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Where is the NON-Variant?!? TMNT Universe #1 Frustration

Welcome to The Weekly Haul Disappointment post for this week.

Yeah, there’s a bit of annoyance there, and disappointment, and frustration, and as I type this, I’m more “resigned” to things than the lit-up pissed-off that I was a couple hours ago.

See, ever since it was announced, I’ve been looking forward to the new TMNT Universe series from IDW. I’ve been loving the regular ongoing series (well, the past year or so post-Shredder hasn’t been nearly as interesting to me, but that’s another topic for another time) and I was jazzed at the prospect of a second ongoing title! (Presumably there’ll still be room for the occasional parallel-running mini-series in addition to the ongoings, but two ongoings allow for a lot more development without having to keep track of a bunch of “side” mini-series to begin with).

Reading last week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #61 and seeing the house ad for the series made me think first that I had flat-out missed the issue somehow, and then think it was late. (Of course, then I realized there was a fifth Wednesday for the month of August this year, and so it would still hit for “August 2016” and thus be “on time” for all the more I recalled any specific date).

tmnt_house_ad

So, with it being a fifth-week situation, and no new DC books due out for Rebirth (thus, no new Superman or Action Comics issue), there was one single, solitary issue I was particularly interested in for the week. TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_regSo despite recent discouragements and frustrations in life, and a particularly bad start to the day, I eventually set off for a comic shop intending to pick up this TMNT issue I’ve been looking forward to.

I was honestly sort of afraid it might sell out, given it might be under-ordered as being “just” another TMNT book, and yet I believe the cover artist (if not interiors) is the same as the Batman/TMNT mini, and it wouldn’t surprise me for that alone to impact sales of this (frustratingly enough).

So when I walked into the shop, I went straight to the “new comics” rack, skipped over the first half of stuff and found the “T” section, and spotted the logo/title and physically picked up a copy…as I began to realize something was wrong.

I was, of course, expecting the cover above. The cover whose image had been advertised as being the cover. The cover whose image I’d come to associate with looking forward to the issue. The cover…to TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_subInstead, I had a Kevin Eastman-style cover, which even though it’s a really freakin’ cool-looking image, is not the solicited image. It’s NOT the cover I have been looking forward to, expecting, and is not the standard cover. The one that actually, truly belongs to the issue.

This would be an absolutely fantastic poster.

I would love this as a poster, in fact.

But it’s a generic, stock-ish image of classic Mirage Studios TMNT, something that makes me think of the recent-ish TMNT Ultimate Edition hardcovers, or like something reprinting the original, classic TMNT #1, or a posterbook of Eastman covers, or something that actually is not this new, in-continuity parallel ongoing series to be a companion to the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title. This image does not reflect current goings-on in the series, and thus is not “relevant” for the ongoing stuff. It simply suggests a typical Turtles vs. Shredder and Foot.

After some honest debate and waffling on the matter, and despite the admittedly cool cover (which would have been perfectly fine had it been advertised as THE cover), I put the thing back, and didn’t buy it there. They had at least 15-20 copies of this cover, but none of the standard/regular cover.

tmnt_universe_0001_riI went to another shop I haven’t been to in awhile that was close-by, figuring ok, they would have the correct standard/basic/non-variant cover.

Unfortunately, on walking in and locating their “new comics this week” I was again greeted with a bunch of issues sporting that same cover–cool, but not the standard, basic, most non-variant cover.

I actually picked up their entire stack to gently flip through in the vain hope of at least one copy sporting the main cover.

No luck on that front, though I did find a copy of the “RI” cover (Retailer Incentive). Looking for the image online, I believe this one was indicated as the 1:10 ratioed variant, and since I did not see a price on the front, I turned it over to check the barcode box on the back, but alas! No price.

And I was in no mood whatsoever by then to even take a chance at being further pissed-off by asking the price and being told some outrageously jacked-up number (even $10) so I neatly put the stack back, and left.

I was angry enough to post an angry tweet on the matter.

It’s just a comic. It’s just a cover.

And frankly, simply buying the standard, basic, advertised cover for a brand-new issue, out today, with plenty of copies of the issue in-stock and available for cover-price should never be such an amazingly frustrating experience!

It’s not fun. It’s not cute. It’s not some “bonus” or such, it’s not “nostalgic” or a “nod to the past.”

It’s the sort of thing that–were it basically anything else other than TMNT, I’d be done with the series, and possibly even done with the publisher, just on principle. But as I’ve been on record in the past saying, TMNT is my exception, the thing that (so far) I’ll “give a pass” on and such.

But this is really trying whatever patience I have, and is a concrete reminder of just how freaking ridiculous stuff is getting in the world of contemporary comics and their publishing.

tmnt_universe_0001_correct_cover

Zero Hour Revisited – Robin #10

90srevisited_zerohour

robin_0010Two Birds One Stone

Story: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Ray Kryssing
Colors: Adrienne Roy
Letters: Albert DeGuzman
Assistant Editor: Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

This is probably one of the most "iconic" covers for me of the Robin run…as well as (loosely) one of my favorite issues. I’ve "always" enjoyed Tim and Dick’s interactions, and having their ages/experience somewhat reversed here (while playing with Tim’s relative inexperience solo anyway) just makes for an interesting, entertaining story.

We open on Robin (Tim Drake) pursuing a lead, but he encounters another Robin…one that turns out to be a young Dick Grayson. Realizing this is another instance of a time anomaly, Tim invites him along on the case. While pursuing "Weasel," the two bond a bit, and even learn some from each other. As the case wraps up, almost with a positive ending, outta nowhere, things fade to white.

Story-wise, this fits right into stuff with Zero Hour and the Batman family of titles, in that we have a solo Tim/Robin story, set during Zero Hour, that involves something not easily explained EXCEPT for "Zero Hour time anomalies." We see Tim in action, still early in his "solo career" as Robin (defining "solo" with the start of his ongoing series, having had solo adventures in the past across annuals and three mini-series, as well as Dick Grayson Robin having had solo outings years prior in backups and whatnot). We see that he’s still learning, still growing, and get some character development through that as he interacts with Dick. I also find it interesting Tim noting that he has more experience at the point this story takes place, than Dick does for the time he’s from. That’s the sort of thing MY mind does, pulling up such comparisons (it’s been longer now since Tim’s ongoing series ended than the entire time I knew OF any Robin character, prior to Tim’s ongoing).

This issue being part of a crossover/event serves to enhance things, allowing for character development and forward-movement that would not be possible in a single issue without the established backdrop OF the event. Additionally, this is basically a one-shot/done-in-one story, where you really don’t need to know anything about the previous issue nor what comes next…you just get a story of Tim as Robin by himself, encountering a time-anomaly Dick Grayson, and the two go after some criminal. This doesn’t feel like something continued from a prior issue’s cliffhanger, and it ALMOST ends without a cliffhanger.

Yet the cliffhanger ending is the concrete tie-in to Zero Hour, outside of Dick’s appearance.

The art is certainly up to par with what I’d expect from this "era" of the title. I quite enjoy Grummett‘s work with Tim, and find that his style is what I tend to think of when I picture these early issues of the title. While the characters do have similar appearances, and the costumes have their differences, there’s still just enough hint of the physical differences that I could probably tell them apart with little difficulty. Of course, the rest of the art team helps in this regard, and colors make a difference along with the design differences of the costume.

All in all, this is one of the better tie-ins to the event, as well as being a darned good issue of Robin, period. If you come across this in a bargain bin, it’s well worth picking up. And if you’re a fan of Tim particularly, that goes extra.

Zero Hour Revisited – Legion of Super-Heroes #61

90srevisited_zerohour

legionof_superheroes_0061End of an Era Finale: Borrowed Time!

By: Waid, McCraw, Immonen, Boyd, Pinaha, McAvennie, Carlson
Special Thanks to: Kurt Busiek
Dedicated with Respect and Admiration to: Binder, Siegel, Shooter, Levitz, Giffen and The Bierbaums
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.95

OK…now THAT is the sort of thing I was expecting!

This issue sees the remaining LoSH members and Legionnaires united, and learn the truth of the Time-Trapper. It’s not just their "now" and such being threatened by the time issues…it’s all of Time itself! And it’s revealed that there’s nothing that can be done here/now to STOP entropy from engulfing everything…but for there to be ANY chance of Time being put right, a duality, the existence of both the older and younger Legion folks–must be resolved. This is by having the young doppelgangers "merged" with their older, original selves…even as the older selves are also about to fade out. And so it ends…lives given, a heroic sacrifice, for even the CHANCE of an eventual positive outcome.

The story is rightly called End of an Era, and this felt enormous.

Unlike the other Legion tie-ins to Zero Hour that were also chapters of End of an Era–this one I felt the enormity, the significance, that sense of this being a pivotal moment–not just for what it has to do with Zero Hour (not much, directly) but also for what it is to the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion is a definite blind-spot for me…but I’ve often been "aware of" their presence with occasional interactions with other stuff I’m reading. And I know there have been a number of "reboots" and such, just as I recall the "5 Years Later" and the younger Legionnaires…because even though I didn’t follow the series, I DO recall getting that first issue–Legionnaires #1–because hey, it was the ’90s, it was polybagged with a card, and most importantly–it was a #1 (then still a rare thing compared to modern comics).

I actually enjoyed this issue. I don’t know all the names–but most were "familiar," both in general and from earlier chapters read recently. And I recognize Thom as a character who was involved in JSA stuff during Geoff Johns‘ run–at least around the time of Thy Kingdom Come, a few years back. Though this was read in a vacuum (if somewhat LESS of a vacuum for reading the Legionnaires and Valor chapters already, plus stuff in Zero Hour itself), it was enjoyable and worth reading. I’m genuinely interested in at least "looking into" more Legion stuff (if only via Wikipedia), and curious about how long both this version of the Legion title and Legionnaires actually ran…but not quite enough to look it up while typing.

I’m a bit mixed in feelings on the visuals…I’m not entirely thrilled with them, but the art worked well here. Particularly seeing Immonen‘s name, I feel like I should enjoy the art, and there’s that part of me that wants to say something proactively positive about it, but flipping back through the issue, I’m not really struck by anything overly stand-out about it. It is not bad, but it’s–as with most comics–not one that blows me away with some sense of singular awesomeness. The story is definitely gotten across, and here perhaps more than on other related issues, the fade-to-white is extremely effective both visually and in serving the LoSH story while also tying it concretely to Zero Hour.

Though this does not directly move the plot of Zero Hour forward, it is certainly a worthy tie-in, and one of (continually, surprisingly) few to carry the crossover banner that seems to have been justified in doing so.

Showing Off a Shelf: Dragonlance Hardcovers and Gaming

A couple weeks ago, I showed off a shelf of a few of my Magic: the Gathering books; here, now, are my Dragonlance  hardcovers.

dragonlance_shelves_with_mage_knight

Along with the books themselves, I have the Fifth Age game and several of its supplements.

These hardcovers are virtually all by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, or one or the other. I also have a number of graphic novels–several from the ’80s or early ’90s, and most from when Devil’s Due had the license in the earlier/mid 2000s.

Above the books are four dragons from the short-lived Mage Knight game, and then sharing the shelves are several giants and vehicles also from the Mage Knight game. While these are not associated with Dragonlance, in being from a game with a fantasy type setting, they fit well enough on these shelves for me at least for the moment.

Dissecting a Dollar-Store Comic: Freex #1

I usually don’t pay much attention to comics in the "dollar stores" and such. Usually they’re just quarter-bin fodder, random stuff I’ve no interest in, or already have–and certainly not worth $1 or more…particularly when I’d be more interested in buying several at once. (Or often packages are more than $1, but contain several issues of which–at best–I only know what 2 of them are).

Today, I was at a Dollar Tree, and without looking for them, had one catch my eye…very obviously Freex #1, from back in July 1993.

dollar_store_comic_01

As a novelty thing, and not loading up with a bunch of other random stuff that would add up to a hefty price tag to get out of the store, I was all the more willing to buy this. Hey, just one single dollar, one single issue…and of course, this is half the price of what it would be at Half-Price Books… and there’s something enjoyable about coming across an issue like this completely unplanned and un-expected.

I was also just slightly curious about the "bonus" collector trading card pack and cards.

dollar_store_comic_05

Looking on the back of the pack, I saw the contents list, and my curiosity was piqued at the "How to Collect Comic Book Collectors Guide." I was pretty sure I’ve had/seen this in the past…if not this exact "brand," then certainly something similar. But for today’s mood…it was a curiosity and selling point for me…and definitely an "added value" to dropping a whole entire dollar on a vintage comic book I have at least half a dozen times over.

dollar_store_comic_02

I could tell despite all the stuff on the front of the package (basically just a sealed polybag) what this issue was–Freex #1, from the second month of Ultraverse launches! Adding (sentimental) "value" was seeing that the issue was itself still in original polybag with the Ultraverse Premiere #0 coupon…in this case, a "wild coupon" for the mail-away issue. The original trading card is also there.

While I’ve seen this #1 issue numerous times in bargain/used-comics bins, I’d guess that it’s at most a 50% find-rate with the bag, coupon, and card included. I have plenty of sentimental value attached to this, as I "nearly missed out" on the mail-away issue: I was able to use one of these "wild coupon" to make up for the one I was unable to obtain from an issue of Wizard Magazine (having collected all the others).

dollar_store_comic_04

I’m not at all impressed with the included trading cards. Some sort of Elvis card, which has no appeal to me–enjoy his music, but no interest in trading cards featuring the guy (or even musical artists in general). Some sort of "puzzle card" from this WWII Trading Cards set…worthless because I have no other cards, and it’s maybe only 1/9th of a single photo, meant to be assembled as a full set. I also have some personal "issue" with something like war being glorified in trading card format (or just commercialized, if not necessarily glorified).

I do remember VR Troopers (vaguely), but I’m far, far more a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers guy, so not even enough interest to bother opening the pack for now. Far as I’m concerned, miscellaneous ephemera to be tossed aside for now…maybe it’ll wind up in the trash, maybe it’ll wind up in someone else’s hands… or perhaps it’ll just languish amidst other such ephemera in my possession.

dollar_store_comic_03

This How to Collect Comics thing is slightly larger than an actual comic, but smaller dimensionally than a magazine. The entire unit is newsprint, so nothing at all fancy nor particularly high quality. It’s very reminiscent of the old American Entertainment and Entertainment This Month catalogs, except I’d peg it as a far lesser quality than those…perhaps the nostalgia and sentimentality I hold regarding AE/ETM (one of the catalogs being a large part of my getting back into comics and being able to get "back issues" prior to discovering "comic shops").

I’m not too keen on stuff trying to offer "instruction" on collecting comics…and don’t much care for even these packs in the sense of trying to (continue to?) push the notion of any/all comics, by default, simply for existing being some sort of valuable item. Even as a sales tactic like this pack was, in a dollar store. I mean, if they’re willing to sell it such that I–as the end user, the customer–am "only" paying $1, then (to me) it’s highly obvious that the issue is not worth anything more than that dollar. At most.

I like these for the sense that some kid might get to access a random such comic without having a comic store, without having to "go digital," and being some random thing a parent may buy–after all, it’s "only $1" and all that.

dollar_store_comic_06

It’s certainly odd to me to consider that anyone would "need" some kind of guide like this, but then, I have 28 or so years’ experience to completely, thoroughly take stuff for granted, these elements of a comic cover. (Then again, I suppose at times whoever is sorting single issues at Half-Price Books could perhaps benefit at better understanding of subtitles and elements of comic titles/layouts).

dollar_store_comic_07

This is just some totally-filler, cheesey page. I almost hate to say it, but really…it’s just sad. Maybe it’s slightly humorous (at least, say, for a kid) it doesn’t hit me that way as a guy in his mid-30s.


All in all, for re-acquiring the issue, and having something to focus my attention and time on for as long as it took to take these photos, get them loaded for the post, write this post, and so on…it certainly made this well worth the $1 I spent.

This does have me rather interested in seeking out more dollar stores to check for this sort of pack and see if I can find any fun gems…as it was, I saw numerous copies of an issue of The Maxx, as well as Secret Weapons #1 from classic Valiant, and a couple Image issues from the early days…probably WildC.A.T.s or Youngblood though I couldn’t easily tell at a glance if the Youngblood was #1 or not.

Several years ago, I’d bought a pack of several comics like this simply because of a Batman poster…there’s a Superman one that exists that I’d love to find.

Despite this singular purchase being worth $1 to me on content and time spent involved with it, that is not a "natural default" for these, and many comics found this way I personally would consider to absolutely be quarter-bin fodder, and far from worth $1. But if one doesn’t have a comic shop nearby or access to back issues, and especially if there manages to be an issue or "bonus item" included of appeal to the individual…it’s absolutely worthwhile!

dollar_store_comic_00

The Weekly Haul – Week of August 24, 2016

A definite small week in terms of new Wednesday stuff.

weekly_haul_week_of_08242016

New TMNT, new Action Comics, and because it was "only" $5.99 (hey, isn’t that what some single issues are from Marvel, nowadays?) the Spider-Man/Wolverine hardcover. Because hey…cheap oversized Marvel hardcover.

And while I continue to–going on 14 months now–refuse to buy any single issues from Valiant, if it’s a "free" issue tossed in, I won’t entirely object. Heck, I might even read it–since hey, I didn’t have to buy it. It’s still not gonna convince me to buy any.

I received an email today that my DCBS package will ship this week, so I doubled up on the Action Comics issue, but last time the package arrived on Friday before I had even gotten to read several of the issues I’d figured I was ok doubling up on, so…learned from that. Especially given life at present.

Comics’ Pricing and Half-Price Books: Why I Complain So Much

hpb_grousing02I don’t “get” HPB and their pricing on comics. They are a used-books store, firstly. Their very premise is “everything is half-off the publisher’s list price” (printed cover price in most cases). Meaning that reasonable expectation is that you walk in, and everything is half-off. Not “pull a random book that’s appealing and discover it’s full price or 150% cover price or 200% cover price.”

Because they are a generalized books store, and have numerous “sections,” they are not a subject-speciality store. You want historical reference? They have it–but they’re not a “Historical Reference” shop. Books on pets/animals? Section for that, too–but they’re not an “Animals books” shop. Religious texts? Sure, they have a section for those, too–but they’re not a “Religous books” store. Vinyl records–yeah, they have those as well, but they’re not a “Record Store.” CDs, but even Records and CDs, they’re not a “Music Store.” They have DVDs and Blu-Ray, and I’m sure I’ve even seen VHS…yet they’re not a “Movie Store.” So even though they have comics and graphic novels, they are not a “Comic Shop.”

hpb_mentor

photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/042

At least a couple of the HPB locations I’ve been to have had a whole separate section for “Rare,” “First Edition,” “Autographed,” and “Out of Print” books. This works well–this section is a “special” section of the store that provides space for the anomalous pricing…these rare, collectable volumes/editions are outside of the store’s broad, general premise of half-off: this section is where you would expect to find that $100+ signed First Edition of a book from 1892 or such. Or the now-long-out-of-print oversized Marvel Hardcover edition of House of M from 2005 or so.

As such, I find that it is quite reasonable of me to be able to expect that if I’m browsing the general “Graphic Novels/Manga” section of the store (not the Rare/Collectable) section–that everything will be at least half-off. If something is damaged, overly common, donated, or whatever factors lead to it–more than half off is a bonus, and quite acceptable…even though it’s the inverse that drives me batty–finding something less than half-off or even with a price at or above cover price. For me, it only goes one-way: cheaper than half-off = good, less than half-off = bad…and I admit that readily.

hpb_grousing01Typically, the vast majority of their graphic novels and such are well-organized, with four primary categories: DC stuff, Marvel Stuff, manga, and non-DC/non-Marvel/non-Manga. Within those, they tend to be roughly alphabetical, and generally the same series is clustered together with numbered volumes in a series mostly in numerical order. My core complaint here is when the higher-priced “collectable” editions are mixed in…when I get excited about the Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told thicker volume being present, it’s a huge turnoff to the store in general to be looking for the $9.99 price thinking it’s a $19.99 volume and finding a sticker indicating that HPB is actually asking $29.99 ($10 above cover price!) because it’s marked as “Out of Print.” If it’s out of print and thus rare and they’re not willing to “let it go” at half-off the cover price…it should not be shelved in with the general stock! I’m not shopping at HPB for rare/out of print stuff, and if it’s not half-off cover price, it is functionally not in stock at all even if the store has a copy present, for my purposes of general browsing.

hpb_mayfield

photo from HPB website, https://ww.hpb.com/050

Back to my earlier bit about their not being a comic shop: their pricing on single issues. HPB‘s pricing has been erratic and trending toward the ridiculous, and the other day I would escalate it from “ridiculous” to flat-out absurd! Being curious, I checked to see what the single-issue stock was like…and they had a relatively new-looking sign indicating that all comics are $2.00 unless otherwise marked. I do not fault them for setting a “general” price, or a “minimum” price or such, but there are a number of factors that collectively leave me extremely irked essentially “on principle” with that $2 mark. (Among other things, numerous prose books into the mid 1990s were roughly $4 each, so that at the “half price” they would be $2 as vintage items compared to relatively recent comics; let alone 1990s comics that by and large are hardly worth 25 cents apiece). To me, HPB does not “earn” the “legitimacy” with their comics to be asking “top dollar” for them.

I would strongly argue that most single issues of comics from the late 1980s/early 1990s to the early 2000s (if not at this point as recent as 2005 or so) are functionally 25-cent-bin books. Between digital and collected volumes, the single issues hold very little “value,” after their first couple weeks or life of the story they contain. It typically seems to me (and I could be wrong) that in many cases, it’s the long-time comics folks who are adamant about having “the single issues.” I imagine casual fans are happy just to read the stories, and would be content with collected volumes, perhaps moving to single issues if they’re completely caught up from collected volumes to where the only option is the single issues, because the current story has not yet finished for there to BE another collected volume. As such, once the story is in a collected volume, there’s little demand or collectability to the single issues.

hpb_grousing03HPB‘s comics are primarily in open bins to be flipped through. Typically their “priced” issues (the “unless otherwise marked” issues) are at least bagged if not bagged and boarded. So those $2 default-priced issues are the ones that likely were not worth protecting and individually pricing, as well as the ones that are more prone to damage from anyone/everyone “flipping through” the bins, bending covers, ripping/tearing, etc. and damage as sturdy bag/board issues get pushed back in, yanking a cover off, or causing the “loose” issue to be folded under, its bottom folded and the whole thing pulled downward…or tape from the protected issues sticking to a loose cover, etc. Someone simply browsing is more likely to pull a “loose” issue out and flip through it than to attempt to take an issue out from a bag or bag and board (especially if there are signs requesting one not do that).

Aside from being loose and more prone to browsing-damage…these “single issues” are not a curated collection. HPB has some dividers indicating letters of the alphabet, and that’s about the extent of the organization of the issues. The “A” section might start with several issues of Avengers followed by a couple Mighty Avengers and Dark Avengers (“M” section and “D section mixed here with “A”) before getting to an issue of Action Comics Weekly and then some issues of Angel: After the Fall and then an issue of Avengelyne before getting to a bunch of scattered issues of Clone Saga-era Amazing Spider-Man and then 4 out of 5 issues of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows and so on. There might be 50 scattered issues of Amazing Spider-Man, but they range from #372 to #595, and are in no discernable order. There’s no telling if there are even any instances, say, of two consecutively-numbered issues…unless one personally goes through all the bins (not even just this “A” section) to pull the issues and then sort by number.

Columbus, North High - https://www.hpb.com/092

photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/092

One might be able to–at a glance–see that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of late silver-age or even bronze-age Superman comics (spanning Superman, Action Comics, Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, The New Adventures of Superboy, Supergirl, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Adventure Comics Featuring Supergirl, etc). These will be “priced” issues, ranging perhaps $1.75 to $25 or $30 or $35+. And yet… they’re all intermingled, out of order, and so on. Absolutely maddening to even consider seeking one or two specific issues in the mess. And asking even $2/issue let alone the higher collectable prices…but at best you can find most of a given series scattered within a mess of comics whose series titles all begin with the same single letter.

hpb_too_expensive_comics_02At 25 cents or even 50 cents…sure, throw the stuff in loose and let the customer sort it out. You’re not making any significant money of a couple single issues here and there, no need to go to the effort of clear, detailed sorting. I, for one, have no problem with just flipping through several bins of stuff looking for something that is (to me) an unexpected treasure, when I’m “only” out 25 to 50 cents per issue. My effort is made up for by the insignificant price. But once you’re getting to $1 an issue or $2 an issue that’s a much higher, significant bit of money off single issues (and I’ve not seen any HPB location use any “middle-tier” pricing like 75 cents (from the 25 to 50 cents) nor $1.25, $1.50, or $1.75 between $1 and $2!) If I’m paying $1 or $2 per issue, I’m a lot more “serious” about the issues and as such expect the seller (HPB) to take it seriously as well. Have everything in order by series and number within the series. If you think you know enough about comics to know which ones are truly “key” issues worth having a higher price, know as well which version of series go in what order, and which number comes before another number.

Perhaps I overthink it, but…respect the customer. Respect the fact that someone who doesn’t know anything about comics doesn’t care about this particular issue over that particular issue, and thus will have zero interest in laying out $25 when there are sixteen other issues with Superman on the cover for $2 apiece, any one of which works as “a Superman comic for the kiddo.” Meanwhile, anyone who is willing or capable of laying out $25 for a single (not particularly great condition) issue does actually know at least a little bit about comics and that the used-books store is not a comic shop nor is this customer at a convention or other comics specialty location.

hpb_north_olmsted

photo from HPB website, https://www.hpb.com/077

Additionally, one should know enough to differentiate between printings (at the height of the Death of Superman, the newsstand edition of Superman #75 went for around $10. Past 2010, the fourth printing of this issue–that probably was never “worth” more than about double cover price (or $2.50) certainly is not a $10 issue. In 2016, one should realize that those ridiculous, astronomical prices of certain issues in the 1990s–be it one of the Deathmate issues or the original Gen13 #1 or whatever–were already inflated and inaccurate, more a sales gimmicky thing of Wizard Magazine than much else. Maybe Gen13 #1 for one month in an issue of Wizard was listed as “$40.00,” but 20+ years later, I don’t know (of) anyone who would pay $10 for the single issue (probably not even that for a collected volume of the first 4 or so issues–the first story)!

hpb_too_expensive_comics_03Finally and perhaps most shocking to me recently…”clearance” comics were seen priced at $1 (they were 25 cents or 50 cents as recently as six months ago)…but $1 by tear-away stickers directly on the covers of the comics themselves. Essentially, the comics were being defaced to mark them as “clearance” items…and at $1 apiece. I could sort of see at 25 cents apiece or 50 cents apiece, marking them physically, indicating they’re not the “$2 unless otherwise marked” comics not otherwise marked. But putting stickers on them that are designed to tear apart and not remove simply or cleanly is flat-out insulting.

If things were priced consistently and clearly I would also have less problem…but all of the above taken into consideration, in short, sometimes it looks to me like it’s just someone at HPB looking at an issue or a graphic novel and thinking “hey, I think that was something I “heard” was valuable…better price that higher to not lose out!”

hpb_grousing04I posted recently about a paperback edition of The Irredeemable Ant-Man that I found, priced as expected at half-off the cover price. And yet, by the same apparent “logic” that seems to “mandate” something like Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told or a hardcover of Avengers Forever be priced at 150-200% above cover price, the Ant-Man book should have been $10-$20, but it wasn’t. Because who gives a darn about The Irreedeemable Ant-Man compared to Batman or The Avengers?

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