Would you buy a 30 page comic for $5?

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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15 Responses

  1. James M. Gill says:

    I guess it really depends on the extra pages. If they read like they're filler, no thanks (and I'm remembering some old shorts from Marvel Comics Presents that were, frankly, awful and seemed to be there only to fill out the page count.) If they're quality, though… yeah, I just might.

    • J-P Chicago says:

      Yeah, but what an 8-pg er of Eisner's quality, you could probably sell that as an issue in itself.

      • James M. Gill says:

        Agreed. Give me something of Eisner's caliber (or, more realistically, just something close, 'cause Eisner was one in a million) and I'll happily plunk down the extra cash.

  2. J-P Chicago says:

    The reason I stopped collecting goes back to when they were bumped up to $2.00 was that that was too much to pay back then. They need to go back to some reasonable cost analysis to bring back the value. When comics came out (the 15¢ – $1 era) they were bought w/pocket change from allowances, etc. Yes, I know the paper stock was different and about other changes to the medium/industry, but I could buy @10-20 comics/month with that. Nowadays I would need a second job to afford collecting I don't know what the kids are doing (knocking off banks?). If the companies want to recover I would suggest 2 formats – one cheaper paper stock for the major titles – the ones that would be backbone of the company & the ones that produce the most draw (i.e. Supes, Bats & Spidey, X-Men) & the rest for collectors/high value story lines, etc.

  3. Russ Rogers says:

    Comics books don't have the pleasure/cost ratio they had when I was a kid. They don't have the perceived value, at least not from my perspective. When I was a kid, a 100 page book was a quarter, later a buck. Admittedly that contained some reprints of crappy stories. It was printed on crappy pulp. The writing and art were generally both not stellar. And this was all 40 years ago. According to http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/result.php $4 in 2008 had the buying power of $1 in 1975. OK, I remember comics costing about $0.25 in 1975. Maybe it was $0.35.Can somebody find a graph the average cover price of a comic based on the year?OK. Let's say that comics cost $0.25 in 1975. That means that (based on inflation alone) they should cost $1 now. OK, the overall quality of the stories has gone up. And artists and writers are getting compensated better, I assume. The paper is better and we have more colors and better reproduction techniques. But is all that added value worth the three to four times the $1-$1.50 per comic we might be paying now if we just followed inflation? Are comics four to five times BETTER today than they were in the mid-seventies? I know that comics are fighting against the tide a diminishing scale. Fewer people are buying pamphlet comics. But that's simply because fewer people can afford them. For my money, the best comics VALUE I have ever found in comics is right here on ComicMix! Here we have some of the best comics I've ever read. High quality stuff. Mix that with the price? FREE! Well the pleasure/cost ratio goes through the roof! ComicMix is an AMAZING value!

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      Let's try this instead: $1.01 in the year 1979 has the same "purchase power" as $3 in the year 2008. Comics in 1979 were 40 cents and 17 pages– now they're 22 pages. Figuring in the improvements of paper, etc. and the drops in circulation, and it maps pretty well.And thank you for the compliments. :)

  4. SpaceMonkeyX says:

    I had to stop buying individual comics a few years ago because of the price. As my responsibilities in life grew (wife, kid, house, etc.), I simply couldn't afford to plunk down hard-earned cash that could have gone towards paying for groceries or putting gas in our cars. I still buy collected volumes, which are easier to resell if you find you're just not into the title, but am still only able to do so when there's a sudden influx of cash in my wallet (Christmas, birthday, tax return, etc.) So, no, I'm afraid I could never justify $5 for a comic today, even if it were a few pages longer. Maybe this economic downturn will convince the publishers and the readers that it's ok to print on cheaper paper and run more ads if it keeps the comics in business. If comics were back down in the $1.00 – $1.50 range, I'd be at the comic shop every Saturday with my wife and daughter, I guarantee it.

    • mike weber says:

      Problem with "print on cheaper paper" is that i'm not sure it's actually still feasible to get much cheaper, these days.Sort of like being willing to pay less for a car with less elaborate electronics, ABS, etc., or to be willing to buy vinyl records for less than CDs – the infrastructure to produce them that way doesn't exist any more

  5. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    It's a niche market, where the majority of your niche uses a considerable portion of their disposable income on the medium, be it in monthlies, graphic novels, and other related media (posters, action figures, "collectables")… As books continue to increase in price, it will flush out fans who will "wait for the trades" which generally are considered "a better deal". Of course the caveat is that some books may not even make it to trade. Case in point, DC's "El Diablo" probly sold like crap, but I loved it. Will it make it to trade? I doubt it.Is $5 too much for a monthly? Even at 30 pages I'm cautious. The majority of backups are… sub-par at best. If you're going to stack an issue with more content, give the writers 30 pages, and make the books runs on a 6 week schedule. I'd rather a longer tail, then a tacked on extra. That's me personally. As the industry continues to run in the "arc" format of 5-6 issues anyways, why not lengthen the books a little, and let the writers strech. It'd benefits slower storytellers like JMS a great deal. My two cents.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Only if it makes fiscal sense… i.e. cheaper for the publisher to produce by doing fewer forms. And if that's the case, then pass that savings along to their loyal customers. Although, I'd rather buy an e-comic for 99¢-$1.99 that I can download to my iPhone.

  7. Douglass Abramson says:

    A $5 book should be an 80 or 100 page giant, with two new full length stories and one or two back ups. The rest of the book could be text pages, letter pages, reprints or secret file entries. I wouldn't mind the price, if the value of the package went up. Five bucks for a 30 page book? I'd have to start dropping titles.

  8. Goh Mifune says:

    In general, comics should be scaled by price by quality. If one writer isn't so hot, his or her books shouldn't be 4 or 5 dollars. If its like Chuck Dixon coming back for a robin epic or something then thats five dollars. The price to value ratio has down, and consumers are no longer happy. I'm not against 5 dollars in theory, and I don't think most people would be, but the question is as comics are now, are they worth 5 dollars.

  9. mike weber says:

    When comics came out (the 15¢ – $1 era) they were bought w/pocket change from allowances, etc.Ummm, though i'm not quite old enough to remember the Very Early Days (Superman is ten years older than i am), make that "the 10¢ to $1 era" – though the earliest "comic books" {newspaper strip reprints} cost twenty-five or fifty cents…

  10. Brendan McGinley says:

    It greatly helped me move my book at NYCC when I pointed out that $5 might seem like a lot for a comic, but at 56 pages, it was cheaper per page, and with a lot more content, than a Marvel or DC book.

  11. james obrien says:

    well i agree with almost everything said here ive been collecting since the early seventies and i now must admit the current prices of comics and related products have helped drive me out of this hobby i will always be curious about what happens with some of these books since i like the characters both marvel dc and independent , but the price has gone to high for me to collect any monthlies anymore