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#HPBHaul – May 29th & 30th, 2016


Along with getting to see one of my best friends for the first time since last year, I got to visit a Half-Price Books location far off my beaten path…one that I don’t think I’ve been to in at least a couple years (the last time that I went to it with her).

And this visit was quite a jackpot!

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First off, just walking down the main aisle, I spotted a distinctive Batman logo on the spines of two hardcovers. When I stopped to pay attention, I noticed a third one with no dust jacket. I had no idea what these were, I did not even know they’d existed. Now, I have a couple of mass-market paperbacks, The Further Adventures of the Batman (a friend gave me years ago, featuring the Joker) and I recall two others, The Further Adventures of the Batman vol. 2 (featuring the Penguin) and The Further Adventures of the Batman vol. 3 (featuring Catwoman).

These three hardback editions seem to be still other volumes focusing on a mixture of big-name Batman rogues. And I knew that if I left ’em, I’d totally regret it, so I grabbed all 3 (even the one without a dustjacket…at least I have the volume, and maybe I can find a dust jacket for it later).

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Another excellent score are these Aliens and Predator MMPBs–somehow, I did NOT already have the Berserker one despite all the other Aliens books. And until a couple months ago with discovering the The Rage War "crossover" I’d not paid any attention to past Predator volumes. Finding these three–I believe–leaves me only the DH Press books published back in ~2006 by Dark Horse that are unfortunately extremely rare and absolutely ridiculously priced on the secondary market (I, for one, will NOT pay $230.00 or $90.00 or even $30.00 for a single MMPB!)

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Finally, there’s Manhattan Transfer, a sci-fi book I remember getting and reading from the library at LEAST twice as a kid–I loved the story! And I’d thought of it here and there and occasionally tried looking it up online, but could never even find placeholder references for it. Several weeks ago I was talking about this with a coworker, and it rang some kind of bell with him, and he found it…AND revealed why I’d had zero luck finding it. The book is Manhattan Transfer while I’d been looking for variants on Manhattan Project. Oops.

And the Super-Powers dvd would not normally have interested me, but it was "only" $7…I figure all I have to do is spend 15-20 minutes watching it, and it’ll justify itself in value against two $3.99 comics! Anything more is just bonus on that.

hpbhaul_may30a

And then on Monday I went to another HPB where I (finally) bought the GI Joe: Cobra Civil War and GI Joe: Cobra Command volumes. I’d been eyeing them for weeks, and had determined that if I was going to buy either I wanted to buy both…but even at half off, it wasn’t a minor purchase.

Fortunately, both yesterday and today, what I bought was 20% off the posted pricing, which made the already-great buys even better…and I "pulled the trigger" on buying these to avoid "missing out" and truly regretting it later.

Continued Grousing about HPB Comics Pricing

Of course, Half-Price Books–both locations I’ve most recently visited–fancy themselves collectibles dealers when it comes to actual comics. I’d balked for ages at their "default" $1-unless-otherwise-marked pricing, and was less than thrilled, even at them going up to 50 cents from 25 cents, as well as even having a huge chunk of their comics as "priced" comics, $5 and up for rather crummy condition older bronze-age or silver age stuff.

But now they’ve gone completely over the deep end as far as I’m concerned.

"All comics $2.00 each unless otherwise marked."

REALLY?!?

Sure, maybe some of the "more recent" stuff–say, from the last 5 or so years–might be "worth" $2 each if someone’s missing an issue in a run.

But when likely part of the reason anyone’s willing to part with recent comics en masse is the ready availability of the things in collected volumes or digital.

Comics…in general, as individual items…just are not worth anything as collectibles. Even worse, with countless variants and renumberings and reboots and such, it’s nearly impossible to be able to just scoop up a "run" of ANYthing, let alone finding any of it worth $2 an issue. (All the more as "local one-day shows" and most conventions I’m aware of lately seem to have the majority of dealers putting everything into $1 bins for "recent comics" that aren’t "priced" one-off "key" issues or bronze age or older).

Given what I routinely find in the 25-cent and $1 bins at Kenmore Komics, the wealth of stuff in the 25-cent and $1 bins at JC Comics and Cards, as well as the type of stuff in the bargain bins at Comic Heaven, combined with the fact that "arbitrary" "collector pricing" is found on a disappointing quantity of graphic novels/collected volumes mixed in with the truly half-price stock means that anything that would be worth $2 or more to someone like me at a used books store would be "collector priced" as well.

I suppose, though, I should also consider the fact that I have three such comic shops so readily accessible without going overly out of my way is quite a boon, and a definite rarity these days.

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2 Responses

  1. Ay yai yai, TWO BUCK a pop? Two (of the three) HPBs in my neck of the woods have more or less stopped pricing comics altogether, just having them at “half of cover price… unless otherwise marked”. It’s quite the scene, and really quite a burden to boot!

    This weekend I found a bunch of $1.00 books in the bins… unmarked, so 50 cents. When I got to the register, they weren’t aware of the “half price” methodology and proceeded to charge me full cover price. When I balked, they looked at me like I was trying to steal, and made a huge production over it… shopping there just isn’t much fun anymore!

    • I would be REALLY interested in finding out if they TRULY actually SELL many comics, or just have people flipping through them, expecting to find “hidden gems” like Amazing Spidey 300, Uncanny X-Men 266, etc. (that obviously, since they “police” what they sell for CONDUCTIBILITY rather than “half off” ain’t gonna happen).

      And if it’s just “one person” at a given HPB pushing for that, they sure need to do better at explaining to employees when they change pricing schemes.

      There’s another used-books place out here that is either gone now or at the end stage of the “going out of business sale” that did half-cover-price on old ’90s comics–so stuff like 1993-1995 Valiant (the bird-cage-fodder-because-there-were-so-danged-many-copies-produced) that had a $2.25 price back in ’93 would be $1.12ish when I would consider the books at MOST 25-cent (and they’re stuff that I’d usually pass on, even IN the 25-cent bins).

      I count myself extremely fortunate to have multiple local-ish comic shops though for selection and glad I don’t have to RELY on HPB.

      Maybe they’ll do a workshop sometime, like “How to Spot Truly Collectible Books in the Wild” or “The Inherent Value of Any Given Comic Book (or Why Any/All Comics Are Worth At Least $1)”…

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