One perennial complaint about comics
is that the price is entirely too high. Comics debuted at 10 cents. Had they kept pace with inflation, they would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.75 today.
But take $1.75, walk into a comic book store, and see what that will buy you right now. In most cases it’s less than half of a new comic book. In too many cases, it’s even less than that.
The comic book offerings on Indiegogo got a boost from a broad movement that has been highly critical of current comic book practices, including prices. And yet, for the most part, the prices aren’t that low. A 48-page graphic novel might go for $20 or $25 and charge an additional $10 for shipping.
I’m not criticizing those campaigns.
Creators using crowdfunding platforms are entitled to set their own prices. Consumers are perfectly free to pay or not pay as they see fit. If you have willing sellers and willing buyers, that’s a beautiful thing.
But I’ve been a little bit surprised that more great deals in comics aren’t on offer on Indiegogo, so I went looking through the current crop of campaigns for some truly great deals.
I found 3.
1. The first campaign, which is the best deal in new comics, is Tales From Neroesville. It’s by a new creator named D. Jason Meadows. He describes it as an Astro City-like story with an ensemble cast of dozens of heroes. The idea is to tell the story of a city that is lousy with superheroes, villains, vigilantes, and regular Joes who have to live with all the craziness.
As part of an interview for Bleeding Fool, Meadows told me that art on the first three issues is done and ready to roll the presses. If he gets to $1,000 (currently at $817), all three issues will also be enhanced with extra stories. If you go to the campaign page and look at the art on display, it looks like a lot of fun and kind-of a no-brainer. Why WOULDN’T you want you want 3 new comics delivered to your door for $11?
2. The second campaign, which I’m calling the best deal in RECENT comics, is AlternaWeen2. If you were to walk into a comic book store today with $1.75, probably the only chance that you could walk out with a new comic is that you found an Alterna comic. Lead by Peter Simeti, the small press emphasizes great stories, good customer relations, and low prices. Alterna comics cost between 99 cents and $1.99, with most of them weighing in at $1.50.
During AlteraWeen, they’re even cheaper than that. You can get bundles of Alterna comics for as little as 50 cents apiece, though at that price you’ll have to buy 200 comics. The point isn’t to keep them, though you’re perfectly free to do so. Rather, it’s to have cheap comics to give out for Halloween.
Simeti told me in an interview that he didn’t come up with the idea. Readers were already buying comics in bulk to give out at Halloween. He simply decided to turn this into a campaign, with things like tote bags, merchandise, and calendars included. Last year’s AlternaWeen was a huge success, and the sequel is looking pretty good as well.
3. The best deal in OLD comics is Femforce. Remember Femforce? The cheesecake all superheroine comic is still around but in black-and-white. This campaign is raising funds to return it to color and one of the things they’re offering to make this happen is bundles of old, color Femforce comics.
Under the She-Cat’s Box of Fun perk, you can get 20 comics for $25, including shipping. I did this and let me just say that the deal may be BETTER than the one advertised here. After I ordered, they didn’t wait until the campaign was over, they simply put a selection of old Femforce comics in the mail and sent them to me. I counted the bundle and had 25 comics.
Now, it’s possible that you’ll only get 20 for $25, but don’t be shocked if you get an extra five, and way earlier than is standard on Indiegogo campaigns.
There is one thing that all of these comics share in common: They’re on newsprint.
The Femforce comics are newsprint because they’re old issues and that’s what comics used to be printed on.
Alterna comics are on newsprint because Peter Simeti decided to bring newsprint back. People have been able to see the generally good results. Because of advances in printing technology, modern newsprint does laps around the newsprint that many of us grew up with. These comics look every bit as good as many comics being printed today on much better paper stock and they’re lighter and thus cheaper to ship.
Jason Meadows saw this in practice. He decided to use newsprint to give him a way to get cheap, quality comics into people’s hands to give his new creation a roll of the dice.
And all 3 campaigns have given folks who shop Indiegogo some very affordable options when it comes to buying comics. Again, people can charge what they want. Yet I’d like to see more campaigns that take it a little easier on consumer wallets.