Comic book fans just keep rolling though. How often have you heard on a podcasts or something about people that just keep getting books even if they don’t really like them? Or that they don’t even notice the price of their comics going up. The older more hardcore fan treats them the same way they did as a kid. Three dollars to four dollars is the same thing as fifteen to twenty five cents. And it’s disposable so they just keep eating them up regardless of price.
I’ve been quiet as of late but I’m still all about the death of comics coming cause they’re cutting the bottom out. There are two main ways to cater to a niche group, the apple/nintendo way and the way comics do it. Apple convinces people to pay more for a product than is probably necessary. The G5 tower could be $500 less and Apple would still make money on it, but they have to charge a premium on the white case. Ipods are more expensive and often inferior products to competing Mp3 players (save the touch, which is still too expensive and is rendered useless by living in an area with limited wifi) but they convince people that it’s “cool” to own one. They market the crap out of it and make the millions upon millions of people who buy them feel like they’re part of a club of thirty or forty people. You’re a real stunner if you buy that macbook air. That macbook pro is a sign of class and style and the fact that the thirty people beside you have one too makes it unique. and all the people in Starbucks using their iphones think they’re special too. It’s one of the greatest marketing campaigns I’ve seen in my life. It really is brilliant. I am in awe.
Then there’s comic books which say cater to a small group of people and make them feel special while also making it a pinch difficult for other to join the club. There’s no easy used comic book market. Looking at the price of things (and this really was a turning point in my life.) I got all of Terry Pratchett’s discworld on paperback for $60. at a store. in person. so I could see and inspect. no ebay or anything. I walked up and got all 33 books. That’s about two dollars a book. Now, if I go into any comic book store in my area there’s no way to get old stuff on the cheap. The most affordable way to get old stuff is to go to conventions. That means you have to pay money to possibly find what you want. Then you have to be around a bunch of people, and no offense meant because I go to these things, that are an insane variety of really strange. They make ME feel like an outsider sometimes. I’m grade A nerd. It is not a pleasant experiance for all parties. Digging through the random assortment of cheap books does nothing for newcomers either. You might find a run of a book that you want, but three of the issues will be two bins down and they’re not in alphabetical order, or any order. You have to just go one by one and hope what you want is in there.
What part of any of that makes someone want to read comics? The way comic stories are written don’t help. Twelve part crossovers that require you to read three and four books at three and five dollars a piece? No thanks. I don’t want that. What I want is something cheap. Something easy. Trades. But for some reason what gets traded is random, there are different formats. There’s no rules for anything. They’re startig to do a better job, especially Marvel with the “Marvel Illustrated” Imprint. Getting these comics with the regular books is what needs to happen. Having people thing of comics as something other than kid things is vital.
Comics are their way to death. There are big changes coming to the world and comics are either going to get with the times or end up like newspapers. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ll be posting answers to the problems later. This column is faaaaar from being finished. Note the “#1,” It’s a work in progress.