During our latest Dueling Review, Stephen and I both expressed a concern that, regardless of how entertaining Detective Comics #27 was or wasn’t, the $7.99 price point was difficult to swallow.  In a world where a regular comic is $3.99 for 20-odd pages of story, a triple-sized comic at eight bucks is actually delivering a better value for your money, but it’s still hard to justify spending that much money on a single comic book.  When I started reading comics, double-sized books were a dollar, and I remember being bothered greatly by the 25% cover price increase from 60 to 75 cents, which seems ridiculous in an age when my weekly comics purchases regularly break the thirty dollar mark.  The question of value becomes even more dramatic when you realize that for that same $7.99, I can watch each and every Victoria episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ in endless loop from that online streaming service, or download half a dozen games for my cell phone, or even buy 6 or 7 of the double-cheeseburgers that serve as one of Zach’s primary food groups.  All this financial folderal does, however, raise an interesting query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has similar questions about paying $17 for a movie ticket, asking: How much is too much to pay for your favorite pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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6 Comments

  1. January 10, 2014 at 11:54 am — Reply

    I think it’s when someone has to make conscious decisions to save or put money away for future purchases of that “pop culture” it’s become too much. I can understand if you have a profession that requires the consumption of these things, but for normal people, they shouldn’t have to consider what purchasing comic books will do to their weekly food allowance or bills.

  2. Q
    January 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    This doesn’t address the question directly, but I’m throwing this out here anyway:

    Batman is the only title I buy a print subscription direct from DC comics for, precisely because of the random cover price fluctuations. My books come in a little beaten up from being shlepped across the country and shoved into my mailbox, but at least I won’t have any surprises when I go to pick up my pulls for the week.

  3. January 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm — Reply

    As someone who has a lot of medical bills on top of the usual bills and living costs and very rarely has much disposable income, I’m not sure I look at this the same way as others do. Sometimes going to see a movie in theaters is but a drop in the bucket, other times renting a couple of “2 for $1” DVDs is my entire non-essentials budget for the month.

    I don’t have a set limit that I’d consider too much, but rather a comparison. How much do I really want this item/product/service/etc? Will product X entertain me equally or greater than product Y and Z for the same or less cost? There are other questions and comparisons as well.

    An example is MMO costs. If I enjoy a game and think I’ll play for a while, then spending $15 for a month sub is actually a better value than spending that much on movie rentals. If I’m not so certain I’ll play as much, then I’ll use the money on something else.

    Another example is collectibles. As much as I adore some of the statues of characters I like, I can rarely justify spending that sort of cash on a statue or bust. But a few figures is usually no problem (excluding imported figures or special collectors figures that cost nearly as much as a statue).

    Of course, this all assumes I actually have the money to spend after all the bills and med costs and so on. Most months I’m just happy if I can rent a couple of DVDs from the cheap section of the video store.

  4. Hannah Jones
    January 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm — Reply

    Depends on the product, I’m willing to pay more for better quality. I would buy an $8 comic, but it had better be a freaking good comic.

    However, I just won’t spring for little statues, they’re way to expensive for something that my cat’s just going to inevitably knock over.

  5. Rob L.
    January 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm — Reply

    The price of comics had always seemed a bit inflated in price. I’m behind in a lot of the books I’d like to read because of that. If I’m going to spend $8 plus, I would rather spend it on a novel that I know I will get many more hours of enjoyment from.

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