Robot 6

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Anaheim Convention Center

Anaheim Convention Center

Conventions | Using next month’s Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con as a hook, Michael Volpe looks at how the city is becoming a “fan festival hub” as it attempts to add Comic-Con International to a convention schedule that includes BlizzCon and The D23 Expo.

“It’s something of an accident,” said Mindy Abel, senior vice president of convention sales for the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau. “Our focus is getting trade groups and corporate events that will bring out-of-town guests, but those same amenities are very attractive to public promoters and consumer events.”

According to the article, the Wizard convention is expected to attract 30,000 attendees — “small potatoes compared to the San Diego event.” [Orange County Business Journal]

Diamond Book Distributors

Diamond Book Distributors

Business | Diamond Book Distributors has cut three employees, shifting their responsibilities to Diamond Comic Distributors staff. []

Retailing | Patrick Brower, owner of Challengers Comics in Chicago, offers his take on the state of the comics market: “Comic books are the ‘comfort food’ of the entertainment industry: Even while everything else is tanking, comics still seem to do okay.  They’re cheap, disposable and can make you feel good about life and yourself pretty quickly.  And once you buy one, you own it; it’s not an experience, it’s a product you can use over and over.  You can read it again and again.  And aren’t you worth $3, even on the shittiest of days?  Sure you are.  Just skip one lousy cup of coffee, and you can have a comic book forever.  Now that people are starting to have some money again, they most want to treat themselves to the things they’ve denied themselves for so long, whatever they may be.  What they’re not, is comics.  People have called comics ‘recession-proof,’ but when the recession is over that’s when the comics industry really starts to feel it.” [Chicago Now]

Copyright | A renewed debate about scanlations continues to spin out of the plagiarism accusations against Incarnate creator Nick Simmons — and takes a weird turn along the way. [Anime Vice, 4thletter!, Manga Xanadu, Anime Vice]

Publishing | Frank Santoro asks: “What if Disney does away with the culture of freelance lifers at Marvel Comics and replaces pencillers and inkers with animators and storyboard artists?” [Comics Comics]

First Wave #3

First Wave #3

Creators | Writer Brian Azzarello discusses First Wave, the new DC Comics miniseries set in a pulp universe populated by The Spirit, Doc Savage, Black Canary, the Blackhawks and The Bat-Man. [USA Today]

Creators | Animator John Canemaker talks to Jeff Smith about the animated adaptation of Bone. [Print]

Creators | Ivor Tossell profiles Amir, the anonymous writer of Zahra’s Paradise, the new online serial from First Second Books that chronicles life in Iran. (Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson interviewed Amir last week). [The Globe and Mail]

Creators | The Dreamland Chronicles creator Scott Christian Sava is the subject of a substantial profile — with a slide show, no less — in his local newspaper: “I worry … with all the fans … am I capturing the moment? Am I taking advantage of the opportunities? I’d rather work on more pages. I’ve been getting a little melancholy about that. My heart’s into telling the story, not selling it.” [The Tennessean]

Creators | Brian Heater launches into a four-part interview with Graham Annable. [The Daily Cross Hatch]



Creators | Xeric grant-winning cartoonist Joshua Smeaton chats briefly about self-publishing and his webcomic-turned-graphic novel Haunted. [Creative Loafing]

Creators | Writer Mark Andrew Smith talks about his all-ages comic The New Brighton Archeological Society. [Diamond Bookshelf, via Good Comics for Kids]

Craft | Letterer Todd Klein examines the origins of “breath marks” (also known as “roach legs,” “fireflies,” “cat’s whiskers” and countless other names). [Todd’s Blog]

Blogosphere | Happy fifth anniversary to MangaBlog, the indispensable blog operated by Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson. [MangaBlog]

Blogosphere |’ GeekDad blog has opened voting for the first GreekDad Awards. [GeekDad]



No Mention of the great Amazon sale/glitch of 2010. i bought quite a few books hope they come in.

I agree. How can you have an article about the latest comic news on the internet and not cover the single largest comic related event that happened on the internet over the weekend?!

@Dan and Doktor

Yeah, I agree. I expected this news to front page on every comic related site, but it doesn’t seem that way.

I got some orders in, having heard anything from Amazon yet. *Crosses fingers*

A glitch on Amazon isn’t exactly “news” — they happen all the time. If they end up honoring all the sales that came in over the weekend, that would be news — and very surprising.

The possibility that they might, or might not, honor lots of orders isn’t news.

IMO it is very much news. It could set a precedent not only for online sales, but comics themselves.

Marvel may think about dropping the prices on their Omnibuses (not to $8-15) but to a more reasonable price. This has shown that as the price drops quantity demanded increases. It’s elementary economics. If the Omnibuses were $50-75 more people would buy them (myself included). But, at $100 a piece (when they are in print, only to skyrocket in price once out of print), I pass on them.

A glitch on Amazon isn’t exactly “news” — they happen all the time.

True enough, but I think it’s fairly newsworthy when the top twenty-five books on Amazon are almost all comics for more than a day, even if under slightly iffy circumstances.

>> If the Omnibuses were $50-75 more people would buy them (myself included). But, at $100 a piece (when they are in print, only to skyrocket in price once out of print), I pass on them. >>

And if they were $50-75, someone would be saying that if they were $35-50, more people would buy them. If they’re skyrocketing in price once they’re out of print, that’s evidence of demand, not disinterest.

But yeah, if you cut the price in half, more people would buy them. But it would need to be more than twice as many just to avoid losing money on the discount (since you’re halving your intake on each book without lowering the production costs at all), so simply selling more copies isn’t enough. You have to increase your sales by a very large factor.

If the publishers believed they could make more money at a lower price, they’d lower the price. But they won’t lower the price if they think it means losing money, even selling more copies.


i was just hoping that the event that made my Sunday feel really awesome would be making some “news” comic related or otherwise. It seems that all the comic people I’m following on twitter were plugging their stuff on amazon, i was really just wanting to know the actual numbers of how many took advantage of amazon BS. the more this story circulates the more likely comic prices might fall because of this… but I’m sure I’m being overly optimistic. eh.

Danny, comic prices will only fall IF the cost of printing comics and graphic novels and what not come down as well. This mistake on an electronic retailers part (it happens more often than you’d think) is just that, a mistake, and not indicative of any trends.

when prices go down demand goes up. the higher the demand the more units sold. the more units sold the more money made. you know that all companies make money off of their products, lowering the price would mean having to sell more to break even, but with demand going up it should be easier to hit that goal. we need to let them know the demand is out there but the econ. sucks so we don’t buy (this is something they really need to think about when all the books purchased at amazon could have just as easily been downloaded for free)

>> when prices go down demand goes up.>>

This is usually true, yes.*

>> the higher the demand the more units sold.>>

This is sometimes true.**

>> the more units sold the more money made.>>

This is your mistake.

Let’s say you make big aerospace widgets.

Sell one widget for a million dollars, or lower the price and sell two for a quarter-million each. Which deal made you more money? You grossed twice as much selling fewer widgets.

Now try it again, but assume that it costs $100,000 to make each widget, and you’re selling them at a 67% discount, and the actual price is what the widget retailer gets, not the widget manufacturer. You made money the first way, you lost money the second way.

It’s the same with comics, but the dollar figures are a lot lower.

>> you know that all companies make money off of their products, lowering the price would mean having to sell more to break even, but with demand going up it should be easier to hit that goal.>>

It really isn’t. You’re simply assuming that if the price goes down, the demand will go up more than the price went down. But you don’t know it will — in fact, it usually won’t. Plus, you’re neglecting to consider that if your price goes down and your costs stay the same, your profit margin just got a lot lower. So it’s not enough to double sales if you cut the prices in half. You may have to triple or quadruple them (or more, depending on how big a proportion of the price your costs are) just to break even.

If all it took for companies to break even at a lower price was demand going up, then everything would cost a penny, because demand would skyrocket at that price, and you’d sell so many comics, BMWs, aerospace widgets or whatever else you’re making to make huge profits.

Of course, in reality you’d lose your shirt. Because it doesn’t work that way. Lowering prices boosts demand, sure, in most cases. But how much does it boost it? Does it boost it enough? If it did — if selling comics for $2.99 made publishers lots more money than selling them for $3.99, then publishers would sell them at $2.99. And if selling them for $1.50 made even more money, they’d do that.

But it doesn’t, and that’s why they don’t.

>> we need to let them know the demand is out there but the econ. sucks so we don’t buy >>

The economy doesn’t just suck for consumers.

>> (this is something they really need to think about when all the books purchased at amazon could have just as easily been downloaded for free) >>

And if everyone did that, the companies would go out of business. That’s because economics isn’t as simple as you imagine. If it was, then everything would be lots cheaper, because it would be easy to triple, quadruple or quintuple sales by lowering prices to the point where you don’t make much profit any more.

Finding the balance point between how much something cost to make and how much you sell it for, taking into account the fact that demand changes with price, but high demand doesn’t get you anything with too low a price and high prices don’t get you anything with too low a demand, is something that people get paid a lot to figure out, and economists and manufacturing executives sweat over. If it was as simple as “cut prices, and you’re guaranteed to make more money,” then business schools would have much, much simpler textbooks.


*I say usually because there’s a limit to it. Demand and unit sales both have a practical limit, and the closer you get to it, the less effect this sort of thing will have on sales. This is a factor in your thinking, too, because the demand for TOMB OF DRACULA OMNIBUS editions isn’t just going to keep rising every time you cut the price. Amazon charged $8.50 or so, and got great numbers, but if their computer error had them charging $4.25, do you think they’d have gotten twice as many (or more) orders? Never mind that both of those prices are money-losers, because the manufacturing costs are higher than that, so every sale loses money. At some point, the price is so low that cutting it further isn’t going to increase demand any.

**and I say sometimes here because one of the things that creates demand is scarcity. One of the reasons ACTION COMICS #1 is expensive is because there’s high demand. But that demand is already way, way higher than the number of copies available, so increasing it won’t sell more copies because there aren’t any. I point this out simply to illustrate that economic systems aren’t as simple as you’re describing; there are always mitigating factors. For instance, when Marvel did 99-cent comics a while back, they figured they’d be great deals for casual readers who bought comics on the newsstands. But newsstand retailers refused to carry 99-cent comics, because their profit on them was too low. That’s a mitigating factor they failed to take into account. That’s the kind of thing that affects these systems beyond a simple “lower prices and sales will go up” aphorism.

ok, you have convinced me. ill keep downloading comics for free.

Way to be classy, Danny.

The great Amazon proof of how to save comics appears to have gotten three people at Diamond fired yesterday. If your choices are between two systems that harm the industry, and if you can’t have the one built on financially-crippling mistakes, you’ll embrace the one that does nothing to support the people who create and publish the work you want so much, pretending you’re talking about how to fix the industry is transparently wrong.

You want it cheap. You don’t care what the economics of that are, so why bother pretending? You just want it cheap.


lol man im just kidding. i really wasn’t looking for a “class” on why this is not going to help the industry i was just saying that this “glitch” might be an opportunity to give it a serious look. in my short life easily the thing that i have spent the most of my earned money on is comics (excluding rent but not bills) however it is getting to the point where i am not able to buy all the books that i once was able to and the only thing that has changed is the price of comics, my income has stayed the same. how about some suggestions, instead of why i don’t know how the comic book industry works. your on the inside man you should be able to help out the poor comic book fans who might be inclined to download your books before buying them just so they can afford diapers for their kids.

just got my e-mail from amazon, no luck all the books i ordered were out of stock due to a pricing error. oh well better luck next time.

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