Thursday, February 21, 2008


A comic book store with too many comics may sound like an oxymoron, but when the supply for back issues of titles like Psi-Lords: Reign of the Starwatchers and Bloodfire far exceeds the demand, the discount box is where they end up. Comics with cover prices of $2.95 or more can be marked half-off, $1, or find their way to the most common of discount bins, the Quarter Box. Where but there could a savvy reader finally fill in the holes in their collection of Avengelyne without any remorse for actually buying the "Avengelyne/Glory Swimsuit Special"? Well, $.25 would still probably be too much for that, but there is a box where it does belong!

In 1998, at the first comic book store I worked at, we had a box for comics labeled TP, and that doesn't stand for Trade Paperback. Yes, it was a box of comics to be used as toilet paper, a policy approved by management. And by "approved by management" I mean it was a policy implemented by me one time when there was no actual toilet paper in the store bathroom, an event that amounted to what you might call a one-day fire sale on what was in fact just the regular Quarter Box. I do not remember the specific issue used, but I know it was something from Valiant. Probably Armorines.

It is conceivable, then, that sometimes even a quarter is too much to pay for a comic. This was true in 1967, and it is still true today. But that fact hasn't stopped John Dolmayan, the drummer for System of a Down, from opening his own comic store, where you can now purchase "millions of comics for 99 cents," including complete runs of titles that I would wipe my ass with, but only if there were no other options.

And while $.99 is about $.99-and-no-toilet-paper too much to pay for the vast majority of the comics available on the site, there are good deals to be found at Torpedo Comics. The very first item on the site's front page is Drew Struzan: Oeuvre, listed at $20, which compares pretty favorably to used copies on Amazon listed at $250. Also, it's hard to fault any guy whose drum set looks like this:

When Art Adams, Tim Bradstreet, Jim Lee and Ale Garza, among others, have made your mounted toms a work of art, it's easy to give some leeway on how deeply you discount the comics you sell online. Besides, no one ever said musicians were born to retail.

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