Robot 6

Mile High Comics may pull out of SDCC over exclusive variants

Mile High Comics' display at Comic-Con International

Mile High Comics’ display at Comic-Con International

Pointing to “seismic changes” in the number of convention-exclusive variants offered by publishers and toymakers, Mile High Comics President Chuck Rozanski has announced that after more than four decades, this may be his last year at Comic-Con International.

While he acknowledges in an installment of his Mile High newsletter that “the detrimental effects of exclusives at San Diego is not a new phenomena,” he asserts “the breadth and the scale” of those products have changed.

“No longer are exclusives limited to just a few booths, or only to Wednesday evening,” Rozanski writes. “We are now seeing all of the major comics publishers, and every single toy and game company, creating limited edition products that they deny us. This aversion to helping comics retailers has become so agregious [sic] and pernicious that I heard from my fellow dealers that some publisher and manufacturer booths were refusing to even allow anyone wearing a dealer’s badge to stand in line. That is beyond ridiculous.”

He estimates Mile High will suffer a $10,000 loss at Comic-Con. For comparison, Rozanski notes that his seven-booth display premiered six weeks earlier at the three-day Denver Comic Con, with 20,000 fewer comics. But even with attendance about half that of San Diego, Mile High’s hourly sales were double what they were at Comic-Con International.

“That made all the difference, as we turned a reasonable profit in Denver, as opposed to a massive loss in San Diego,” Rozanski writes. “So how could an extremely successful back issue comics booth in Denver become so stunningly unsuccessful in San Diego? Because in Denver we were not being utterly crushed by the very publishers who’s [sic] goods we sell on a daily basis. In a nutshell, the comics publishers with booths at the San Diego convention have so cleverly exploited the greed and avarice of comics fans through limited edition publications that are only available through their own booths, that there is no longer enough disposable income left in the room to sustain us. A sad state of affairs, but also completely true.”

(Note: “The greed and avarice of comics fans” is a reference to Rozanski’s comments in the previous newsletter about the “significant number of ‘fans’ [who] now attend the San Diego convention only to turn a quick profit” by selling the exclusives on eBay at a hefty markup.)

“So where does this leave us?” he concludes. “As much as I hate to admit this, it now seems obvious to me now that we finally have to end a lifetime of exhibiting at San Diego, and instead seek out relatively popular comics conventions in other cities. Especially conventions where our publisher friends choose to not exhibit. Doesn’t that thought just drip with irony? Comics publishers have evolved to become toxic to their own retailers. Who would ever have thought that would happen? Even with all my many years of experience, I simply cannot believe that our world has now been so perverted by the mania for exclusive variants, that comics retailers can now only survive in the absence of the very publishers we support. No matter how you look at it, this is a profoundly sad day.”

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Comments

26 Comments

Rozanski’s got balls, complaining about other people’s business practices.

Mile High’s prices are a mile high. When I go to Comic-Con, I buy comics. I don’t buy them from Mile High’s booth(es) because the prices are too damn high. Unrealistically high.

I couldn’t go to SDCC this year but I wanted the Scooby Doo exclusive variant. Mile High has it on its website for nearly $10, plus $8 shipping for one comic. That’s effin’ nuts. I walked.

Mile High Comics leaving? GOOD RIDDANCE!! Look forward to Chuck complaining about his absence from the show next year. Hopefully Chuck will do it with his shirt on.

Maybe people are not buying them from the dealers because they mark up the prices drastically. Why am I going to buy one of the exclusives for $175 when I can get it from the company’s booth for $80 at the very convention it’s an exclusive for!

Aw, poor Chuck. Now he won’t be able to buy any more pottery.

Gotta agree with Michael P and Chap. Rozanaski has been gouging people for decades. Guy’s a freakin’ hypocrite.

Just don’t see the problem here. Market forces dictate the trends and Chuck’s business is out of line with What People Want, generally speaking. My take: http://zombiecatbaconfromnorway.blogspot.com/

Michael Plourde

July 28, 2014 at 9:40 am

Chuck should make a valiant effort to improve Mile High’s overall customer satisfaction. I have been buying from him for the past 15 years, but even since they started selling mass amounts on ebay their customer service has gone to the toilet.

Case in point by last purchase. I wanted to return a couple of comics as per their hassle free policy. I’ve sent them three e-mails and still no answer (they as that we contact them for returns). I had no choice but to leave negative feedback and even then still no word from them.

I was also a little peeved with them when they would e-mail me 30%-40% off all comics sales, only to find out later that the regular prices shown during the promotion are jakked up, which turns out only to 5-10% off. For instance I bought a book from them listed at $11 and with 30% off it came to $7.70. But the week after the same book was for sale at $8. I checked when that book fell under a similar sale later and sure enough it was back to $11 minus 30% off. That is very bad business practices.

One less retailer to snatch up the limited edition stuff early and resell it to the same fans at marked up prices. Too bad, so sad, don’t let your ass hit the door on the way out of Con.

Thats why I don’t waste real money on items that have no value (Collectibles are only valuable to the person selling and to a hand few that buy it, but have very limited resale), and I no longer pay for comics. What an absurd idea. 10$ for a comic? Are you kidding me? Doesn’t cost that much to publish them whatsoever. Cost of ink and paper has no gone up over the last 20 years.

Stinky Feet Lover

July 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

Change their name to MILE HIGH PRICES!!

What a big baby! A really big baby! He is mad others are trying to make money off of comics? LOL!! And now he is getting undercut because his prices are MILE HIGH!
Their customer service is the worst.
If I’m going to buy from an online shop, I’ll keep buying from mycomicshop.com!!

gouging people aside, how about scaling down from a seven booth space to three or four? just a have some business sense and less of the woe is me drama

Since MHC started selling on eBay, I can’t sell a normal issue there. It has to be very old or a first appearance in order for there not to be 40 other issues selling at the same time.

Exclusives and variants are stupid. They won’t be worth much in the future, with an oversaturated market. I can’t believe people would shell out 80 dollars for a comic when the only thing different is the cover. Seriously, not smart.

Their popularity will wane and they will go away, just like the gimmicky covers. They’ll all be in the dollar bins of the future you wait and see, and for what? At the cost of another comic book market explosion.

Its very very sad that they even exist.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the larger cons are becoming places where you can no longer find any good comic deals. I live in Oregon, and we have several small cons that are built around buying actual comics, but bigger shows like SDCC and the Wizardworlds have just become swag-fests. Almost all the booths just sell overpriced junk, and the few booths that try to sell comics sell rare books at 2-3 times what they go for elsewhere. The big shows can be fun to go to, but they’re not really much of a comic convention anymore, just a giant swag market and a place to meet creators.

Agree with others, Mile High’s pricing is just not realistic. I think they’d do better all ’round if the dropped their prices on back issues to something sensible.

So he’s mad that publishers wouldn’t allow his employees to get in line and buy exclusives so he could resell them at a markup to fans, and the greed and avarice of comic fans is to blame for this. The backwards logic and sense of entitlement are astounding.

I only ever bought comics form that dude on Sundays when he’d have 50% off sales cause any other time his prices were way too high.

I have no sympathy for this guy. He sells comics at hyper-inflated prices and buys them for pennies on the dollar and now he wants to complain about greed. He sells exclusive Mile High variants on his website yet complains that publishers sell exclusives at the convention. Looking at the picture, he even has the audacity to sell Mile High SDCC exclusives and still complain about others doing the same thing. Good riddance.

“I heard from my fellow dealers that some publisher and manufacturer booths were refusing to even allow anyone wearing a dealer’s badge to stand in line. That is beyond ridiculous.”

The reason exhibitors aren’t allowed to stand in line is because convention attendees are sick and tired of exhibitors that rush to Mattel and Hasbro before the doors open so they can buy as many exclusives as possible and mark them up 400% during the convention.

I saw the exclusive Magic: The Gathering set, sold by Hasbro for $120, at an exhibitor booth for $600.

More to the point, we are well past the days when a comic convention was the only place you were going to find those rare back issues or trade paperbacks. Nobody is going fly to San Diego and spend a lot of money on stuff they can buy anywhere at any time. You buy the stuff you can only get at the convention.

What does Mile High sell during Comic-Con that I can’t get from them any other day of the year?

I agree with Teek on principle however it’s a little different in practice.

The fact of the matter is that if CCI is serious about stopping this problem they need to drastically alter their purchase limits. I think each toy or variant (at least those at the more popular booths like Mattel or Hasbro) should be limited to one per person per purchase. If you want more than one you have to back in line and wait again. Tedious? Yes. But it is, I think, the only way to really stop this ridiculous price gouging.

As it stands now those Web items are still being swept up and re-sold immediately at a 200-600% markup. It’s just happening on eBay instead of down the aisle. The always contemptible Rich Johnston has been advocating this disgusting behavior for years with impunity. I’ve seen FREE buttons getting flipped for as much as $5 each a few months dowm the road at LA conventions just 2 hours away.

Honestly the worst offenders this year were mostly people with ADA badges (being fat is apparently now a severe enough disability that it warrants early entry) or exhibitors who have “borrowed” childrens badges. I know of at least one vendor who arrived early and then literally hid in the bathrooms until opening just to rush over and purchase as a “child”

Did this guy really just call fans greedy for flipping exclusives on ebay and then complain that people with exhibitor badges were being kicked out of lines because they were flipping exclusives? Wow…..

MikeInfinitum

July 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I don’t get it. If he’s making a loss at SDCC then stop going.

People have been complaining about convention exclusives for years. They are easy prey for scalpers, and a complete pain in the butt for collectors. Personally, I gave up on them years ago. Its such a huge dent in the wallet to even go to these cons in the first places, buts even more of a hassle dealing with the scalpers. These figures and comics just arent worth it to me.

I feel its completely justified for the creators of said exclusives to offer them exclusively at these conventions. Isnt that the purpose of these conventions in the first place? To showcase and debut your product? I really dont blame them for kicking the vultures out of the line. Why wouldnt you? You come to offer your product to the masses at a reasonable price, and the guy a few rows over wants to buy it just to double the price and offer it to the same people. Its crazy.

Having sold product at several cons, my success has always come from offering product at a reasonable price. Even if its common items people can get any time anywhere, if its priced right they will snag it.

If youre losing money at SDCC, then youre doing it wrong. I think too many sellers see the mass amounts of people there as a justification to jack up their prices. People arent stupid, and every single person there has the internet in the palm of their hand, with the ability to compare prices on anything youre selling.

You guys do realize that the whole piece is the thoughts of only one guy, right? And all the biases that go with that?
I am not saying he is wrong or right but I do encourage people to look more into the issue as I did. This is what I got from comments regarding people who did go visit Mile High at San Diego:

“Mile High Comics failed this year because it went to just old comic sales with no trade paperbacks or books of any kind, I usually bought all my trade paperbacks from them for the stuff I’ve been missing all year and they didn’t have anything and the stock they brought was more than 5 years old for a majority of it. For me personally they didn’t have what I wanted to I purchased elsewhere.”

“Mile High Chuck is such a whiner. When he’s not bragging about his mid-life crisis bs and overcharging for back issues (or mis-marking second prints as first prints or mis-grading his back issues) he’s whining about how he can’t make a buck. The guy irritates me so much I’ve stopped buying from him. He’s flounced during the past four or five SDCC’s and yet he’s always back.”

“Yep. I went over to Mile High to pick up some trades on my to-read list, and there was nothing but back-issues. How many people are really interested in digging through longboxes at a major convention?”

“They’ve been on the decline for years. Customer service is in the pits, and they do stuff like this to prove Chuck’s points. In fact, I never purchase from them due to bad experiences, after probably 14 years or so of buying exclusively from them.
I say good riddance. »

“They didn’t sell trade’s this year? I would always buy at lest one trade from the every year I went, what a shame.”

It seems people were looking more for trades than comics. They are also better business for the casual reader which is the majority of people going to the show. Please realize that Chuck changed his business practice by not having trades this time and his sales were most drastically affected this year. Were he to not have changed anything and experience the same loss, then we could maybe start pointing our fingers elsewhere but since he didn’t keep things status quo, any inference he has is too biased.

Here is a quick prediction. In the next Mile High Newsletter Chuck will proclaim that Sunday sales were at an all time high and he spoke to hundreds of people at the booth begging him not to stop coming. Then he will say that he simply can’t bring himself to disappoint the legion of Mile High fans that look forward to seeing him every summer.

This is the kind of shit Chuck loves to do. He loves to paint himself and his company as some kind of underdog, fighting for comic fans across the world.

I remember being really excited about seeing mile high comics the first time i went to SDCC in 2008. Until i started looking through the overpriced comic bins and realizing there weren’t any good deals to be had. I walked over a few rows and found half off comics in better shape and trades for $5 bucks or half off as well. This guy has been price gouging and flipping exclusives for years. He’s upset about not being able to flip con exclusives that’s it. Get a grip. I walk far away from mile high comics every year. they bring nothing to the show that I can’t find online for a better price and better customer service. He’s already decided to come back next year. I’m not worried, he made out fine and was able to price gouge plenty of people to make it worth his while. He just didn’t get to stand in the lego line and turn around and resale exclusives. Tough break. Maybe you should try to figure out what would make the customer experience better and offer better deals to get people to your booth.. oh right we’re all greedy lowlifes that only come to the con to turn a buck and we don’t deserve it. Do us all a favor and stay away from the con and keep your idiotic comments to yourself.

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