboring towns (and also surrounded by elephants, but that’s another story), so my initial estimate on sales for this book, in the now semi-popular Black Label Format That Batman’s Penis Built™ were higher than normal for that line from DC, but not excessively so.

Then DC had to go and gum up the works by offering variant covers. Yes, the usual 1/25 variant, and the 1/100 variant…plus the standard issue, order ’em at whatever quantity you’d like, variants , of which there are two “main” covers. Okay, that’s all well and good, but they’re also offering “premium” variants. I go into this on some detail on my store’s webpage, where you can see the covers for #1 plus my hardsell to get folks to buy ’em.

The deal with the premium variants is that unlike the ratio variants, you can just order want you want on each…so long as you order a minimum of a certain number of copies of each of the three premium variants. That may not seem like a big deal to the bigger stores and chains, but getting so many extra comics on top of the numbers I was already planning on ordering…well, that seemed a bit much. And if enough stores in the area do it, Three Jokers will be flowing freely through the streets.

But then I saw the covers, and I thought “ah geez, if I don’t have these on my rack, someone else will,” and besides, now that I’ve see the covers…I think these are probably going to sell great. Plus, it’s Joker…Joker comics always sell. I can see these selling off the shelves for quite a while. I’m particularly taken with that Red Hood variant pictured above, which will likely be my cover of choice once I get to pull a copy for myself.

And like Superman Unchained, I can subsidize the cost with the rare variants. So…I mean, this isn’t a sure thing. If the local market is flooded with these, I may not sell my stock on these right away, though if you followed the link to my site you saw how I’m already asking people to pay ahead of time for sets of these, and I’ve had a few takers, so there’s that. But I think these should do well. And if they don’t…well, assuming the first issue isn’t late, I’ll still have time to adjust orders on #2 if the debut installment is a dud.

Look, Marvel’s Golden Age reprints are this whole other deal which I didn’t get into here.

§ July 31st, 2020 § Filed under marvel, publishing § 13 Comments


Not too long ago I purchased a copy of the above comic for my shopMarvel Super-Heroes #1, from 1966, reprinting what was then a few relatively recent-ish comics from the publisher.

But of course, in 1966, most fans didn’t have the option of strolling on over to ye local comic book emporium to peruse the stacks and fill in gaps in their collections. Not to say there weren’t avenues to find old comics…there were stores here and there that had some, and you could always try mail order, but for the average comic book reader the newsstand was their source, which meant just the latest releases. So, if you had an interest in a particular character and title, and came to the property a tad late, these reprints held a lot of appeal.

Both Marvel and DC cranked out the reprint books throughout the 1960s and 1970s…the work was already paid for, and just sitting around in the archives, why not get it out there again? And it was, perhaps, easier to sell to an audience that tended to refresh every few years, meaning this old stuff was hitting new eyes.

I feel like Marvel’s reprints may have had more of a hook, however. DC’s stories were, by and large, standalone items, where, outside of their out-of-continuity “Imaginary Stories,” all the toys were put back in place by the tale’s conclusion, no matter how scattered or destroyed they may have been during the course of the plot. There were exceptions at DC, of course…the Legion of Super-Heroes springs to mind, and the status quo of Supergirl changing from “Superman’s Secret Weapon” to “Supergirl Reveals Herself” (ahem) is a fairly significant alteration to the premise. But a Superman story is a Superman story is a Superman story…if you read one Superman adventure, you don’t feel like you’ve missed any backstory, any twists or turns or surprising revelations.

In Marvel’s case, their superhero comics had adopted a more soap-operatic strategy. Stan Lee often ballyhooed Marvel’s “illusion of change” in their comics, but the subplots and relationships felt like they built on what came before, that there was forward progress being made with each character as they lived what seemed like, well, not “realistic” lives, but at least suspension-of-believable existences. This made you want to know what had come before, as coming in on issue 34 of, say, Amazing Spider-Man, will make you want to know what happened in the previous 33. You feel like you’ve skipped ahead to the 34th chapter in a book with 33 previous chapters (oh, and a prologue in Amazing Fantasy #15), and who knows how many chapters left to come. (Answer: this is one hell of a long book.)

Thus, the great appeal of Marvel’s reprint lines. You get those early chapters, maybe not in precise order, and not always in the same reprint title, but with some perseverance one could piece together earlier storylines. You could see beginnings of character relationships, early clashes with recurring villains, where those subplots had traveled prior to the more recent installments. Plus, in the 1960s, with Marvel’s new superhero line having only started a few years earlier, filling the gaps back to the beginning and getting the whole story probably seemed somewhat within reach.

The interesting thing is, in the modern marketplace, a lot of those early reprint books remain affordable, especially in lesser conditions. The copy of Marvel Super-Heroes #1 sold for $15, and I had several copies of Marvel Collectors’ Item Classics (don’t forget that apostrophe!) that sold from $1.50 to four or five dollars. Still have fans today trying to fill in those early stories, looking for the foundations on which the Marvel Universe was built. And doing it the old fashioned way…hunting and collecting and piecing it together. Sure, you can buy trades with the stories in order and on nice paper (assuming they’re in print), or even (gasp) digitally…but what’s the fun in that?

Progressive Ruin fails to read the room and presents…the End of Civilization anyway.

§ July 29th, 2020 § Filed under End of Civilization § 15 Comments

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! It appears Ends of Civilization are all the rage right now, so who am I to deny a trend? So get out your copy of the August 2020 Diamond Previews and download your copy of the latest DC Connect catalog, put on your mask and rubber gloves, and follow along:

p. 36 – Scumbag #1:


I GAVE NO PERMISSION FOR THIS BIOGRAPHY
 
 
p. 40 – The Walking Dead Deluxe #1:


More like The Walking Red, amirite? Because of all the blood? Anyone? …Look, I havent done this in a while, I’m a little rusty.
 
 
p. 42 – Commanders in Crisis & p. 46 – Blue in Green OGN:


Leading into the Commanders in Green and Blue in Crisis crossover event, of course.
 
 
p. 60 – Big Girls #3:


Three solicitations in, no sign of crying. Well done.
 
 
p. 66 – Fire Power #4:


Look, I’m sorry, but I’m going to wait for the black and white Fire Power Deluxe series a few years down the road.
 
 
p. 106 – Transformers/Back to the Future #1:


Just imagining a wasted Transformer that can turn into a DeLorean.
 
 
p. 131 – Godzilla History’s Greatest Monster TPB:


Finally someone’s taken the burden of this title from me.
 
 
p. 156-7 – Dynamite Neck Gaiters:


Ooh, I don’t know that Dynamite should really be calling anything a name that sounds like “gaters” right now.
 
 
p. 178 – Dune House Atreides #1 (of 12):


Only twelve issues? What, are there 40 panels per page?
 
 
p. 182 – Brzrkr #1:


Friends, we are reaching a critical shortage of ways to spell “Berserker.” Please, conserve your berserking and only use it when absolutely necessary.

No, I’m not going for a Keanu Reeves joke.
 
 
p. 209 – Vault of Cerebus #1:


I’ve somehow accrued three dozen of these Cerebus webstrip reprints and have only managed to read, what, three? Four? Most of the covers are pretty fun, anyway…well, okay, not that one. You know which one.
 
 
p. 210 – X-Men The Art & Making of the Animated Series HC:


“Well, we looked at what the animated Batman series was doing, and we did the exact opposite.”
 
 
p. 233 – Dilbert: Eagerly Awaiting Your Irrational Response TP:


Sometimes, honestly, I don’t need to write the joke.
 
 
p. 241 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Presents Madam Satan #1:


Gonna say this is the second least-likely thing I’d ever expected to see under the Archie banner (behind that scene of Reggie masturbating, of course).
 
 
p. 253 – Grendel, Kentucky #2:


[EASY JOKE IN 3…2…]

Boy, that Hunter Rose sure gets around.

[EASY JOKE COMPLETED. RETURN TO YOUR HOMES.]
 
 
p. 260 – DC Christmas Carols We Wish You A Harley Christmas HC:


There is only one DC Comics-related Christmas Carol that must be in this book. You know which one. Oh, yes you certainly do. YOU’RE SINGING IT IN YOUR HEAD RIGHT NOW
 
 
p. 289 – Gremlins Gizmo’s 12 Days of Christmas Board Book:


For the love of God, keep him away from the seven swans a’swimming.
 
 
p. 289 – Harry Potter Coloring Wizardry SC:


“What color is a TERF? …Oh, wait, never mind.” [reaches for a white crayon]
 
 
p. M13 – Star Wars The Mandalorian Child in Chair 1/2 Scale Statue:


“…The mysterious alien character known only as The Child….” reads an ad elsewhere in Previews. NICE TRY, AD COPY WRITING GUY.
 
 
p. M51 – Chilly Willy Vinyl Soda Figure:


“Hi! I’m barely remembered!”
 
 
p. M86 – The Batman Who Laughs Rising Board Game:


Is the goal of the game to make the other players sick of seeing the Batman Who Laughs?
 
 
p. M86 – Elf Monopoly:


Do not pass GO, do not ever open this and play with it, like all those other novelty Monopoly sets people have given you because you once expressed interest in a thing. …That said, if they ever do Frank Miller’s The Spirit Monopoly, well, you know who you can put on your gift list.
 
 
DC Connect p. 15 – Rorschach #1:


Not quite the Rorschach Team-Up comic I’ve been waiting for, but we’re getting there.
 
 
DC Connect p. 73 – Batman Three Jokers HC:


please please please don’t have variant covers please

…Though I see they’re mimicking the logo from The Killing Joke, so if they go back to press on this that’s changing colors like they did with the KJ reprints, almost certainly.
 
 
DC Connect p. 87 – Y The Last Man Compendium Vol. 1:


“Soon” doing a lot of heavy lifting, there.
 
 
Marvel Previews p. 26 – Ultraman #2:


Ah, making the ol’ editor-in-chief feel right at home, I see.

I explain the Cerebus Bi-Weekly image eventually.

§ July 27th, 2020 § Filed under cerebus, publishing § 14 Comments

Okay, so about a week ago we were talking about comic book reprints. Specifically, sustained reprintings of entire series or runs, which was brought up because of the forthcoming “Walkin’ Dead in Living Color” series that’s about to be unleashed on us on a biweekly basis. Did I mention last time that it was going to be biweekly? Yup, boy howdy it’s biweekly, a thing that seems…less supportable in the modern marketplace unless it sells for under $3.99 a pop, so I am reconsidering my opinion on whether it’ll be around the full eight years to complete the series.

And I just logged into the Diamond retailer site to check…the first issue (with its multiple covers, natch) is indeed $3.99. Well, gotta pay for them fancy colors, I guess.

Matthew notes

“Kirkman already did a Walking Dead reprint project with The Walking Dead Weekly in 2011. It reprinted the first 52 issues of the series weekly for a year after the TV show premiered.”

I…completely forgot about that. I mean, we carried them all at my previous place of employment, but I don’t think I’ve had a single copy of it turn up in any collections or whatever since I’ve opened up my own store. Like Matthew says later in his comment, print runs seemed to be well under 4,000 copies each in the latter portion of the run, so I suppose it doesn’t surprise me that I haven’t seen them around much. I seem to recall them selling relatively well…not huge numbers, but pretty close to sell-outs and moved reasonably well as back issues.

I suspect the main reason for the low numbers was the availability of the trade paperbacks, which would likely be the preferred method of catching up on a series that suddenly rose to prominence in the public eye and may have started to attract readers who weren’t normally comic book consumers. I mean, yes, sure, there are always a few folks who are driven to comic shops by something they saw on TV or in movies who want the “authentic comic book experience,” which means buying a stapled monthly off the new arrivals rack, but most folks interested in catching up would probably prefer the bigger chunks they can pull off the bookshelf instead of trying to piece it together issue by issue, either through the weekly reprints or the certainly now pricier back numbers of the originals.

Which is why they’re emphasizing the fact that this new color Strolling Fred series is not…well, here, let me pull the direct quote from the solicitation:

“This deluxe, definitive presentation of the story in full color will NOT be collected any time soon, so these single issues will be the only way to experience this.”

And I imagine this will last until sales start plummeting because people coming late to the color series will not be able to find the early issues, which will be long out of print, or they will find them but at greatly inflated prices. Unless there’s a plan in place to keep everything in print for the duration, which, c’mon, let’s not kid ourselves.

What the series does have going for it, aside from, you know, the novelty of color, is backmatter. Series notes, commentary, abandoned plotlines, etc., which will be of interest to the Stalking Ted completist. And, of course, would be a way to get those fencesitters who aren’t necessarily enthused about color, but may be attracted to the idea of learning more about the series, so, you know, completists, like I said.

What this reminds me of a little is Cerebus Bi-Weekly. Now, I own every volume of Swords of Cerebus, reprinting the first 25 issues of Cerebus, and including extra commentary by Dave Sim as well as new cover art and a short story original to the collection (or originally printed outside the series, like the “Silverspoon” strips from the Comics Buyers’ Guide). When I got into Cerebus in the mid-1980s, around issue 70 or so, I started buying the back issues, but decided the Swords books were good enough for the earliest installments, and focused on buying 26 on, to wherever I started picked them up new off the rack.

(Okay, fine, I went to the Grand Comics Database to try to figure it out…issues 74 and 75, the Jaka issues, were the first I’d read, thanks to pal Rob, and I think it was around 79 to 81 when I started buying them new. But I, as they say, digress.)

So anyway, I had the stories, with extras besides, from those early issues. I didn’t need to buy the Cerebus Bi-Weekly series, reprinting each of the first 25 issues in order…but what they had that the Swords of Cerebus volumes didn’t were the letters pages, and editorials, and extra features, and whathaveyou. It was a full reprint of the contents of the original, and since part of the appeal of Cerebus was the occasionally rolicking letters page, and just he whole package in general, it was nice to get a replica of that experience. And thus, I ended up buying all 26 issues of the series (with #26 reprinting some of the material that appeared in Swords of Cerebus, as well as several “Single Pages,” a feature that ran in Cerebus Bi-Weekly that presented work from various cartoonists).

In short (like anything I do on this site is ever short) I double-dipped on stories I already had because I wanted to get my mitts on the extra material. (Note I didn’t buy the follow-up High Society reprints, as I already had the original issues…but apparently the reprints also included sketchbook pages, which in retrospect I would have been interested in seeing. Ah well.) Perhaps the extra material in The Technicolor Dead will grab folks the same way.

Like I mentioned, I’ll be picking it up only because I didn’t the first time ’round, and it’ll be interesting to see if they follow through on doing the entire series (and by the time it’s done, I’ll be 60 years old or purt’near — ack). Also, the solicitation says this is the “definitive” version, meaning they intended it to be color from the start, so I’m buying it the right way, not like all you suckers who bought it in black and white. Hey, don’t get mad at me, I’m just reporting the truth!

Okay, more on the Marvel reprint stuff next time, for anyone I didn’t manage to just alienate right now.

Excuses, excuses.

§ July 24th, 2020 § Filed under eyeball § 3 Comments

If you’ve been following my various social media outlets, both personal and the store’s, you probably know I had some eyeball work done today (paid for by you!) that, with any luck, will be the beginning of the end of that seemingly endless plague of bleeding that continually clouded my vision.

I’m feeling better as I write this, but as it turned out, I spent a lot of the day a bit headache-y and maybe just a tad disoriented after the procedure. I did go back to work, but I just kinda flopped down in my chair at the front counter and processed some back issues and helped the occasional customer (not too many of those, given that I was shut down part of the day while at the doctor’s, and had warned folks that I might not even be in at all). Once I got home, had some dinner, and crashed for a few hours, I think that mostly cured what ailed me, but the end result is that it didn’t leave me with a whole lot of time to write the comics post I was planning.

(I know I’m writing a lot right now, but this is fast blathering that’s only taking me a few minutes, not the hours of prep and careful honing usually required by a ProgRuin post, as demanded by my tens of fans.)

So…let me start fresh on Monday, with two mostly working eyes and a head as clear as I’m able to manage, and that’ll probably be best for all of us. Everyone have a good weekend, and thanks, as always, for reading. See you in a couple of days.

At least I didn’t have to rearrange the entire store.

§ July 22nd, 2020 § Filed under free comic book day § 4 Comments


So it dawned on me that I haven’t really said anything about Free Comic Book Day this year…or, rather, Free Comic Book Day Summer, where a few free books are being released to retailers every Wednesday over a period of several weeks.

In terms of cost, this does make things a little easier on me, in that 1) I had the opportunity to adjust orders downward, given that we weren’t going to have the usual huge single day event, and 2) I’m getting charged for these items per week, rather than in a lump sum or two after the end of the event.

One thing that’s a little harder to determine is…well, I always like to say “I’ve never lost money on Free Comic Book Day,” which would sometimes surprise people (and some comic book professionals, whom I hear are like people) given that I order piles and piles of the things and would hand them our willy-nilly to anyone who came in that day. In a single day event, it’s a lot easier to figure “well, I spent this much on FCBD, and I made this much on FCBD, and the second number is much higher than the first, therefore Step 3: Profit.”

I’m giving away several of the freebies this year, but because of the short time we had to get the word out, and given I got the FCBD display poster last week, and the window decal (all crunched up in a box, thanks Diamond) this week, it was harder to get the word out. Sure, I posted it all over my social media, but the average person who maybe just shows up for FCBD isn’t necessarily going to see that. But word is getting out, slowly and surely, and I suspect as the summer wears on more people will be dropping by to get their goodies. Since my expenditures are down this year for the event, I’m kind of “eyeballing” ( mean, best I can) the purchases from people who primarily came in for the free stuff (as opposed to regulars who pick up the free stuff along with what they usually buy) and…I think I’m doing okay in the ratio of money spent versus extra money earned.

I haven’t yet done a “special sale event” to coincide with this FBCD/Summer because that works best in the Big One Day Event Setting, when everybody shows up, excited about the free stuff, and more likely to open their wallets and coin purses to buy more items. Doing a big sale now would just cannibalize the regular day’s sales without the extra, extra traffic to make it worthwhile. However, I’m trying to work on something for later in the summer, once more people are aware FCBD is even happening in this altered form. We’ll see how it goes.

• • •

I’ll respond to your comments on the last post re: reprint series and the success thereof in short order. Also, I promise I’ll get back to talking about intercompany crossover comics. No, really. I haven’t forgotten.

I wonder what the chances are for Walking Dead II: Walk Deader #1 coming out by 2025?

§ July 20th, 2020 § Filed under indies, publishing § 12 Comments

The big news over the weekend was the announcement that The Walking Dead cook series would be returning to the stands in a new biweekly reprint series…in color.

I was pretty sure something like this was going to happen…I predicted it here once or twice over the years, but honestly I thought they’d just go with colorized trade collections. I suppose a new color reprint comic book series might help get folks back into the habit of visiting comical-type bookstores again, what with the effect the real life plague has had on business.

Now I expect Robert Kirkman will see this project through to the end…though I do think the possibility of sales on the reprint series falling os low that they’d switch over to doing color trades only. I know the press release states “no trade collections for a while,” but we’ll see what happens if and when circulation drops to precarious levels.

This is nearly 200 comics they’ll be reprinting (I’m assuming the various specials will be included), and I’m wondering what the exact market for these will be. Walking Dead completists, sure. And there’ll be the investor-types who’ll probably want multiples of the first issue, and will want the color editions of whatever “key” issues turn up. There are the folks who didn’t read it the first time, either because it was in black and white, or they just up and missed it. Personally, I may pick up the series myself, since I skipped it initially but had enough interest in it that I’d poke through the occasional issue. We’ll see.

New editorial backmatter will be presented in each book, which may get the old readers to pick it up again, at least for a while. But 200 issues of something you’ve already read, even if it’s now in color, at twice a month over the next eight years, is kind of a big ask. I imagine sales eventually are going to depend heavily on those readers who hadn’t read it before, plus a handful of those old Walking Dead fans who cannot resist the new colorized temptation. It’s gonna start big, I’m sure, but I’ll be selling single digits on these by the time 2028 rolls around. Aaaand I’m sure by that time the trades will have started coming out.

Anyway, this is some project, and like I said, I’m surprised they opted for the comic book format versus the trade. Now to start pestering Dave Sim about Cerebus But Now in Color #1.

Just a quick notice…

§ July 17th, 2020 § Filed under doom patrol, television § 3 Comments


…that although the entire cast is perfect in their respective roles and deserve all the accolades they get for their performances, it’s Brendan Fraser’s voicing of Cliff “Robotman” Steele that most sticks the landing for me. That hilarious “I can’t believe this shit!” tone in his voice is amazing, as well as the handling of the more serious moments, is the ideal match for the character. That’s what I’m going to hear whenever I read Robotman in a comic book from this point forward. (And one should note the person actually in the robot suit get-up, Riley Shanahan.)

When the series was first announced for the DC Universe streaming service, I admit I had some skepticism as to how they would handle the character. I thought for sure they’d come up with some in-story reason to not actually show Robotman as Robotman as a cost-cutting measure, like having the Chief give him some kind of hologram disguise so that Cliff could just look like a normal human most of the time. Save those Robotman moments for a couple minutes at the end of each episode, that sort of thing. But kudos to the makers ofthe show…they promised us Robotman, and by God they gave us Robotman. (There have been a couple of instances where Fraser appears as the human Cliff, both in flashbacks and in certain present-day events, but it never feels like it’s for budgetary reasons. In fact, I’d imagine it probably costs more to have Mr. Fraser on set.)

Anyway, Doom Patrol is an excellent show, and I’m glad it’s getting further exposure by being simul-streamed on HBO Max (though I’m sure that’s just one of the many signs that the DC Universe service is probably not long for this world, at least in its current form).

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