Sunday, September 06, 2009

Some announcements and some trade stuff

Since the last post was a comic related one it´s once again time to do a mixed public announcement / comic news / interviews post. And to start of there are two things that have to do with my last post :

Pimping the JSA a bit more

First I wanted to mention something in regards to my last post. I had posted links to the german amazon site because they sell the JSA THY KINGDOM COME trades really cheap. As I did the post on Thursday I also ordered the books myself and they arrived on Saturday. Usually comics I order don´t arrive when I´m home but Yesterday my order from amazon as well as from BlackDog arrived. Strange.

The JSA books are indeed the hardcovers, all printed on nice, glossy paper. The books include all alternate covers by Dale Eaglesham as well as the regular covers by Alex Ross and part 1 and part 3 include some sketchbook material from Alex Ross. The three books contain the whole story with all the specials and annuals. I´m just mentioning it again because there are only 5 copies left of part 1 and part 2. I don´t know if they will be as cheap when they will be in stock again.

Is amazon in Germany crazy ?

I don´t know about you but I won´t be buying a lot of trades from my comic shop in the near future. Especially no hardcovers. Because I´m going to compare prices a bit more from now on. As the prices for comics have gone from 3 to 4 bucks you have to watch out where you order your stuff.

I was already comparing prices between my comic shop and the two internet shops from which I ordered my books and now amazon. This way I could save ten bucks on the last two volumes of FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES : JOHN BYRNE. It seems that amazon in Germany is offering a lot of bargains especially with the hardcovers. A quick research at amazon today had the following results ( regular US prices in brackets ):

Captain America Omnibus 1( 74.99 $ ): 45.95 EUR = - 29.04 EUR
Man without Fear HC( 74.99 $ ): 42.90 EUR = - 32.09 EUR
X - Men Inferno HC( 75.00 $ ): 42.40 EUR = - 32.60 EUR
Avenger Disassembled HC( 49.99 $ ): 29.40 EUR = - 20.59 EUR
X - Men Manifest Destiny HC( 39.99 $ ): 16.40 EUR = - 23.59 EUR
Superman and the Legion HC( 24.99 $ ): 17.89 EUR = - 7.10 EUR
Dark Avengers 1 HC( 24.99 $ ): 16.95 EUR = - 8.04 EUR
Sub Mariner The Depths HC( 24.99 $ ): 14.90 EUR = - 10.09 EUR
Civil War Trade( 24.99 $ ): 16.95 EUR = - 8.04 EUR
Madman Atomic Comics 1 Tpb( 19.99 $ ): 8.90 EUR = - 11.09 EUR

Now I won´t buy them right now because I have spent too much on comics in the last two months already. And I´m not trying to tell you you have to go to amazon to buy comics. Yes, I´m pimping amazon but I´m only putting up links for stuff I review and which I can recommend. If I think it´s crap I´m not going to put up the links. The only thing I want to illustrate is : if you are in Germany and you are thinking about buying a trade or hardcover be sure to check out amazon. You could save up to 30 bucks.

A Comicbook Orange Season 4 is coming

Everybody´s favorite comic videocast A COMICBOOK ORANGE is currently on vacation. But don´t fear it will return on September 23rd and in the meantime you can catch up on the episodes you missed or watch your favorite ones again. You can also check out the bonus material on their website like full length interviews with the big creators in the comic book industry.

Trade of the Trick

Since I have mentioned collections amd trades a lot - I think the trend of comic buyers will go in that direction - here are some links with insightful articles about the matter. Over at the blog of The Comic Chronical John Jackson Miller sheds some light on how the pricing of trades paperbacks have changed from 2004 to now  : the change of trade pricing

The next one is an interview ( in 3 parts ) with DC´s Paul Levitz about the future of trades and graphic novels, digital, comics, price increases and comics in other media.

Judging from what I have read the Manga " boom " seems to be fading, as sales of Manga have drastically declined which is something that has also ocurred in Spain ( more about that later ) and in Germany. Which is not surprising but I keep thinking if it really was a boom that ocurred naturally or artificially.

Because of the success of Mangas every publisher wanted in on the party and started flooding the market with Mangas not all of them always the best quality. It is an old cliche that the best will always succeed but most often it´s the book that´s the best there is at catering to the lowest common denominator. What happens with Mangas is - they end. It doesn´t matter if the Manga is great or just drivel when you reach issue 28 of LONE WOLF AND CUB or issue 13 of DEATHNOTE or issue whatever of ONE PIECE - that´s it. End of story, everybody packs up and goes home. And the reader has to go look for another Manga.

With superhero comics you just wait for the next creative team to take over or you follow the creative team onto the next title. Or when AVENGERS doesn´t interest you anymore you can read AVENGERS THE INITIATIVE or MIGHTY AVENGERS or NEW AVENGERS or DARK AVENGERS. Or you can follow the adventures of your favorite member in SPIDER - MAN, THOR, IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, MISS MARVEL andson andson. You can read a title for 30 or 40 years which is not that easy with Mangas. There are some that last a long time but sooner or later they will end.

Another reason - at least in my opinion - that sales of Mangas have gone down is the formulaic structure of them. One of the big appeals for young readers and especially girls is that it takes place in an environment they know - mostly in shools - deal with stuff they can relate to - either school stuff or at least they have recurring tests for which the main character has to prepare and train - and always have a cool main character. And lots of readers service.

The problem is if you read more than three Mangas chances are high that the stories are not so different from each other. And really - how many versions of the tale about the prodigy who´s the most talented there ever was do you need ? I think one of the big reasons why a Manga like Naruto has been so successful is that contrary to other Mangas the main character is not the best at what he does. In fact at the beginning he´s the worst ninja there ever was.

But thanks to balls the size of pumpkins and an undomitable will he reaches his goals. He has to train like a maniac but in the end he always wins. And of course there are some hot chicks like Tsunade the booby Hokage.

Another reason for the drop in demand for Mangas is that for one the coolness factor is fading and because some of the readers are probably still reading regular comic books they realize that while a Manga may have more pages than a floppy the reading time is about the same. Add to that that the price of Mangas have gone up from 5 bucks to 7 EUROS here in Germany and it´s not that surprising. As in all comic sectors the really good titles will survive while the rest goes down the drain.

Another thing Paul Levitz mentions is that DC is trying to put some extra value in the 3.99 books they offer. Which is something I said from day one. Marvel is getting a lot of bad reactions for the increase because on some books it´s the same content as before. And it is kind of difficult to explain why you want your clients to pay one buck more for a comic that you sold for the regular price just a moment ago. Or even less if you go to your comic shop and have two issues of a title waiting for you and one is priced at 2.99 and the other at 3.99 with exactly the same content. Or if the first issue of a title is at 3.99 with 30 story pages and the next has the regular 22 pages while keeping the 3.99 price tag like on DARK AVENGERS.

Although I´m a bit of a hypocrit in that departement. Because I bought all six issues of DARK AVENGERS. Here I am telling you to vote with your wallet and then I go and buy DARK AVENGERS and HULK and CAPTAIN AMERICA REBIRTH and X - MEN UTOPIA ( although I get a free pass on that one because who could resist panels by Terry Dodson like these ? )

and WAR OF KINGS and ULTIMATE AVENGERS. Okay, I also buy some of the DC titles with back up features like TEEN TITANS, BOOSTER GOLD and DOOM PATROL. Which in the case of DOOM PATROL is only because of the METAL MEN feature by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire.

But I should really follow my own advice. Although I have to say I also said that I was willing to pay the extra money for my favorite creators like Ed McGuiness on HULK or now Carlos Pacheco on ULTIMATE AVENGERS. Which is only a five issue series and which for most readers is only AVENGERS because the word " ultimate " is almost invisible to the naked eye. Which may or may not be Marvel´s intent from the get go.

On the other hand I have to say that DARK AVENGERS is off my reading list right now. The storyline ended with issue 6 and I´m not inclined to begin a new one. The story in the first six issues was really incredible but I don´t want to follow Bendis on another 20 plus issue longwinded storyarc. Especailly if not all of them are drawn by Mike Deodato Jr. That´s something for the trades.

And I think I´m not the only one who thinks so. As SECRET WARRIORS also gets a new artist with issue 7 as well as several others I predict that Marvel is going to experience the fallout from the 3.99 tag in the next few months. Right after the jump Marvel scored with the big artists and the big writers but now that they think that readers have grown used to the new price they will be in for a big surprise as everybody is going to change to the trades. Or stop reading the title.

But where I am much more selective is what gets on my pull list. I think I haven´t added a new title from the catalogue since the price increas. The way it works now is that if a title is interesting like ULTIMATE AVENGERS or BLACKEST NIGHT I can get the issues at the comic shop and take a look at them or order them from my usual online comic stores.

That way if I loose interest in a title or the artist leaves the book I can nix it in an instant. And if a title has won me over it goes to my pull list. There it stays till there are reason to kick it like FANTASTIC FOUR where Brian Hitch´s run ended. The titles that still bring good quality like JSA stay on the list as long as they are in the 2.99 section.

An open letter from PANINI Spain

Something I thought I posted but I´m not 100 percent sure is an open letter from the boss of PANINI ( the company that edits the Marvel stuff over there as well as in Italy, England and Germany and the DC stuff in Germany ) Spain Jose Luis Cordoba that was posted on fellow blogpartner YO DIGO NO. He also tells that they are making more money with the superhero stuff than with the Mangas because of the reasons I explained above. The Manga comics arrived in Spain roughly ten years before Germany so it is already at the end of the cycle there.

What´s even better is that he publishes a few sales numbers something that the folks in Germany still won´t do under penalty of death. Of course it´s in spanish.

By the way YO DIGO NO is currently examining - or better destroying - Jeph Loeb´s work. If you also don´t like the man go on over and share the feeling. And if like me you like his work - well, go there too ( if you can read spanish ) because even if you don´t share his opinion it´s still pretty funny and highly entertaining.

Don´t judge an old book by a new cover

And since we´re on the subject of trades Brandon Graham ( I think that´s his name ) over at The Negative Zone ( at least I think that´s the name of the website ).....damn, when did this become so complicated ? Anyway, here´s an article on the repackaging of comic trades that touches on a few interesting points.

Goodbye and good riddance

You may know that I bought a few comics from other comic fans from the internet while at the same time I´m trying to sell a few of mine. Everytime I go to the comic shop I take a bunch of them with me to get some extra cash that´s directly re - invested in the comics that have accumulated in my bag. Then when I get home I select the next batch of comics for my next visit. I have two threads where I try to sell the comics and the ones I have selected for the comic shop are shifted from whatever price they are to the 1 EURO section.

Because at the comic shop I will probably get less. So all the comics I can sell over the internet are tken from the list and when it´s time to visit the comic shop again I take the remaining comics with me. I also take the comics that are in such a bad condition that I can´t sell them to other people with a clear conscience. aside from that I´m making a pile with the comics that won´t sell for much but are to good to practically throw them away for nothing and which will end up as presents one day.

And this was my kind of longwinded segueway to Mike Romo on iFanboy who writes about his reasons to get rid of comics and the reasons to keep them. In a time where everybody has to think twice about which books to buy it is advisable to realize how temporary interest in comics can be and that today´s bestseller might be tomorrow´s trash.

As usual here´s our top list section to close us off. Over at Comics Should Be Good there´s a list - in - progress about the 70 most iconic Marvel panels while Topless Robot has a hilarious post about the 8 most insane non comic WTF moments involving Spider - Man. A really hilarious read.

And that´s all for today. I think I have taken up enough of your time with my usual rantings and hope there was some interesting stuff in it. As always the comment section is open to put down your thoughts.

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

He´s a hero. I´m Ray Palmer. Welcome to pain.

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