Episode 652


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Dan and Mike debut a new, yet familiar segment: Earth-2-in-1! In this, the first installment, the guys look at Marvel Feature #11 and The Brave and the Bold #108. Join them as they dive into the madness of Bob Haney. [ 1:01:07 || 29.9 MB ]

To listen, click here: http://www.earth-2.net/theshow/episodes/e2ts_652.mp3

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$1.05 for a 22 page comic today...Man. I would be just as broke as I am today, but with much more to show for it.

Anyways, Brave and the Bold sounds like a fun crazy book to read. I should try reading a few Aparo and Haney issues sometime. Mostly for the art. I've seen a couple scans online and man oh man, did Aparo draw pretty pictures.

Great first episode, Mike and Dan! Always awesome to have you two together!

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Yeah, but like any print media a lot more people bought comics back then. It's just lucky for comics that unlike papers they're able to raise the price and stay for the most part profitable.

That's just it. A study was done fairly recently that indicated that, taken for inflation, a 32-page comic from a major publisher cost roughly the 2013 equivalent of a dollar, within a plus-or-minus 40 cent range, for over fifty years, from the 40s up until the early 90s. Then in about 1992 (i.e., the rise of the direct market) the massive price hikes overtook everything, and within twenty years it pretty much quadrupled in price. (Here, too, is another interesting comparison between the increse in comic prices, alongside movie ticket prices, as compared to minimum wage.)

There are a number of reasons that comics are so expensive now (better paper, better printing, creators are paid something approaching a living wage), but even Dan DiDio has come out and said that comics are expensive because no one is buying them. And one reason no one is buying them is that they've gotten so stupidly expensive. It's a circle.

DC and Marvel do not make money off issues. They actually lose some. The money comes from collections, merchandising, and (especially in Marvel's case) the media division. I legitimately don't understand why this business model is still in place.

But the only thing that honestly I care about is the fact that, as goofy and lightweight as it was, Marvel Feature #11 took me about half an hour to read. Brave and the Bold #108 actually took me rather longer than that. I have never read an issue of any comic published in the 21st century that took me half that long. Not only do I not get $4 worth of enjoyment out of a modern issue, I can't say I get $1 worth of enjoyment out of it.

$1.05 for a 22 page comic today...Man. I would be just as broke as I am today, but with much more to show for it.

Anyways, Brave and the Bold sounds like a fun crazy book to read. I should try reading a few Aparo and Haney issues sometime. Mostly for the art. I've seen a couple scans online and man oh man, did Aparo draw pretty pictures.

Great first episode, Mike and Dan! Always awesome to have you two together!

The Brave and the Bold was an incredibly entertaining book. It was totally nuts, but that made it stand out at a time when Marvel Team-Up (the big team-up book of the Bronze Age) was largely 150 issues of "Spider-Man stumbles across a bad guy at the same time Ant-Man does".

And Aparo... whew. He's why I bought Batman comics as long as I did.

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But the only thing that honestly I care about is the fact that, as goofy and lightweight as it was, Marvel Feature #11 took me about half an hour to read. I have never read an issue of any comic published in the 21st century that took me half that long. Not only do I not get $4 worth of enjoyment out of a modern issue, I can't say I get $1 worth of enjoyment out of it.

Exactly. Though I was only lukewarm on Marvel Feature #11, I had to take my time with it because it was filled to the brim with material. During the show, I sort of lamented the fact that most of the book was exposition, but that's what made it worth reading in a way. For .20¢ we got a Hulk / Thing fight, the origins of The Thing and Kurrgo, The Leader fucking with The Thing's head, and some clever artistic choices.

Nowadays, I can tell you exactly how this story would play out as a six-issue storyline.

#1: The issue opens with Ben lamenting being The Thing. He and Johnny have a fight. Reed tries to break it up, but fails. Sue calms her boys down. Elsewhere, The Leader is captured by a mysterious stranger. Ben wanders New York City, being grumpy. The issue ends with Kurrgo revealing himself to be said stranger to The Leader, saying he has a plan to destroy The Thing.

#2: Opens with a flashback to Kurrgo's origin, which takes half the book. On Earth, grumpy Thing is grumpy. Kurrgo offers The Leader a bet: "Your champion versus mine. Choose wisely." The Leader agrees. Suddenly, The Thing is teleported off the streets of New York, and is dumped in a dusty Old West town. Confused, he looks around. After turning a corner, he sees The Leader's champion: The Hulk.

#3: For half the issue, The Hulk goes after The Thing. Both villains puff their chests as their warriors fight. The Thing tries to reason with The Hulk, but can't. He also tries to figure out what's going on. After shockingly battering The Hulk pretty badly, which sends The Hulk off to lick his wounds, Kurrgo presents himself to The Thing.

#4: A holographic Kurrgo explains it all to Ben, who's obviously not happy being used as a puppet. End transmission. Before Ben has the time to locate The Hulk to tell him they're being used, a psychic projection of The Leader reveals he's planted a bomb somewhere in town. If Ben doesn't disarm it soon, Gamma radiation will flood the area, which includes a nearby Army base. The Hulk interrupts the meeting, knocking The Thing around. Fight. The cliffhanger is The Hulk standing over a knocked out Thing.

#5: Mostly a Hulk / Thing fight, but The Leader figures out Kurrgo is augmenting Ben's strength. Ben, too, knows something's up; he's too strong. However, The Hulk keeps getting angrier and angrier, thus stronger and stronger. "Fight, fight, fight. Bite, bite, bite. It's the Hulky and Thingy Show!" Issue ends with Ben discovering The Leader lied about the Gamma bomb, and Ben finally being able to convince The Hulk they're puppets. Pissed, Kurrgo teleports them to his ship.

#6: The Thing and The Hulk team-up to smash the ship, Kurrgo, and The Leader. The ship crashes. Hulk leaps away. Ben is left in the desert, alone. Cue "The Lonely Man."

So what cost .20¢ in 1973 would cost between $17.94 ($2.99 / issue) and $23.94 today ($3.99 / issue), or $15.99 to $19.99 for the trade.

I'm not saying old-school storytelling was always better, because it wasn't. There's a case to be made for compressed storytelling (a phrase I hate, by the way), but there's a reason comics aren't often written that way anymore: they've matured. That said, do we need four, five, six, or more issues to tell every story these days? No. Collected editions are wonderful and they're how I mostly read modern comics, but letting the format drive the way stories are told is something we need to rethink.

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I'm not saying old-school storytelling was always better, because it wasn't. There's a case to be made for compressed storytelling (a phrase I hate, by the way), but there's a reason comics aren't often written that way anymore: they've matured. That said, do we need four, five, six, or more issues to tell every story these days? No. Collected editions are wonderful and they're how I mostly read modern comics, but letting the format drive the way stories are told is something we need to rethink.

This. I absolutely still buy collections of newer material, specifically hardcover editions, both because they look nice and because I feel like i'm getting my money's worth. Hell, in this very segment I spoke glowingly of The Invincible Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Daredevil. Alternatively, I can count on one hand the number of single issues I've bought in the past, say, five years, and ALL of them have been digital at a reduced price.

We're clinging to a hideously outmoded publishing model for no reason other than "that's how it's always been done".

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I can go buy an hour-long episode of Game of Thrones in HD for $2.99 on iTunes (with multiple millions of dollars in production value), yet a 32-page comic that I'll read in five minutes is $3.99. Hmmmm...

In a perfect world, all comics would be 99 cents per issue. It's a totally fair price, and it fits the "impulse buy" model. DC's digital-first comics are doing that now, which I really really appreciate. They're a tad light on story content, but at absolute worst it's the equivalent of paying $2 for a full single issue, which is still half the price of a top-tier book anyway.

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