DC’s recently-released BIZARRO COMICS anthology is a 240-page hardcover featuring all-new material, and it has a cover price of $29.95. The DC Archive Editions are about that same size, and yet they cost $49.95. Why does it cost $20 more for reprints?
— Howard Margolin (DoctorOHM@aol.com)
Actually, it is not a question of reprints versus new material; it is copies of a book with a much lower print run that cost more.
For the sake of an example, let’s assume the following for a 240-page hardcover book:
Art and editorial work per page is the same regardless of content.
Per-unit costs (for paper, ink, covers, etc.) are the same.
And…There is $25,000 in fixed setup costs (separations, printing plates, press preparation).
If your print run will be 5,000 copies, you start out with a $5 a copy cost, based solely on the setup charges. But, if you print 25,000 copies, your hit is only $1.00.
In other words, your first copy of the book off the press costs you $25,000; if you print two copies, they cost $12,500 each. ten copies brings you to a mere $2500 each. And so on.
Publishers decide in advance how many copies they can sell and, thus, how many copies they want to print. Obviously, DC opted to print (and hoped to sell) far more copies of BIZARRO COMICS than they do of any of the Archives books, allowing them to set a much lower cover price.
I recently picked up your SUPERMAN: THE SECRET YEARS. How come this Superboy-becomes-Superman story was published immediately prior to CRISIS (which was promoted in the issues) when it was known the story would be wiped from continuity in a year or so?
— Mike Updyke (email@example.com)
Because I was in charge of production and would have made sure it got printed no matter what?
Seriously, though, they thought the book would sell enough copies to make a profit. This is what a comic book publisher (and every other publisher in the world) does: Produces material that it hopes will make money for them.
As for the story being wiped from continuity a year later when John Byrne revamped the Superman legend, well, so was every other Supes story of the previous forty-plus years. Should they have stopped publishing any Superman material as soon as they decided on the revamp?
Finally, thanks to hypertime, my version of how Superboy became Superman is just as valid as every other version out there, including the newest one that is being unveiled in the new “Smallville” TV show.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. Glamour girl Fritzi Ritz eventually gave up her starring role to her niece; who is that?
2. In 1946, who became “The Blonde Phantom” to sell perfume?
3. “Ronnie” is the nickname for what Riverdale rich girl?
4. Look inside a hollow tree near Midvale Orphanage and you might find a pigtailed robot duplicate of whom?
5. She started her newspaper strip career selling apples and giving advice; who is she?
6. Name the comics star who was billed as “America’s Pin-Up Queen.”
7. It started as ALL SURPRISE and ended as YOUNG MEN, but in between it title-featured what teenage girl?
8. Give me the name of the female spy from Pottsylvania.
9. Her debut in MARY MARVEL #1 gave MM a female Sivana as a foe; what was her name?
10. Though Dell published comics starring her husband, who had her own DC title?
11. Oliver Warbucks is “Daddy” to whom?
12. Until her older sister got married what blonde flight attendant said she would never wed her longtime boyfriend?
13. The assistant editor at BC Comics was modeled after what real-life ‘Mazing Man editor?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. America’s first woman astronaut, Sally Ride, was a pro tennis player before deciding to complete her Ph.D in astrophysics.
2. Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
3. Marie Curie and her daughter Irene Curie both won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Marie in 1911, Irene in 1935. Both died of leukemia from overexposure to radioactive elements.
MORE “SECRETS” OF THE PUBLISHING BIZ:
Sorry to bother you with such a out of date question, but back in the late 80’s I thrilled to the adventures of Andy Helfer and Kyle Baker’s THE SHADOW — which had a fantastic run of 19 issues — and then was canceled mid-run, never tying up the loose story-ends. Now I have accepted that I will never have a resolved end to the series I love, but back then I remember rumors that Helfer and Baker planned to finish the run in a double-sized issue. My question is WHAT HAPPENED?
— Hayden Walling (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well, they never finished anything. And DC’s licensing rights to The Shadow ran out. And so you will probably never see an end to the story unless you manage to corner Andy at a convention and get him to tell you what he had planned.
I just finished reading the CRISIS trade paperback. First time I’ve read the series since it came out. What ever happened to the Earth-2’s Lois and Superman? Along with Alex Luthor and Earth-Prime’s Superboy, they were last seen entering some dimensional portal.
— Mark R. Pennington (email@example.com)
Just like the Superboy/man of my SECRET YEARS miniseries, those characters all live happily ever after in hypertime. Perhaps all they need is the return of Julie Schwartz to the editorial helm and writers like Cary Bates, Elliot Maggin, Len Wein, and Martin Pasko to the scripting chores and they’ll be back in mainstream comics. In fact, maybe that IS happening in some other hypertime dimension…
What ever happened to the DC Comics indexes put out by Eclipse’s Independent Comics Group back in the 80’s?
— Thomas Aresto (firstname.lastname@example.org)
They are out of print and at least 12 years out of date by now. Much if not all of the information that was included in those handy reference sources (as well as similar ones that were published covering Marvel’s titles) can be found online in such places as the Grand Comics Database.
What was the cause or why was the decision made to stop marketing comics to places like 7-11 and other convenience stores?
— Damon Muraida (ADNomad@aol.com)
It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a 7-11, though there are a number of them near my home, so maybe I should go do some research and have a Slurpee too. If they’ve stopped carrying comic books, it can be for only one reason: They were not making enough money on them to justify the store space. Like everything else in the store, comic books have to generate income for the owner in order for him to agree to stock them. [In my comic book reading youth, we usually bought our books in mom-and-pop candy stores where comments like “Hey, kid, this ain’t the library” and “You touch it; you bought it” were not uncommon.]
I have seen comics recently in a nearby Waldenbooks and in the rest stops along the New Jersey Turnpike. Marvel’s books dominated the racks, with some Archie comics, a couple of Dark Horse STAR WARS books, and a surprisingly small number of DCs. How that division of rack space was made is usually determined by the distributor of the books rather than the owner / franchisee.
In a recent column, you said: “Oh, as for how you keep a mint copy of a book in mint condition, you never read it, you never even open it. It goes straight into a Mylar snug and into your vault.”
How DO you go about getting a mint copy in the first place? I order online in advance from places like Mile High, and Lone Star, but they’re not always in the best condition (i.e. only just near mint sometimes). I order through PREVIEWS from my local comic store, and I’m darned sure he’s reading the odd one or two before putting them away for collection. And as for storage… I have Mylar, I have a cardboard box — is that enough? Or are their really “comic vaults” for long term storage?
— David Reilly (email@example.com)
There really is no such thing as a “mint” copy, unless you are getting it as it comes off the binding machine at the printing plant, picking it up with latex gloves, and immediately sealing it in Mylar.
The closest you can get to that is subscribing to the title through the publisher, assuming that the subscription copies are processed and mailed directly from the printing plant. [When I left DC three years ago, that was how it was done there.] Those books come in sealed plastic with a “low-acidity” cardboard backer and should be fine unless your local postman has a knack for crunching up everything in his delivery bag.
But the bigger question remains: Why would you want mint copies anyway? Aren’t you buying comic books to read and enjoy them? [By the way, I’d be just a little annoyed if my comics dealer was reading my copies before I picked them up. Perhaps he needs a little of the “Hey, kid, this ain’t the library” and “You touch it; you bought it” philosophy applied in reverse.
On that note, I think I’ll go destroy the “mintness” of some of my comics… by reading them.
And while I’m doing that, you can send in your own questions and comments using the handy box in the column on the left. See you next week.
A couple of weeks ago, it was boys’ names. Now it’s the ladies’ turn.
2. Millie the Model
3. Veronica Lodge
4. Linda Lee
5. Mary Worth
6. Katy Keene
8. Natasha Fatale
10. Dale Evans
11. Little Orphan Annie
12. Lucy Lane
13. Barbara Kesel
Men and women of all ages (and names) enjoy BobRo’s daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
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Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.