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$3.50 - too damn much?

RichardPini

Over on Facebook, Elfmom posted: "Over time I've noticed a number of you saying you can't afford to buy Elfquest - the Final Quest comics ($3.50 US currency) and you're waiting for the graphic novel collections to come out from Dark Horse Comics. Seriously? For less than the price of a burger and fries you can't afford to buy a comic book? Look at it this way. If sales of the individual comics are low because everybody's waiting for the graphic novels - there won't BE any graphic novels because there will be no economic motivation to publish them. I'm not saying that's how things currently are - but it COULD happen, over time, if enough of you ignore the "floppies" (which have cool extras and goodies just to make them more appealing). To get more Elfquest collections and merch there has to be ground level support of Elfquest comics as they come out (this includes the digital versions available to you on different apps). We're doing our part. But YOU have a part to play, too. Visit the Dark Horse Comics web site often and keep up with all they're doing for you now!"

Comments?

Thornbrake

Totally agree. I do think there's a valid point that some people don't want to have to buy the same material twice if they prefer to have a larger collection rather than a bunch of "floppies." But if that's the reality of the way these things are published, I can't imagine that someone that has the ability to log into the internet to complain that they don't have money to buy EQ can't save up $3.99 once every two months.

marinayurk

People! It not money! My
husband spends for cigarettes in a
week 3 times bigger.

Tavie

$3.50 every two months seems like such a small price to pay that I can't imagine even the most economically-challenged of fans (and that is a reality for sure!) wouldn't be able to come up with it. For me, that would be like just giving up one large iced coffee a month or something.

I recognize the reality that every penny counts for a lot of folks in the current economic climate, but I don't think this is a real financial burden for the majority of people.

marinayurk

There are moments when really
each coin is important. But
despite it I am able to afford to
buy the favourite magazine on
sewing (the same price).

marinayurk

But to buy the comic book from
me it won't turn out due to the
lack of the computer. Here and all
my excuse :) But if it wasn't
honest at me such thoughts.

Leanan

Is it possible, anywhere on the internet, to buy the comics with PayPal? (asks the desperate European fan who doesn't own a credit card)

Elwing

I got the special from http://www.tfaw.com/ and I had an awful experience, cost me a fortune in shipping and they sent me the wrong book! They later sent me the right one, but all in all it took two months to get it. Grr! And you will still need a credit card- not something I wish to repeat.
As for somebody on the European continent who ships comics, I have looked, and I have never been able to find anything useful. I'm sorry. I don't know what language area you are in, but I do know that the Final Quest is being published in Dutch. Maybe in other languages as well?

Leanan

@Elwing, I live in Finland. We had the DC Comics "Manga editions" translated into Finnish, but frankly, the translation was dreadful and I wouldn't pay for more of that.

RedheadEmber

Got the Special from tfaw, no problems - except the fact that I'm sort of... not-too-happy about ordering online, so took me quite a while before I got around to do it.
Luckily I found out that there's a comic book store in Århus who has them.

Embala

I have reason to buy the "floppies" because ...
- I want to read TFQ now!
- the little extras and background stories are a bonus.
- nobody can GRANT me that there will be a graphic novel sooner or later.
(Last not least I understand the connection between economical success of the original release and possible reprints. Does not mean that I need this "reasonable" approach ... EQ holds me captive since the first encounter.)

I prefer paper editions so I'm lucky to have a well-sorted comic shop nearby (= next bigger town). No need to deal with credit card and shipping costs. They have a preorder and reserve two issues for me - one is mine, one is a gift for my goddaughter.

I feel with everyone who actually cannot afford or manage to buy the single issues for one reason or the other.
It's difficult for me to understand the ones who boldly state their "clever plan" of waiting for collected editions due to costs. It seems easier to spend a small amount every two months than a noteworthy price for a (polished) graphic novel.
Though ... I wonder how many there are in comparison to those fans who simply buy their (paper or digital) copy and stay silent and happy with it.

btw: I'm looking forward to GET a graphic novel at some point! :)

Elwing

Yes, I'm really lucky to have a shop right here in Antwerp that stocks Dark Horse comics. There's a real hole in the market for a good mail order business for American comics on the continent- especially since brick and mortar shops that want to invest in them are getting rarer...
And reading online is just no option for me. It's just not the same experience.

Elwing

And as for $3.50 being to much- I'm really happy to pay 4 Euros (close to 5$, I'd reckon) if I'm lucky enough to get my hands on the book I want!

marinayurk

In Russian precisely there is no
comic book. Only on the Internet
the private translation, but it is
unreal to download.

Stormcatcher

Certainly, $3.50 ($5 over here) is not 'too damn much' for a floppy comic. People from outside the US can either order it from the States at a whopping $10 shipping fee or, unless they live next door to an import comic shop, have to pay to get there (about $10 in my case for the commuter train ticket). Makes $15 per issue.
Just about the amount I pay for five days' food (and I can only dream of burgers, fries or large iced coffees).
But living on air and EQ for five days in two months is manageable, I just have to make sure it's not five days in a row.
THIS is reality.

RedheadEmber

"Floppy comic". I like that term!

I think I gave about 30 DKK for mine, dunno if that translates directly from $3.50, would suppose the shop raises the cost a little since they have to order it.

Elwing

I think it's perfectly reasonable for shops here to charge more, they have more costs because they have to import comics from the US, and VAT is generally higher here. Also, the market for US comics is fairly limited here, so a proper comic shop that stocks all the main titles risks being stuck with lots of unsold books.
All shops I know use a 1 dollar=1 euro rate. While in reality 1 euro= 1.37$ at the moment.

RedheadEmber

I don't really worry about Exchange rates, mostly because I don't understand them.
The people running that shop seems like decent people, don't think they overcharge.

Elwing

That shop is wonderful, and you have to support local businesses who are willing to invest in things you love. So that's another reason not to buy online, and to keep on buying "Floppy comics"! Love that, so descriptive!

RichardPini

Leanan said: Is it possible, anywhere on the internet, to buy the comics with PayPal?


I just put the following words into the Google search field: "comic books stores paypal". I didn't go through all the hits (I'm not the one looking for the information, after all) but a very quick scan seemed to show at least some sources.

Trollbabe

$3.50 is more than reasonable, especially since this is not a magazine that goes out of date in a week or a month.

Trollbabe

Since making my last assertion, I've been conducting research on factors leading to the established price. Again, I believe this is reasonable for a publication that doesn't come out once a week, and isn't thrown in recycling after it's read.

What I found was shocking...

Speaking under conditions of anonymity, three trolls in three different departments have told me they don't get paid when they don't appear in an issue. The trolls in that one panel, at the end of the prologue, were paid for their full-body appearances. But the trolls that Ahdri seals back into the wall got no compensation, because only their fingertips were visible.

While satisfied with his compensation, Teir complains that he had to hold one pose for six hours without a bathroom break. When Kimo asked for restroom accomodations, he was told to "turn yourself into a dog and go take a whiz."

Ruffel posed for her flower-dancing sequence in the dead of winter. She said Elfpop wouldn't turn up the heat, or provide a space heater. As a result, she caught a terrible cold and was unable to work for four days. Leetah's contract forbade her to do anything about it, and Ruffel received no sick pay. To add insult to injury, WaRP resolved her absense by abruptly writing her out of the script.

Moonshade claims they wrote out Ruffel as a warning to Skywise, who was starting to talk about organizing. Sorry to say that SAG's policy is to only admit humans.

Ember reports being extremely uncomfortable, when tied into a human-sized chair for a whole day's work. She wasn't allowed to leave while the rest of the room was being drawn.

The cubs playing young Chitter and Korafey were both paid under the table, in violation of child labor laws.

Elves with magic powers get paid extra for using them, but none of the elves get hazard pay. Wolfriders were advised that they hunt at their own risk. No independent organization monitors the treatment of animals.

The list goes on...

Elwing

LOL! :D Of course they don't get hazard pay...It would be astronomical!

Thornbrake

Trollbabe said: What I found was shocking...


heee heee heee!!!

RedheadEmber

LoL! @Trollbabe!

RichardPini

Trollbabe said: Speaking under conditions of anonymity, three trolls in three different departments have told me they don't get paid when they don't appear in an issue.


I actually had to read several lines past this one, to realize that you weren't referring to actual people in editorial or production... ;)

RedheadEmber

And now you're claiming they aren't real!!?
You should be ashamed of yourself!

Leanan

RichardPini said: I just put the following words into the Google search field: "comic books stores paypal". I didn't go through all the hits (I'm not the one looking for the information, after all) but a very quick scan seemed to show at least some sources.


I tried to find what I need in the google results, but I had no luck. So I ended up ordering the comics from ebay. I know that gives you no direct profit, and for that, I am sorry.

RichardPini

Leanan said: I know that gives you no direct profit, and for that, I am sorry.


Honestly, we don't care if the profit is direct or indirect, as long as it still makes its way here so that we can continue to make a living.

travelbug

Point taken, floppies ordered :)
I read them at dark horse, but my internet line is bad, so it takes forever to download

Leanan

RichardPini said: Honestly, we don't care if the profit is direct or indirect, as long as it still makes its way here so that we can continue to make a living.

Glad to hear that!

Trollbabe

Random thoughts, while straining to put on my serious tone: I worked in printing for eighteen years, and retail for ten. I started in printing back when one of my boss' trade magazines had an article about the big letterpress outfit that handled Marvel, DC and Archie - have you kiddies ever heard of letterpress? Printing prices were just starting to go up, as were postage and oil.

I won't go in to all of the rising prices that have boosted the cost of comics. One is petroleum, which is used to make ink, and to fuel anything that moves goods. Another is paper pulp. A third is labor, from the pre-press department to the cashier. I will say the quality of comic print and paper has really improved, since the time when comics were meant to be read and thrown out.

Aside from Elfquest, I buy Sergio Aragones' "Funnies" from Bongo Comics, and they are the same $3.50 American cover price. Bongo licenses the "Simpsons" comics, so they probably have a big enough distribution to hold down their price per issue. I still don't understand why anyone would think $3.50 is high, unless they were using 1990s Elfquest cover prices as a reference.

jeb

Now I'm wondering why my digital copy is $3.99. Pixels cost 50 cents more than paper?

Tam

App development and support, perhaps.

MrsGrizzley

Arguably, digital copies involve LESS overhead costs than paper copies because in order to print them, all the digital work is already DONE, but they run more expensive because a: the market will support it and/or b: they're trying to push people to BUY paper copies.

But I'm making guesses, to be honest.

Tam

I think the method of getting them digitally though isn't as transparent (because it's newer) as printing, though. They had to make the app, design ways to view the comic, make it work for multiple devices, pay for server space, etc. I had a discussion about this recently...I think it was @Rob who helped explain it to me. But then, we were talking about why digital stuff isn't cheaper...I do wonder why the digital copy is more expensive, but I'm not gonna worry over 50 cents. Meh. *chuckles*

Rob

Yeah, it's basically "we just spent a zillion dollars building the digital system, so you have to pay for that even if the marginal cost of providing you with a digital copy is zero"

RichardPini

Rob said: Yeah, it's basically "we just spent a zillion dollars building the digital system, so you have to pay for that even if the marginal cost of providing you with a digital copy is zero"


Reminds me of the story (true, I've witnessed it) about a fan complaining to Sergio Aragones that he (Sergio) was charging too much for a nicely-detailed sketch that only took him 30 seconds to complete. Sergio's reply: "Yes, but it has taken me forty years to learn how to draw this in 30 seconds. You're paying for that."

Tam

There's a similar story about some customer on etsy who emailed a jewelry maker and said, "You know, your stuff is too expensive, you should sell it at cost!" She lowered the price of something for that particular customer, and then sent it to her. When she got it, she said, "Why did you send me wire and beads? I ordered a bracelet!"

*grins*

Trollbabe

I recall something similar being attributed to Picasso. The old story (true or not) was that someone asked him how long it took him to draw a minimalist image. His response was his age at the time.

Factoring in production time (including work that is discarded), plus time spent in sales, networking, administrative work, travel, shows and countless errands, freelance artists and writers don't make very much. I'm able to work from home because my husband does the books. And the shopping. And the driving. And the cooking - he's baking bread right now.

(Picturing Nonna and Adar wearing barrels with shoulder straps.)

Night_Tanem

Do you still sell your comics in Belgium and if so where?

Night_Tanem

I think I found that answer ;)

jorenm93

@Night_Tanem I'm from Belgium too, just ask your local comic-store if they order things from Darkhorse :)

Night_Tanem

@jorenm93 Well that is the problem, I've asked and they just started laughing saying I'm too late for that but I indeed found the site and asked them directly so I hope to get good news.
Nice to know there are more Belgians here :)

Night_Tanem

The other thing is that I really want them in English... If I buy books/comics I prefer to have them in the original language, that way nothing gets lost in the translation.

krwordgazer

@Trollbabe - so THAT's why it's only $3.50!

MultiFacets

"ElfQuest" could be ten dollars an issue and I'd still buy it.

jeb

I posted this in the spoilers thread, but, yes, I do think so much of myself that I'm gonna take up two threads with my brilliant thoughts:

I was just thinking last night that in the original series, each issue was like a TV episode. Most had a set-up, a climax and a denouement. Even though they all told a greater story, each issue was a story itself. Now, each issue is just like the little bits between commercials. It's like a soap opera that keeps shifting between stories, giving little snippets at a time. I find it really hard to get engrossed in it the way it is.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned and this is fine for those raised on YouTube and Web - sized chunks of data. But if there is a section of the Fandom that is holding off on buying until a compilation comes out maybe it has nothing to do with cost, but more with the experience they are willing to pay for.

TalonClaw

I won't gripe about the cost. I would actually pay MORE just to keep Wendy interested and not discouraged. I mean, after all WARP has to make a living . . seriously. Every 2 months, $3.50 is not going to break me and I'm just thrilled to have new stories by the Pini's. Thank you both!

sulken

People generally tend to have a strange opinion about the value of things. They will complain about apps, which cost about 3€ but use smartphones costing 500€ and more.

Night_Tanem

If they really like the stories they would pay whatever is asked for it. I know I would...

sulken

Really? You would pay 20$ per 'floppy issue'?

RichardPini

sulken said: Really? You would pay 20$ per 'floppy issue'?


This reminds me of a joke that made the rounds back in the day, when indy comics publishing was just getting off the ground. One enterprising publisher put a cover price of $10,000.00 on his comics. When confronted by others in the business who said to him "You're crazy!" he replied "Perhaps, but unlike the rest of you, I only need to sell one copy to make it work!"

jeb

And I suppose the rarity would make it that much more valuable.

Trollbabe

BTW I don't know what the cover price is, but I bet it's more than $3.50. http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/gallery/2014/jun/06/jesse-jacobs-safari-parasites-in-eden/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nybooks+%28The+New+York+Review+of+Books%29#comments

Night_Tanem

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