Robot 6

Quote of the day | Dan Buckley on cover prices

Dan Buckley

“I think it’s the appropriate price point for the entertainment value and quality that we offer in the books. The $3.99 price point was already the price point for limited series and one-shots before we moved some of our regular series up, and we still have several regular series that are at $2.99. If we want to continue to have the talent and the quality that we offer in those books, it’s a price point that we had to explore. What we offer from an entertainment standpoint is pretty solid and I think we should be proud of that.”

– Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, discussing the company’s move toward $3.99 comics

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40 Comments

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Buckley. So much so that I no longer buy any Marvel books.

Dan could have a future in politics with that kind of gift for bluffing and blustering past an issue.

And their midlist titles can suffer as a result, it’s not like anyone cares about those….

So, by this logic the creators are making more money? Bigger percentage? Or is the corporate take the only margin that really improved?

When your own market analysts suggest that the market is inflexible, even in the face of a 33% price hike on the most popular books, you’re going to raise the prices on the books. That said, there’s still a handful of Marvel books that will get that price out of me, but most of those are midlist and driven more by non-superstar (though they deserve the status) talent.

I know Marvel is currently the industry leader in sales but not from me. They are hurting themselves & the industry overall over the long term for short term profits.

I actually put back 2 Marvel books yesterday when I noticed the $4 price tag. It’s been awhile since I picked up a Marvel comic and the creative teams and characters interested me. The price did not.

No, he’s wrong.

Image and Dark Horse both put out comics of superior quality for less money.

I have to say that most of the $3.99 books don’t give me $3.99 worth of entertainment. The price isn’t a big deal to me if I’m thoroughly enjoying the title but the price almost FORCES me to drop the book if it’s an average read. I assume that they will continue the price gouging with the same reasoning until they price me out or force me to become a trade waiter.

Hahahahhaa!!! This must be a joke.

Price and space is why I don’t buy comics any more. I started buying comics when they were 25¢ a piece. I remembered being horrified when they jumped to 30¢ and shortly thereafter 35¢. I think I quit comics the first time when they hit 40¢ and I realized I was reading the same story over and over again. Ben Grimm lost his powers only to eventually regain them, and then Reed Richards was having some stretching issues. Guess what? He got his powers back! I was done.

Now it’s $4 a book and characters are getting killed only to come back. It’s the resurrection revolving door! Yeah, the books are printed on better paper, but you no longer get the Sea Monkey, muscle or Count Dante ads.

I absolutely do not feel like I’m getting $3.99 worth of entertainment out of something that takes 10 or 12 minutes to read.

And I find myself buying less comics because of that.

I can tell you that every time I go to the comic book store now I look at the price on the comic. If its $3.99, then there is a 90% chance it goes right back on the shelf.

I’ve dropped a lot of books because of the $3.99 price tag. I’ve also not gotten a lot of them because of the same. Many of them are Marvel books. I wanted get some of the Shadowland tie-ins as well as some of the Captain America miniseries but won’t because of price.

If you’re going to charge $4 for a comic, the least you can do is get rid of the ads.

Or even just make the ads interesting and unobtrusive to the page layouts.

But seriously if Image can put out Orc Stain and Bulletproof Coffin with great materials and fantastic color printing and no advertisements save the back inside cover (and even then its an ad for another series I might be interested in) then Marvel really has no excuse.

The Coolest Dad (tm)

October 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

Heh. I find it funny that there are a ton of creator owned titles out there like Chew, Invincible, Turf and The Walking Dead that manage to have an immense amount of creativity, talent, and quality at a $2.99 price point when having the lower price undoubtedly affects them more.

Can someone at Marvel explain the price jump on Thunderbolts from $2.99 to $3.99 starting on issue #151? It’s the same creative team, is it not? What happened to the talent and quality on the book from issue #149 to issue #151 to justify a 33% price hike?

I’m as bummed about the price hikes as anyone, but unless sales drop really precipitously, nothing is going to change. In all the history of comics, have prices ever been rolled back after an increase?

Sales have dropped but because of the 33% price hike even with lower sales they are still making more money. And that is what the suits at the corporate level are concerned about. Nothing more.

I am buying MAYBE 1-2 Marvel books a month, and I don’t buy the $4 books at all.

It’s not $3.99 either; drop that 99cent B.S. facade already. It’s $4, plus tax, minute potential pull-box discount.

This is why I’ve pared my monthly books from almost 30 down to 10.

“What we offer from an entertainment standpoint is pretty solid”

If you consider five minutes of entertainment “solid,” I guess. I consider that terrible return for the price.

Like many others here, I strongly disagree with Buckley and dropped all my Marvel books months ago due to the price hike. I just buy discounted collected editions now, often used, and my wallet is much better off for it.

The only $4 Marvel book that gives me $4 worth of entertainment is Hickman’s SHIELD and that is, in part, due to the fact that it takes longer than 5 minutes to read.

Dan Buckley can go fuck himself.

he implies that the price is high because he’s got A-list talents on the 3.99 books. i’m sure someone can come up with a list of books that are 3.99 that have plenty of b and c list talent.

Silly me. I should have known that comics are only for rich people now…..

From what I’ve heard, Marvel creators don’t even get paid what DC creators get. I’m wondering how lean they are working – even though Disney bought they — I wonder if there is scrutniy for how they are managing their books.

A profit-seeking corporation raised prices because they knew it would raise their bottom-line? But how could they?! BASTARDS!!!!!!!

Seriously, most of you dopes just need to get over it. You can give a thousand venom-filled anecdotes about how Marvel’s new prices drove you away from titles X, Y, and Z, but they’ll never amount to anything more than just that, anecdotes. In other words, “cool story bro.”

It’s not Marvel’s primary directive to bring you cheaps comics, and it certainly isn’t spite for you or contempt for the “industry” that compels them to raise their prices. Quite simply, Marvel’s goal is to get paid, and higher prices serve that goal better than lower ones, even if a couple of fans are lost in the hike. If you’re going to begrudge a company for having dollars on the brain, then allow me to apologize now for the bitter existence you have in store, for you will resent every can of soda you drink, every song you listen to on your iPod, every word you type on your HP computer, and every Marvel/DC comic book you’ve read in the past and every one you’ll ever read in the future. I’m sorry. I know it will be hard for you.

PS: If you’re wondering why Dan Buckley didn’t just say “Hey, we raised the prices because it makes us more money,” it’s because the fans clearly aren’t big enough to accept this painfully obvious answer.

I think most reasonable people can accept that Marvel is entitled to make their money however they see fit. It seems to me that Marvel can’t accept that some people don’t think their product is worth the price.

Julian, I’m not sure where you’re getting that vibe from. Guys like Buckley are always going to defend the price hike because they want you to buy the book no matter what. If Marvel raised the price to $100 per issue, he would still be on here saying the quality of Marvel books makes them worth the price, whether he believes that or not, simply because it’s in his interest to do so.

I find it hard to believe that Marvel would be intolerant of reader dropoff, since they almost certainly ran projections before they instituted the price change. I’m sure they were well aware that some fans would be alienated by the move, but they weighed them against all the readers who would continue buying books at an extra dollar a piece and determined it was in their best interest to go ahead with the hike. I don’t see them as “unaccepting” of the fans who did cut back on Marvel books because, as far as I know, no one on their side of the fence is outraged or insulted that people would drop titles, whereas many consumers seem to be taking the new price point personally.

Same old sh*t, higher price.

Same old soup, just reheated.

Sir Manley Johnson

October 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

The books are worth what people are willing (and able) to pay. Going from 3 to 4 dollars means instead of 7 books a month I’m down to 5.

If they raised prices by 33%, Marvel shouldn’t be worried until sales drop by 33%. And since we’re all addicts, that won’t happen any time soon.

Cass, from what I’ve heard there is some unease inside editorial ranks about pricing and potentially cannibalizing the market, but at the end of the day you get your marching orders and you do your job as best you can given the demands that are outside of your control.

People taking it as a personal affront are really shouldn’t, but even here it’s kind of understandable. Marvel has spent decades cultivating a sense in their readership that they were a community and personally important to Marvel. Not that this was ever necessarily true.

I made a mistake. Orc Stain made the jump to $4 and Bulletproof Coffin started at that price. I’m not as phased by this because I think the product is worth the price for the reasons I’ve stated. Here it helps that Bulletproof Coffin is a limited series, along with Beasts of Burden. Strange Tales Max was a great series and I’m incredibly excited for the second series. Batwoman was definitely worth the $4 and I’m looking forward to the new series even with ads. But I don’t think that you can really maintain monthly pamphlets at $4 a month or more. It adds up too fast and you start having to cut your list down to somewhere between one to ten comics in a month and if those are the same titles each month how much opportunity is there really to find new talent that’s taking a chance? With limited series and bimonthly or even quarterly (though here probably best to go bigger and charge a bit more) publishing make it far easier to make 10 comics a month go a long way.And if those comics are well designed then they’re definitely worth it because you can return to them and read them again or get lost in a panel or a page for an hour or so.

Just Not Worth It

The one thing that I have never seen mentioned which is a line in the sand for me is advertising. From my experience indie books priced at $3.99 do not have ads in the story and if there are any ads they are in the back.

I will pay the price for a good book that gives me better presentation.

Marvel is expecting us to pay the same price for product subsidized by advertising.

If you are still buying Marvel and DC consider this.

If that does not lead you to drop them until they treat us fairly then you get what you deserve.

I’m actually buying more comics these days, actually. And I totally agree with Buckley – I don’t want creator owned bullshit, and I don’t want b&w comics, I want to read comics by Brian Bendis, Jon Hickman, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker – and if that means paying 3.99, then so be it. I realise someone’s going to jump down my throat for that, but I don’t care.

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