While browsing Half-Price Books, I happened to notice this volume: The Irredeemable Ant-Man–the second volume. This is a 2007 (9 years old!) edition, collecting issues 7-12 (I believe the single-issues ended at 12)…from back in the days when Marvel was playing with the digest-sized format for younger-reader/all-ages titles (such as Runaways, Sentinel, Spider-Girl, and Mary Jane/Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane).
This a long-out-of-print volume (again, 9 years and Marvel doesn’t seem to keep any given edition of much of anything “in print” for more than a few months!). Cover price on the book was $9.99 at the time. And didn’t we just have an Ant-Man movie out last year?
So here we have an out of print volume from nearly a decade ago, featuring the back-half of a series starring a character that (granted, this is not the same character as what was in the movie) just had a movie…this is surely the sort of rare, collectible volume that Half-Price Books would seem to love to sell as a collectible!
All the more because even if the original series was reprinted, now it would be as an “Epic Collection” or part of some “Omnibus” or a “Premier Edition Hardcover” or something–this is a long out of print rare book in a format not likely to be duplicated even if the material it contains is reprinted.
So really, I am honestly quite curious at how this slipped through at “only” $4.99, or (wait for it) Half. Price.
Half-Price Books, a place whose purpose is to take used/non-new books and sell them back to the public at half of cover price…and despite age, despite condition, despite status (out of print), despite being related to some huge movie (Marvel Studios), even despite being a Robert Kirkman-written book for Marvel (seems he’s sticking firmly to The Walking Dead and his other creator-owned/run projects as well as being a huge figure at Image and not terribly likely to be expected to produce anything else for Marvel at this point), this edition was price at half its cover price.
Meanwhile, there was an oversized Batman volume by–I believe Paul Dini and Alex Ross–that has a $9.99 cover price, and is Half-Price Books priced $19.99. In rather beat-up, dog-eared condition. Sure, out-of print, but not even masquerading as a good-condition edition, the thing’s been reprinted in a collected volume, and I’ve seen actual comic shops selling the Superman one, at least, and I think the Shazam! one, for $10 (so cover price) even all these years later.
Which ultimately tells me that there is very definitely no consistency to HPB‘s pricing scheme for comics/graphic novels (except as “wannabe collectible dealer”).
If something is looked at first as whether or not it is “in print” and marked up if not; having some media tie-in or not and thus marked up; featuring a popular (say, movie-worthy) character and the number goes up if so… why not something like this?
Then again, in this particular case it’s a Half-Price Books that has junk comics listed as “unless priced otherwise with an HPB sticker, all comics are $1 each.” When any of the comics matching that criteria are barely quarter-bin fodder and many comics have price stickers putting them at “full cover price” or more… And yet I’m reasonably certain that if I were to take any of my comics in to sell, they wouldn’t come anywhere near offering even 25 full cents to me per issue (if “everything” was bound for the generic bin, they’d still be “making” 75 cents an issue giving me only 25)…and they’d be making even more if they price-stickered anything.
Anyway…I bought this volume. I already had vol. 1, and never really expected to get around to snagging vol. 2. But finding it, and it being priced at half-price…it’s worthwhile. All the more having 6 issues’ content in an age where new Marvel #1 issues seem to be flirting with the $4.99-$5.99 price point.