Hello everyone, and welcome to this week's fun trip to The Next Issue. Looking back over the last year, I’ve realized that while I did touch base on convention stuff involving dressing up as your favorite comic book characters, I never actually talked about comics themselves at conventions. Take it from experience, that nowadays, most conventions have SOOOOO much going on, you almost forget there's a dealers' room, and those dealers' rooms have SOOOO much in them, you almost forget that there are usually a couple of comic book dealers tucked away in there. From Dragon con, to Comic con to Otakon, you can usually find at least one store owner, collector, or random guy/gal who has decided he/she wants to sell some comic books. Depending on your view of things, this has become a step up, or possibly a step down, from how things used to be. You see, I have a great many memories when I just a little Power Trip, going with my father to comic book conventions. These were not what you see nowadays when you go to a “con.” Comic book conventions were, and in some places still are, held in almost any open area. Not just relegated to hotels or convention centers, comic book conventions are often also found in open spots in indoor malls.
Eighty dollars was the new asking price, and it was still well over what Dad wanted to spend. So I knew I had my work cut out for me. Twenty five minutes later, after a lot of haggling and dropping the “I’m not messing around any more” card, I walked away with it for 40 dollars. I was so proud. Of course one thing anyone looking to collect comics from a convention of ANY kind needs to remember, the price tag on the cover of the book is just there to kind of give you a ballpark of where the vendor would LIKE to end it. There are MANY factors that go into taking that price tag down such as: respect (this is someone looking to make a profit, treating them like you want to walk away with their book for free is probably not going to help you any), realism (if you want that Action Comics number one for 25 bucks or you're walking away, you're definitely walking away... That's reality), and knowledge (I know I can get that same book in that same grade for 20 bucks cheaper. Any way you can meet me in the middle there?).
When you do stumble upon pictures, video, or even in some cases the actual article, it's not really like what you see at, say, Dragon con. Nowadays you may see some people dressed as Superman, or Electra, but more often than not, you’ll see mostly normal clothing with comic pictures on the shirts or pants. Comic book conventions are usually just giant dealer rooms only in wide open areas like food courts. Each vendor usually has the same typical layout, a giant thin wall/shelf with about 30 comics on display with giant price tags, about 5 to 10 boxes with mixed comics, a couple of display cases with comic book and sci fi trading cards, and usually a few figurines and toys mixed in. As my five year old self, this was like walking into the lost city of gold. Treasure everywhere as far as the eye can see, and my only limit being what my father would not spend money on.
Of course, these are not the only factors that can help you out, but they are some of the most important ones, mostly because these factors listed are accurate each day and at all times. Another factor to consider is timing (it's the last day of the con, and you know that vendor wants to make all the money he can before he leaves, so he’ll take what he can get). Just remember the “realism” factor. Yes, the vendor wants to make every dime he can, and, yes, the vendor wants to sell as much product as he can so he doesn’t have to carry it back with him to wherever he traveled from, BUT you’re more likely to walk away with twenty moderately priced and valued comics at a great deal than one amazingly crazy priced comic at an insane deal. It does happen from time to time, but not often, so please don’t go in with all your hopes and dreams betting on it. Also, remember that you do have that one great thing I did not back in my day... the Internet. Couple this tool with the “respect” factor (because there’s no reason to be rude) to make sure you don’t spend way more money than you need to. And above all else, remember this last factor... the “limit” factor. Before going into any convention to buy a comic book, please come up with a max limit. Yes, that Death of Superman may be $500.00, and the vendor may be ready to give you a great deal of taking it down to $400.00, but be honest with yourself on if that's an amount you're ready to spend right there, right then. You may find the book cheaper elsewhere, or you may need three hundred of that for a doctor visit. You just don’t know, so please watch your limits.
Whew, I think thats going to be it for me for this time around. Please let me know of any of your comic book convention experiences and I shall see you all next week, for THE NEXT ISSUE!
Comic book conventions are also very educational places. Talking shop with my local comic book store owners helped me prepare for impending conventions. I learned the different ways to find the true value of a book, the art of haggling down a price, and, most importantly, knowing when to back away before I went broke. One thing I had to learn myself, though, was how to properly haggle a price down without letting them think I was smarter than your average elementary school kid. That was the tricky part, but, oh, was it so worth it to walk away with some pretty good finds. I remember, as a child, one of the comics I wanted the most was the first appearance of Venom. I spent years looking around everywhere I went, and in case anyone is wondering, we didn’t have that “Internet” thing you kids have today. Honestly, the only way I even knew a comic book convention was nearby was if it happened to have a commercial on TV or there was a flyer at my local mall. This was one of the reasons comic book conventions didn’t do so well for the time either, but I’m off topic. It took me years to find my own copy of Amazing Spiderman issue 300, but, thankfully, not as long to get issue 299 for those people, like me, who count the last page spread to be the character's first “true” appearance. I finally found my copy at a comic book convention about an hour and a half away. Like any child driven to find something he'd wanted so badly, I spent the whole time walking from vendor to vendor asking and looking for that one comic. Finally, I managed to find it, and I was so excited to find it. What I wasn’t happy to find was the hefty $100.00 price tag. Of course, this price dropped when he saw a kid and his “not into this comic book stuff” dad walk up.