Comic Collecting

BobO'Link

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Once Star Wars went back to Marvel, I was shocked to find how many variant covers they were making. I Initially thought it was just Marvel cashing in on the early issues of Star Wars and one of the guys at my store said how Marvel still does a ton of variants and, even more surprising to me, they still sell. Personally, I just buy the main cover and if a variant really grabs me, I'll get it (it's happened once in 5 years with Marvel's Star Wars books).
That's the Star Wars fan mania coming into play. Marvel knows they'll sell so they make them. I can't say that I blame them but I'm not the type that's gotta have 'em all. At least as far as variant covers are concerned. I *have* purchased more than 1 copy of books if there are variant covers I really like but that's a very rare thing. I think I've done that 3 or 4 times in the past 30 years.
 
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The Obsolete Man

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Once Star Wars went back to Marvel, I was shocked to find how many variant covers they were making. I Initially thought it was just Marvel cashing in on the early issues of Star Wars and one of the guys at my store said how Marvel still does a ton of variants and, even more surprising to me, they still sell. Personally, I just buy the main cover and if a variant really grabs me, I'll get it (it's happened once in 5 years with Marvel's Star Wars books).
Honestly, variant covers and speculators are all that's keeping the monthly issues and comic shops alive anyway.

With their "buy 100 copies, get a super special variant" programs, they inflate numbers so things look profitable. Without stuff like that, most comics sell 20, 30,000 copies maximum. That's it. And those are the more successful ones. Indy comics have been known to sell in the low thousands per issue.
 
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jcroy

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Honestly, variant covers and speculators are all that's keeping the monthly issues and comic shops alive anyway.

With their "buy 100 copies, get a super special variant" programs, they inflate numbers so things look profitable. Without stuff like that, most comics sell 20, 30,000 copies maximum. That's it. And those are the more successful ones. Indy comics have been known to sell in the low thousands per issue.
This is also what happened with tabletop rpg games.

The companies which made stuff like Dungeons & Dragons, were publishing 2 or 3 (or more) new sourcebooks every month during the 1990s. I played briefly in the 1980s, but not in the 1990s.

When I looked into playing again in the early-2000s, I noticed they were still cranking out 2 or 3 (or more) new hardcover sourcebooks every month. Basically the market was a huge flood of supplementary sourcebooks/rulebooks, which hardly anybody used other than the extreme hardcore players.

By the time there was a new edition, there was probably almost 50 hardcover sourcebooks (or supplementary rulebooks) published for the previous edition. Even today, this crazy monthly "treadmill" is still happening for some rpg games (such as pathfinder).
 

jcroy

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More generally, I wouldn't be surprised at all that this is the case for just about any niche which caters to an extreme hardcore crowd that buys all the newly released stuff every month.


A somewhat precarious position to be in, if a significant number of hardcore folks stop buying for whatever reasons.
 

EricSchulz

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More generally, I wouldn't be surprised at all that this is the case for just about any niche which caters to an extreme hardcore crowd that buys all the newly released stuff every month.


A somewhat precarious position to be in, if a significant number of hardcore folks stop buying for whatever reasons.
Oh, definitely! As a former comic book collector and current record (vinyl) collector, the "limited editions" pressed (mostly for Record Store Day) are their version of the variant covers. FAR too many new pressings of records that have been around for decades, picture discs (HORRIBLE sound quality!), or numbered editions that end up on eBay within hours of going on sale by "flippers" looking to make a quick buck.

But I digress...
I was a HUGE horror movie fan in the early 70's (age 9 or 10) thanks to my Dad who saw all the classics in the theater when they came out. I saw a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland and was hooked! Later moved on to Creepy and Eerie (which I LOVED), and then the East Coast Comix started releasing reprints of the old EC classics and it was heaven! Always preferred DC over Marvel (I dabbled in a few superhero titles, like Flash and Justice League). Expanded into smaller publishers like Skywald, Red Circle, Atlas, etc. After selling off most of my collection YEARS ago I stated getting interested again with all the Archive Edition HCB and trade PBs. Now, I check out some things digitally or from the library (Chicago has a GREAT library system!).

Glad to see this thread getting attention!
 
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TravisR

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Honestly, variant covers and speculators are all that's keeping the monthly issues and comic shops alive anyway.
It's not my thing but if it helps sales, it's good in my book.



But I digress...
I was a HUGE horror movie fan in the early 70's (age 9 or 10) thanks to my Dad who saw all the classics in the theater when they came out. I saw a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland and was hooked! Later moved on to Creepy and Eerie (which I LOVED), and then the East Coast Comix started releasing reprints of the old EC classics and it was heaven!
I remember seeing the East Coast reprints when I was real young but it was the Gladstone reprints that I bought back when Tales From The Crypt started on HBO that got me hooked on EC Comics.
 
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jcroy

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I remember seeing the East Coast reprints when I was real young but it was the Gladstone reprints that I bought back when Tales From The Crypt started on HBO that got me hooked on EC Comics.
Are these the ones which were published around 1991? (I didn't watch Tales From The Crypt).

I picked up a few of them at the time, but abruptly stopped. At the time, I was somewhat reluctant to jump back onto any long term comic book collecting "treadmills".
 

The Drifter

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Later moved on to Creepy and Eerie (which I LOVED), and then the East Coast Comix started releasing reprints of the old EC classics and it was heaven! Always preferred DC over Marvel (I dabbled in a few superhero titles, like Flash and Justice League). Expanded into smaller publishers like Skywald, Red Circle, Atlas, etc. After selling off most of my collection YEARS ago I stated getting interested again with all the Archive Edition HCB and trade PBs. Now, I check out some things digitally or from the library (Chicago has a GREAT library system!).
I'm a huge fan of horror anthology titles from the '50's - '80's, and in many cases preferred these to the standard super-hero comics. Though most of these were before my time, I have also enjoyed/am enjoying the Collected Editions (CE's) reprinting these that roughly started back in the 20XX's. EC Archives are great, as are the Eerie & Creepy HC collections (by Dark Horse). And, more recently DC has started reprinting Omnibuses of their iconic '60's/'70's House of Mystery & House of Secrets comics. Fantastic!

Other iconic DC horror titles I remember paging through in the late '70's/'80's were The Unexpected, Ghosts, The Witching Hour, etc.

Here are some interesting links with more info. on some of these iconic horror comics:

https://hobbylark.com/fandoms/No-Mystery-Why-DC-Comics-House-of-Mystery-Did-So-Well-In-The-1970s

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2016/04/07/dr-werthams-dilemma-the-rise-fall-of-ec-horror-comics/
 
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jcroy

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Over the past 20+ years or so, I just wait until a series is entirely "over" before I considered buying anything like a graphic novel (or omnibus).

Though even with a "waiting time" strategy, it can also be a complete utter disappointment and failure in the end.


The epitome of this for me, was the World of Warcraft series published by Wildstorm (a DC owned sublabel). Back around 2010, I picked up the WoW series graphic novel compilations and one of the spinoffs (Ashbringer). Though at the time, I didn't know about how lousy things were in and around the series. (The first two graphics novels were ok).

It turned out it was cancelled outright shortly before Wildstorm was being wound down and eventually shut down by DC. The special issue was suppose to be a jumping off point to one or more new WoW series, but that never happened. (In the end, that special issue became the final issue of the series).

When I finally got the fourth graphic novel to "complete" the series, it turned out to be really horrible in both the writing and artwork. Since then all five harcover WoW graphic novels have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. (At the time, I didn't even bother picking up the sixth graphic novel which was a second WoW spinoff).

It turns out many years later, DC eventually published several more graphic novels of material which were originally intended to be other WoW series spinoffs. They were never published as individual monthly issues. They were only published straight to graphic novels. (I suspect they were already finished and paid for by DC in 2010 or 2011, but were not published at the time due to the abrupt cancellation of the series).
 

jcroy

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This goes back to a prior point I made, where anything that smells like a spinoff from a movie, tv show or video game, I'm usually skeptical of it being a cynical cash-in exploiting the extreme hardcore folks.

I learned this the hard way from reading too many crappy Star Trek novels over the years. The Star Wars novels first published by Bantam, were initially somewhat better and more consistent in quality. Quality seem to go downhill or highly variable in quality when lucasfilm changed to DelRay for publishing then-new Star Wars expanded universe novels before the canon reset of 2014.
 

Chip_HT

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And, it was interesting how the comic book industry & comic stores had changed so much in those five short years (between '87 - '92). Gone was the sense of wonder that I had with the characters/stories.

Re: Marvel especially, gone were what I considered interesting stories/characters. Instead they re-booted Uncanny X-men & Spider-man with #1 issues
I gotta throw a minor correction in there.

The core Marvel series were not rebooted in the early 90s. New spinoffs were created with big #1 pushes. (Adjectiveless X-Men and Spider-Man titles to go along with Uncanny X-Men or Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of Spider-Man.) Up through the 90s, there wasn't really a lot of cancelling a series and immediately replacing it with a new #1 unless there was a significant change.

The rebooting to #1 became a problem in the late 90s, and really went overboard in the current century.

It made a little bit of sense to reboot the numbering for the four Heroes Reborn series (Fantastic Four, Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America), because those characters got shifted into an alternate reality. The problem developed when it was time to re-integrate them with the main Marvel line, and the marketing department realized that Fantastic Four volume 3 #1 would sell better than FF #417. A couple of years later, Daredevil got relaunched when Marvel Knights started, and then the core Spider-Man series got rebooted in 1999.

Interestingly enough, Uncanny X-Men was probably the last of the core long-running Marvel series to get rebooted, as it didn't get a new #1 until 2010 or 2011. Of course, there have been at least 3 new Uncanny X-Men #1s since then, not counting other series that temporarily took Uncanny's place as the flagship X-Men book.
 

The Obsolete Man

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I gotta throw a minor correction in there.

The core Marvel series were not rebooted in the early 90s. New spinoffs were created with big #1 pushes. (Adjectiveless X-Men and Spider-Man titles to go along with Uncanny X-Men or Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of Spider-Man.) Up through the 90s, there wasn't really a lot of cancelling a series and immediately replacing it with a new #1 unless there was a significant change.

The rebooting to #1 became a problem in the late 90s, and really went overboard in the current century.

It made a little bit of sense to reboot the numbering for the four Heroes Reborn series (Fantastic Four, Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America), because those characters got shifted into an alternate reality. The problem developed when it was time to re-integrate them with the main Marvel line, and the marketing department realized that Fantastic Four volume 3 #1 would sell better than FF #417. A couple of years later, Daredevil got relaunched when Marvel Knights started, and then the core Spider-Man series got rebooted in 1999.

Interestingly enough, Uncanny X-Men was probably the last of the core long-running Marvel series to get rebooted, as it didn't get a new #1 until 2010 or 2011. Of course, there have been at least 3 new Uncanny X-Men #1s since then, not counting other series that temporarily took Uncanny's place as the flagship X-Men book.
Now, they have "legacy numbering", so they can have their cake and eat it too. Either a "legacy number" on the cover with the current volume's number, or sometimes, they just renumber back to the old numbering just in time for a big anniversary issue that costs more money and seems special.

That's the usual at Marvel, but at least DC wasn't that stupid. Until the Didio Error and Nu52.

I could've accepted a lot, but the thing that made me drop DC completely and for good was when Action and Detective were canceled and renumbered with #1. You DO NOT kill the longest running books left for a 6 month sales bump, especially when they're within spitting distance of a legitimate 1,000th issue. But they did.

Of course, they "restored" the numbering in time for a fake 1,000th issue that meant about as much as when Marvel slapped a #900 on a Deadpool book for shits and giggles in 2009. But it was meaningless, like everything DC's printed since September 1, 2011.
 

The Drifter

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I gotta throw a minor correction in there.

The core Marvel series were not rebooted in the early 90s. New spinoffs were created with big #1 pushes. (Adjectiveless X-Men and Spider-Man titles to go along with Uncanny X-Men or Amazing, Spectacular, and Web of Spider-Man.) Up through the 90s, there wasn't really a lot of cancelling a series and immediately replacing it with a new #1 unless there was a significant change.
You're right - I've gone back & modified my post.
 
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Chip_HT

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Marvel's legacy numbering is such a joke. They can't even figure out how to do basic math to make most of it work.

The biggest error was with Incredible Hulk. It got cancelled after #474 and rebooted to #1. A few relaunches later, and Marvel releases #600. The only problem is that if you added up the issues in between, it should have only been #599. Anyway, the series runs to #635 and gets rebooted again. A few more relaunches later, and Marvel wants to return to a high number, so they add up all of the various Hulk series and determine that the next issue to come out is #709. The embarrassing part was when they released a graphic to show how all of the relaunched series added up to the current number, they showed #600 to #635 counting as #599-634.

But wait, when I googled it to verify the numbers, I learned that it was actually worse: https://www.newsarama.com/35190-mar...ive-team-returns-to-planet-hulk-with-708.html
Marvel originally announced the new big number #708, which means they could even add correctly from the misnumbered #600. Adding all of the issues after #635 would have given them #710.

They made a similar mistake with Iron Man. A #500 issue had come out a few years before, but later on, they figured out that there were three issues that they didn't count then that they wanted to count now, so #500 was really #503.
 

The Obsolete Man

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Marvel's legacy numbering is such a joke. They can't even figure out how to do basic math to make most of it work.

The biggest error was with Incredible Hulk. It got cancelled after #474 and rebooted to #1. A few relaunches later, and Marvel releases #600. The only problem is that if you added up the issues in between, it should have only been #599. Anyway, the series runs to #635 and gets rebooted again. A few more relaunches later, and Marvel wants to return to a high number, so they add up all of the various Hulk series and determine that the next issue to come out is #709. The embarrassing part was when they released a graphic to show how all of the relaunched series added up to the current number, they showed #600 to #635 counting as #599-634.

But wait, when I googled it to verify the numbers, I learned that it was actually worse: https://www.newsarama.com/35190-mar...ive-team-returns-to-planet-hulk-with-708.html
Marvel originally announced the new big number #708, which means they could even add correctly from the misnumbered #600. Adding all of the issues after #635 would have given them #710.

They made a similar mistake with Iron Man. A #500 issue had come out a few years before, but later on, they figured out that there were three issues that they didn't count then that they wanted to count now, so #500 was really #503.
I think the latest one is Captain Marvel, which is adding up all of Carol Danvers' series, half of which were Ms. Marvel, not the actual ones titled "Captain Marvel". So Marv and Genny's hundred or so issues don't count, but the 70s Ms. Marvel and the 2006 Ms. Marvel do. Toward "Captain Marvel"'s numbering.
 

Chip_HT

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You're right - I've gone back & modified my post. The characters/stories weren't re-booted, but the numbering of the title(s) were re-started with #1 - presumably to "pull in" new readers who didn't want to start collecting a comic with high #'s, but may start collecting a series if they could start with #1-on.
Ehh....again, those series weren't restarted in the early 90s. X-Men #1 in 1991 and Spider-Man #1 in 1990 were brand new series published concurrently with Uncanny X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man.

I realize that we could be getting into semantics here. I know that those #1 issues in the early 90s were marketing gimmicks. But, I feel like they were at least more honest than the recent trend of relaunching a series with a new #1 every year or two.
 

The Drifter

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Ehh....again, those series weren't restarted in the early 90s. X-Men #1 in 1991 and Spider-Man #1 in 1990 were brand new series published concurrently with Uncanny X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man.

I realize that we could be getting into semantics here. I know that those #1 issues in the early 90s were marketing gimmicks. But, I feel like they were at least more honest than the recent trend of relaunching a series with a new #1 every year or two.
I stand corrected. But, it's still obvious that these were meant to draw in new readers who may otherwise not have collected the "regular" X-men & Spider-man titles.
 

jcroy

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You're right - I've gone back & modified my post. The characters/stories weren't re-booted, but the numbering of the title(s) were re-started with #1 - presumably to "pull in" new readers who didn't want to start collecting a comic with high #'s, but may start collecting a series if they could start with #1-on.
In addition, wonder if the first X-Men reset to #1 in the early 1990s had to do with the then-upcoming cartoon ? Possible new readers.
 

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