Comics: What Price Do We Pay?

Recently I had to go through my comics pull list and cut back on some of the comics I've been regularly getting. It was hard. You see unlike previous times in my comic collecting life, everything I was getting was pretty top notch. There was any deadwood. There wasn't any title that I was buying simply because it was once good and now I was just simply collecting and hoping it might actually become readable one day. So, I had to cut back on getting good comics for the simple reason that I couldn't afford them.

But, being the sorta person I am I decided to try and figure out a cheaper way to get all the comics I currently want to read. Unfortunately there's only one local comic shop. They've got a monopoly so they don't offer any discounts for buying numerous titles. I looked on the internet, but shipping to Australia always negated any discounts I could find. So, my search was short and fruitless.

I did discover one cheaper avenue though to get comics, though not the comics I'm particularly interested in. You see in recent years there's been a new comics publishing company selling their wares. They're called CrossGen, you've probably heard of them. They're coming up with all sorts of inventive and cost effective ways for people to get into their products, besides the standard monthly comic. They've got trades. But not just the usual collections of popular runs. They collect every issue of every series in their own series of trades. They've started cheap compendium's which they've just started printing in smaller sizes, in full colour for $7.95 for over 200 pages. They're adding to this with smaller trades for $9.95 for over 200 pages next year. And finally they're backing this up with Comics on the Web. With comics on the web you have access to all their titles in a digital format for as little as $8 for 8 months. They have about 171 comics up at the site now and update regularly. There are things they could do better, but you can't argue with a bargain, so I signed up.

This isn't a plug for CrossGen. In the end I think their titles tend to be a bit ho hum. But, I really admire the efforts they've gone to make their comics accessible to everyone they can. It makes me wish Marvel would do the same thing. I can't see how it wouldn't be profitable for them.

Picture this. I mainly a Spider-man collector, but I like other Marvel titles. But, because of the cost of monthly comics I can't afford to buy these other titles. So, I stop buying them. Marvel lose a customer and some revnue and I've lost a good read. But, if Marvel adopted some of CrossGen's practices I'd have other cheaper options to read those other Marvel titles. I wouldn't stop buying the monthly Spidey's because they come out sooner and ultimately the format is better. I would be happy and Marvel would get more revenue.

I know that's pretty simplified. But, I think there's some good ways to get good, enjoyable product out there to customers and make money. CrossGen have found some ways and seem to be going pretty well. Marvel have experimented a little. But, what I'd really like is for Marvel to go the whole way and steal CrossGen's ideas so that I can keep buying all the comics I love! C'mon Marvel, DC aren't the only ones who come up with ideas worth stealing, go for it guys!