Comic Vine News

39 Comments

An Open Letter To Marvel About $3.99 Comics

A comic store owner in Chicago posts an open letter to Joe Quesada and Marvel.

I saw this over at Newsarama.  It's an open letter to Joe Quesada and Marvel about the $3.99 comic price from a store owner posted on his Facebook.  $4 bucks for a comic does seem a bit much.  Yes costs increase but it does seem like a big jump.  The economy could be blamed but raising the price isn't going to attract new readers.  Not all Marvel comics are at $3.99 yet but looking at the February PREVIEWS for April's comics, there seems to be more and more creeping up to that mark. 

So here is the letter.  How do you feel?  Is Marvel justified given the current economy or are they asking too much from us comic fans?

Hello to Joe Quesada and whoever else may be inclined to listen,

    My name is Robert and I own Brainstorm Movies Comics and Gaming in Chicago. I am sending this to you in response to the recent price increase of more and more books going up to 3.99.

First of all, I realize that times change and everything goes up eventually. And I have told my customers that have expressed concern about the recent price increases that we should wait and see what happens. My argument was that if the page count goes from 32 to 40, then I could justify spending that on a GOOD book. I would even be willing to forgive it if the 32 page books kicked butt, like Dark Avengers #1.

    The latest Previews has a line that seems to repeat itself and it is causing some rumbling. Namely that line is “Plus 8 pages of Director’s Cut Extras!” This is like a slap in the face as one customer put it…right before he had me take all Marvel titles off his list.

    Oh, I know, you maybe smiled at that one. Oooo, there goes someone else threatening not to buy our books anymore. Oh what will Marvel Comics do if we don’t sell those 15 or 20 books a month to that one guy in Chicago? I imagine it wouldn’t be that big a deal…except this isn’t the first one this month.

    I’m not so much worried about Marvel. I’m worried about Brainstorm. This was someone who has been a customer since the day he walked in. He has stuck it out through thick and thin, and he would probably even be willing to give the price increase a fair chance…UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THERE WOULD BE MORE STORY! Plus 8 pages of Director’s Cut Extras does NOT justify a price increase. Eight pages of story would be an easier sell.

    If the price increases are due to budgetary reasons, then may I suggest that Marvel stop putting out things like Marvel: Your Universe or any of the Chronicles. I stopped ordering these with Hulk Chronicles, because that’s when my customers stopped buying them. And when they see this in Previews and then all these 3.99 books they ask me what gives. I don’t know what to tell them. Repacking material that has already come out in trades is like poking a wet cat…it does nothing but make the cat madder.

    If you have some insight, I would appreciate it. But I’m pretty certain that this won’t get any response and if I do it will probably be something about how exciting the future of comics is and that the price increases are needed for this or that.

    Regardless of whether you answer this or not, keep in mind that there are people out here who have invested everything they have into their stores. The same stores that rely upon people being able to afford the books they’re interested in reading. Because I have found that no matter how good a book is, if people have to make a choice between necessity and Wolverine, they will and have been lately, choose the necessity.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t raise the prices of your books. You’re going to do that anyway. I’ve seen the writing on that wall for a while now. I’m just asking that whoever makes these decisions please keep in mind that if you want more from us, we’re going to want more from you. And Director’s Cut Extras are not going to cut it.

Robert Kimmon
Owner
Brainstorm Movies, Comics and Gaming
1648 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
773-384-8721
39 Comments
Posted by Mr. Wilson

Amen.  I just wish Marvel would give a reason.  I hope no more titles go there.

Posted by The_Martian

Agreed

Posted by Nighthunter

Damn right

Posted by G-Man

According to PREVIEWS, these titles will be $3.99:

The Stand: American Nightmare #2
Captain America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
Sub-Mariner Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
Anita Blake: Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #1
Ender's Game: Battle School #4
Ender's Shadow: Battle School #5
Lords Of Avalon: Knight Of Darkness #6
The Odyssey #8
Pride & Predjudice #1
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz #5
Ultimate Spider-Man #133
Daredevil Noir #1
Wolverine Noir #1
Dark Reign: The Cabal
New Avengers #52
Dark Avengers #4
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1
Dark Reign: Elektra #2
New Avengers: The Reunion #2
Skrull Kill Krew #1
Spider-Woman #1
Secret Invasion Aftermath: Beta Ray Bill #1
Astonishing Tales #3
Captain America: Theater Of War: A Brother In Arms
Fantastic Force #1
All-New Savage She-Hulk #1
Hulk #11
Marvels: Eye Of The Camera #5
Franklin Richards: April Fools!
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #50
Marvel Apes: Amazing Spider-Monkey #1
Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1 and 2
Marvel Zombies 4 #1
Exiles #1
Timestorm: 2009-2099 #1
War Of Kings #2
War Of Kings: Ascension #1
Deadpool: Suicide Kings #1
Wolverine: Weapon X #1
Rampaging Wolverine #1 (black and white with no ads)
Wolverine: The Anniversary
X-Men: The Lives And Times Of Lucas Bishop #3
X-Men: First Class Finals #3
X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1
The Destroyer #1
Punisher: Frank Castle Max #69
Dead Of Night Featuring Werewolf By Night #4

Posted by mrenb

He wrote a very succinct open letter.  I have to agree. 
The question I have:  Are other comic book companies also going to increase their prices? 
I'd read that Top Cow won't, and that's great. 
This may be an incentive for readers to check out other comic book companies and their titles.

Posted by G-Man

DC has
Batman: Battle For The Cowl #2 (40 pages)
The Flash: Rebirth #1 (40 pages)
Gears Of War #7
Mirror's Edge #6
Prototype #1
Resident Evil #2

Posted by speedlgt

hey why do trades hurt the comic industry? I mean money wise? the Shop guy told me that but we didnt get into it

Posted by Nighthunter
G-Man said:
"According to PREVIEWS, these titles will be $3.99:

The Stand: American Nightmare #2
Captain America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
Sub-Mariner Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
Anita Blake: Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #1
Ender's Game: Battle School #4
Ender's Shadow: Battle School #5
Lords Of Avalon: Knight Of Darkness #6
The Odyssey #8
Pride & Predjudice #1
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz #5
Ultimate Spider-Man #133
Daredevil Noir #1
Wolverine Noir #1
Dark Reign: The Cabal
New Avengers #52
Dark Avengers #4
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1
Dark Reign: Elektra #2
New Avengers: The Reunion #2
Skrull Kill Krew #1
Spider-Woman #1
Secret Invasion Aftermath: Beta Ray Bill #1
Astonishing Tales #3
Captain America: Theater Of War: A Brother In Arms
Fantastic Force #1
All-New Savage She-Hulk #1
Hulk #11
Marvels: Eye Of The Camera #5
Franklin Richards: April Fools!
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #50
Marvel Apes: Amazing Spider-Monkey #1
Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1 and 2
Marvel Zombies 4 #1
Exiles #1
Timestorm: 2009-2099 #1
War Of Kings #2
War Of Kings: Ascension #1
Deadpool: Suicide Kings #1
Wolverine: Weapon X #1
Rampaging Wolverine #1 (black and white with no ads)
Wolverine: The Anniversary
X-Men: The Lives And Times Of Lucas Bishop #3
X-Men: First Class Finals #3
X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1
The Destroyer #1
Punisher: Frank Castle Max #69
Dead Of Night Featuring Werewolf By Night #4"
great, nothing of what I buy :D
Posted by G-Man
speedlgt said:
"hey why do trades hurt the comic industry? I mean money wise? the Shop guy told me that but we didnt get into it"
Trades can be bought at the chain bookstores (Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc).  Sure it gets more readers and brings more money to the company.  The problem is, those bookstores can order as much as they like and will usually get it.  If the books just sit on the shelves (or people just sit in the aisles and read them instead of buying), the store can always return them for full credit.  A comic shop orders something and they are stuck with it until it sells or they donate it to a local library or hospital.  If the market ever went to strictly trades, we wouldn't see them taking risks with new titles.  You'd need a hundred plus pages of material to make a trade.  They'd only be putting out 'safe' books and nothing innovative.  At least that's how I see it.
Posted by Mr. Wilson

I do hope they give an answer why.  I hope they respond to this letter too.  Also, who decides the comic prices????

Posted by G-Man

You can almost say we do.  We could just boycott all the $3.99 comics but I don't see that being possible.  I'm sure there will be people cutting more titles from their pull list as mentioned in the letter.  It's most likely the publisher, whoever's in charge, the board members, etc.  I'm sure they have a team of people looking at the market and the costs of printing and try to come up with the maximum amount they can charge and get away with.  I understand that prices go up.  But this just seems like a big leap.

Posted by Mr. Wilson

It is.  I hope they stay away from main titles.  They better not add more!!!!  There is no way you can get everyone to boycott either. :(

Posted by Hawk

I'd like to see what sort of Margins that the CB companies are taking on these products. With computers being more and more a part of the medium the overhead has to be going down and the turn around on production has to be a whole lot less than in the past. Also, this WILL NOT effect Marvel inc. what it will effect is the Comic shops who will sell less books because of the hike in prices. On a average week I spend $18-20 dollars in comics. I don't plan on increasing my spending...but decreasing the amount of books I buy.
Comics shops have been hurting for a while.....they will continue to more and more.

Thanks Marvel. Keep making $100 million for below average movies. Make mine Marvel.

Edited by King Saturn
Well I can handle a few $ 3.99 comics... but not too many

Dat could really Hurt a Brotha's Wallet

lmao
Posted by NiteFly

I've been planning on thinning out my folder anyway.  I'm going to vote with my money on this one.

Posted by Cezar_TheScribe

$3.99 is too much. Unless the page count is going up as well.

Less readers and more collectors dropping out.

This isn't going to be good. :/

Posted by Hawk

<----collector
I'll just buy more back issues and less new stuff.

Posted by thunderbolt

It's hard giving up titles from marvel that are going up to 3.99 because I've follwed these books(ex: New Avengers) and to let go due to price is difficult (Marvel buyer since 2005)

Posted by Hawk
thunderbolt said:
"It's hard giving up titles from marvel that are going up to 3.99 because I've follwed these books(ex: New Avengers) and to let go due to price is difficult (Marvel buyer since 2005)"
lol
<----Marvel buy since 1987
Posted by speedlgt

This will cause more people to "obtain" books in "other" ways!

Marvel is causing more harm than they think

Posted by Copy

Marvel Zobies 4? The 3rd one bored the hell out of me

Posted by G-Man
speedlgt said:
"This will cause more people to "obtain" books in "other" ways!

Marvel is causing more harm than they think"
Exactly.  People will do whatever they do to read comics online (which I don't want mentioned around here).  Or they can just go to the book stores that carry single issues and read those too.  I sort of understand why people might do either of those, especially if they're trying to live on a parent's allowance.  They don't get that doing that just hurts the market and will cause lower sales which will lead to cancellations.  The publishers don't get that we are limited with what we can spend.  We shouldn't see a gazillion spin-off or tie-in issues for some 'major' story arc.  People are having to pick and choose and may choose to drop lines of titles if there's too many to read to follow a simple story.  That's why I dropped the Batman titles in the 90s and only read Nightwing and Robin (somehow I found my way back though).
Posted by Barney Stinson

I wonder if getting more advertisers to...advertise would help lower the cost?  We could still have our regular story with more pages of ads to give them more money.  But perhaps people aren't paying to advertise these days.  Most of the Marvel ads seem Marvel-related.

Posted by Nighthunter

Major props to DC and Top Cow for keeping their current prizes

(I know Battle for the cowl and Flash: Rebirth are 3.99 but it's only 2 series out of how many?)

Posted by Airstrike

I quit buying Marvel and I was buying 8 titles but it wasn't pricing.  It was because they have destroyed the Avengers and their characters!  I have been buying Marvel comics for 20 years!

Edited by Pania

Way agreed. The ontent is not matching the price increases. It takes me half an hour to read a comic put out in the 1980's that cost 65 cents. It takes me ten to fifteen minutes to blow through most 3 and 4 dollar comics put out nowadays. I'm just not getting the bang for the buck.

And that's not even getting into quality of the stories, which with farming out multiple titles to single writers and the non-stop marketing driven crossover events, has gone dramatically downhill.

About the only comic I feel justified paying four bucks for is Magneto Testament, which, while I am biased, many agree is probably the best thing Marvel has put out in years.

Posted by xcodebro!x

Thats kind of what I was thinking. I mean it sucks to say it, but  If The stories I want to read are to expensive to buy, I'm just going to Download them... I spen anywhere from 20-50 dollars a week on comics, and I cant see myself shelling out even MORE. If it weren't for Rock Bottom (My local Shop) I'd be downloading them now. But I like having a place to buy comics and I want to support that. In short Damn the  economy and DAMN the Major Corps.! 

Hawk said it best! Marvel can keep making Crap Movies ( X3, Daredevil, Punisher WZ, Ect.) on my dime!!! And those dimes are worth 3.99 each! It sucks.

Posted by lordraiden
Copy said:
"Marvel Zobies 4? The 3rd one bored the hell out of me"

I thought it was pretty damn good and a fresh take after three series myself!
Posted by Hawk
xcodebro!x said:
"Thats kind of what I was thinking. I mean it sucks to say it, but  If The stories I want to read are to expensive to buy, I'm just going to Download them... I spen anywhere from 20-50 dollars a week on comics, and I cant see myself shelling out even MORE. If it weren't for Rock Bottom (My local Shop) I'd be downloading them now. But I like having a place to buy comics and I want to support that. In short Damn the  economy and DAMN the Major Corps.! 

Hawk said it best! Marvel can keep making Crap Movies ( X3, Daredevil, Punisher WZ, Ect.) on my dime!!! And those dimes are worth 3.99 each! It sucks."
Smart guy!
Posted by xcodebro!x

thanks. If I knew how to quote people I woulda just quoted you, but I'm kind of a noob when it comes to these things.

Posted by Hawk
xcodebro!x said:
"thanks. If I knew how to quote people I woulda just quoted you, but I'm kind of a noob when it comes to these things."
At the bottom right of each post there is a Quote link.....hit it.
Edited by Qoheed

I personally am a trade guy; I prefer having all my stories stored on a bookshelf in a fairly affordable fashion. And while I do buy some of the omnibus' and more pricey hardcover trades from Amazon ($61 > $100), most of my money goes to my local comic shop. They're cool to chat with, always reccomending things I may like, and occasionally give me discounts; and I know they could use the business.

That said, they're always telling me that it'd be a good idea to follow some of my favorite series on a monthly basis, but it definitely deters me when I see most of them going for $3 or $4 a pop. I'm willing to drop that amount on a select few monthly titles, but it's great to see someone addressing something like this. I'd rather wait a bit and get half a dozen comics in paperback form at a more affordable price.

Posted by AirDave817

Amen to Robert's letter.

Unfortunately the sad fact is that Marvel probably doesn't need him to be the middleman anymore. As much as I love the concept of the Local Comic Book Store, the sad fact is that what appeals to you probably isn't going to appeal to me. My friend behind the counter has to sell books. Even the books that he might not like or believe strongly in. Marvel has their archives online and their books are available through mail order with very compelling discounts. $3.99 may the last dying gasp of the monthly before transitioning to the graphic novel or trade paperback. I've had to make the hard decision to wait for the inevitable Flash: Rebirth trade paperback. You'd be foolish to think that it wasn't coming. There are so many reasons that it will be very quickly collected to, no pun intended. Right now there aren't any salad days, like when I got each issue and the trade paperback of Green Lantern: Rebirth and the issues and trades or the regular series. Now it's either or. I got every issue, the hardcover and the softcover trad paperback of Justice. By discount mail-order. I wouldn't if I had to get it in the store. But, I still have a warm spot in my heart for walking into a comic book store. I just do it a lot less than I used to. This is sad, bad news, but Marvel and DC don't need the local comic book store anymore. Which is a shame.       

Posted by speedlgt
Qoheed said:
"I personally am a trade guy; I prefer having all my stories stored on a bookshelf in a fairly affordable fashion. And while I do buy some of the omnibus' and more pricey hardcover trades from Amazon ($61 > $100), most of my money goes to my local comic shop. They're cool to chat with, always reccomending things I may like, and occasionally give me discounts; and I know they could use the business.

That said, they're always telling me that it'd be a good idea to follow some of my favorite series on a monthly basis, but it definitely deters me when I see most of them going for $3 or $4 a pop. I'm willing to drop that amount on a select few monthly titles, but it's great to see someone addressing something like this. I'd rather wait a bit and get half a dozen comics in paperback form at a more affordable price."

I too find myself liking the trade format far more......I hate the idea of storing comic books, having to buy those dam cardstocks! those dam plastic covers! and then those dam ugly boxes they sell to keep them in...........I find a trade with a nice hardcover far more asthetic and goes right on the book shelf never have to worry about about it again.
Posted by inferiorego
speedlgt said:
"Qoheed said:
"I personally am a trade guy; I prefer having all my stories stored on a bookshelf in a fairly affordable fashion. And while I do buy some of the omnibus' and more pricey hardcover trades from Amazon ($61 > $100), most of my money goes to my local comic shop. They're cool to chat with, always reccomending things I may like, and occasionally give me discounts; and I know they could use the business.

That said, they're always telling me that it'd be a good idea to follow some of my favorite series on a monthly basis, but it definitely deters me when I see most of them going for $3 or $4 a pop. I'm willing to drop that amount on a select few monthly titles, but it's great to see someone addressing something like this. I'd rather wait a bit and get half a dozen comics in paperback form at a more affordable price."

I too find myself liking the trade format far more......I hate the idea of storing comic books, having to buy those dam cardstocks! those dam plastic covers! and then those dam ugly boxes they sell to keep them in...........I find a trade with a nice hardcover far more asthetic and goes right on the book shelf never have to worry about about it again."
Certain books, I only read in trade. However, being that I'm highly impatient and want to be up-to-date (mostly to write terribly worded reviews for the viners), so I need my weekly comics. I hate storing them though and envy those who just get the trades.
Staff
Posted by Mr. Wilson
lordraiden said:
"Copy said:
"Marvel Zobies 4? The 3rd one bored the hell out of me"

I thought it was pretty damn good and a fresh take after three series myself!"
Same here.
Posted by Joe Venom

I got to agree with Copy, Marvel Zombies 3 was kind of a bore simply because the best part of a zombie book is seeing the main characters trying to survive being turned or being eaten alive. The first book had all those elements( + The Conquistador, lol ) and  then they went and made the clever/boring choice of using 2 robots (Machine Man and Jocasta)to go on this quest. I was looking forward to Marvel Zombies 4 because the new team consist of a group of semi-fleshy ones called "Midnightsons," but with it still being 3.99 an issue I'm gonna pass on it.

Posted by Green ankh

AMEN !!!!!

Posted by bfranklin825

I am a collector from way back and I can remember when you could go into the comic store and get a whole month's worth of titles for $20. Now I can't seem to get out of the store each week without wanting (but not getting) $50 worth of comics. I don't know, but it seems to me like the companies are just wanting more and more money from their readers in every kind of way. There's the price raises and then there's the "events" they're always having. With all of the major "events" the companies keep having- Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Annihilation, Crisis after Crisis- and all the crossovers and mini-series that go with them you can't really just collect one or two titles anymore. There just doesn't seem to be too many titles that are self-contained these days that you can collect that way. If you don't buy the mini-series event that the title(s) you are reading crosses over to you won't get the whole story and you won't really know what's going on in the title(s) that you're reading either. So in order to read Title X and get the whole story, you have to get Mini-series X that it crosses over to... and then you have to buy Mini-series Y, Z, and Q to get the whole story of Mini-series X! Where does it end? Don't get me wrong, I like a good "event" as much as anyone... but do we really need Secret Invasion, Secret Invasion: Frontline, Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four, Secret Invasion: Inhumans, Secret Invasion: Spider-man, Secret Invasion: War of Kings, Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers, Secret Invasion: Thor, and crossovers in EVERY Marvel title???? And I probably didn't even list them all.  By the way, where was Secret Invasion: Power Pack?

Thanks Marvel for ruining the joy of comic reading for me. I can't blame DC too much yet, they haven't raised too many of their titles so far and they really don't do "events" like Marvel does. Maybe I'll just read Booster Gold from now on... I know it'll get cancelled before it gets to #50 (it's inevitable), but at least I won't ever have to buy Secret Invasion: Booster Gold. Or I might as well just stop collecting comics altogether. I can't afford it and I don't have the time to get a second job to support my comic habit.