Friday, February 17, 2012

The Comics Were Fun!

The last two posts I admitted to buying comics just for their covers. In just those two, that was $2.25 each. And I did that a number of times, even when the price went higher. And I even got caught up in the alternate cover scheme, just for the covers. I finally stopped that practice a number of years ago, but it was expensive while it lasted.

Here's where the air gets wavy and I start the voiceover for the nostalgic scene:

When I was a boy, I bought comic books because the whole darn book was entertaining, including house ads and letter columns, and usually with either 3 complete stories or sometimes a 'book-length novel'—all for a thin dime. When the price went up to 12 cents, it was a little shocking for an 8, 9, 10 year old, whatever I was, but the editors explained it so that even an 8, 9, 10 year old, whatever I was, could understand.

A few years later the price went up again to 15 cents, and again the editors explained. By then I was a working teen and had enough money that 3 more cents each was very reasonable. And you know why? Because each comic was STILL entertaining, including house ads and letter columns, and usually with either 3 complete stories or more likely those days a "book-length novel", and every other page wasn't a full page ad or spread that completely disrupted the flow of a story.

I don't even know what comics cost these days, but I would have to think there is a limit to how much the price can rise for a simple comic. Could it EVER come to $9.95 for a simple comic book? I guess that's why these days it must be that every other page is a four-color slick ad for a computer game or whatever.

Nostalgic old fart, over and out.

Above and below, 15 centers, and all the comics were fun!


Kid said...

Here's another nostalgic old fart in complete agreement with you.

Matt said...


Annie said...

I like how they wrote the explanation, in "kid" language but with sincerity and without any condescension.

Darrell said...

I think when they got expensive is when they started calling them "graphic novels" or whatever.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Yes, well, actually true graphic novels are formatted as actual books. But as adults, when you come back from lunch with a slim bag in your hand, and a co-worker says "whatcha got there?", it's much easier to say, "oh, a graphic novel", and not, "heh, comic books."

Daniel [] said...

I think that our sense of appropriate prices for things that we first started buying when quite young is less flexible than the sense for prices of things that we didn't start buying until older.

If one's relationship with comic books is established in childhood, this makes the psychological effect of price inflation more profound. For me, the “natural” price is 12¢ for a 32-page comic book. And I doubt that I'll ever get comfortable with a cost-per-page (after subtracting advertising) greater than a penny. (Which, indeed, means that I have been uncomfortable for a long time, and can expect never again to be comfortable.) I'm sure that many people will for all their lives feel that a comic book ought to be 64 pages for a dime; I think that others feel as if it ought to be 32 pages for a dollar; with the difference just being how old one group is as compared to another.

But, in all these cases, there is great alienation in response to a price rise than there would be, say, for news magazines or for paperback novels.

That alienation is not the most profound problem for present sales, but it certainly doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

They're 4.00.