I don’t have a nearby comic book shop. The closest is in Brisbane, about an hour away by car. Therefore, when I want (need?) my instant comic book fix, I have to source them via alternate means. Usually, this means visiting the local newsagent.
Now, it’s been quite a while since I have done this. I usually order online (thanks Comics Etc, you guys rock). But, last week, I simply need a fix then and there. So off I wandered. A quick browse through the closest newsagent failed to locate any comic books. Same with the second. But, with the third one (at a major shopping centre), I found a way to get my fix.
In the centre aisle, I spotted ‘Batman’, ‘Detective Comics’ and ‘Action Comics’. There were a few copies of each. I was even more pleased to see a young boy leafing through a Batman comic. I made my way closer. I picked out the two Batman books. I glanced at the prices. I glanced again. Batman was $8.95. Detective was $10.95! I couldn’t believe it.
How are comics supposed to attract new, younger readers when local outlets are pricing people out of the market? I would love to introduce my children to comic books, and thankfully, I will be able to due to my extensive collection of back issues and knowledge that comic book prices are so much cheaper online. But, to the regular parent, who thinks that a comic book might help a reluctant reader develop a deeper love of reading, will be scared off by knowing the price investment per month can by very high. Particularly when sites like Book Depository sell actual book at prices you simply could not find in the local book stores; books which the child may get a lot longer use of and probably better value for money.
I understand newsagents need to make money. It’s a simple fact. But, as a comic book fan, I would love to see children reading comic books again, and not just older fans. Without new readership, the industry will die.
After leaving the newsagent with my vastly overpriced comics, I ventured into the $5 book store and picked up ‘Birds of Prey Vol 2’ and ‘Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E Vol 2’ for $5 each. Guess this story has a happyish ending after all.