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On NOT Going to Local Comic Shop Day

I admit it–I did not participate in (attending) Local Comic Shop Day today.

doctor_strange_the_oath_lcsd_hardcover_solicit

My primary interest–which I recognize comes largely from a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch in costume as Doctor Strange holding a copy of this book combined with over-hypeage from Bleeding Cool–would have been Doctor Strange: The Oath.

Thing is, virtually no one had a PRICE listed.

See, I don’t have the kind of money to just not care what the price is on an item. The price itself helps determine my interest…as it’s a huge part of how realistic it is for me to even consider purchasing the item.

Then I did find a price for it–$39.99! $40 for a 5-issue hardcover…functionally $8 per issue!

Nope, no thank you, nuh-uh, I don’t think so.


Then there’s this other question: isn’t every Wednesday ‘Local Comic Shop Day’?!? Where, weekly, on Wednesdays minimum, sometimes additional days, I visit some local comic shop and usually wind up buying SOMETHING. I’m not into records and such and don’t visit places like The Exchange or Buybacks or even Best Buy on any regular shedule, and not even necessarily weekly or monthly. But I do visit a comic shop virtually every single week.

So I can see where, perhaps, a Record Store Day or such might get more people in…but when it becomes (whether record store or comic shop) about high-end, premium, ultra-limited-edition high-priced "exclusive" items…that’s NOT EVEN doing anyone any good except rooking the customers.

I might have been interested in the Serenity issue, but that would’ve been more of a "guilt" purchase once I was at a shop, if I felt like I "had to" buy something after spending too long "just browsing" or such.

I don’t like variants generally-speaking, and all the more I don’t like relatively prominent alternate logos or variants so prevalent they get their own logo.

So having a prominent Local Comic Shop Day/LCSD logo on something would just make it stand out (negatively, for me) as "not the ‘real’ thing" and as something faux-special. Worse, the other main thing I might’ve been interested in would be the DC Universe: Rebirth deluxe hardcover…but the LCSD edition is just an inferior, unfinished cover! (aka "sketch" cover or whatever the called it)

Worse, this came less than a week before "Black Friday," in the midst of all sorts of "early" or "pre" Black Friday "sales" and such the world over (ok, slight exaggeration), with the ACTUAL Black Friday looming, followed by "Small Business Saturday" (aren’t virtually all comic shops "Small Businesses"?!?) and even "Cyber Monday" (at least in terms of online sales, for ordering stuff via online methods).


Am I just that discouraged lately, that grumpy and cynical and such?

Perhaps all the better that I didn’t go to a shop.

But with something like the Doctor Strange hardcover, or any of the other "LCSD exxxxclusivvvvveeee!!!!!!" things…if it were REALLY about getting people into the shops and aware of them and such…don’t short the shops or force THEM to pre-order everything. Make stuff available FOR ORDER, even if it’s a one-day-only ORDERING.

Get me into a shop, "sell" me on an item–having a copy of it in-person to show me–but if you don’t have enough at the moment, be able to order one for me, because it IS LCSD and it’s a special FOR that day.

Meanwhile, Wednesday I’ll be making my hour-or-so drive to my "usual" LCS to buy my pull list stuff, some things on order, and likely raid the bargain bins. Because it’ll be Wednesday.

And for me, EVERY Wednesday is Local Comic Shop Day.

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At the Cost of the Fun of Comics

Marvel spiked the price of many of their comics to $3.99 a few years ago, and it was even admitted that it was basically just because people would pay it.

DC immediately drove me away from Action Comics due to lack of REAL CONTENT for its $3.99 price point with the second issue. I’ve now long since left all of DC‘s New 52 titles due primarily to a simple lack of real interest in the monthly product.

IDW‘s standard pricing is $3.99 for everything.

So is Valiant‘s.

Boom! seems to be that way as well.

Image has a bunch of $2.99 books, but between seemingly “written for the trade” or “limited series,” I’d much rather read Image stuff in collected-edition format.

I think I’m back up against a psychological wall again, comic-wise.

At a time when I’m more interested in a bunch of Marvel titles than I’ve been in over a decade…the fact most of those are $3.99 just kills it for me.

And the more I consider, the more I realize that I’m just so psyched-out by how expensive stuff is, most of the fun goes out. When my entire month’s “budget” is blown in 2 weeks and I dread the racking-up of the $3.99 books yet to come for the remaining weeks of the month…it just plain sucks. It’s a stress I don’t need.

And maybe I need to just cut my losses. Yeah, there’s a lotta stuff out there I’d enjoy reading, I’d like to follow, I’m ready to get in with the new #1s on stuff…

Maybe the surgical approach just won’t work, and I need to just hack off entire limbs. For $13 under what I spent this week alone on new comics I could drop to two TMNT books from IDW at the hated-but-exempted-because-it’s-TMNT $3.99 and 2-3 $2.99 books from Marvel (X-Men Legacy, FF, and Thunderbolts).

Wouldn’t be too hard to convince me to add Daredevil to the group–it’s $2.99; ditto for Hawkeye and possibly Gambit as well.

That would still–for a MONTH’S worth of books–be $4 cheaper than this one week’s new books. That $4 would buy me 16 comics from the LCS bargain bin–over a year’s worth of one title, several mini-series, some one-shots/one-offs/special/stand-out issues, some combination.

xomanowarseriesone20120919.jpgI could use the rest of the month to purchase collected volumes–full price or through Amazon. Hit the bargain bins, spend a bit more to fill in gaps in my 1990s X-books and Valiant collections.

Just plain save the money for other occasions.

Comics are supposed to be fun.

But I’m not sure how much fun I’m actually having, at least right now.

A Multi-Panel cover image done RIGHT

Rediscovered this over the weekend: the covers to Batman: Battle for the Cowl #s 1-3 fit together to make a single, large 3-panel image.

And thankfully, rather than serve as 3 variants to any single image of the mini-series…each stands on its own and serves as a single cover for DIFFERENT issues each.

I only had to purchase ONE copy of EACH issue, and by getting the entire 3-issue mini, I got the entire image.

REALLY wish this practice was followed in general.

Not At Comic Con

I’m not in San Diego this week.

I’m not going to Comic Con.

And at this point, I’m seriously considering staying off of Facebook and Twitter for a few days.

Maybe I’m just some curmudgeon anymore. But it seems there’s so much focus either on “exlusives” (how many people want these to HAVE them, and how many want them to SELL them at huge markups on eBay???).

And frankly, I just don’t think I have it in me to try to “keep up” with every last snippet of “news” or “announcements” and such.

Tonight (pretty much as soon as I post this, actually) I’m driving to the airport to pick up my sister. First I’ll have seen her in over a year and a half. That’s pretty exclusive, wouldn’t you say? And I’m going to get to introduce her to Zig, my parents’ kitty, who I simply adore. That’s gonna be a pretty exclusive slice of life.

I just got a package the other day of the complete Eclipso: The Darkness Within story from the 1992 DC Annuals. It’s been 19 years since I was introduced to that story. Kinda special, no?

I picked up Legends 1-6 for $.25/ea at the LCS today, and I’ve been interested in that story for a few months now with a vague interest since way back in 1992 or earlier when I found a Superman comic that was a Legends tie-in (#3?). Kinda special as well, no?

And while everyone’s geared up for this unfathomable mass that is Comic Con…

I will be beginning my first real vacation in better than 2 years, with a couple of my oldest friends, and getting far away from usual life. Y’all have your comic con…I’m taking vacation.

And I’ll catch up with stuff sometime later.

[Due to vacation, no reviews this week and none next week. I may post some random stuff from vacation via phone, but time will tell.]

‘Because we CAN’ vs. ‘Because we SHOULD’

Though this is primarily a comics blog, I’m taking off the comics-guy hat for a few moments of venting.

I went to Kent State University for 2 1/2 years of graduate school in Library and Information Science. While there, I attended classes with and interacted with students and professors involved in a “usability” program which would—to my understanding—study the “usability” of web sites and other user interfaces. Basically, “how does the end user use this” or “how easy is this to use for the end user,” which is a step beyond the folks designing something. When you’re the one designing something, of course it’s going to be intuitive and easy to use—you’re the one thinking about how you want to use it, and your will be done.

Anyway…I have long been frustrated and annoyed with use of Flash and other “technology” to FORCE a user to use one particular “way” or “path” through something—particularly websites. I’m a multi-tasker/multi-tabber…if you have multiple links/bits of information I’m interested in, I want to keep one page open in a tab, and be able to simply go down the line and open numerous links in new tabs—then I can go through and read what I want, and branch new series of tabs off of that…and it is NOT uncommon for me to find myself with 30-50 tabs open after an hour of using Wikipedia to look something up.

Sprint is my extreme example right now, though, of something that goes against anything I can think of for “usability.”

A number of years ago—late 2005 or so—I decided I wanted a backup of all the photos I had taken on my Sprint cameraphone. So I went to the Sprint Picturemail site, and after logging in was able to select an existing folder, and simply download that folder to my computer as a huge .zip file, that contained all of the photos, at full size.

However, those photos—that download/backup—that was all lost over a year ago now when the computer I had them on crashed the weekend I’d planned to do a proper backup of the machine.

Now, I again find myself trying to get those photos, which now span 7 years and number above 5,000…and in the years since that old download, Sprint has changed their site and interface.

They’ve implemented an interface far more reliant on Flash, and tried to make themselves like some other social network site or photo site, promoting features that—for someone like me—are totally useless or redundant or just uninteresting.

Their promo screen also—to ME—is a blatant LIE (though technically true, but that’s all relative to your purpose).

easiermyfoot

They’ve made it HARDER to download ALL your media and albums to your PC.

Just drag and drop them—“them” being INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS. One at a time, you can download these. A multi-step process—select the photo, drag it to the PC, wait for the download dialogue box to pop up, hit ok, wait for the download, then hit ok on a popup telling you how to download multiple files, and then you can go to your next photo to download and repeat the process.

OR—get this—you can hold down the Control key, and select multiple items…UP TO 21, because there is NO option to display more than 21 items at once. But if the Flash interface “hangs” or otherwise delays, your smooth mouse-pointer movement from one photo to the next will be affected, and register as you NOT holding down Control…and you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN selecting photos.

Sure, this interface is fine if you’re visiting someone ELSE’s collection of photos—you want a handful of photos, cool, select ‘em and go. You’re the owner of the photos, and you want a few select photos to upload your best to facebook or twitter of flickr or whatever—great.

But you’re the owner of the photos and you want to download everything to your own machine, to use in software on your own computer and not just the limited set of options on the Sprint site…

Well, there’s NO provision for THAT.

So as a result…I’m dedicating a big chunk of my day to going through, using this crappy, UN-friendly interface, attempting to download over 5,000 photos 21 at a time…and will then still have to go through over 240 such .zip files and unzip these photos, just to have a usable photo archive.

And maybe sometimes soon I’ll get into my feelings about numerous sites all trying to emulate facebook, and/or sites and services trying to make it easy for you to use them as your CENTRAL, core, prime “homepage” or home site by allowing you to import content from other sites/services…and yet making it impossible or extremely difficult to take data from this one to one of those others.

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