Things I Like and Don’t Like for the Week of December 12th, 2018

It’s that time again, where I tell you what’s really grinding my gears for the week of December 12th, 2018.

Some weeks it’s mostly likes, other weeks it’s dislikes.

So what’s grinding my gears this week?

Middleton’s Manhunter Issue 2  Killer B Cover

I haven’t confirmed if this is the actual artwork (it likely is but you know, this crap can change on the fly) but if it is, it’s just flat out awesome. Pre-sales on the secondary market for Martian Manhunter #2 Middleton Variant are still cheap and around cover price. Grab’em if you can. Final Order cutoff for shops is today I do believe.

Price Gouging Customers

Maybe I’m in the wrong here but I found it disheartening this past week to walk into a local shop (Austin Books, yeah, I’m calling you guys out) and they were attempting to sell the Iron Heart Stephanie Hans Variant for a whopping $229.99 price tag.

So there’s been like a single sold listing at that price (which it doesn’t even appear actually completed since the details show only $199 or less on accepted offers), all others have been at $139.99 or less with most now selling in the $50-$80 range.

I understand shops have to make money too but this one has clearly been marked at this price since release, which is why I consider this price gouging. Seems they just found the highest price listing on the secondary market and set it according to that instead of their usual 1:50 price point range. If shops are following the secondary market price trends, they should learn to update them accordingly as well.

I guess it’s not that surprising, this is the same shop that was trying to sell the Image 25th Anniversary Blind Box set for $400 on initial release and the Oblivion Song Statue Box set for like $500.

In all seriousness though, shops have the right to price point their products at any price they want. We the consumers have the right to not shop there when they practice shady pricing techniques that go outside of what the publisher sets as the market retail price.

Marvel Avengers: Endgame

I’m really looking forward to the new Avengers installment. This made me happy. Looking forward to more teaser trailers leading up until the movie premieres.


I don’t know why but it feels good to give away books. We’re 2 days into a 12 day giveaway for the Holidays.

I hope you all enjoy them.


37 thoughts on “Things I Like and Don’t Like for the Week of December 12th, 2018”

  1. Yeah I am all for stores making money, but I got to say I hate it when I call looking for books to be added to my pull box and the come back with eBay pricing, I have started to say no thx after they respond with the price. I normally get a discount on my stuff because I buy so much. When something that will be good comes out, or if I want to pre order something, suddenly no discount if they have any thought they can get more for it fro someone else. What these stores forget is that I do not have to shop there and probably will soon not be shopping there should their selling practices continue in the downward spiral. For a thousand dollars a month, I should be getting fantastic service and consistent pricing practices and expectations. For the most part they are pretty good, but every now and again they must be on crack thinking that I will automatically buy everything that I enquire on, regardless of price—-I don’t think so.

  2. I use to think mycomicshop had horrible prices a couple years later the market caught up to their horrible prices which are now decent prices and I buy books from them here and there again. I do fully blame them for raising the prices of every key comic being sold today, but since I have most keys covered not many left to buy it’s ok for me now. But when I was buying heavily 2 years ago I was cursing their name on a daily basis.

    1. As for a store selling variants at eBay prices day one, why not just sell it on eBay and save disappointing more than half the people that walk in your store on new comic days.

      1. Great point, Alana. If they have it marked up to highest secondary prices, they may want to sell on the secondary market. They are not doing themselves any favours by trying to take their walk in customers for a ride.

      2. Whose to say they don’t have it up on eBay while it’s sitting out at their shop? Might be why they have such a high price….first one (eBay or physical body) to accept the offer gets the win!

        1. The person who sells on eBay is based out of Dallas that does it on behalf of Austin Books. I’ve bought from them before and asked if I could just pick it up at the local shop instead of paying for shipping, they said they normally don’t do that but would let the store know.

          Also these weren’t behind the counter so anyone could grab it to purchase.

      3. Mr. Poyo .. I agree with your assessment .. a so-called ratio variant is worth what someone is willing to pay .. I think the rub comes into play when a shop orders 100 of the regular cover just to have the right to buy one of the Variant .. at a 50% off discount, and a $3.99 cover, that puts a shop into the Variant for $200.00 .. if they can sell the 100 regulars at the full $3.99, and the Variant at a nice markup, the shop is Golden .. if they can’t sell at least 50% of the regulars, not so much ..

        I personally don’t like the way the Market has been manipulated, especially by Marvel .. I believe it encourages shops to over order, which I will simply not do .. getting sucked into that Vortex is a recipe for financial disaster, IMO ..

      4. So I was having an issue with my LCS putting certain hot (non ratio) books on the wall the day of release with a jacked up price. After some talks they still put them up on the wall but if you ask for them they sell it at cover (as long as your buying one). Still not completely happy as it is misleading but its better than downright refusing to sell for cover first day of release.

  3. A few shops in my area have started employing the secondary market mark up on newer books. I find, most of the time, that they price according to the peaks of these books, and then the books sit in their shop, all marked up, forever. One shop by me still has Black Cloud #1 for $10, sitting in their display case. Its been there since its release week. Perhaps if they left the book at cover, then some reader may have picked it up, and liked it, and potentially would have bought issues #2 and beyond. In that scenario, the store doing the mark up has lost sales on several issues of that series. Silly and self-deprivating. The few extra bucks they may get from selling a marked up book, imo, is completely outweighed by the customers who see that marked up book and consciously decide to not shop at that store with marked up books. Price gouging customers is never a solid long term business plan.

    1. Agree with that.

      I was eyeing an Ultimate Fallout #4 at a shop this week…guy had it raw and was charging $75. I think EBay prices might be around $70 for a NM or better now. Didn’t have a grade estimated but when he took it out of the bag it had spine ticks and huge corner indentation along the back bottom spine. Handed it back very quickly…this was the same shop that wouldn’t sell me 3 copies of hot comics I pulled out of their long boxes for the sticker price they had on it. And they were pretty beat up too.

      Not going back…

      1. I remember when ultimate fallout could be found at cover and the variant for $10 people pulling em out of old comicpacks left and right.

  4. I never buy marked up comics.y motto is if I can’t make a slight profit on a book then for me it’s overpriced. Lol.

    More and more stores and doing this now.
    Especially with variants.

    One of my LCS have hired a kid to simply go through their back issue stock and price books as per eBay listings… Not even eBay sold listings.

    And whatever is 20$ or more becomes a wall book.

    I haven’t went to that store in a while. Pretty sure I’m not the only one.

    Don’t mind paying market value for hot issues, but will never pay 50 to 100% or higher marked up prices.

    That store has Master of Kung-Fu #15 for 425$ and it ain’t even NM.

    Practice patience and most often than not you will get your comic at your price range.

  5. I order exta and split my invorty.a portion for the shelf at cover a portion for conventions and a portion or ebay.i belive the first taste should be as enexpensive as possible I want to get people hooked on stuff if possible I feel with all themarkets to seel comics today retailers my fellow shop ownersopening one in 2019 working out details however my shop is different the normal shop. but still making your regulars upset is only going to make them not come back . if the site wasn’t a pg family friendally site I couldexplain what I mean better. what is a wall with keys if you have no collector to buy them?myadvice follow the golden rule and the spoils will be yours #testify blind adam out

  6. They simply do not understand or care about their position in this current market. They just don’t get it. They are the distributors to the Ebay seller and it benefits everyone if they can wrap their heads around this. This is how the current market has come to thrive. This is why they are experiencing greater sales and an increased customer base. However, it will probably take a swift kick in the groin from the consumer for them to realize and accept their role in the supply chain.

    It’s the same thing that happened in the 90s. The LCS wants the same price the Ebay sellers are getting. Back in the day we had to trade at an LCS or small show to realize the inflated price or buy a table at a small or smaller show and sell the books there. Today we have Ebay. Once the shops started marking up at ridiculous prices the market began to crash. It was worse then because of the insane print run numbers but the same trend in occuring now.

    I have probably 30 to 40 shops I go to in Chicagoland (about a 60 mile radius). No shortage of LCSs out here, but that also gives me the idea that there may be too many shops just as there was in the 90s and a correction will come.

    The markup trend by the LCSs, in particular on new books is not a good indicator for the market. Same goes for Raw copies of Key Issues being sold at CGC graded prices or higher.

    I can’t wait for C2E2 to see how vendors are pricing their Raw copies of Key books. Wizard World Chicago was horrible. Inflated to the max. Usually C2E2 is much better and has been the last 3 or 4 years I’ve attended, if this trend becomes evident at C2E2 then I think we’ll be going into a downward trend, essentially signaling the beginning of the end of the Bull Market. I don’t think it will happen in 2019 as I think this will be a peak year with all the movies slated for release. Maybe not even 2020, but in the next couple of years for sure unless Vendors and LCSs change their pricing and accept their role. Once they begin to speculate like the speculators, the incentive to buy from them will be gone.

    1. I despise Wizard World when I went to one in Austin a few years back. It was more about the C rated celebrities and all the junk you buy at the county fair (yeah, they know kids will be there so selling those crappy cheap Chinese made light up toys that are irresistible to kids they know they’re gonna bank off of).

      30+ shops, that’s too many for sure. I know Chicago is huge but here in Austin we have around 3 (and only one has back issues that go beyond 6 months) within the city limits with a few on the outskirts of town as well.

      1. BTW, nice write ups every week dude. Appreciate the work you do.

        I have 11 Graham Crackers alone to hit up. I generally stick to the smaller shops and I have a pull list at my favorite shop but I do have plenty of honey wells to stick my paws into for back issues.

        Some of the shops only have new issues and TPBs and they depend on their pull lists to survive which I can respect. Other shops diversify and have Magic tournaments every week and focus mainly on that business to survive.

        Then you have the Graham Crackers where I do shop but can’t stand as they are terrible at grading and will immediately markup prices if they can. Not all their locations do that but if one of them finds out then they all get the signal in general.

        I have a nostalgic connection to Wizard World as it was known as Chicago Comic Con when I was a kid. My first big convention was the ’92 Comic Con when they had the entire Image crew and it was a great experience. Still have great memories of that time. It’s a shame what’s happened to that convention. Plus I’m 10 minutes away from that convention center so it was like my backyard…

        1. Thanks for the kind words on the writeups.

          And yeah, that’s how it is for most shops here in Central Texas, most if not all are just new comics and TPB for the most part. There’s only one primary shop now that has back issues that goes beyond 3-6 months after Capstone closed down.

      2. Having magic players who rarely buy anything in your shop everyday can get real old real quick. The profit margin on mtg boxes and what not is very small to begin with. Even if you sell 36 packs at $3.99 retail it’s like a $40 profit for what could potentially be 36 individual sales.

        1. Most of these game shops make money from snacks and drinks for the gamers. It’s the same here in Austin, most if not all the comic shops area also board and card game locations.

    2. Economists are predicting a recession to occur as early as 1st quarter, 2020. This would expedite the crash of this bulk market we now find ourselves in.

      1. A recession will always happen just a matter of timing. You can find economist who says it will happen in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 or beyond.

        No need to bother about it.

      2. Since the 1950s the US has averaged an economic recession every ten years on average. It is definitely cyclical. The key is for policy makers to do their best to make it a short recession and not a long one. Of course it also matters on how large the recession is at its’ onset. 2008 was a biggie but we’ve been recovering/growing since then so it has to swing back the other way and we’re at 10 years now so it’s bound to happen anytime now.

        A recession also presents opportunities to buy in at low prices as supply tends to increase due to decreased demand hence the reason workers are laid off. No need for production when supply/inventory is high.

        I’m banking on 2020 right around election season. We’ll finally be feeling the economic policies of this current administration as fiscal policy was just established in October 2017 (Obama’s fiscal policy ran through September 2017 which is normal as a new president does not implement fiscal policy until October of their first year) and the effects of that take a couple of years to feel. Add in to that the Trade War, the impending Impeachment proceedings, and worldwide uncertainty like the disaster that is Brexit, unrest in France, and Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and you have a nervous stock market that is bound to start selling off. Stock market is a leading or future indicator of the economy so if you start seeing a sell off you know a recession is coming soon.

  7. agentpoyo, I live an hour north of Austin but work in the Lakeline Mall area. Do you have any recommendations for where to find a good selection of back issues. More for filling holes in the PC than looking for Spec. I currently hit up Titan Moon because it is near the office but they don’t have a large selection, Dragons Lair didn’t do back issues last time I checked in there and Austin Books is not conveniently located for me.

    1. It’s pretty much Austin Books now since Capstone closed down. Capstone was my goto shop for new books and back issues. Dragon’s Lair is the closest shop for myself but yeah, they tend to only have about the past 6 months worth of books on their shelves.

  8. I hate when MCS does no list the new releases at the same time. This evening I had to make two orders as I know if I wait then the comics will disappear from my bin before checkout.

  9. Another great write up. As much as I hate it when LCSs price gouge I do find it humorous to see the same wall books up for over a year. Karma. I guess I like it even more when I go through their boxes that they probably haven’t gone through in a while and find a hidden gem or one that recently heated up and buy for cover (or $1 bin). The look on their faces when they know their loss is pretty fun as well.

    1. I was eyeing a Teen Titans #12B at this one shop. Buddy wanted $40. I took a look at it and it had a nasty tic in the middle of the spine. I passed on it due to the tic (no marked up modern book should have that kind of damage on it, imo), and pointed out the large tic to the shop keep. He seemed to agree with me that $40 was to much due to the tic. That book is still on his wall, for the same price. Take a hint, buddy. It akways amazed me how short sighted some people can be, when they are trying to maximize profits. Trying being the operative word in the former sentence.

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