Dear Marvel Comics – Like, Ew! Totally gross!
Oct 26, 2011 by     15 Comments    Posted In: Articles

I went to the comic book store today. I saw some great “jumping on” books. Incredible Hulk #1 and X-Men Regenesis #1. Both had beautiful covers. The X-Men book was drawn by Chris Bachalo and damn it looked sweet! Also, it was written by Jason Aaron who I’ve heard writes very good stories. I’ve barely read any X-Men stories before and I am X-curious. The Hulk book was drawn by Marc Silvestri. And I looked inside and the Hulk has a beard so I instantly wanted to own this book.

Though I think someone had puked on the Hulk cover and I think this person must be a competitor in the Olympic puking event because the vomit was in the shape of words. “Shattered Heroes” the puke spelled out. Despite this, I was totally stoked to read this Hulk book and the X-Men one too.  But I didn’t buy those books. I was so looking forward to reading them, but I didn’t buy them.

Pictured below, a gold medal performance in puking


Why? Because the cost is too damn high! I’m not going to tell you how to run your business. I’m not going to pretend I know why you charge $4 for a book with less story pages than before and more ads. I’m not going to criticize you for your tendency to chain events one after another. I think can deal with that. I just want to tell you that as a consumer of comics, you have completely, inequivocally, and certainly grossed me out with your price point.

I wish I had something smart to say about why this happened and how it affects the buying habits of comic fans or how it impacts the industry as a whole or whatever. But I don’t even have an opinion on that at this point. I’m just operating on instinct. I see something I like and if it costs too much, I am like a cat who smells a lemon. My entire being is yanked out of my generally calm and blissful state. I do not care how friggin’ awesome your books are, I do not care how much hype is surrounding them, I do not care about anything. I just promise you I feel as if I never again want to try a $4 book from you. I almost even wish I could go back in time and not purchase the Avengers book I got last week even if I enjoyed it.

The very first article I wrote on this blog was entitled “Geek on a Budget” and it became a popular recurring feature. So I feel I have a responsibility to that principle of being smart with your money. So I’m going to be smart and not buy any of your $4 books. Instead, I bought Azzarello’s Spaceman today for $1 from Image comics and I put the other $3 towards Aquaman #2.

Those of you who frequent this blog know that I’m pretty much always a positive guy who digs hard to see what’s awesome about comics. I’m almost always happy about what’s going on in comics. But not today, not right now. Right now I’m just angry and I’ve had enough. I sincerely want to be the guy who gives Marvel a chance no matter what because I want to be open minded and reasonable. But I’m drawing the line here. This is not even about money, it’s about PR. You’ve made me feel like you think I’m stupid with all your shenanigans of reducing page counts, increasing events and increasing prices in a bad economy. It’s just gross. I waited and I waited before telling you how I feel. I just sat quietly in my little corner hoping you’d come around. But I’m through waiting.

But I’ll be here if you want me. I’ll always be here for you. All you need to do to win me over is to make $3 books. That’s all. You don’t even have to apologize for hurting my feelings. I’m not asking for the moon. Just make some good $3 books and I’ll be happy. Until then, we’ll have to live separate lives.

Keep making movies though, we’re cool on that front.


15 Comments Add Comment

  • Chance October 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I hope Marvel dose do something about their pricing. Since DC’s drawing the line and New 52 I have been slowly weaning myself off of Marvel comics. I wouldn’t mind paying the little extra if it was worth it. Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case recently.

  • chipreece October 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Are they all $4 now? X-Factor and the new Daredevil were only $3 when I was getting them a few months ago.

    I know the majority of DC’s are $3, but I remember seeing that a handful were going to be higher…does that have to do with more pages?

    I feel your pain Jason…Marvel has been ridiculous!

  • JasonNewcomb October 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    So far all of DC’s books that are $4 have additional story pages or some sort of additional content such as sketches and whatnot.

    Some of Marvel’s books are $3 such as Invincible Iron Man but most are $4 without justification.

  • Threeshotwonder October 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I think this is one of the biggest things that stops me from buying marvel titles.But i think you are spot on about the movies

  • Longbox Graveyard October 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Marvel is trapped (so is the whole business, really). Comics should be a buck. But over the last twenty-five years comics content has become so hard core that there isn’t the mass audience required to sustain publication at the .99 price point. Superhero movies prove the “superhero” business has plenty of customers but comics have written and priced themselves into a marginal, hardcore only market. Don’t expect Marvel to meet you at three dollars any time soon.

  • JasonNewcomb October 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    LBG, I have my doubts that Marvel is doing this out of necessity but like I mentioned, I’m just a fan, I’m not a business man so all I have is my my money and all I can do is choose who gets it.

  • AvengersFan223 October 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    X-Men Regenisis was Awesome and every one at my store was praising the hulk…I dont like the price, but i pay it because MARVEL IS THE BEST!!!

  • nisav October 26, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    i’m wondering if its Marvel, or Disney who is pushing the price point.

    there is a point at which people just stop being able to afford things, and in this slump of an economy comics are not the first thing on most people’s must have list. it would only seem reasonable to sell at a lower price point, $3?, so more readers could afford and enjoy. yes it will take more sales to produce the same revenue, but if more are able to afford, than perhaps that revenue will be greater than the one based on $4 price point. i know this is very simplified and dumped down, but there might be merit.

  • JasonNewcomb October 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I wish I had enough behind-the-scenes info to understand all of this, but all I know is that $4 books wreak Havok on my cash flow. So I make a decision.

  • T Dubs October 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I have to agree, I actually thought this same thing a couple weeks ago was I was deciding what to buy, since I could only afford one comic. I looked through both of them and was annoyed by the fact that for the same content, Marvel charged a dollar more. Like Jason, I don’t know what goes on behind-the-scenes, but if they can sell some of them for 3 bucks, and they have the same number of pages as the 4 dollar ones… Well.

  • JasonNewcomb October 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

    @T Dubs: That really gets my goat. There might be a very logical reason for that but it comes across as gouging of the consumer. Like they expect people to pay more for a “high profile” book. It makes it look like they under-estimate the intelligence of their fans.

    It remains to be seen how this latest move by DC will affect them, but I really hope it shakes up Marvel’s cage.

    Like I mentioned, it’s not about money even, it’s about PR.

  • imacdvguy October 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I find $3.99 to be much more accepteable from smaller publishers. Due to their small circulation numbers I always just figured it was more expensive for them to print a run of books in the first place. But these days, half the comics I purchase from smaller publishers are cheaper. Go figuree.

    $3.99 is dangerous territory. A lot of magazines are only a buck or two more than that and you get a substantial amount of content compared to the average 22-page comic book. I know, they are not the same thing, but it is just creepy anyway.

    And with trade prices frequently being quite a bit less than the combined value of the direct editions and newstand editions (if you add them up), it just makes matters worse.

    We are being charged a premium and it can be hard to decide how you feel about it.

  • chipreece October 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Maybe they are overpaying their artists/writers? Does anyone know anything about what people make at Marvel?

    You would think with the success that Marvel has with it’s movies that they could risk a lower price on its comic books.

  • chipreece October 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Look at all this wonderful discussion happening on the BLOG! Great topic Jason!

  • Chance October 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    @chip it wouldn’t surprise me if they were overpaying their writers/artist. Another problem relating to that is the amount of books they put out each month. check this out “a total of 1587 pages for $262.23, or 16.5 cents a page”