I have waited for this holiday season for the whole year. I have been preparing my list and now I am ready for an article that needed to be written. Here it is, in the spirit of the season… Bring out that aluminum pole, because I am ready for Festivus!!!! Here it is, people, my airing of comic book grievances!
1. It is not speculation if a character has already been announced for a film/tv show!
Speculators buy books that no one else is even looking at in hopes they will rise in value. This bold move can produce great returns but also can mean losing a lot as well. Speculators understand that there is risk involved with their choices but still proceed because there is also a chance for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Investing in a book that everyone is targeting is not bold. Stop calling yourself a speculator if you’re buying books for already-announced projects!
2. Comic book companies should stop with plot gimmicks!
There is no problem with changing or killing off a character. The issue I have is when comic book companies do it because they are lazy! I should not be told to buy a book ONLY because the character is different or because there is another death issue and yet the quality is still subpar. Good storytelling and eye-catching art will sell more books than desperate ploys with bad art and poor storytelling.
This usage also trivializes the very subject matter that they are using as a means to sell books. Comic book fans are more sophisticated than ever, so stop it with the games and gimmicks. If you make a change then spend some time and energy to make it for a quality comic. A car manufacturer putting a Rolls-Royce hood ornament on a Pinto and telling people to buy it will not work. This type of cosmetic change does not make it anything but a Pinto. I want quality and not tricks. Save the tricks for Halloween!!!
3. Collectors, please control your impulses!
Collectors are the lifeblood of the industry. They also can be a problem. The GoCollect numbers always reveal a sale that baffles the mind. Unless the book is very rare or does not come to market, please bid reasonably, collectors. One bad buyer skews the numbers for everyone.
Buyers should also not tell the world they are collectors. Sellers then realize that you may overpay for a book. Finally, the worst thing in the world is two collectors going at it for a book that is common key. Quit overpaying for books as if it is a badge of honor and using the excuse that you are a collector. Pay less and add more books to your collection!!!
4. Sellers, please mail books like you would want to receive them!!!
Priority and media mail are great ways to ship an item… IF THAT ITEM IS NOT A COMIC BOOK!!! Media mail is subject to searches to make sure that the item is compliant with media mail usage. Many times, the person looking in the package is not as up-to-date on how to handle a comic book as you might think. You would not let a buyer look at the book with Cheetos dust on their fingers, so why would you send it by media mail so a USPS could inspect that book with orange fingers?
Then, you have people who ship using the media mail flat rate box without protection. The box usually comes as if an elephant walked all over it. Using quality boxes and boards along with some well-spent time will insure that your buyer will be happy with their purchase. Blaming the shipping company only works if you never heard a nightmare story about a damaged package. The worst thing in the world is to have the book you have been waiting for come in damaged. Respect your buyers!
5. A new comic book that is only a week old cannot be hot!
Fifty-two weeks a year, new comic books come out. Every week, people chase the “hot” book of the week because someone said these books were hot. Astronomical price jumps happen for these books as people chase them. A few weeks later, many of these books sink like stones in a lake. No one bothers to talk about the drop because, for the most part, talking about the negatives of the industry is frowned upon.
Sadly, many people fall into the FOMO-driven undertow and buy into those books under the belief they will pave the way to riches. The industry needs new blood and yet the hobby seems to want to miseducate people with these hot takes. Check out those hot books in a few months and what happens. Buy smart!
6. The MCU is not a healthy patient!
Fans love all things MCU. Disney puts out an MCU property and it is like printing money. Quality and dedication to the product seemed to always be present. Lately, that commitment to quality is waning. Instead, the MCU seems intent on following a formula of introducing future heroes in films/tv shows while gradually phasing out the existing heroes because people still are buying tickets or viewing the tv shows.
The problem is that people do not care as much about those characters. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a well-made film that fans seem to like better than the last few MCU projects, but the passion is not there anymore for the new characters. Kevin Feige must look past the numbers and see that if something is not done soon, even the X-Men and Fantastic Four cannot save the entire MCU.
Take the MCU audience for granted and they will put their money elsewhere. I love the MCU, but to keep it going you must have quality over quantity!!!
7. DC Comics films should follow the advice of Tom Brady
DC Comics film properties should stop trying to be like the MCU. Instead, they should produce the best DC Comic film properties they can make. Zack Snyder had a good start, but a family tragedy caused his vision to be rewritten by Joss Whedon. One misstep and nothing could salvage the future of the DCEU. Think of quality again.
Fans loved “Batman Begins” because they liked the characters and were invested in them and the story. The Joker was a financial and critical success because of its quality story and fine acting. Follow that path.
Finally, do not be afraid to be different. DC Comics has all but ignored the horror and war characters in their library. Give me a good war story with Sgt. Rock, the Unknown Soldier, and Johnny Cloud or a House of Secrets horror story. Fortune favors the bold, so stop trying to be the MCU. As Tom Brady said, “…you just need to be the best version of YOU”!
8. Stop blaming the third-party grading companies!!!
I want to say I do not like third-party grading companies. The reason is that people who buy comics should be able to grade them at least somewhat accurately. These grading companies serve a useful purpose. How many eBay ads have a disclaimer somewhat to the effect of “…I am not a professional grader…” but then go on to base the price upon some grade a seller has affixed to the book. You priced it as an 8.0, so tell me what you see already!
So many sellers are afraid to be told they over-graded raw books that they take the easy way out. You may not like them, but 3rd party grading companies are essential to the hobby. If you won’t grade your own books, then we need a 3rd party to tell us what the book’s grade is. That job is thus filled by those despised third-party graders. GoCollect readers should know that I also do not like my proctologist and dentist, but that does not mean I will not see them. I just wish it was not the same person and he didn’t work out of a van down by the river!!!
9. Support your good local LCS!
I say this to everyone. Support your local LCS and hobby retailers. This means you too, publishers, distributors, and product reps! Many good stores have shuttered their doors because of buyers shopping online, poor distribution practices, or a lack of quality retail items. People can still shop online, but what is missing is the event of going to the local comic book store.
Buyers formerly conversed on the hobby and many were talked into impulse buys as a result. In addition, an informal community was constructed that brought a steady stream of new people to the hobby. Parents and older siblings would take a young child and try to get them in, too, on the hobby. That is not happening anymore.
Instead, the population is getting older and the products are getting fewer. Print runs are down because fewer people are buying new books. Brand awareness cannot be only formed by film and television shows. Instead, younger fans will watch the movie and buy the t-shirt but will never ever buy the comic book that inspired it all. Get out from behind the screens and at least once a month visit a local comic book store!!!
10. I am staring right at you and I now want to hear from you. This is our feats-of-strength time!
The GoCollect reader is one of the savviest hobbyists in existence. I may not agree with them all the time but that does not mean I do not respect and value their input. Put down your holiday cookies and bring your best grievances. Maybe Ryan Reynolds can come on and post how much he wants to be the new Green Lantern or make Deadpool 3 G-rated. My only advice to him and (you) is to make sure he wears his brown pants, because I will come back just as hard.
“until you pin me… Festivus is not over!”