By now, if you’re in any way a comic book geek or collector you’ve heard about this weekend’s ginormous Amazon sale/glitch that saw Marvel omnibus editions normally retailing for upwards of fifty US dollars or more being sold off at prices of around eight to fifteen dollars a pop. I, like many people, went absolutely apeshit and bought close to TWO HUNDRED dollars worth of hardcovers I otherwise would never have had the means to obtain. I was overjoyed, thinking that somehow this was a liquidation on Diamond’s part that somehow trickled down to the consumer level in a way that had never before been witnessed.
A few hours after placing my order, the news broke that it was in fact a glitch and that the prices were reverting to their regular high double-digit levels. A collective holding of breath ensued from everyone who bought a discounted book that day, myself included. Reports have come out of people getting notices of cancelation for their orders. As of this writing, I have not recieved one. If you talk to some folks, Amazon plans to honor the orders up to a point. If you ordered fifteen copies of the Captain America omnibus, you’re probably not going to get those books. Those orders will either be cancelled or have their numbers reduced to a single copy. There are rumors running about that Diamond has given a few people their walking papers over this incident, which leads me to believe that they’re going to be eating some cash on this deal and hoping to stem the damage by placing direct blame on someone.
No matter how this little drama unfolds, we learn a crucial lesson about the marketplace. Fans want cheaper books. I know this isn’t a huge surprise, considering how irritated the fanboys get whenever a price increase hits the cover page of their favorite book. But from a larger standpoint, this incident echoes what I’ve been saying for a LONG time about how the trade market is getting it backwards nowadays.
I would say that around 50% of the trade paperbacks that come out onto the market cost MORE than the original issues. Now, when I first started buying trades it was because I could save anywhere from 5-10 dollars overall on a title by purchasing the collection as opposed to the issues. That was the incentive to buy trades, wasn’t it? But now you’ll see a book that in issue would have run you 12-15 bucks showing up in collected form running 20-24 bucks. Where is the logic here? People won’t buy the book in issue format because they think that’s too expensive and you expect us to pay MORE when it hits collection?
It’s all part of why we’re not seeing much industry growth nowadays. The powers that be have made reading comics cost prohibitive. There are companies like Top Cow, who have refused to jump to 3.99 and put out some of the most reasonably priced trade collections in the industry, but they don’t have enough of a market share to really make an impact. Imagine of Marvel started making more trades set at $9.99 a copy. To a consumer, when they see a trade that’s under ten bucks, they might be tempted to pick it up based on value alone. A trade collection of 4-6 issues for ten bucks, while two issues of a main line title run 4 bucks a pop; the consumer would get more for his money. I have seen this principle first hand while working in the store. The average consumer cannot turn a blind eye to a good value, as evidenced by this Amazon glitch. This glitch put multiple comic collections into the TOP SELLING AMAZON ITEMS list.
The lesson is simple. Price to sell, people. Give us quality at value and we will buy.
As of 03-09-2010 at 12:15 PM my initial order has dropped down to five of the items I’d ordered. Volumes 1-4 of Punisher MAX, The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus, and Volumes 1-3 of New X-Men collection have been removed. The Captain America, Criminal, Ultimates, and Wolverine Omnibuses are still on the invoice, as well as vol. 5 of Punisher MAX. Will they be shipped? Not yet sure.
***UPDATE # 2***
As of 03-12-2010 my entire order was canceled. Sadly, this whole thing was too good to be true. However, I did get a free $25.00 credit from Amazon out of it, so it’s not a total loss. In fact, I pretty much count this as a win. I would have loved to have gotten what I ordered, but from the moment it was announced as a glitch, I could see that I would most likely not be getting those books. Maybe I will find them discounted to an affordable degree at a convention or some other locale. Maybe.
Ah hell, it’s that time again. Where I sit down and type out a bunch of snarky retorts to the weekly comic offerings I put money down for on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, a bulk of the week’s pull was in trade form and I can’t write up a timely review of collected stories so this column might be on the slim side this week. I’ll try to make for it in repetitive ramblings throughout the reviews.
The Pull List:
BLACKEST NIGHT WONDER WOMAN #3 (OF 3) 2.99
BOYS #39 2.99
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #32 TWILIGHT PT 1 (OF 5) 2.99
CINDERELLA FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE #4 (OF 6) 2.99
CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #18 2.99
CRIMINAL SINNERS #4 (MR) 3.5
DARK TOWER FALL OF GILEAD PREM HC 24.99
DEADPOOL TEAM-UP #896 2.99
FABLES TP VOL 13 THE GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER (MR) 17.99
GI JOE ORIGINS #12 3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #23 2.99
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA ANNUAL #2 4.99
QUESTION #37 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
RED ROBIN #9 2.99
SIEGE #2 (OF 4) 3.99
SUPERMAN WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #12 (OF 12) 2.99
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #10 3.99
The Boys # 39
Not a whole lot goes on here, traditionally speaking. There are maybe three plot movements in the entirety of the book, but this single issue does a great deal to set up the next major arc of the overal narrative because Butcher FINALLY finds out about Hughie banging a supe.
A great deal of the drama thus far has been the reader wondering what will happen when the Boys find out about who exactly Hughie is giving the high hard one to on a nightly basis, given that she’s a part of the group they are ACTIVELY seeking to bring down. And at this point in the issue we get a window into what is going to be coming down the pipe. Butcher reacts not with anger or a sense of betrayal but with a disappointment that he hadn’t been able to figure it out before this very moment. It’s a quiet moment that tells us even more about Butcher as a character. How will he handle the fallout? That remains to be seen. But reading the issue you can tell that Ennis put a great deal of thought into how he was going to handle this moment.
The majority of the issue is spent with Hughie and his girl Annie, exploring the boundaries of their relationship (“LET’S PURCHASE OUR HARDCORE PORN!!!”) and showing what kind of growth their coupling has forced upon them both fundimentally as characters. There is some hint that perhaps being in a relationship with Hughie has changed her in ways that might be driving a gap between them, just in the differences between what the need as far as intimacy and mutual interests. It could be read that Hughie feels a twinge of responsibility for Annie’s sudden personality shift. But, that’s just speculation on my part.
A great many people like to dump on Garth Ennis because his writing veers toward ultraviolence and sophmoric humor, but the man does character moments just as good as any other major writer, and better than some I could mention. The book also has the expressive art of Darick Robertson working in its favor.
I think I’m getting burnt out on Deadpool. And gee, with around six regular series and eighty appearances a month, who would have thought that would happen? This particular issue suffers from the same problems I mentioned in my review of Merc with a Mouth # 7, in that the humor is entirely forced and derivitive. It doesn’t have the voice of Deadpool, that casual zaniness that seems to compliment the character so well. Instead we get cheap trucker jokes and some talking raccoons. Sorry to say, while that would normally have me giddy in my seat, this one just seems to fall flat.
Two things made me pick up this issue; Marc Andreyko’s name in the credit list and that awesome cover. I have to admit that interior artist Ben Templesmith’s art styling is not my cup of tea, the issue itself is a pretty good standalone Baroness tale that gives us the new-canon origin of the character and a glimpse into what molded her morals and values before becoming the character as we’ve come to know her.
The issue hits all the right notes, and while the story is nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s a change of pace from where the book has gone previously and I felt I got my money’s worth out of it. Also, nice cover.
Okay, here’s the one people have been talking about. And it’s impossible to review without major spoilers so just turn back now if you don’t want to know who died and how and what I feel about it.
Okay, let’s go.
So Sentry rips Ares right in half. Yep, it’s Ares who was the “big death” Bendis was hyping. And while the fight leading up to it was pretty cool, it’s not all that impressive considering how many people we’ve seen ripped in half over the years, partiularly in Bendis-penned comics(Vision and Carnage, anyone?). Remember in my review of KICKASS where I said that Millar was the best hype man in the game? Bendis is kind of the opposite. Whereas we believe Millar every damned time despite the fact that we’ve been fooled by him before, everytime Bendis says something will be shocking or unexpected, we know that it’s just going to be one of his old tricks. At least this time he didn’t claim that the event would “rip the internet in half.”
Guys, is that Ares death supposed to be some kind of wink-wink joke? FUCK YOU BENDIS YOU SELF-CONSCIOUS WHORE!!!
That’s it for this week. I’m going to go punch a wall and calm down. *deep breath*