Seriously, so tired of being broke. I wrote this helpful article in spite of the fact I won’t take most of my own advice, here. :)
Wouldn’t it be awesome if every 24 hours, you could simply pick up your wallet, strike a heroic pose, and utter an oath that would return it’s power level to 100%?
“In poorest day, in brokest night, no comics shall escape my sight . . .”
Something like that at any rate. Instead of a daily recharge, we fanboys simply have had to watch our pull lists dwindle.
For years now, one of the biggest fanboy laments has been the morbidly rising cost of a 32-page comic. There’s been so many studies and reports done over the years on this very thing. They give all of the statistics and figures in pretty pie charts and graphs. For this column, though, I’d like to focus on some of the things we can do to still get our comics without resorting to piracy, but still retaining at least a little green in our wallets (or credit on our cards, whichever the case may be.)
I have put together a little list of the top ten ways the comic junky can save a buck. Ok, maybe not the top ten, but ten nonetheless.
Disclaimer: You will still be broke as a joke if you try all of these ideas. Remember, you can gain weight if you eat a mound of healthy foods.
Scenario #1: “I just want to read comics. It doesn’t matter who the writer is, as long as they’re free and plenty of them.”
The web, as everyone knows is full of comics that are either free or ask for a small donation. Then, there are probably as many comics you can download for under a buck. Now, these are primarily indy comics to the tenth power, but that doesn’t discount their quality in the least. Of course, you can also get beaucoup of awesome (if not random) free books from the larger companies.
Scenario #2: Quarter Bin
I don’t live close to any of the big chain comic stores, but once in awhile, I get to sneak off to Texas and grab some quarter comics. That’s the bestestest feeling in the world. Four or five times now, I’ve walked away from Zeus Comics in Dallas with long boxes filled to overflowing with the cursed things. As a result, I could stop getting new books and still have enough quarter books to last me five years or better.
Scenario #3: Trading Sites
Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to hold onto my comics, because one day, they were going to be worth a fortune. Well, sadly, times they have a-changed. The only time a comic is worth anything now, is immediately after it becomes hot. Blink, and you’ve lost your window. But, there’s still some value in that copy of Alf #23. Click on over to your friendly neighborhood trading site, and give it a whirl. You still have to pay for shipping, but man can you rack up! As a bonus, you get to interact with comic fans who are equally as eager to get new books for such a reasonable price. It’s a great way to fill gaps or even an entire run you missed out on.
Scenario #4: Library
The public library can hook you up with so much now days. No longer is it the cold, damp tomb where you go to pencil out that book report or get a copy of the novelization of Star Trek IV. No, now you can check out movies, music, and, coolest of all, you can pick up some awesome trades or graphic novels for the low, low price of FREE.
Scenario #5: Nicks and Dents
I just discovered this the other night. Hit up Google and search for Nick and Dent comics. You’ll be surprised at what all you’ll find. As I mentioned earlier, comics don’t really go up in value as a rule anymore. This goes doubly for TPB’s. But if you’re collecting for the story, who really cares. Am I right, or am I right?
Scenario #6: Online Pull List Discounts
I have to be careful promoting this one. Despite the fact that so many people get their comics this way, it still feels like you’re being an ass for taking sales away from brick and mortar stores. I confess this is the route I have had to go to, and can really be the best medicine for DWS. I went from the 10% discount at my LCS to saving 40-50% on my books. Plus, I’m not charged tax. I’m sorry, but I just can’t afford to get 40 books at cover price plus tax.
Scenario #7: In-Store Pull List Discounts
If you feel guilty about switching your loyalties to online, and thus killing the brick and mortar comic specialty shops, then here’s a partial compromise: Ask for an in-store pull discount. Some of the stores I’ve frequented have already had a 10% discount built into their hold pricing, while others I have had to ask. While it’s not nearly as grand a savings as one can get on the Interwebs, it can at least eat your taxes for you – which on a slew of $3.99 comics can really add up.
Scenario #8: Catalogs (such as Lakeside Collection or Edward R. Hamilton)
My wife loves to shop through catalogs, and she’s been known to find some very worth while deals in them. The last couple of years, she’s even began to find some comic books and related items in them. Some of the most notable are both the Marvel and DC Comics Encyclopedias and the DC Vault. Though their cover prices are around $40 or $50, she’s been able to pick them up for me at a very reasonable $17 to $20 each.
Scenario #9: Auctions
This one is almost a no-brainer, as Ebay and it’s clones have been attracting comic book afficiantos and hobbiests since Superboy wore a jacket.
Scenario #10: Re-read Your Back Issues.
I know this column was supposed to be about getting new comics into your hands for free/cheap, but think of it this way, if you have 1,000 comics or more, chances are pretty good that you don’t remember everything you own. Plus, it’ll give you the chance to fall in love with that battered copy of Fantastic Four, all over again.
Bonus Scenario: Be A Mooch
Chances are, you can already see the benefits of this one without my belaboring the point. I will say this, though, I have read so many good books this way. Kurt Busiek’s Secret Identity. The 8-part Adam Strange limited series, Planet Heist. The first 18-20 issues of the current Teen Titans run. And, that’s just to name a few. The hardest part is finding a friend who’s willing to share a cherished book. Lucky for me, each of my comic reading cohorts know that I would face The Tribunal should I bend a corner. If I crease a spine or rip a page? Then, I would honorably execute seppuku. You get the point.
Bottom line: Sometimes it’s good to be a mooch.
Hopefully, I have given you all something to help you stay afloat in this wonderful time of comic book inflation. Maybe my advice will even get you by until the industry heeds Mark Waid’s words and slashes those prices. We’ll see.
Until then, I vow to keep the price of reading Professional Fanboy as low as possible.
Take care my fellow cheapskates!