You'll want to check this out on Bob Rozakis' blog... "The high cost of being a comics fanboy"


http://bobrozakis.blogspot.com/2010/10/high-cost-of-being-comics-fa...

One of the admins ought to ask Mr. Rozakis if he'd consider doing a regular (monthly?) column for us.  He's certainly got the qualifications and the stories!

I remain,
  Sincerely,
Eric L. Sofer
The Silver Age Fogey
x<]:o){

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I get, and mostly agree with, his point, but his comparisons strike me as dubious. To wit:

"DC will be releasing 56 comic books in December and it will cost $192.44 to buy all of them; in January, they will also release 56 books, at a cost of $171.44. Ninety-three Marvel comics in December will cost $353.07; in January they'll have only 75 books, with a total cost of $273.25. The grand total for every DC and Marvel comic for the two month-period: $990.20!"

vs.:

"Jump into the time machine to the same period in 1960 (when comic books all cost a dime) and you'll find that DC released 28 titles in each of the two months while Marvel -- which was still technically Atlas Comics at the time -- had eleven titles in December and nine in January. The cost of buying all 76 of those books: $7.60, roughly the price of two and a half present-day books."

So, he's comparing all of DC's and Marvel's output in a two-month stretch today against 1960 -- 280 comics against 76 comics. That is not a fair comparison.
"Technically," Marvel was still Timely Comics in 1960; Atlas was the distributor.
Ten comic books today would cost between $30 and $40, but how many nine-year-olds get an allowance between $7.50 and $10 a week to enable them to make such a purchase?

I....don't think $7.50 to $10/week is a particularly unrealistic estimation of what allowances look like these days, is it?
And, geez, who in the world would want to buy ALL of a companies monthly output? Even at my most crazy, I never did that.


Alan M. said:
Ten comic books today would cost between $30 and $40, but how many nine-year-olds get an allowance between $7.50 and $10 a week to enable them to make such a purchase?

I....don't think $7.50 to $10/week is a particularly unrealistic estimation of what allowances look like these days, is it?
We give my girls $25 a month
It would have been just possible to buy all of a company's monthly output when I was a kid. Back in dinosaur times, a five spot typically bought me all of the comics I wanted in a given month.


Alan M. said:
Ten comic books today would cost between $30 and $40, but how many nine-year-olds get an allowance between $7.50 and $10 a week to enable them to make such a purchase?

I....don't think $7.50 to $10/week is a particularly unrealistic estimation of what allowances look like these days, is it?

That might be a bit low actually. I got $7.50 a week back in elementary school.

You can find cheap comics with just a little bit of effort. You just don't need to be too concerned about what is going on currently.
I would have been more satisfied if he had compared apples to apples. Say, the mainstay titles of the past vs. the ones still in print today -- Superman, Action Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, Justice League of America, Flash, Green Lantern, Legion of Super-Heroes for DC, and Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil and Captain America for Marvel.

That's nine titles for each company, and today's $3.99 price per issue vs. yesteryear's 10 cents per issue means paying $71.82 vs. $1.80 for all of them for one month.
Doc Beechler said:
And, geez, who in the world would want to buy ALL of a companies monthly output? Even at my most crazy, I never did that.

I would, at 10 cents apiece! At $3.99 each, forget it!

Now, these days, buying, say, all the Batman or X-Men titles alone in one month would equal or surpass Marvel's monthly output way back when ...


Doc Beechler said:
And, geez, who in the world would want to buy ALL of a companies monthly output? Even at my most crazy, I never did that.

Agreed. I have never understood this line of reasoning. Even in my "golden age" between age 9-13 when I bought only Marvel, there were characters I didn't care for, and creators I wasn't interested in following. I think anyone who has ever purchased a company's entire output for a month wouldn't be honest if they said they enjoyed every book.
A few further thoughts:

- It's worth remembering that Marvel, DC, et al didn't decide one day to leave drug stores and convenience stores and the like. They were forced out. The Direct Market saved the industry and I don't know how it became such a favorite whipping boy these days.

- Sure, I miss the days when comics were a buck or less. They were 40 cents when I started collecting in 1979. But creators were paid peanuts. Many worked crazy hours, no vacations, and had other jobs outside of comics. Many couldn't afford health insurance. Many died broke. That's largely forgotten, but it shouldn't be. None of that sits right with me. I don't begrudge any creator or anyone working in the industry today a comfortable living, and let's not kid ourselves, not all of them do. Even in his heyday, Jack Kirby wasn't a rich man, and I've read he worked fast because he had to, to provide for his family.

- When I worked at Blockbuster, I would often read online how parents weren't going to spend "that kind of money" on comics for their kids. I wondered about that as I saw, daily, parents spending much more on movies and especially video games ($8-$10 for a rental, or $50-$60 or more to purchase). Maybe not an apples to apples comparison, but still ...

- I agree that comics are expensive at $3.99 each, but my sympathy is always limited to the extent that comics have always been more expensive here in Canada and I know they are even pricier outside of North America. Daredevil #12, cover dated June 2000, was $2.99 in the U.S. and $4.50 in Canada - so ten years ago, I was paying more for this title than you pay today for most Marvel titles! Now granted it was under the Marvel Knights banner then, making it more expensive than the regular Marvel titles at the time, and the currency exchange rate was the primary cause of the 50% price difference, but it's not like I could trade wait in 2000, that wasn't a reasonable expectation. Avengers #29 was also cover dated June 2000 - $2.25 in the U.S., $3.50 in Canada, so there's a regular MU title for comparison.
John Dunbar said:

- When I worked at Blockbuster, I would often read online how parents weren't going to spend "that kind of money" on comics for their kids. I wondered about that as I saw, daily, parents spending much more on movies and especially video games ($8-$10 for a rental, or $50-$60 or more to purchase). Maybe not an apples to apples comparison, but still ...


Yeah, well, the price of comics were kept artificially low for such a long time -- remember the splash when DC came up with Dollar Comics at the end of the '70s? -- that everybody is conditioned to think they're supposed to be cheap.

You are right that part of the reason the price was kept artificially low was by paying the creators peanuts. And you're right, even today some of them are barely getting by. A few weeks back, the Washington Post Magazine did a profile of Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows fame, now a Marvel artist (here), and I was surprised to learn that he's still struggling.

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