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Tuesday, May 12, 2020 

When comics became more expensive

The CBC wrote an article a few weeks ago about the cost comics went up to by the start of the 1990s, when many that had been under a dollar before rose above that level:
Many superheroes still wore tights and still got into fights, but their adventures were becoming more expensive to consume 30 years ago.

In April of 1990, The National's Bob Nixon went to a comic book convention in Victoria, to survey what the industry was like at that point.

He found a world of comic books that were more expensive than they used to be, but also a world in which the readership had remained unchanged.

At least, the footage shown on his report suggested a lot of teenage males were still reading the pen-and-ink stories.

"A lot of adults collect comic books these days, but the main buyers still rely on allowances and paper-route money,"
Nixon told viewers.

Dirk Deryk, a comic book dealer, said he believed parents' wallets were providing a lot of the purchasing power for these young buyers.

"There's a lot of ... guilt money out there, where parents just don't have the time for their kids to do exactly everything that they want," he told The National.

"And they say, 'Here: have $20 or $40 and go down and buy some comics. At least, you're reading.'"
Well wasn't that great if reading material in itself was once seen as a good way to keep the children occupied? Not today though, when there's political propaganda out there stuffing up the majors. Why does it sound like the reporter they quote was implying this wasn't a good thing? Or like the kids weren't doing everything wished for simultaneously?

As for those teens of the times, many are grown up today, and likely still buying and reading them, and despite all the attempts to pander to social justice advocates, there's been no improvement in company finances. Why, if it became all about speculators before, it's mostly remained the same now, and the article says:
But Nixon said the comic book industry had gradually become a bigger business, which had drawn some of these younger readers into becoming discerning buyers and even market speculators.

"You've got to pretty well guess which comics are going to go up because you don't really know until they're a few months old and by that point, they're already around $10," a teenager told Nixon.
Seriously? Even at that time, I doubt they had much value. They certainly don't today, after the whole speculator market was brought down by how everybody into this approach began storing their pamphlets in near perfect condition in polybags. Worst, readers were replaced by a whole generation who didn't even read them at all, and only bought in hopes they'd score a fortune over time. Today, it's hardly the case.
Another young collector pointed to getting works signed by the likes of Todd McFarlane — a Canadian comic book artist who was at the convention — as one way of securing the value of a comic book purchase.
Oh, please. McFarlane did have talent - his design for Spider-Man's webbing is still phenomenal - but anybody who thinks his work guarantees surefire profits is deluding themselves entirely. Suppose you find back issues of his work on Infinity Inc, the Hulk and Spidey in bargain bins today? That's how you know it doesn't have the value they allege.

And an article like is no substitute for arguments in favor of reformatting and focusing on the real issues like talented storytelling and artwork. That the CBC would waste resources on this kind of reporting just demonstrates how unconcerned they really are.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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