Money, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, and on iNetRadio, (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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8 Responses

  1. Michael Davis says:

    "When he was a kid (slightly before the invention of light)…"THAT was funny. To bad with SOME costs today I have to choose between laughing and eating. I still think that most comics books are a fair price. Some are well worth whatever you pay for them, while some are, let's just say-not worth a damn. The old saying, "You get what you pay for." does not always ring true when it comes to comics.

  2. Van Jensen says:

    I don't know how reliable it is, but I just checked the inflation calculator ( OR, and according to rates of inflation, comic books should cost $1.18 today, based on them costing $.10 in 1945. Of course, this doesn't take into account the superior printing of today's books. Honestly, I'd much prefer to have the old paper and pay less.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Me, too, although I understand the economic realities. But we'd never get today's color on that thick toilet paper.

  3. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    So many variables have changed in comic books, a straight inflation index doesn't cover all the angles. The complete restructuring of the supply and demand of the comics industry is far more a factor than the improvement of printing. Comics sold millions of copies when they cost a dime. Now they sell thousands at three bucks a throw. The market has shrunk SO much the increase in price is no surprise. If the cost of making a comic is Y (I'd use "X" but I don't want to show favoritism) and you sell N number of issues at price P, as N decreases, P must increase to break even, let alone make a profit. If advertising in comics was more lucrative, that could cover much more of the costs, like it does for most mainstream magazines. One of the reason that regular magazine subscriptions are so cheap is that the higher circulation is what allows them to raise the ad rates. It's like the old chestnut of running a convention – you pay for the con with the dealer's room, so when the first fan walks in, you're making profit.If comics sold better, and the advertisers mere made to realize that the market for comics is more than sneakers and videogames, you might just see a price drop. Maybe.For the reader, the problem is that as opposed to people who only buy or subscribe to one or two magazines, comic fans buy many books, dozens even, in a month. And as prices increase, some fans winnow out books they can't afford…but a lot just give up entirely. But if prices were to DROP, comic fans would not say "Oh good, I now have more money to spend on other things", they'd say "Oh good, I have more money to spend on comics." If DC or Marvel went to digital distribution, or some other thing that allowed prices to drop precipitously, I'll bet we'd see comics circulations RISE dramatically across the board, for all companies, as fans are able to try other books they couldn't afford before.There are MILLIONS of people who will see Hulk, Iron Man and Dark Knight this year. There is no good reason that these people should not be trying the comics. Comic shops – take an ad in the paper. "Bring in your ticket stub and get 10% off everything in the store!" Heck, didn't I hear Marvel was doing a freebie book for the filmgeors? That's brilliant if it's true.Comics are rapidly becoming loss-leaders; means to an end of true profits in film, licensing, et al. This needs stopping.As you can see, this is a topic I've spent a lot of time thinking about. I tell you, if I hit the Powerball, I would sink a good chunk of money into getting that deal with Wal-mart done, and getting comics back into the hands of the masses.So, you should all be hoping for me to win the Powerball.

  4. Russ Rogers says:

    I remember when the cover price of a comic book was 20 cents an issue. Then the price went up to 25 cents. Oh my gosh! Now I could only buy four comics for the price I used to get five. The price soon skyrocketed to 30 cents (just three comics for a buck). When the price of comics hit 35 cents an issue, I remember that was the breaking point for my limited budget. I pretty much gave up on buying comics, my interests moved on to other things like Dungeons and Dragons. Years later, in college, a friend of mine gave me a stack of comics that included many from small, independent publishers. When I was a kid, there was Marvel, DC and maybe Dell or Archie comics available at the local 7-Eleven. I was hooked again on comics. Now, I was buying Eclipse, Comico, First, Slave Labor and Darkhorse, as well as Marvel and DC! But the prices of comics had JUMPED and with the dawn of PREMIUM comics like the NEW Teen Titans, the prices JUMPED even higher. I started buying in volume from the remainder bins at my local comic store. At the time, I could still pick up remainder issues for 75 cents or less. I remember a few experiments in dropping prices, "Airboy" tried a cover price of 50 cents for a few issues. But those were shorter issues and the price quickly climbed back up. Generally the price of comics was well over a dollar and climbing.Briefly, I had a 15% discount from a comics shop and had regular pulls. I was spending 25 to 40 dollars a week on comics. I ended up with THOUSANDS of books, not because I was an investor, looking to see how my collection might increase in value; just because I was a reader and hoarder.I tried to find a graph on line of the average cover price of comics over time. I couldn't find it. Since getting married and the birth of my daughters, most of my comics purchases have been in the form of collections and reprints. And I check more and more collections out from the library too. I have the complete BONE collection on my Amazon Wish List. I can pick it up for just over $20 including shipping! 1300 pages of comic for $20! Wow! That's less than 2 cents a page! A real steal! I can get DVD-roms of the complete runs of Marvel comics for less than $40. The Complete Amazing Spider-man, 575 issues, is just $39! What is that per issue? Hmm. That's less than SEVEN cents an issue! That's less than what Mike Gold was paying per issue as a kid.Now, compare all those prices to ComicMix! I have read hundreds of pages of high quality comics here … for FREE! Suddenly the graph of what you pay for comics over time comes crashing through the floor. Frankly, I don't understand the economics of ComicMix. Are the Google ads that pop up on the right side of the page actually paying the light bills? Or are those ads a trade off to pay to place ads for ComicMix on other web sites? Is ComicMix being funded by speculative investment capital or by HUGE adjustable rate loans?Are the hopes to build a fan following and then sell DELUXE, hardcover print editions of the material that we see read first on ComicMix? That seems like a plausible long term goal, but who pays the bills in the short term? Do the artists on ComicMix earn a page rate? Or is this a co-operative, where nobody gets much of anything for now and artists and publishers will eventually share profits when those start to roll in?I'm surprised to not to see some direct marketing on ComicMix. Obviously this is an editorial choice. But there is no button that I can push that will link me to a ComicMix Paypal Contribution page like some other free on line comics sites. This makes ComicMix look classier, less desperate. But where does the money come from?There are no direct links to merchandise, like T-shirts or Art resale or even books! Yeah, Amazon ads pop up. I've put "Killer Instinct" on my Amazon Wish list too. But where is the direct revenue generation? As far as I can tell, there is no ComicMix Store. If there are ComicM!X T-shirts for sale, I can't find where to buy one. (And, yeah, I'd proudly wear one!)I guess that selling T-shirts might complicate things. I mean, how do you split the money? Deciding how to split the money is easier when there isn't any coming in to split.

    • Mike Gold says:

      I wish I could say that I understood the economics of ComicMix… however, I think it will become a lot more apparent soon, after we add over ten thousand pages or so. We WILL have a ComicMix store, and we will have trade paperback and hardcover editions of the comics you see online. And maybe that special bubble-gum cover variant on Jon Sable that Brother Grell and I have wanted to do since the early Image days.Even though (I'm told) Marvel will no longer be licensing those nifty CD-ROM collections, the days of the pamphlet are clearly numbered. I understand the ComicMix economic model far better than the pamphlet publishing model, and if you've got a couple hours I can explain THAT in frightening detail. The late Jerry Bails, when informed of our plans, said he thought the days of the trade paperback were numbered as well. I found that fascinating, from a guy who bought the original All-Star Comics off of the Kansas City newsracks.

  5. Rick Oliver says:

    When comics cost a dime, they were mass market items. They were available on newsstands, drug stores, and 5-and-dime stores (that's where I go mine). Then comics became a niche market and many factors drove up the price and severely narrowed the market. The latter bothers me more than the former. Back in the stone age of the "direct" market in the 80s, I didn't see much hope for the future of the medium. Although the direct market allowed many new concepts to at least get some modest exposure, it also pretty much guaranteed that almost nothing labeled as a comic would get exposure beyond the walls of comic book stores, which were frequented primarily by a very narrow (and apparently declining) demographic. Then them there internets sprung up, and it's a whole new ball game — or it has the potential to be one. If only some enterprising entrepeneurs would come up with a clever comics-based web site…

  6. Elayne Riggs says:

    To heck with all that… "Mr. President, where can I get a job?"