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DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

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DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Old 10-07-21, 02:18 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
If anyone wants to read an interesting story about the old newsstand distribution system, "stripping covers," and how organized crime was (allegedly) involved the distribution of comics and magazines, I suggest you read this from Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics...

https://www.milehighcomics.com/tales/cbg70.html

It's part of a larger story about the acquisition of the "Mile High II" collection, which is a pretty crazy yarn in itself.
I remember back in the mid-1980s, milehigh had one or two page ads in then-current issues of Marvel titles. They were essentially lists of back issues for sale by mail order.

IIRC, one day the two-page milehigh ads advertised explicitly that they acquired a gigantic batch of back issues dating back to the mid-1960s through to the late-1970s. At the time circa mid-1980s, I was wondering how the hell milehigh was able to find such a huge repository of back issues. I'm guessing this "Mile High II" collection article, fleshes out the details of this acquisition and answers the questions I was wondering about for decades.
Old 10-07-21, 02:28 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
The question is whether the giant retailers like midtown, milehigh, etc .... have enough resources to initiate legal action on their own. (ie. Can they pay the hourly attorney fees for a long drawn out legal case? ). If not, can they bring in the smaller guys and turn it into a class action suit?

Lets hope Marvel is on the side of the retailers in this situation. (I am assuming the executive/phb in charge of printing + distribution at Marvel, actually gives a damn and will raise a stink about it with the legal department at Disney/Marvel).
Retailers have sued distributors before to some success. There was a retailer from San Francisco, Brian Hibbs, who successfully sued Diamond and won. The lawsuit was about letting retailers adjust their orders after the initial order was set but before they went into printing. That's how the creation of the final order cutoff for comic books was created.
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Old 10-07-21, 02:57 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
Retailers have sued distributors before to some success. There was a retailer from San Francisco, Brian Hibbs, who successfully sued Diamond and won. The lawsuit was about letting retailers adjust their orders after the initial order was set but before they went into printing. That's how the creation of the final order cutoff for comic books was created.
It turns out this appears to be a class action suit.

https://icv2.com/articles/comics/vie...ion-settlement


I would be quite surprised if this was just one person fighting such a lawsuit and not running out of cash to pay the lawyers. Easier to continue the case with many other folks in a same boat contributing to paying attorney costs, as a class action suit.
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Old 10-07-21, 03:39 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
Same here. Even though I haven't consistently collected comics over the past few decades, I still have the mindset of a "comic book collector" when it comes to condition of my reading materials.
I'm the same way. I have a large collection of books (both mass market paperbacks and hardcovers) dating back three decades that are all in pristine, like new condition despite having read them.

I've been this way my whole life. I still have the record albums I bought when I was a kid that are still in like new condition -- no rings on the jackets, records are still shiny and unscratched even though I was probably ten when I bought them.

I'm also fussy as hell about my DVDs and blu-rays (which is why I hate eco-cases with a passion, as they not only don't protect the art inlays, but can actually damage them).


With all that being said, gradually my mindset has moved away from condition to print quality. Apparently the types of books I've been reading for decades, has nosedived in print quality over the past 20+ years. Especially stuff which is published as "print on demand" from the start, even as a preorder. (Amazon does a lot of print-on-demand stuff for such publishers).
Can't argue with that. The quality of books -- from the binding, to the paper quality, to the print quality -- has declined a lot over time.

As I said above, I have a lot of old books, and I'm amazed at how sturdy even mass market paperbacks from the 1980s and early 1990s were. The paper is thick and has barely yellowed, the pages are well-bound into the spines. Now I pick up a MMPB at the store, and the paper is so thin it feels like the book will dissolve in my hands and the pages are warped where they're glued into the binding.

Reminds me of comic books these days, actually. The paper quality has become shit, they're doing "self-covers" where the covers are printed on the same stock as the pages to save money. They're thin and feel like they're about to fall apart. TPBs are so thin they feel like magazines, and the pages are warped and wavy.
Old 10-07-21, 04:40 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Companies realized you could nickel-and-dime production costs by cutting corners without heavily affecting sales. This is true of most industries, not just books. What's interesting is this trend didn't infiltrate other parts of the world nearly as much in consumer goods as it did American multinationals. Americans accepted the idea of disposable consumer goods without much push back.
Old 10-07-21, 06:13 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

The weird thing is that the direct market was basically created by increasing the print quality/paper of the books and differentiated themselves from newsstands by marketing comics as collectibles and not disposable. Full circle I guess.
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Old 10-07-21, 06:30 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
If anyone wants to read an interesting story about the old newsstand distribution system, "stripping covers," and how organized crime was (allegedly) involved the distribution of comics and magazines, I suggest you read this from Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics...

https://www.milehighcomics.com/tales/cbg70.html

It's part of a larger story about the acquisition of the "Mile High II" collection, which is a pretty crazy yarn in itself.
This isnít that different with what happened like 13 years ago with WB and the DVDs they sent to be destroyed. The middleman in all of this decided to not destroy the inventory, told WB that it had been destroyed and then went around an sold it to overstock stores like Big Lots and Ollieís.
Old 10-08-21, 11:59 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Red Hood View Post
This isn’t that different with what happened like 13 years ago with WB and the DVDs they sent to be destroyed. The middleman in all of this decided to not destroy the inventory, told WB that it had been destroyed and then went around an sold it to overstock stores like Big Lots and Ollie’s.
In 2009 Warner ended up suing the subcontractor (IWMB) assigned to destroying the old inventory, which caused collateral blowback and the eventual collapse of the original middleman (Cinram).

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bu...aims-10-63242/

Originally Cinram purchased Warner's disc manufacturing facilities in 2003 and had a long 6+ years contract to manufacture Warner dvd discs. Cinram also had their own distribution and "disposal" division, which Warner contracted to destroy the old inventory.

After this fiasco of fake "certificates of destruction" with old Warner dvds going through the backdoor and eventually to Big Lots, etc ...., it was not surprising that Warner didn't renew their disc manufactuirng contract with Cinram. Instead, Warner changed to Technicolor in 2010.

https://www.dvd-and-beyond.com/displ...hp?article=820
https://www.cp24.com/cinram-stock-pl...tract-1.479519


Eventually Cinram collapsed and its "corpse" was eventually bought up by Technicolor in 2015.

https://www.plasticsnews.com/article...uring-business
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Old 10-09-21, 12:33 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I still have the record albums I bought when I was a kid that are still in like new condition -- no rings on the jackets, records are still shiny and unscratched even though I was probably ten when I bought them.

I'm also fussy as hell about my DVDs and blu-rays (which is why I hate eco-cases with a passion, as they not only don't protect the art inlays, but can actually damage them).
Similar sentiments too in regard to vinyl records. I even placed my records into plastic covers, similar to comic book bags. (A comic book shop I use to shop at back in the day, carried vinyl record sized bags).


(Long rant).

Though where you and I diverge significantly, is in regard to dvds/blurays. I'm not fussy at when it comes to the paper inlays and the quality of the plastic cases. (Same with audio cds).

The only time I ever changed the dvd/bluray cases, is if the originally packaging was warping the discs. As an example back in 2010, there was a huge batch of 1990s era syndicated sci-fi tv shows released by Alliance where the season sets releases initially had really atrocious packaging that warped the discs beyond playability. It was tricky finding defect-free copies where the discs were not warped by the packaging. (Eventually most of these season sets were re-released a few years later with standard generic amaray multidisc cases, which do not warp the discs). For these particular sets where I was able to get the defect-free initial sets by sheer luck, I put the discs into generic dvd cases.

Though what I am extreme fussy about when it comes to cd/dvd/bluray, is whether the discs are playable. So every time I purchase a new disc, I immediately run it on the computer to check whether there are any unreadable bad sectors due to manufacturing defects and lousy quality control. (Bad sectors due to extra basketcase drm is an entirely different matter). The few times I encounter defective discs due to unreadable bad setors, they went back to the retailer for an exchange (or refund).

Going back further in time, one of the first dvds I ever purchased was Terminator 2 which turned out to be defective. It froze 20 minutes or so into the movie, where I had to pull the plug on my dvd player and plug it back in, to eject and remove the disc. (The eject button didn't work when that defective T2 dvd froze). It went back to the retailer where I got a refund.

Since then, I never really trusted new dvd discs (and later similarly bluray) to be defect-free out of the package. This is the primary reason why I didn't "collect" dvds over the entire 2000s decade.
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Old 10-09-21, 11:05 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
.
.......

Since then, I never really trusted new dvd discs (and later similarly bluray) to be defect-free out of the package. This is the primary reason why I didn't "collect" dvds over the entire 2000s decade.
(More tangential rambling).

Back in the day after vinyl records fell by the wayside and were replaced by cd for then-new releases, for many years my then "highly incorrect" perception was that cds were largely defect-free when purchased brand new and one took care of the discs (ie. handling the discs on the circular edge without touching the silver side, etc ....). Over the 1990s decade, I only ever came across two cd discs which were defective and largely unplayable. (They went back to the retailer for an exchange).


Back in the day during the 1980s and well into the 1990s, there was no easy way to check for bad sectors before cd-rom drives were easily available. The error correction on generic standalone audio cd players was good enough to correct or "interpolate" over the cd disc sectors which were not readable, that I didn't notice any obvious "audible" errors. In contrast, extremely defective audio cds would typically skip over a large number of sectors, with the player creating "clicking" sounds over large batches of bad sectors being skipped over during realtime playback.

It was only sometime around 1999 when I started ripping many of my cds on the computer, that I came to the realization that cd manufacturing quality was highly variable. I had some cd discs which sounded fine when I listened to them on my standalone stereo audio cd players, but on the computer they required many sector re-reads to get an error-free rip. Sometimes taking as long as 30-40 minutes to rip the entire audio cd disc. (In those days, I wrote my own cd ripping programs to get around jitter issues. Initially I came across jitter by chance).


This very much compounded my then-recent bad experiences with my first dvd disc purchases (ie. the first pressings of the Terminator 2 dvd freezing twenty minutes into the movie), that cd/dvd disc quality control should not be trusted at all.

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Old 10-09-21, 12:04 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Reminds me of comic books these days, actually. The paper quality has become shit, they're doing "self-covers" where the covers are printed on the same stock as the pages to save money. They're thin and feel like they're about to fall apart. TPBs are so thin they feel like magazines, and the pages are warped and wavy.
How long has this been happening?

I looked at some of my floppies from a decade ago, where the covers still had thicker paper than the interior pages.


In my recent shopping trips at comic/hobby shops, I didn't want to touch any of the floppies. (At one comic book shop, they put all the recent/current floppies into plastic bags but did not tape the flaps). Without actually skimming through a recent floppy, the change in paper quality wasn't obvious from just visual inspection by looking at on the shelves.

Though with that being said, I did briefly skim through a recent IDW graphic novel compilation of a 4-5 issue series, which was next to the dvd section at a nearby walmart. (I don't usually go through the book section at wallymart). I did notice it felt "flimsier" and "thinner" than some of my older softcover graphic novels of 4-5 issue limited series.
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Old 10-09-21, 12:39 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
As I said above, I have a lot of old books, and I'm amazed at how sturdy even mass market paperbacks from the 1980s and early 1990s were. The paper is thick and has barely yellowed, the pages are well-bound into the spines. Now I pick up a MMPB at the store, and the paper is so thin it feels like the book will dissolve in my hands and the pages are warped where they're glued into the binding.
Now that you mention this, Dungeons and Dragons hardcover books have been plagued with "warped/wavy" pages for over a decade. This goes way back to the first printings of the 4E edition D&D core books in June 2008. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed the printer facility didn't let the printed pages "dry out" completely, with significant moisture still "soaking" the pages when they were cut and bound together into hardcover books. (In contrast the then-previous 3.5E edition D&D hardcover books didn't have this problem, including the final few 3.5E books released over late 2007 -> February 2008).

To get a particular 4E edition D&D hardcover book which didn't have this warped/wavy pages annoyance, one had to go to an offline big box bookstore which carried many copies of the same D&D title. You had to go through every copy to find one which didn't have this page warp/wave issue, and likely pay the sky high MSRP price. (In-print D&D books are frequently heavily discounted on amazon).
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Old 10-09-21, 02:33 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

The change in the thinner paper stock was done by Marvel around 2012 in order to reduce cost. It was one of the first edicts by Disney after the purchase of the company. The problem is that the cover and the insides have the same paper, so with any humidity or just human handling, the paper warps and becomes wavy. Normal hands oil will mark easily on this paper stock too.

DC and other companies tried this paper too for a while but most companies went back to a thicker and stronger paper. You can see the difference in quality of paper stock between a DC and Marvel book. Itís safe to say that Marvel didnít care then or now about the feedback from customers and retailers about the paper issue, but it has cause more issues to them as the damage prints have increased tenfold, specially with store exclusive variants. I know at least 50 cases in the past year were Marvel has had to reprint a book due to the LCS being completely unhappy with the delivered store exclusives
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Old 10-09-21, 06:47 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

I remember in the 1990s, when DC's Vertigo had really nice paper on some of their books (Sandman, Preacher, Invisibles) that was thick and sort of semi-glossy; it held color really well, but didn't reflect light like glossy paper. They did away with that around 1999 or 2000; I remember the switch happened with Preacher #49, and the book started looking awful because it was still being colored for the better quality paper, and then it started looking muddy like Hellblazer, which used a lower quality paper stock.

I wasn't a DC superhero reader by then, but I can sort of remember they switched their books to the lesser quality paper and their colors started looking like crap.

The first "self-cover" books I remember were the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight books from Dark Horse. I remember picking up one of the books and noticing it just felt somehow wrong, and couldn't figure out why. Turns out it was because was basically a "coverless" comic book.
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Old 10-10-21, 03:56 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
The weird thing is that the direct market was basically created by increasing the print quality/paper of the books and differentiated themselves from newsstands by marketing comics as collectibles and not disposable. Full circle I guess.
Hmmm ......

Back in the day when I first started collecting comics in the late 1970s, I was primarily buying newstand versions of Marvel and DC titles. Later on when I occasionally went to local comic book shops, I did buy some of the direct market versions which typically didn't have a upc code on the front cover. (Newsstand versions had a upc code on the front cover).

In the early 1980s, the print/paper quality was almost identical for both the newstand and direct market versions. By the time I stopped collecting comics shortly after the Secret Wars II limited series ended, the print/paper quality was still more or less the same. Other than the upc code (or lack thereof), the other obvious difference was that pristine-mint condition copies of the newstand versions were less common.


But nevertheless, I do remember the party line (or propaganda) perception was that the direct market was to appeal to collectors. As I got older and understood microeconomics better (ie. supply and demand, etc ...), I realized this propaganda/perception didn't make any sense when Marvel and DC were flooding the market with tons of mint condition direct market copies. Flooding the market essentially makes such issues almost worthless, and not really "collectable" even in mint condition. Basically one or two steps up from "collecting" issues of the daily newspaper or Time Magazine.

As I read more about the history of comic books, I got the impression the direct market wasn't much more than another distribution channel where they didn't take returns. In contrast, newsstands could do returns and all the headaches/corruption involved.
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Old 10-10-21, 11:03 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

(A tangential rant).

Where I first really understood how supply and demand behaved in practice, started with the relaunch of X-Men in 1991. Even though I wasn't regularly collecting comics anymore by then, I still occasionally dropped by local comic stores. At some of the smaller local shops, I noticed they were able to order huge quantities of X-Men #1 and the next several issues. Even by the end of 1992 and into 1993, some of these small shops had several longboxes filled with just X-Men #1 (and some with #2).

I can understand the giant shops being able to order huge quantities of a particular issue in those days (such as milehigh, etc ...). Though it seemed odd that a smaller operation was able to get huge quantities at the same time from the direct market. So I figured Marvel was massively flooding the market. Gradually over the 1990s decade and into the early 2000s, I noticed these same X-Men #1 (and later) issues were 50 cents dumpbin fodder for copies which were not in pristine-mint condition. In hindsight, it wasn't too surprising seeing many backissue near-mint copies of X-Men #1 not fetching a sky high price.

(I noticed the same thing happened with subsequent big events, such as the death of superman issues).



During the 1990s, I also first noticed how supply and demand worked in practice in the cd/vinyl market. By around 1991 or so, vinyl was largely abandoned for new releases in favor of audio cd discs. At the time, I remember second handed record stores were being flooded with folks trading in or sellling their entire vinyl collection for next to nothing. So it was easy to find a lot of mint condition vinyl albums for 50 cents a pop, after almost everybody was "rebuying / replacing" their music collections with the cd versions.

A few years later, what I found odd was sometime in the mid-1990s there were vinyl records of some then-new releases starting to appear again at record stores. One title was a vinyl version of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill", which was priced at around $25 or $30 at the time. (Back in the 1980s before cds were ubquititous, the same type of new releases vinyl album was typically around $10 a pop or less). In contrast, the generic cd version of "Jagged Little Pill" was $15 or less at the time brand new. So I figured there were not many vinyl copies being manufactured, and it was likely the hardcore "audiophile" types buying these albums who had the $2000+ turntables. (ie. A combination of rarity and hardcore customers who spent most of their income on expensive stereo equipment and vinyl records).

I didn't know it at the time, but I now realize these 1990s era albums released as limited vinyl runs in those days, have become genuine "collectibles" over the years.


By the time movies on dvd was very popular in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, I came to the realization that most of these dvds would be largely become semi-worthless dumpbin fodder in future. (Such as James Bond, etc ....).
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Old 10-10-21, 02:19 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Yeah, morriscroy, I've mentioned that thing about vinyl in threads on the music forum here. There as a time in the late 80s or early 90s when everyone was dumping their vinyl, and I was able to buy up a lot of mint condition stuff for dirt cheap; I seem to remember getting all of the Queen and some of the older Kiss albums that way.

I think people were getting rid of their record players in favor of smaller CD players and cassette decks, and then dumping their LPs at used record stores en masse. And they were getting rid of the good stuff, not the crap that usually ended up in the used record stores. It was good because I was able to get a lot of really nice copies of stuff I only had a marginal interest in at the time, like Queen, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie.

I was also able to buy a lot of vinyl off of eBay in the early 2000s for cheap, too. There were out of print CDs of heavy metal bands that would sell in the $50-$100 range, but their vinyl counterparts could be had for under $10 in mint condition. Ended up replacing some CDs that way. I could buy a LP of something like Rage's "Perfect Man" for $8, then turn around and sell my CD for $60.
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Old 10-10-21, 02:38 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

I never really got into the selling on ebay (or craigslist, amazon, etc ....) thing.

I was simply too lazy to sell off my old comic book collection and vinyl records, where they ended up sitting in a closet for decades. Also during the 1990s and well into the 2000s decade, I had a career with decent pay. So I didn't see any point in sellling off my old (rare) cds/records/issues for $50+ a pop, which was peanuts compared to what my salary was in those days.
Old 10-10-21, 02:43 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
In the early 1980s, the print/paper quality was almost identical for both the newstand and direct market versions. By the time I stopped collecting comics shortly after the Secret Wars II limited series ended, the print/paper quality was still more or less the same. Other than the upc code (or lack thereof), the other obvious difference was that pristine-mint condition copies of the newstand versions were less common.
Yeah, the newsstand editions of Marvel and DC comics, at least at the time, were identical to their newsstand counterparts except for the lack of a UPC barcode. Direct Market editions didn't have the barcode in order to prevent people from trying to "return" them for credit in the magazine distribution system.

There was a time in the mid-1990s that Marvel experimented withe "deluxe" direct market versions of their comics and cheaper "newsstand" editions printed on lower quality paper. I think the deluxe editions were $2.25 and the newsstand were $1.95 and shipped several weeks later. It only lasted about a year.

About ten or fifteen years ago there was also a push to get comics back on newsstands at places like Barnes & Noble, and they did editions for that market that actually cost one or two dollars more than the DM editions.[/QUOTE]

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
Where I first really understood how supply and demand behaved in practice, started with the relaunch of X-Men in 1991. Even though I wasn't regularly collecting comics anymore by then, I still occasionally dropped by local comic stores. At some of the smaller local shops, I noticed they were able to order huge quantities of X-Men #1 and the next several issues. Even by the end of 1992 and into 1993, some of these small shops had several longboxes filled with just X-Men #1 (and some with #2).
I was a teenager in rural Kansas at the time and didn't have access to a local comic shop, so I bought my new comics, first from the spinner rack at the grocery store, then, later from a mail order place.

The place I was buying new monthly comics at the time would sell what were essentially cases of stuff like X-Men #1, X-Force #1, and Punisher War Zone #1 at a discount. The copy said stuff like The first issue of X-Men came out in 1963 and sells for over $3,000 in mint condition! This is the first new X-Men #1 in nearly thirty years! Get in on this deal now! Buy 50 copies for 20% off cover, or buy 100 copies for 30% off!

It was tempting to my fifteen year-old brain, but I also knew that if people were sitting on cases and cases of copies of this book in "near mint" condition that there's no way it would have any future value. So I just bought one copy of the $3.95 one with the fold-out cover and never regretted my decision. ...I think. I somehow ended up with multiple copies of X-Men #1, and I'm not sure how. Some stores might have given them away as an incentive a few years later?


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Old 10-10-21, 03:58 PM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
It was tempting to my fifteen year-old brain, but I also knew that if people were sitting on cases and cases on copies of this book in "near mint" condition that there's no way it would have any future value.
Sounds like you were much wiser than I was at that age.

Prior to that same age, the only other obvious example of extreme supply and demand swings I read about was the hyperinflation of 1920s Germany. Though at the time, it didn't cross my mind that the same supply/demand dynamics could happen in the consumer market (such as comic books).
Old 10-11-21, 01:11 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

As a prominent example of this misunderstanding when I was younger, back in the day issues #94 to around #141 of the Uncanny X-Men spiked up in price on the back issues market. Not knowing any better, I and other local friends thought (incorrectly) that this price spike would also continue on with issues after #141 for many years.

(IIRC issue #141 of The Uncanny X-Men was the "days of future past" story, which the 2014 X-men movie was based on).

When I stopped collecting comics regularly shortly after the Secret Wars II limited series ended, slightly before I remember seeing a local shop which had two longboxes filled with The Uncanny X-Men issue #200 only. (It was a "trial of magneto" story). Though at the time I didn't think much of it, other than guessing that the shop owner was betting on issue #200 spiking up in price significantly in the then-future.


As time went on through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, these issues of The Uncanny X-Men after #150 or so, did not spike up in price significantly. On average they only really tracked inflation of the cover price for copies in pristine-mint condition. Otherwise they were $1 (or less) bargain bin fodder for copies not in mint conditon.

Also concurrently at the time circa 1990/1991, I first started seeing second handed record stores being flooded with tons of 50 cent vinyl albums in mint condition, from folks traded in or selling their old record collections for a pittance (and replacing them with the cd versions). This was the first time I realized how supply and demand actually functioned in practice on the general consumer markets, in a product category I paid close attention to.

From these two concurrent events, this jogged my earlier memory of seeing longboxes full of The Uncanny X-Men #200 several years prior. I was able to put two and two together, and came to the realization that the market for issues of The Uncanny X-Men after #150 was probably already previously flooded on the direct market by Marvel for many years prior. Marvel likely knew there would be many comic shop owners who would be speculating on then-current issues of The Uncanny X-Men spiking up in price in the then-future, and happily obliged by printing up more product to meet any additional demand.


So by the time the relaunched X-Men #1 came around later in 1991, I guessed it would be a waste of cash buying more than one copy. At the time, I was also very reluctant about jumping back onto the comic collecting monthly "treadmill", however tempting it was.
Old 10-11-21, 09:08 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
Hmmm ......

Back in the day when I first started collecting comics in the late 1970s, I was primarily buying newstand versions of Marvel and DC titles. Later on when I occasionally went to local comic book shops, I did buy some of the direct market versions which typically didn't have a upc code on the front cover. (Newsstand versions had a upc code on the front cover).

In the early 1980s, the print/paper quality was almost identical for both the newstand and direct market versions. By the time I stopped collecting comics shortly after the Secret Wars II limited series ended, the print/paper quality was still more or less the same. Other than the upc code (or lack thereof), the other obvious difference was that pristine-mint condition copies of the newstand versions were less common.


But nevertheless, I do remember the party line (or propaganda) perception was that the direct market was to appeal to collectors. As I got older and understood microeconomics better (ie. supply and demand, etc ...), I realized this propaganda/perception didn't make any sense when Marvel and DC were flooding the market with tons of mint condition direct market copies. Flooding the market essentially makes such issues almost worthless, and not really "collectable" even in mint condition. Basically one or two steps up from "collecting" issues of the daily newspaper or Time Magazine.

As I read more about the history of comic books, I got the impression the direct market wasn't much more than another distribution channel where they didn't take returns. In contrast, newsstands could do returns and all the headaches/corruption involved.
In essence making something into a collectible, unless you artificially constrain supply, will ruin the rarity of it because everyone will pick it up to save and collect. This goes beyond the irrationality of the 90s collectors boom and everyone and their mother trying to make a fortune in bagged and boarded comics that would never be read.

What I'm talking about is the switch in the direct market editions to Baxter stock paper, which was absolutely better quality than the newsstand editions and newsstand quality paper. For DC, they did this to differentiate the Direct Market editions from the Newsstand edition. They did something to further differentiate them (which I still find odd): they wanted the Direct Market editions to be like six months or so ahead of the newsstand, to give people an incentive to go to comic stores. But they didn't want to just stop publishing the newsstand versions for six months. So what they did was they put new stories in newsstand copies for six months giving the DM versions a buffer. That premium paper thing didn't last forever but I don't think we ever went back to the old, cheap days of pretty much disposable newsstand paper, and at this point even if they did switch back the cost difference wouldn't be that much.

As an aside, in Japan comics are mainly put out in huge anthologies with about 20 pages or so a week (or month or whatever) coming out. Now those mangaka are worked like dogs and I don't think we'd ever have that model here, but besides the economics of just having to ship through a much smaller country, they keep costs in check by having really cheap multicolored paper and no color. So you can buy a gigantic anthology of stuff on a weekly basis for pretty cheap. And it's treated as disposable and not collectible, because if you really want to keep the comics you'll rebuy them in collected tankouban editions later down the line. It's something that I don't think we could ever emulate because we went down this road of bagged and boarded mint copies of everything. But man there was a sense of freedom as a kid when I would read all of my mom's backissues just stored in paper grocery bags outside for me to peruse at my whim, with no care in the world for bent pages or whatnot.

In any case, it wasn't all propaganda, and even without comic stores becoming a thing the news stand spinner rack was rapidly diminishing so they probably needed to make the switch either way.

Last edited by fujishig; 10-11-21 at 09:14 AM.
Old 10-11-21, 10:06 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
What I'm talking about is the switch in the direct market editions to Baxter stock paper, which was absolutely better quality than the newsstand editions and newsstand quality paper. For DC, they did this to differentiate the Direct Market editions from the Newsstand edition.
The few titles I can remember offhand which were printed on better "baxter" paper back in the mid-1980s, was stuff like Marvel Fanfare, Omega Men, and the second volume of Nathaniel Dusk. IIRC they were $1 or higher cover prices, when other generic DC/Marvel titles had a 65 or 75 cents cover price.

Offhand, I don't remember seeing these three titles at the newsstand.
Old 10-11-21, 10:23 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

DC did it with two of their biggest titles, New Teen Titans and Legion of Super Heroes, Here found a blog that talked about it a little (and it was a 12 month delay):
https://wordsmithone.com/2018/09/12/...0s-baxter-b-s/
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morriscroy (10-11-21)
Old 10-11-21, 11:48 AM
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Re: DC Comics Cuts Ties with Diamond

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
DC did it with two of their biggest titles, New Teen Titans and Legion of Super Heroes, Here found a blog that talked about it a little (and it was a 12 month delay):
https://wordsmithone.com/2018/09/12/...0s-baxter-b-s/
Back in the day, I did pick up several earlier pre-baxter issues of these two titles but they didn't really catch my attention at the time. So I didn't buy any further issues.

The times I went to a comic book shop in those days, I do vaguely remember the baxter paper New Teen Titans first several issues when it was first released. (Jogging my memory after seeing scans of the front covers). I don't remember the baxter version of the Legion of Super Heroes.

Last edited by morriscroy; 10-11-21 at 01:05 PM.

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