Monday, April 04, 2016

I think 5.00 $ is too much for a comic book

Since lately a lot of people are posting their " comic hauls " on YouTube or their websites I thought I might write a post about my last comic order I just received since it ties into the topic of Disney´s slow - not so secret - price increase from 4.00 $ to 5.00 $ for a single floppy comic book.

And I know, for the moment they are only doing it for their " special books " but come on, we all know how these things work. Or at least the ones who have not started reading or collecting comics Yesterday and have been around the block a few times know how this thing will play out.

First they do it on their special books, then it´s going to be more books, then it´s going to be almost every book and they it will be every book. At first there may be some extra content but soon it will be back to the regular page count with no extra content and there may be even less pages in the end. Don´t believe me ? The last time they increased the price from 3.00 $ to 4.00 $ they got rid of most of the letter columns.

Anyway, I think 4.00 $ for a comic is already a hefty price and I really thought that the independent comics would use this ocassion to kick the big two´s butt because they are finally at the same price point while most of the independents deliver far better entertainment than the drivel you get from the big two hucksters. But that didn´t happen. I don´t know if they were too scared to go up against the big guys but in my opinion there was an opportunity wasted here. In the end it was Disney and DC themselves who drove readers away and into the arms of other publishers by flushing decades of continuity down the toilet to make a quick buck. 

Now you might have read my post about all the Valiant comics I got for 50 cents, 40 cents and less along with a few other bargain books ( to which I still have to do the follow up post, but it´s coming, promise ) and for the longest time I have been planning to do a post about all the great comics UNDER 4.00 $ I have in my collection which are most of the specials and prestige format comics as well as all the MARVEL MONSTER issues. By god ! This is a 100 pages comic for 3.00 $, so what can you possibly put into a 4.00 $ comics that is worth spending one extra dollar ? And you should be able to get all MARVEL MONSTERS for cover price since they are not rare. 

So I want to go over the books I got on my last comic order to see what you can get for 4.00 $ or 5.00 $ these days. I have to mention that the online dealer I ordered it from had a special trade and hardcover sale where he sold a lot of his inventory for a really low price and that all the books would be labeled as " very fine " or " fine " which means they had some minor damage like being bent or the cover had printing damage.

None of these books would be labeled as new but it is what you would get from another collector or at a reduced price sales. And it´s not like you can get books in brand new condition for that price. I just ordered the second trade of the new UNCANNY X - FORCE series for under 4.00 € from amazon and I got the first one for around the same price. They also offer the AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hardcover - yes, the hardcover - which contains 8 issues for 5.55 €. So it´s not unreasonable you can get comics cheap.


My brother always tells me that I buy comics I already own and while that is true for some of the books we will find down the line this is not the case with this one. Well, unless you count the horrible STAR - TEAM pocket books from german publisher Condor Comics which might have reprinted some of the material collected in this 96 page paperback.

Now when I say horrible I don´t mean that the comics inside were horrible - although many of Today´s readers might say so - but the production qualities and especially the translation to the german language was bad.

One of the infamous staples of the Condor pocket books was they used typed lettering which reduced the amount of words you could put into the caption boxes and speech balloons. And because of the reduced size of the pocket books that was reduced even further. So often a sentence like " You will never get away with this, dastardly villain ! " was reduced to a simple " Bah ! " in the german version. Anyway, this is a trade I have been looking for quite some time and which I would have bought sooner if I had been able to find it somewhere. The normal price for it is 12.95 $ but since I could not find it at other comic shops I can´t tell you what the current market price for this would be. But I can tell you that if you want to buy it from amazon you have to pay 34 Euros and more. At first I was afraid this would not be the original comics I knew from my youth because in the info about the trade Joe Staton was mentioned as the artist and I don´t remember him from the Crusaders series but he only did the cover. 

Since you all are reading Terry Hooper´s brilliant COMIC BITS ONLINE blog religiously ( or at least you should if you have a soul ) I don´t need to explain who the Mighty Crusaders are and this trade reprints - as the title suggests - their origin which took place in FLY - MAN issues 31 to 33 and finally in the first issue of their own comic book MIGHTY CRUSADERS 1. 

The art is very different from what I remember since I came to the series around the sixth or seventh trade and by that time Rich Buckler and Tony DeZuniga were on the book but I always wanted to know how this particular super team came about and now at last I can read that story.


Here we have a comic where I already own all the single issues. But since it is the hardcover and I didn´t already have that I just had to grab this.

Especially at that price. I switched to the hardcovers with the third or fourth story so with this I can pimp my porn shelf even if I have to shuffle the books around a bit. Although that will happen anyway once I have finished reading Black Tower´s THE HOOPER INTERVIEWS phone book ( review pending ) and have to find a space for all the Black Tower stuff he sent me lately. There is not much to say about the series as either you know the books by Stephen King or not. The comic adaptions have slipped a bit in the later part but here it´s all good since this is the first one.

And the art by Jae Lee - either you love it or you hate it. Because this is not exactly a new book and there have been two german versions - one in the regular trade and hardcover format and one in an ovesized hardcover format - and an american omnibus released this may account for the low price at a very good condition. I have to admit that I´m way behind on my DARK TOWER comics because I kept waiting for that next hardcover that never arrived. I´m not sure if the decision to release it in softcover only was due to low sales but I have the next ones in my online basket and I´m just waiting for the right moment. Or for more money to come my way.


This trade is significantly thinner than the one I already have but with a regular price tag of 15 bucks on your average trade I´m not complaining.

I always meant to get in on this series but so far all I bought is the FABLES crossover with JACK OF FABLES which was offered at one of amazon´s Three Trades For 15 Euros sales. Which means I also only paid 5 bucks for each of the three trades. And the first issue as a VERTIGO ESSENTIAL although I might have already given it away for free during my last Christmas Contest. It´s hard to keep track of the comics I give away.

The story is not about Jack but rather seems to be a solo story starring his son, Jack Frost, who some of you might remember from the RISE OF THE GUARDIANS animated movie. Not the same guy though. This self contained story is probably better for readers who are not that familiar with the FABLES world like myself so this might be a plus. The art is your typical VERTIGO art which means it´s capable but you wouldn´t buy this on the art alone. I guess the last VERTIGO comics I bought because of the art are iZOMBIE ( I just loooove the tv series ) and AMERICAN VAMPIRE.


More VERTIGO stuff. I got trade 8 for 4.91 Euros and trade 9 for 5.05 Euros so without splitting hairs I got both for ten bucks so let´s say five bucks each. Any way, we are now officially in 5.00 dollar book territory.

THE UNWRITTEN is another of these VERTIGO books where I found the premise very interesting : celebrity Tom Taylor was the inspiration for the main character in a series of best selling kids books in the vein of HARRY POTTER written by his father. The only difference being that the things in the books are real and come back to haunt him. For the usual reasons of limited budget and time I never got around to read the series - although I always found the covers by artist Yuko Shimizu exceptionally interesting.

I don´t know if starting at the back end is really such a great idea but when opportunity knocks you have to answer and it worked on DOCTOR WHO where I started with The End of Time which was the last story with David Tennant. Sometimes knowing how things are going to end helps and makes you more interested in what came before. And in any case, this is not the finale of THE UNWRITTEN since there are two more trades left.


Okay, this is more than 5 bucks but I can´t do a post on only half the books I ordered and even if this is just a bit over the limit I want to include the following ones - which go more over that line - ad addendum.

Funnily enough I already own one issue contained in this trade. It´s issue 16 which was drawn by the great Jim Aparo and inked by the no less talented Kelley Jones. Each one of these artists alone would be reason enough to buy the issue so when I found out that this issue existed ( as always through the research for a post on this blog ) I had to buy it.

Now the issue is also contained in this second trade from the acclaimed run by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake who then went on to do an equally celebrated run on MARTIAN MANHUNTER. It collects issues 13 to 22 in which The Spectre deals with the topic of war which is always a heavy subject. Aside from one issue by Joe Phillips, one by Joe Ridgeway and the aforementioned Jim Aparo issue this is all Tom Mandrake art.

The trade has an impression around the cover but this is one I bought merely for the reading. I haven´t finished with it yet but so far people think that The Spectre might be out of control so in the next issues he will go up against Superman who will be wielding the Spear of Destiny. This is such a great series and this trade ties in with so much stuff - Eclipso, The Justice Society, John Constantine, The Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, Etrigan, Superman - that I would have gotten eventually even if I had to pay full price. This one and the MARTIAN MANHUNTER series are fantastic reads and not all of it has been collected in trade, in fact the second trade of THE SPECTRE just came out in December 2014 and the second one of MARTIAN MANHUNTER in September the same year.

I just love all the characters in this trade so this is another great addition to my comic collection. Did I already mention that this is a 20 $ book ?   


Speaking about 20 $ books, this is the crown jewel of the order and the reason why I couldn´t wait any longer - I didn´t want to risk to miss this.

Everybody who has read more than two posts on this blog knows I´m a huge George Perez fan and although I have this issues in various formats - ESSENTIAL, german pocket books, spanish comics - since I haven´t the money to buy them all in MARVEL MASTERWORKS this is the next thing.

Apart from the cover being slightly bent this trade is in superb condition and while most comic historians gloss over this period of the book in favor of the runs by Jack Kirby and John Byrne this was in my ball park.

It seems that my favorite times have always been the periods between great creative teams - as my posts on The Overmind Saga and the Epic Collection All In The Family prove - but I loved this. Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, on the Fantastic Four, human Ben Grimm and his Thing exoskeleton, the evil Reed Richards a.k.a. The Brute from Counter Earth, Salem´s Seven and through it all crazy George Perez drawing his behind off with mindboggling amount of detail. If something got smashed George drew the fragments so detailed that you could put it together like a puzzle.

As the name implies this collects the issues by George Perez and those issues ONLY so the first trade collects FANTASTIC FOUR 164 to 167, 170, 176 to 178 and 184 to 186 without the covers done by Jack Kirby, which are included on an additional page. So the completionists may be better suited with the ESSENTIALS, MARVEL MASTERWORKS or various other trades which reprint the series in chronological order, I couldn´t resist. 


Another piece of resistance and while the dust jacket has seen better days everything beneath it is in pristine condition. I´m a sap for Alan Davis art although I have to say I´m not sure if the same coloring was used in the single issues of this second, five issue mini series here.

I don´t remember the coloring being so flat and muddy but I´m too lazy to look for the issues now. In any case it´s a great read with an Alan Davis clearly enjoying what he does and it´s a pity the series didn´t have more success. Which might have to do with the fact that the Marvel guys did not promote this book nearly as much as its mutant of the month series.

Aside from the books listed here I ordered two black and white phone books, SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN 4 which contains the famous Superman Under A Red Sun story and ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS 4 for 9.19 Euros each. I would have included more as there was a dozen more I would have liked but I had to cut it short because of my limited budget and because my mother would have blown a gasket if two boxes full of comics had arrived here. I wanted to mention this special trade sale on the blog but before my order arrived all the remaining books were already at their regular prices. I think I just got my order in at the last minute.

Speaking about cutting things short it´s once again time to wrap things up as I have spent enough time sitting on this chair as it is. I hope this post was interesting for some and you know why for me 5.00 $ comics are just a crazy idea. Next time we will be back to our usual shenanigans. And speaking about our usual shenanigans, since I will probably not get to do a post Tomorrow ( because I will be adding the standard bell and whistles to this post ) I wanted to mention tv cult sire Krista Allen who celebrates her 45th birthday on that day. The brunette sexbomb played Clark Kent´s hot new teacher on SMALLVILLE, Jim Carey´s new neighbor with the big boobs in LIAR LIAR, the sexy oracle on CHARMED, vr honey Maitreya and the human template the stripper Jade Blue Afterglow on X - FILES but she is probably best known for her role of Jenna Avid on BAYWATCH HAWAII.

Now my readers outside of Germany probably don´t know what BAYWATCH HAWAII is and for the longest time I thought it was a BAYWATCH spin off.

Like BAYWATCH NIGHTS. So I was very surprised when I went looking on amazon for that and couldn´t find it. That´s because in Germany they titled seasons 10 and 11 of the regular show BAYWATCH HAWAII which exists nowhere else. Only in Germany there is a BAYWATCH HAWAII. I don´t know if they felt the need to give it an extra push because they exchanged the whole cast and relocated to Hawaii or they thought the german viewers would be too confused in any case it was a weird thing.

BAYWATCH was really big in the 90s and it is like THE ultimate babe tv show. No kidding. No other show had more actresses who were featured in Playboy or playmates. If there was a hot babe during the time the show was produced you can bet that she´s in - at least - one of the episodes.

You can say what you about David Hasselhoff but he sure has an eye for hot sexbombs and he is my hero for putting them on tv. So it´s no wonder that Krista Allen was added to the Who´s Who of male fantasies that was going through the revolving door on that show like Pamela Anderson, Carmen Elektra, Tracy Bingham, Teri Weigel, Jenny Mc Carthy, Jasmine Bleeth, Donna D´Erico, Kelly Monaco, Brande Roderick, Stacy Kamano, Nicole Eggert, Mitzi Capture, Gina Lee Nolin and Erika Eleniak before her.

Besides that Krista played famous french soft sex nympho Emmanuelle in 8 made for tv movies. As she did it when her body was in prime condition she was able to believable portray the sex machine with the high moan factor who merciless milks men until they can´t remember on which side the doorknob is. The show had some strange 3D effects - because that was the new thing at that time - and the stories were not that great but it was all worth it to see Miss Allen get her freak on. Whoa, did she ever.

Here it was shown on PRO7 but so far I haven´t seen the DVDs anywhere. Maybe I´ll have to buy them in Spain. So here´s to Krista Allen, many happy returns and thanks for the mammaries. And if you haven´t seen them do yourself a favor and hunt down those Emmanuelle tv movies.

I wanted to include a video about one of the George Perez issues from the Fantastic Four Visionaries trade but instead here is one about FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL 14 in which Nicholas Scratch and The Salem Seven return.

I couldn´t find a video about ClanDestine and since I already posted the Alan Davis episode of iFanboy here is a video about one of his greatest series Excalibur. Which strangely enough also wasn´t promoted as much as Marvel´s other mutant books. A mere coincidence ? I think not.

The next season of Doctor Who will not start before 2017 with a 2016 Christmas Special so in the meantime it´s back to watch the old episodes again. Thankfully I was busy with binge watching the new SUPERGIRL series so I could watch the crossover episode with THE FLASH but for the less fortunate here is a cool Doctor Who moment with Peter Capaldi.

In keeping with the topic of the post here is a video for my german readers with Der Blitz especially for those new comic collectors.

To close things out here´s Dami Im´s performance of Purple Rain during her second week on The X - Factor Australia where she once again gets a standing ovation. I posted this before but had to opt for the Mariah Carey videos since it was Mariah´s birthday and I don´t want more than one music videos on a single post. Unless it is a celebrity birthday post.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best


Gary said...

I'd recommend Marvel Unlimited with an iPad Pro. I have never read as much for so little cost and ,other than double page spreads,it's bigger than a printed page.

SUBZERO said...

Yeah, I´m still not hopping on the digital comic bandwagon for all the pros it has like no storage problems. For the moment I prefer my handheld reading to be really handheld and I do most of my reading on the toilet. Mayb that will change at some point but right now I´m not ready to spend even more time staring at a screen.

Callum Bach said...

I agree and I think to implement it everyone should be on the same wage they were ten years ago. Wage freeze! The only way to stop this madness.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

I own a hundred pairs of stretch socks! (and if you get THAT reference you are as old an ex-Marvelite as me)

The Mighty Crusaders. The MLJ heroes. You can find downloads online of the 1950s versions which could be quite violent. I believe it was Captain Flag who oversaw the hanging of a villain on a US Navy ship!

The 1960s versions I still love BUT when I accidentally came across the Red Circle 1980s Fly then Mighty Crusaders and other titles I was as excited as when I came across the 1970s Atlas (Seaboard Periodicals) comics. But Archie fecked that up within a year or so. It was going well, Buckler and co. were on form then the boss who knows NOTHING about comics decides..."I want to screw it up my way!"

The recent return of Archie heroes...sad. Awful. Rather like the "reboot" of some of the 1970s Atlas characters -again, the boss screwing up.

Nope. Will not read digital comics online now. I am a printed book man and that's how I'll go out.

Callum Bach said...

You can read a tablet on the toilet. Just keep it away from water!!

Those Archie supers were lousy imitations of Marvel in the sixties. Awful awful crap. Well rid.

SUBZERO said...

I can´t say much about the Crusaders from the 60s since I only read the 80s version. And at that everything that wasn´t DC or Marvel was exciting to us german comic readers. We were starving for something else so when the Independents hit Germany in a big way I eas reading everything I could get my hands on like WARP or the D.N. Agents.