Thursday, July 11, 2013

Who kidnapped Stan Lee?

Comic prices are rising, rising and no ceiling in sight. <sigh...> News like this is awfully depressing for a collector on a budget. I'm still cheap. I don't have a choice. I cant imagine there are but a scant few handful of folks with enough liquid capitol to spend several thousands of dollars on a comic. That's gotta be a tough sell for a retailer sitting on a book with their money tied up, waiting, waiting, waiting for a willing buyer to come thru the door. I

'd love to be able to buy more key books, but my addictions get in the way. Namely eating, breathing and staying dry. I just cant afford today's prices. I have to bottom feed.

I keep waiting for the market to correct itself. I cant help but think as the aging baby boomers exit the hobby there will soon be more collections available to hit the market and create a glut. With a little luck, I'll find one before it goes to a public sale. I'm in the conservation and having OF it, NOT the selling and profiting FROM it.

If only there was some secret, undiscovered stash of comics hiding somewhere in the great "out there"....
Lets see.... who has been in the business long enough to know where that fabled, mythical stash might be?

"Stan the man" has been writing comics since Captain America Comics #3! Surely he would know if anyone does. Maybe he doesn't know that he knows? The venerable icon has probably forgotten more about the business of comics, production and distribution than any group of current professionals ever knew.

I would bet that with the right prompting and coaxing we could get Stan lead us to it. Prolly have to ply him with some wine and women. That usually works on most folks.

But ITS STAN. How do we get close to him? I guess we'll have to buy the VIP Stan package and whisk him away from a public appearance and take him on a road trip to lead us to Marvels undisclosed warehouses of pulp goodness. Returns, overprints, art storage, misprints, lost pallates of comics - the whole enchilada. Its "El DeGeek-O" the mythical city of pulp paper.

Finding this Treasure Trove is a variable that would surely crash the comics market pricing structure. Flooding the market with material is what it will take to correct prices.

You have to admit it would make a great movie. It would be part "Tuesdays with Morrie" combined with "National Treasure" and a little "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" thrown in for good measure with an overture to "On the Road".... I just pitched a film... excuse me I have to take this call from Kevin Smith hes on the line.

This is not meant to be construed as a threat or intent to do harm in any way. 
Its very much intended as satire.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Living in the Material World

This is an update to a previous Blog post on Digital/Online comics.

Lets be clear. I'm an old dude. I remember when phones had cords. I remember when you had to get up to change one of the 3 television stations. I remember gas under a dollar a gallon. I remember .30 cent comics that were printed on newsprint paper.

For my own part - I'm a collector more so than a reader these days. I still read what I get, mind you. I dropped reading new books about 3 or 4 years ago. The variants and constant stream of re-numberings confused me to the point where I just gave up. I didn't need the hassle.

I think its fair to get that position statement out of the way as I still try to get my head around digital/online comics. Its a bold new world.

Digital/online comics are great for the reader.
You can save them to you phone, computer or tablet. You can read them on a train, a plane, take them on vacation read them during lunch or in the bathroom. The key word is convenience. Many folks don't have a local comic shop to visit. Using Digital comics, they don't need it nearly as much. For them its about access.
A tremendous advantage for these folks.

As an old dude - I like the material/physical world aspects of collecting. Bags boards boxes - the smell of the paper (particularly in older books). Even the "thrill of the hunt" to find missing issues is removed. Very sterile feeling on the first go, but not having to have boxes upon boxes of new books that aren't likely to accrue any value whatsoever in my lifetime is kind of attractive.

Digital/online comics are great for the publisher.
As much as the direct market changed comics in the late 70's early 80's - I think Digital/online comics are becoming poised to have the same impact to the market. I can see why the publishers would HAVE to consider this route... If they can sell this this route they would rake it in. This could very well change the publishing dynamic and eliminate all of hands in the distribution pie. (Paging Steve Geppi)

As far as manufacturing the end product, the overhead for paper and inks fall thru the floor by removing the physical element of printing the product.

Buying direct from the publisher will give Indy artists and publishers more exposure than they otherwise would have gotten.

As for the collector - 
It really depends what type of collector you are. If you are more of a reader - then this is good route for you. If you are more of a collector and you like something akin to the ritual of the "tea ceremony" in your collecting, then you should probably stay with what you love and what works for you.

For me -
I like the vintage material. IF I got back into new comics I would go the digital route. Less hassles. I would still continue pursing the actual comics of old.

Downstream Impact
However, what does that mean for our friendly neighborhood Local Comic Shops?
Truth is - I have no idea. If they are cut out of the distribution chain and cant count on new comic sales - they will go under. They will have to diversify into RPG and or video games, albums, coffee, beer, firearms SOMETHING to generate revenue and get folks in the door.

Trying times to have a shop. I wonder how they will evolve. I hope they evolve.

Friday, July 5, 2013

What the freak, man?

Why is this book such a big deal?

I totally don't get it....

Availability - 
Lets start with the basics. Its an x-book from the 90's  - That means that this is a HIGH Print run book. There are enough of these things to fill a fleet of shipping containers. BA-jillions of them sitting on shelves at the height of the speculator market.

Secondly -
Its drawn by Liefield. - Rob is to comic art; what Mannerism is to late Renaissance art. His heroes are figures with abnormally elongated limbs often in torturous-looking poses. Grotty.

This is a delightful article that dares to compare it to Hulk 181 and Amazing Spider-man 129. It holds water for all of about 3 seconds. I agree wholeheartedly with the authors conclusion. 

I've had the good fortune to run up on two of these books. One was found by answering a craigslist ad. The guy had this book and a Spider-man 300. I think I paid 5 bucks for the pair. The second book was picked up at a local yard sale. I bought it along with a New Mutants 87 for 2 bucks. All of this within the past 5 yrs. This book is available and it IS out there..

I sold my lesser copy for $80 bucks just a couple of weeks ago. I wanted some walking around money for the HeroesCon floor.

The moral of the story is: "Smoke'em if you got 'em" The price for this book is bound to fall. Its artificially inflated.  If you have extra copies, now is the time to cash out, cuz it wont last. But just in case... keep a copy for yourself.