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Thursday, August 22, 2013


It’s a known fact that Comic fans pay the highest prices and get the least value for their dollar. Why? Because they’re too afraid to speak up for themselves.

Whenever someone starts to call a comic book publisher or a toy company on their bullshit, Three or four more comic fans come out in defense of the companies that produce their comic books and action figures to justify the abusive and unethical practices being perpetrated. By using their peer pressure they guilt, bully and shame other comic fans into silence.

It’s this fanboy bullying that gives the publishers like DC Comics and toy companies like Mattel the leverage to dictate the terms of the business relationship to the comic fan. This is how they can charge outrageous prices like $4 for a comic book and $40 for an action figure.

Just last week when Mattel offered its Club infinite Earths Subscription to DC Comics fans they made numerous threats like “The horsemen have stopped sculpting” and “some figures won’t be available Day of sale” all in an effort to bully comic fans into buying a $300 monthly subscription for 13 action figures.

Only in the comic and toy collecting world does the retailer dictate the terms to the customer. And in the comic book world the customer is never right. They are told to buy it the way the retailer tells them to or else.

That’s bullshit. Unfortunately most Comic fans don’t have the backbone or the balls to stand up and call the comic book publishers and toy companies, and the cowardly fans who back up these bullshit policies on it. No, they listen to the same old excuses from companies like DC Comics and Mattel and continue to settle for less.

Comic fans are told they have to put up with long waits for shipping, defective or damaged products and comic books with padded out stories that go on for hundreds of issues. On top of it, they have to deal with horrible customer service at the comic shop and from some online retailers.

The prices just keep getting higher and the quality just keeps getting lower. Five years ago it was $2.50 for a comic book with 20 pages of content. Now the price is $4 for a comic with 16 pages of content, minimal storytelling and big splash pages.

Five years ago the price was $9.99 $12.f99 or an action figure. Now that price is $20-$25 at retail. And Subscription figures like Mattel offers for its Club Infinite Earths are now hovering towards a $40 mark with UPS shipping.

With product at these astronomical and insane levels, you’d think prices would hit a threshold. Unfortunately, because comic fans lack the discipline and resolve of regular consumers they don’t set a boundary and draw a line in the sand. It’s this lack of an economic boundary that allows Comic publishers, retailers and toy companies continue to push the envelope seeing how high they can drive prices.

It’s clear to me most comic fans don’t value their money and more importantly they don’t value themselves. Only a person with no self-esteem would along with these unconscionable terms presented to them by comic book shops, toy retailers and comic publishers. In the comic book fan’s world, the toy or the comics they collect have more value to them than their personal intangibles like dignity, self-respect.

It’s also clear to me producers have a spoiled entitled attitude when it comes to doing business with comic fans who consume their products. The retailers, toy companies and publishers all approach the customer with an air of aloofness and arrogance. They feel the customer has to put up with their crap if they want to buy their products. Some even think it’s their right to take advantage of the customer.

When it’s not that way at all. If the comic fan would grow a backbone the market could change to their favor.

In the non-comic book world, the customer understands their worth. They have personal power. And they dictate the terms to the retailer on what they’ll buy and what they’ll pay for it.

Because the customer dictates the terms of how they’ll spend their money in the real world prices are usually low. Manufacturers and retailers have to prove they can EARN the customers’ money. If not they can take their money to a competitor to leverage a better deal.

In the rest of the world, consumers would vote with their wallets and walk away from businesses where they received poor quality products and poor service. If those businesses don’t offer them the products they want they go find competitors to deal with.

Collectors and fans, There’s no such thing as “Rare” or “Exclusive” in a world where tooled molds still exist and a company can get things back into production with a phone call to China or a printing press. Exercise some patience and you can get the best quality product for your money. Instead of paying the highest amount of money and getting the least value out of all the consumers, you could get much, much more for your money.

Seriously fans, if you don’t get a figure from the first run there will probably be a second run. If you don’t get a comic from the first run there will be a second printing. Everything is digital now and can be ordered and delivered in a week to a month’s time if the demand is there. Don’t let companies like DC Comics and Mattel bullshit you. There’s no need to rush to eBay and go into a bidding war on whatever. If there’s demand there will be supply.

Comic fans have to start value themselves higher than the toys and comics produced by comic book publishers and toy companies. That’s the only way they’re going to concentrate their spending power. It’s the only way fans can make an impact as a consumer group and that allows them to expand the comic book business and drive down prices.

Long-term, new customers are only going to be attracted to businesses where they can get the best value for their dollar, and right now the comic book industry is driving away those customers with their unethical business practices. No one in the industry it’s hard to get new customers when they see the old ones being mistreated. Maybe if comic publishers, toy companies and retailers started treating their older customers with respect they wouldn’t be struggling to get new business.

1 comment:

  1. It's stuff like this, and the big crossover events, that completely soured me on modern comics. I still read DC and Marvel, but it's all stuff from 20 or 30 years ago. Honestly, DC couldn't pay me enough to read their stuff now-a-days.