Monday, July 28, 2014

The post we've all been waiting for...

Or at least the post I've been wanting to write...I'll explain after a brief interlude.

First I want to bring this item to your attention:

Chuck Rozanski and SDCC
After 42 consecutive years in a row, it may finally (at long last...) be time for me to bid San Diego good-bye, forever.
The comic collectibles market is changing, we all know that. Ebay, digital, trade omnibus editions and a new generation of readers that don't care about ownership have taken the old paradigm (of long box diving and gap-filling back issue purchases) behind the woodshed and pumped a shotgun into the back of its head.

I do not weep for the past. I think collecting things is fun. However, it is no longer a necessary function of enjoying comics. If you want it, you can eventually find it on Ebay. If you have a reading device, comics are as portable as any other entertainment. I have a large bookshelf and I like the look of having it full of beautiful trades and omnibus editions (omnibi? nope, checked it, omnibuses...hmm, I don't like that).

And access over ownership is really the generational shift we're seeing. My kids loved Frozen (didn't we all? Especially that's it go again?) (By the way, AAAAaaggghhhh).

Though we did buy it on DVD (for our epic July cross-country trip these past few weeks, he says, explaining Zombie Cat's summer hibernation), we didn't need to. The kids use Netflix streaming, Time Warner on-demand and YouTube for 90% of their flat screen based entertainment. They rarely if ever ask us to purchase DVDs (or even to go to the local cinema). They have access to nearly anything they want 24/7 via multiple devices.

So why buy stuff like paper comics? "I love the feel/smell/permanence/physical object", you might say. That's fine, but you're in the rapidly shrinking minority. And if you're under the age of 30, you're weird.

Chuck's rant regarding this weekend's Comic-Con is focused on a specific category of collectibles, but the underlying theme regarding his business model shows how vulnerable enterprises like his really are. He has literally millions of comics in his warehouses. The supply will now always supersede the market demand, and as demand for physical objects like Marvel Two-In-One #39 stagnates and shrinks, the costs of warehousing and staffing physical plants will only increase over time.

"Doomed" is the word that comes to mind.

Interlude over.

So anyway, I sold my collection yesterday.

More on that tomorrow...

Friday, June 20, 2014

The shirt

Did you know you can design a product, have it manufactured AND shipped, with no upfront costs? And you can do it in about 15 minutes?

I just did it, and boy, is it stupid cool available now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pocket list

I like to read, and now, more than ever, it is just too easy to find cool/interesting/infuriating stuff to read online. So I save articles I want to read in an app called Pocket. Rarely do I have the opportunity to get to the saved articles in Pocket however, what with my DVR load and my DCBS monthly shipment of trades and my sports-watching, and my other book-reading and my bike-riding, and my, uh, whadduyacallit, family.

Here's a list of some of the recent saved articles. I haven't read any of them yet:

Perhaps my loyal readership could read these for me and give me a synopsis on each one. I would be grateful, and frankly very surprised if any of you actually did that for me. It would reek of awesomeness.

Quickly now - I don't have all day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The End is Coming: "Or not" edition

Remember this?
I will be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota
Allow me to edit that for you:
I will NOT be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota
Funny story...the dude from Minny did meet me in Chippewa Falls (if you haven't made the trip across semi-northern Wisconsin, it is an incredibly boring drive from Green Bay). He drove all the way from Minneapolis and brought along a buddy for company, just as I brought my son along.

It turns out the dude from Minny's buddy was the real buyer and had no interest in my stuff. He wanted to cherry pick and lowball at the same time (that sounds filthy). I said no. He gave me gas money ($22!) and we went our separate ways.

More entertaining than my Saturday, I assure you

Did I mention there was a hail storm as we arrived in C-Falls? There was a hail storm in C-Falls.

Up next: local dude is stopping by tonight to take a peek at what is quickly becoming a much-hated pile of old paper.

And then stay tuned for our next episode, in which I throw, frisbee-style, near mint bagged and boarded copies of Animal Man off my roof...

Friday, June 6, 2014

The End is coming

Tomorrow in Chippewa Falls, WI, a big chapter of my life will come to a close. Around 9:30 Central time, I will be transferring approximately 15 long boxes from my car (if you will recall, a Kia Soul purchased in part with the sale of my Marvel collection) to the vehicle of a collector from Minnesota. I will give a postscript on the transaction later in the weekend, plus I hope to start a discussion with those folks that have gone through what I'm about to experience.

I will no longer be a collector of anything, at least nothing "collectible".

Also, as I'm flying through the Intersphere this morning, I saw this Rich Johnston post on Bleeding Cool, and it contained this little passage:
Citing increases in rent and the reducing demand at shows for the dollar box –  as well as the DC Comics reboot – they say they have lost faith in the back issue market.
Next week I will submit the answers to my dealer survey for your perusal. I asked a number of renowned comic retailers about the current state of the back issue marketplace. Have they "lost faith" as well?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A couple of cool links and a Craigslist update!

The A.V. Club is one of my regular stops around the Intersphere, and today Mike Vago posted a review of the Top 10 episodes of one of my absolute favorite TV shows of all time, WKRP in Cincinnati. I bought the season one DVD set when it was released a few years ago, and was very disappointed due to this:
For a season-one DVD release, Wilson personally hand-picked replacement tracks for the original music—some similar songs from the era, some generic filler music. In some cases, scenes featuring unavailable music are truncated, and replaced by previously unaired deleted scenes, and in some cases lines spoken over music were re-recorded. The strategy has mixed results at best—several episodes include references to songs that the viewer can no longer hear—but it was the only way for the show to see any kind of legal release. 

I understand some very good people are working on a solution, and are trying to re-release the series in an unedited form. I will wait for it - it's worth it.

Living on the air...

I work in radio now, and while the industry is VERY different from the good ol' WKRP days, I still am pinged with memories of the show through my daily working life. I highly recommend you find a way to see it as it was originally intended (here is a good start).

Second, I really need to start attending shows like this:

The Beat (starring Heidi MacDonald!) has an excellent overview of the show, as posted by Benjamin Rogers. As I've written in the recent past, I find myself more drawn to the non-corporate world of comics (though Image is putting out some great stuff, as is IDW, and Dark Horse). There is just so much comic goodness to explore, and I'm not even diving into webcomics (yet). Sometimes it feels exhausting to think about trying absorb so much content.

I'd love to see my friends over at Comic Book DB try to catalog these incredible artists and writers so I can figure a path in. I know, you're probably shouting at me through the screen "why are you such an OCD asshole?! Just buy it and try it". Love to; can't. Yes, I realize that is odd to some, but I need order when it comes to things like this. Help me.

Oh yeah, Craigslost. I have a deal in principal to be consummated Saturday. A very nice private collector from Minnesota has offered me a decent (not awesome) pile of money for the collection. Will update as warranted.

More to follow...

Monday, June 2, 2014

A bonus post!

I just had to link to this interesting interview from Collector's Weekly (why am I just finding this now?). Lisa Hix talks to Simon Reynolds about our increasingly retro society here. A taste of the interview below (emphasis mine):

Reynolds: I collect recordsbooks, and music magazines. It can be very expensive, and I end up with a house full of these moldy, decaying music magazines. But they’re useful because my other books are more historical than they are polemical, unlike, “Retromania.” Music magazines are just invaluable because they give you a real sense of the era. You have the record company adverts. You have pieces on bands that no one remembers. They’re all part of the grist of that time, part of the mulch out of which the legendary bands emerged. The gossip items, news items, even the way the typography in these magazines look—it all helps you understand the context a band was operating in. Plus, old music magazines are just fun to have and look at. But it is ruinous obsession to develop in terms of living space and, essentially, money.
Check it out on YouTube

And Travel + Leisure (!) pops this ranking into the Intersphere:

America's Best Comic Book Shops