1.14.2009

Amazing Spider-Man #583 Rant

I don’t know how it was at your LCS today, but how annoying was it to see the throngs of nutballs coming in to pick up the Obama Variant Cover Amazing Spider-Man #583? These are people who have never been in a comic shop before and will never step foot in one again. True, I’m generalizing, but that’s what rants do. By my rough calculations, there was at least four times the number of people who are normally in the store at that time of day. I looked carefully and none of them picked up anything beside the much ballyhooed Amazing Spidey, so let’s just head that argument off at the pass – that at least it gets them in the store to buy other things. Umm, no.

I witnessed a fascinating debacle with a woman who must have been in her 80’s that’d shuffled in looking for the book. She wandered in, looking even more out of place than many of the suits with their greedy eyes and eBay on the brain, more stupefied than the obnoxious teenagers wandering around looking lost and timid, like they’d stepped into some porn shop for the first time, and she approached a store employee. The employee explained that the books were behind the counter and not on the shelves with the “regular” books. That word jabbed at my senses, the “regular” books, because this one was, of course, somehow special. The old woman seemed perplexed by this and annoyed in that special way that only the elderly can exude. She finally got to the counter after waiting in line, was annoyed that the limit was two, and then became very agitated when her total was over $30. “But, I thought they were $3 each,” she pleaded. “I don’t understand why I have to pay more.” Nor do I understand, I agreed silently. The clerk then tried to give her some dismissive answer, as the six other people in line jonesing for their precious “collector’s item” continue to grow impatient. She then questions why she had to pay .50 cents extra for bags and boards. She stated firmly, “I don’t want to pay .50 cents for that junk!” Good for you, Granny! Fold those suckers up and put ‘em in your back pocket! I smiled to myself, morbidly enjoying the whole fucking debacle. Please, just walk out and don’t pay for them, I began mumbling to myself. But alas, she paid her $30, sans bags and boards, and disappeared.

While this is going on, some other douchebag walks in and just starts yelling “hey man, you got those Obama comics?!” The clerk says back, “yes, we do.” The douche stammers around confused for a moment, looking around wild-eyed like he’s just come down from the speedball he had for breakfast and has to get the next fix in before his skin starts crawling. “Well, where would I find them?” he asks. “We’re hiding them,” the clerk says with a sickly, wry grin. Everyone in line laughs. My heart sinks. Inside, I die a little bit. You’re hiding them? What do you hide? What does one hide from the world? That which is coveted. What do you covet? Something you desire wrongfully. Really, that’s the definition of the word. Fucking hell, this scene is killing me, I thought. I hate this. This is a disgusting showing. I’m ashamed.

I hate comics right now.

It bugs me that the whole flustered, spastic, dithered affair is a story on CBR, as if that somehow legitimizes it as newsworthy. “There hasn’t been any excitement like this in comics since they killed Superman in 1992," stated WonderWorld co-owner Dennis Barger. Doesn’t that just say it all? That’s not supposed to be a positive thing there, Dennis, it’s not supposed to be remembered fondly. That was supposed to be a part of our darkest hour. This is a comic that should sell for $3, but was going for something like $14.95 with reports that other shops in town were charging as much as $50 and $60, and up to $200 online. Why? Nobody seemed that interested in the Savage Dragon comic featuring Obama, or even the IDW specials that came out a while back. Is it because it’s Spider-Man? Has the Marvel marketing juggernaut played the media to their satisfaction? Is it because Barack has publicly stated that he likes Spider-Man? Let’s face it, this is a comic that will never be rare because millions of copies will be sold, a second print is already coming out next week. While it may pull in these bizarre, frakked up speculator prices during this week’s news cycle, largely because of a blinded populace being misled by their uneducated perceptions and media hype, let me assure you that all the copies you ever wanted will be available in a dollar bin near you a year from now (right along side that issue of Superman) and nobody will care, much less remember or understand the justification for the frenzy they were in. This is an example of one of the many things wrong with the industry and the public at large’s perception about the medium, the incessant locked horns of commerce vs. art.

I will now go and read the issue of Wasteland I picked up today in an effort to cleanse my soul.

12 Comments:

At 7:08 PM, Blogger chanzero said...

Hey Justin, I think you mis-titled your rant :)

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Ha, good eye Jon, thanks! I must have been in such a panic, furiously pounding the keyboard! It's corrected now...

Best,

Justin

 
At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the coolest thing ever, ur crazy.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Ha, thanks! That's one of the coolects bits of feedback ever.

Justin

 
At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL It's dumb but you just know alot of people think this is freakiiingggggg kewl.

I've been trying to buy 90s comics and to my surprise, the prices are way high, like there was any demand for it.

Sorry about the anonymous comment, I can't log on from work.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Justin said...

No worries, thanks for stopping by.

Justin

 
At 6:56 AM, Blogger Dennis Barger said...

Hey Justin,
My comment about this being like superman's death was exactly meant for that response. This is like Superman's death, people coming in and buying a comic purely for speculation purposes. People who had not stepped foot in a store since 1992 and people who bought comics for 1 year after 1992 and people who weren't even motivated to come into a store in 1992 came in for this one. But, unlike 1992 the industry has changed. Superman 74 sold about 300,000 units, Spiderman 582 sold about 65,000 units (this is important). Superman 75 1st print sold about 500,000 units bagged and 500,000 units newstand...that is 1,000,000 units...spiderman 583 probably saw an increase because of retailers like myself who heard the call, jumped through the hoop, ordered more (some WAYYYYY more)but at most you are looking at 100,000 of cover A and 40,000 cover B (these are still just estimates but pretty safe estimates) that is 140,000. And although 100's of millions know who superman is, only a fraction of them care now care when he died or that he came back because he is fictional. But 65 million people voted for Obama, so you have to figure at least 130 million in the US alone supported him, and at least 200 million around the world wanted him to win. that is a bare minimum of 330 million people who care about this man. I have been using the story of Pope John Paul II and his comic book for the last week. His comic book came out in 1982 it cost .60, never made a big splash, I think in the late 80's it was a 3-5 comic cook value and you could find them in quarter bins (and probably still can). But I remember dealers charging $20 for them at shows after he was shot. I remember when ebay first coming around the comic selling for nothing the month before the pope coming to town and them 10-20 the week he was coming to anywhere in the US. And when he died I saw some sell for 40-50. On January 19th this year one sold for .65 on ebay...net gain .05 for 27 years of holding onto it. But that is what this comic book is, A snap shot of a man in a comic book, that will travel with him through his life and will be valued based on his life and nothing more...and in 10 years when he is out of office, every completest starting comics tomorrow will have to wrestler it from the collection of that 80 year old woman you so despised to have it, until her kids sell it on ebay for 3.99.

My .02
Dennis Barger
co-owner Wonderworld Comics
www.wonderworldcomics.com

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the clarification and detailed analysis. Honestly, it read as a positive thing in context, but I'm glad to hear that wasn't your intent.

My LCS was still selling multiple copies this week and taking orders for the third print. Nobody was balking at paying $20 for anything that smacked of Obama, like the new Thunderbolts issue. I really still can't believe it, Obamania at its peak!

Thanks again,

Justin

 
At 6:28 AM, Blogger Dennis Barger said...

sad thing is that the thunderbolts issue was a great read, and most people will skip it because of the high price, it is basically the sequel to the inaugural issue
keep up the good work

Dennis

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks!

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger DMonkey said...

Damn brotha, I like it when you get mad. Reminds me of the time I was driving in San Jose and a rather poor driver could not make up their mind either to turn left or right. It was like we were in the Bermuda Triangle or something...like friggin make the turn biyatch!

Ah well, you got me all fired up g. Hope all is well and we need to get our Limo out of the garage. Laight.

PS - not into comics much at all beyond how they are remade into movies...but Spike had Afro Samurai on the other day, which I know isn't a comic but more Anime, and the art work was legit. Lame story I thought and poor pacing, but perty on the eyes.

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Justin said...

dBOOTIE! What's up my man? Always like when you stop by so we can kick it old school, Corn Mario style.

The Mother Ship Has Landed,

J

 

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