Ten-cent ‘Batman’ adventure a real deal
I remember buying comics when I was a kid. I’d beg and plead with my mom and pop to take me to the mall, where I’d make a mad dash for Waldenbooks’ spinner rack. There, my Velcro wallet would spit up a five-dollar bill so I could buy the latest issues of UNCANNY X-MEN, AVENGERS, CONAN THE BARBARIAN and CRYSTAR THE CRYSTAL WARRIOR.
For a total of $2.40, I’d be transported to comic-book heaven. That’s not the case anymore. First off, CONAN was canceled years ago, and poor Crystar didn’t make it past 12 issues.
DC Comics is publishing “Batman: The 10-cent Adventure.” A comic that really only costs 10 cents, which is about a $2.40 markdown from most comic book prices.
More importantly, comic books aren’t 60 cents any longer. Today, comics normally cost between (shudder!) $1.99 and (gasp!) $2.95. Those prices are understandable, if you think about it. Nowadays, most comic book artists have a more realistic style, the color is computer enhanced and the pages are slick like a magazine. Heck, there are some comic artists that could actually be considered celebrities.
Still, for many people considering buying comics for the first time or for those coming back to the hobby, there is a certain sticker shock. “Three bucks for a comic book?” I’ve heard some say, “I remember when they were 10 cents!”
Publishers, retailers offer cheap, even free, comics to draw in customers
Well, have I got some exciting news for the “When I was a kid …” crowd — thanks to a recent promotion, you can once again get a comic book that cheap. That’s not all either, if you look around a comic store, you can get them for as low as 25 cents every single day of the year!
Better yet, another promotion set for May will let you get a few comics for free. Yep, absolutely, positively F-R-E-E. Whatta deal! Gosh, I feel like Crazy Eddie, the appliance dealer whose low prices “are insane!”
Batman for just one dime
Just last week, DC Comics released BATMAN: THE 10-CENT ADVENTURE, which quite literally costs just 10 cents.
Meant to draw in new customers to the “Batman” family of comics, this one was the top-ordered book of January, according to Diamond Comic Distributions, placing above new issues of X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN and THE GREEN ARROW.
The 32-page, full-color comic book is written by crime novelist Greg Rucka and illustrated by Rick Burchett and Klaus Janson. “The 10-Cent Adventure” is a lead-in to the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer?” storyline that will run through several of the Batman titles in the next two months.
You gotta admit it’s a great business tactic on DC’s part. Like a street hood fresh out of Drug Dealing 101, the publisher is offering customers a fast-paced, high-suspense story that will leave them salivating for the more expensive books.
Better than a 10-cent Batman? A free Spider-Man!
If you’re too tightfisted to buy a 10-cent comic (and that’s about as tightfisted as a person can get), then wait until May 4. On that soon-to-be hallowed day, comic-book stores around the nation will be giving away free comics. Free Comic Book Day will include a variety of freebie books from various publishers, including Marvel, DC and Dark Horse comics.
While details are still sketchy, it looks like most of those comics will be similar to “THE 10-CENT ADVENTURE,” in that they’ll be used to entice readers to try the publishers’ other titles with a cliff-hanger from the free comic.
Cliffhanger or not, you can’t beat a deal like that, and I can’t wait.
On sale: Now when I want to get some comic books cheap and there aren’t any cool promotions going on, I check out the discount bins at York and Hanover’s comic shops.
In fact, the discount bin can be a comic-book treasure trove. After all, the only thing better than really good comics are really cheap comics.
Even better, these discounted comics make great primers for kids who often aren’t terribly interested in reading. The comics’ visual elements help kids learn to read by prompting them with images. For other kids, it’s an issue of content — why read THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE when they can look at pictures of the Incredible Hulk?
So what exactly constitutes the discount bins? Like any store, when merchandise doesn’t move, it gets marked down. In comic stores, this means that titles that have been neglected by the masses get dumped into big boxes, where their prices are slashed to get them to move out of the store.
In those boxes, there’s usually some pretty good children’s fare that’s just ripe for bargain hunters or parents eager to get their kids reading. For example, DC Comics has several series (SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, GOTHAM ADVENTURES, BATMAN ADVENTURES, and ADVENTURES IN THE DC UNIVERSE) that are targeted toward kids.
A question of quality: Although most comic shops have these discounted comics, be warned, these comics are like John Travolta films — quality may vary.
Granted, the prices are always great, but all too often the comics are bottom-of-the-barrel dreck. Along with old issues of classics such as CAPTAIN AMERICA, JLA and the above-mentioned “Adventures” series, are bird-cage liners like NOMAD (about Captain America’s sidekick), SHOWCASE (DC Comics’ book to try out new artists), and a huge variety of terrible mini-series. Still, you can find some great comics if you search long enough and quiz the store clerks for their opinions on your various finds — especially if you are looking for some comics for youngsters.
Other comics, such as Archie Comics, Disney’s titles and most animated cartoon-based comics like DRAGONBALL Z, are good bets as well, but don’t count on them to be discounted. They’ve got a much longer shelf-life because they’re trendy and have that brand-name appeal every retailer loves.
For the novice reader, buy a large variety of comics at the beginning — grab some superheroes, try a sword-and-sorcery epic, pick up some funny animal books.
Then let the kids read them. Talk with them about what they like and the
n go back and scavenge the discount stock again, because other issues of the same series will probably be there.
Visit the Free Comic Book Day website.