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Friday, November 20, 2009 

Boulder Daily Camera is also sugarcoating sales

The Boulder Daily Camera of Colorado follows the example set by the Boston Globe, and provides their own local fluff-coated coverage of store sales:
In the comic industry, superheroes are saving stores from the economic downturn. With a leap and a bound, sales have increased an estimated 1 percent at specialty retailers during the recession.
Only one percent? That's asking a lot from the readers then to believe things are really as great as they'd like to think.
The estimate provided by industry tracker comichron.com -- which doesn't include revenue at big-box bookstores -- shows sales reached $324.6 million between January and September.

At Time Warp Comics and Games on 28th Street, where Batman and Spiderman logos glow on the storefront windows, sales mirror the national trend. The owner credits the uptick to the loyal buying habits of collectors and several events hosted to celebrate the shop's 25th anniversary.

Carlson, a regular customer of Time Warp, said he drives up to the Boulder store twice a month. Collectors are a loyal bunch, he said, but some are irked that comic giant Marvel has increased the price on its comics from $2.99 to $3.99.

"Marvel has upset a lot of fans," he said. "They're trying to test the market."

Wayne Winsett, owner of Time Warp, said sales at his shop have increased about 8 percent since last year, and he's hoping for a busy holiday season.
Just because one store might have a boost in sales does not mean all stores across the country are having the same upturn in fortunes, and I assume the sales stats they provide from the industry tracker haven't been all that different from the past several years, if the earlier report is any indication. It could also have more to do with the price increase providing a temporary boost in sales than an actual increase in consumerism.

And Marvel has upset fans for much more than that, as their destruction of Spider-Man should tell.
"Collectors are an odd breed," Winsett said. "Once they start, they have a hard time stopping. It's like an addiction."
And that's just what ultimately sank the industry later on! Because they started pandering more to these collectors who aren't interested so much in storytelling as they are in trying to turn a profit on their collections. But I suspect even that can't be relied upon much longer. Plus, some collectors who are in this for storytelling value, such as myself, are starting to come out of it as the stories plummet in quality.
Like soap opera fans, he said, comic book readers follow their characters.
And when they're subject to character destruction, they stop following them. I know that I did in the past couple years.
John Bonner, owner of Halley's Comics in Fort Collins, said the industry tends to fare well in tough economic times.

"It's a good value for your dollar compared to other forms of entertainment," he said.
If only I could concur there, but the claim of surviving well in hard economic times, alas, is greatly exaggerated.

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