This picture tells a very real tale of dollars spent. Every one of these books is a non-superhero collection released by Marvel Comics over the last few years… And I’ve got at least one additional shelf devoted to more of the same. Many of these pricey Hardcovers are licensed properties and prose novel adaptations– which I’m sure benefited more by appearing in traditional bookstores than comic shops. I didn’t have to buy them. I chose to– as I was interested to see current graphic interpretations of Moby Dick, Man in the Iron Mask and the like.
Now here’s the thing.
Many people have asked me what I thought about Rich Johnston’s news (Bleeding Cool 9.26.12) that Marvel is releasing the Uncanny Avengers Volume 1 Hardcover in 2013– with only FOUR COMICS collected for a retail price of $24.99.
I think it’s ridiculous.
It’s also really no big shock, as Marvel (seemingly arbitrarily) raised the cost of their Omnibus volumes by $25 USD with two omnibi already released just last week. Yet, as Johnston also notes, this new hardcover configuration (at the $24.99 price tag) pegs individual issues at about $6.25 USD per reprinted comic. $6.25 a piece for the slight “upgrades” of minimally oversized pages and two thicker cardboard covers… Essentially raising the cost of Marvel’s hardcovers again (the cost rose from $19.99 to $24.99 rather recently) by publishing fewer comics in each volume.
Let me be clear about this: While Hardcovers and Graphic Novels can obviously add greatly to any publisher’s sales (look at Watchmen or The Walking Dead)– these collections are found money for these companies. The creators involved were already paid to produce these stories as comic book series… Not Trade Paperback or Hardcover collections. (Marvel and DC currently release only a handful of Original Graphic Novels every year.) These same creators receive a small royalty for these comic book reprints– often making the high-priced volumes huge profit generators.
In an age where Image Comics (and Vertigo before it) can see the upside in publishing most of their Volume One collections at a great entry price of $9.99 USD (albeit with flimsier trade paperback covers)… Marvel is (once again) going in the opposite direction.
And while I know my retailer will discount this hardcover too (as much as 50% off), I think this Marvel move sucks for an entirely different reason than the extra hit to my wallet. It puts retailers, again, in a precarious position– as they will no doubt have to discount these books even further to retain cost conscious Hardcover readers… Especially if future Marvel editions mimic this Hardcover and release books with much less story for the same $24.99 cost. Marvel, of course, won’t care what discount is required to move these volumes… They get paid whether the retailer makes $12 dollars or 25 cents.
And what will I do? If Marvel continues with this strategy– making me PAY MORE for reprinted material than I would have if I bought it as first run comic singles– I will stop buying their Hardcovers and Trade Paperbacks. And all those “ancillary” books you see above? Those will be the first to go… With any superhero books following two seconds behind.
To be clear, I will not suddenly switch back to buying comic book singles. I don’t collect that way anymore. I refuse to reward a company that thinks they can take advantage of me because I’m a simple-minded “comics fan”– who will just blindly buy, buy, buy… Regardless of what uncalled for price increases they spring on their customers. Like you, I get to choose how I spend my money… And I won’t be spending it with Marvel if they continue down this ill-considered path.
It’s that simple.
American Comics Group Collected Works Vol 1 Out Of The Night HC
American Comics Group Collected Works Vol 2 Adventures Into The Unknown HC
Avengers Assemble Vol 5
Avengers Children’s Crusade – Own the Hardcover
Batman Odyssey HC
Birds of Prey Vol 2 The Death Of Oracle
Blood for Stone
Blue Estate Vol 3 - Recommended
Captain America By Ed Brubaker Vol 3 HC
Castle Richard Castle’s Storm Season HC
Building Stories HC by Chris Ware
Crossed Vol 4 Badlands
Crossed Vol 4 Badlands HC
Crossed Vol 4 Badlands Signed HC
Doctor Who Classics Vol 8 - Recommended
Dungeons And Dragons Forgotten Realms Vol 4
Essential Thor Vol 6
Executive Assistant Hit List Agenda
Executive Assistant Iris Vol 2
Fear Itself Avengers Academy
Fear Itself Iron Man
Geronimo Stilton Vol 11 HC
Hack Slash Vol 2 Death By Sequel (New Print) – Own it
Haunt Vol 4
Hellblazer The Devil’s Trench Coat - Recommended
Horror in the West
Judge Dredd Dark Judges Digest – Don’t like the size
Justice League Dark Vol 1 In The Dark
Lexian Chronicles Omnibus
Lovecraft Anthology Vol 2 – I’m tired of this Cthulhu nonsense…
Mattias Unfiltered Art Sketchbook Adolfsson
MMW Sgt. Fury Vol 4 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Hulk And Fantastic Four Digest
Night Of 1000 Wolves
Nightwing Vol 1 Traps And Trapezes
Once Upon A Time Machine – Looks Beautiful…
Pinocchio Vampire Slayer Vol 4 Wood & Blood Part 2
Powers Vol 14 Gods – Buy the Deluxe hardcovers
Saga Vol 1
Shakara The Destroyer
Smoke And Mirrors
Sonic The Hedgehog Complete Comic Encyclopedia
Spider-Man Spider-Island Companion - Not with your money
Star Wars Essential Reader’s Companion
Tomorrow Revisited: A Celebration of the Life and Art of Frank Hampson HC
Valentine Vol 1 The Ice Death
Young Albert Deluxe Limited HC – Far too pricey
Arisa Vol 9
Bakuman Vol 15
Cage of Eden Vol 7
Case Closed Vol 44
Dawn Of The Arcana Vol 6
Kekkaishi Vol 34
Little Miss Daredevil The Incredible Race
Loveless 2-In-1 Edition Vol 1
Pokemon Adventures Diamond And Pearl Platinum Vol 6
Redakai Conquer The Kairu Volume 1 Invasion Of The Gilfreem
You ever get the feeling you’re gonna like something almost sight unseen? Cause that’s the feeling I got when I saw the first publicity for Hell Yeah– Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz new comic from Image. In truth, I wasn’t prepared for just how damn much I would like it.
I liked it, lots.
One of the coolest things? Keatinge using the first few pages of each script to lead into a striking two-page splash with “HELL YEAH” super-imposed behind it. The first issue’s two-pager was a well-thrown punch. The second issue’s was a dramatic kiss. Each time I saw this, I was immediately reminded of the “Fuck Yeah!” sequences from the Team America: World Police movie… And was astonished how Keatinge and Szymanowicz were able to time their static images in such a way that I thought I was watching a movie.
Can’t say I’ve ever really felt that way about a comic before.
The plot is crazy– and a little reminiscent of Nick Spencer’s Infinite Vacation– but without the dire heavy-handedness of that earlier Image comic. Hell Yeah is also much better drawn than that earlier effort– by maybe 1000%. Fans of Frank Quitely will be very much at home with Hell Yeah. While Szymanowicz’s work lacks a certain detail that Quitely’s pencils exude… Szymanowicz’s art is often much more fluid and dynamic, adding a certain attractive roughness that differs from Quitely’s studied style.
I only had one quibble: Main character Ben’s girlfriend Sara is often written as way too sarcastic for her (or our) own good. Her dry humor intrudes on and deflates a few serious moments unnecessarily in the first few issues. What’s very telling: Keatinge seems to understand he may have gone a little overboard with this trait, as the grating character is given an appropriate dressing down at the beginning of the 5th issue. I’ve read entire comics filled with stupid, acrid attempts at sarcasm written for all the characters. That doesn’t happen here. While Sara is an important Hell Yeah supporting character, she’s hardly fully defined and doesn’t seem to matter much (yet) in the scheme of things.
If all I can find wrong with a book is a few unfortunate sarcastic statements that I would’ve toned down just a little, we’ve got a bona-fide great comic here.
I know I am going back a bit with this review but I couldn’t let it pass– as it is symptomatic of what I believe Marvel thinks of its fans.
Finally out of Marvel’s “Dark Era”– with Norman Osborn serving as the titular poster child for misbehavior– I was actually looking forward to reading this collection… Hoping Marvel would amass a series of stories that would clearly show how the Marvel Universe would acclimatize and transition itself into believing in their real heroes again.
Instead, all I got were several sketchy stories short on specifics– overloaded with emotional claptrap and fist pumps. If you believe Marvel’s Age of Heroes trade, the average everyday people populating the Marvel U just suddenly accept the return of their long-defamed heroes carte blanche: Old heroes good. Osborn bad.
All the massive amounts of anti-hero propaganda seems as quickly forgotten as the used tissue you flush after wiping your ass. One shot of Osborn on his knees in semi Green Goblin face and all is well with the super men and women the public seemed to detest just the day before.
Then I suddenly realized: This is what Marvel must think of its readers… Mindless drones that will accept whatever Editorial Decision made as “This is the way things are now. Get over the old stuff. We’ve got new shit to shove down your throat.”
There was no real transition of any kind on display here… No real explanation (other than that semi Goblin face) as to why the public suddenly welcomes the heroes back with open arms. It’s all just… Idiotic. The only story with any depth and gravitas (unsurprisingly) came from Jonathan Maberry’s short Black Panther tale. The rest were just short, one-note puff pieces… With Dan Slott’s (not surprisingly) being the most vacant and sophomoric in tone and depth.
Then, when they run out of that shit to sling– they just reprint their Heroic Age Magazine. More bland text pieces that seemed to exist just to fill space, kill trees and pick my wallet. There’s a couple of older comics re-reprinted too… And in the usual Marvel style– they have little if anything to do with the book I thought I was buying.
If I do ever run out of toilet paper, I’m going to use this horrendously overpriced $19.99 abomination to wipe my ass. Shame on you Marvel.