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  1. #1
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    Default More Comic Questions - First Print

    Hey all,

    From my earlier posts, I think I made it clear I'm somewhat new to comics. At the very least, I consider myself brand new to the whole comic book culture.

    I just went to a local comic book store today and some questions came up that I was afraid to ask:

    First Print/Second Print/Third Print, etc - Ok, so I was getting some back issues of some Green Lantern that isn't collected yet. The store had the 2nd printing of Green Lantern 36 for the cover price. I then saw on a shelf, the first printing of the same issue for $5. Now, I know the series is going to release 39 soon so 38 is the current issue. I just find it interesting that the store marked up an issue from 2 months ago. My understanding is that when an new issue comes out, it is the first print. Once all of those are printed, if there is demand for more, then they will often times do a 2nd print, 3rd print, etc. I also know that the cover is often times different as well.

    My perspective is that they often times do these prints to try to buy the same issue again, since the cover is different and sometimes done by a different artist. If that is the case, I can see why the publisher would limit production on a first issue, but then print more of a second one.

    If my perspective from above is correct or close, then why would a comic book store markup a two month old comic by 167%? I mean, do first prints really appreciate that quickly? I could see down the road a scenario that a first print may be more valuable due to their being less copies out there, but I just thinking marking it up that high that quickly seems strange. If you had extra copies of a print that didn't sell, shouldn't you be making them for less to try to encourage stock to clear? OR, does raising the prices make a reader feel like "they need" to have that first printing.

    Ok, so I guess with all of this said, I really have two questions:


    First, does it make sense as to why a store would see unsold older copies for more than cover price, especially ones that are 2-3 months old? I mean we aren't talking about multiple years old.

    Second, if you were to miss out on an issue and didn't want to wait for a TPB, would you pay the extra $2, or would you just buy the 2nd print and use that $2 you saved towards another comic?

    In my situation, I know $2 doesn't seem big, but if I was in a situation where I wanted to buy 10 missed issues across different series, paying an extra $20 starts to add up.

    Just curious what everyone's thoughts are regarding this. Do people approach their comics as a collection they are trying to make as valuable as possible, or are you reading the comics for the content with hopes of never selling them? To me, the difference between buying these prints seems to just be what your philosophy is regarding your comic book collection.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    I think most of the time it's simply a case of a comic being more popular than anticipated. The number of copies printed the first time round is generally determined by the number of copies that comic shops order.

    Personally I'm a TPB man, but if I was buying floppies then I wouldn't much care if they were 1st, 2md or 10th printing. Some people do though.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jolly Mon's Avatar
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    In the end it comes down to supply and demand. The comic book company produces X number of copies of a comic. The distributor sells through all their available copies (or projects that they will) and demand still looks strong, so they go back to print another production run. They put a different cover on it (sometimes just leaving off the color) and send it out as a second print. The different cover makes it easy for the buyers to tell the 1st print from the 2nd, 3rd, etc. Neither one is really more valuable than the other, unless a buyer is willing to pay more. If all you want is to read the story, buy what ever is cheapest on the shelf. Some collectors, however, prize the 1st printing because of its' perceived rarity (and "value"). Thus the comic shop who still has copies left over of the 1st printing jacks up the price because some people will pay it.

    It's similar with variant covers. When the variant cover is released with a ratio of 1 to every 10 of the regular cover, the collectors assign a higher value to it and are willing to pay more for it.

    I collect and read. So if the 1st print is available at the same price as the 2nd, I'll buy the 1st. If I have to pay a premium for the 1st print, I'll go for the 2nd. If you really want to be scared, check out what the 1st printing of the Obama cover Spider-Man is going for on Ebay. And it's only a few months old.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/AMAZING-SPIDER-M...1%7C240%3A1318

    And this is the just most expensive that actually has bids. There are others with even more ridiculous asking prices, but no one was dumb enough to bid on.
    One lab accident away from being a super-villain

  4. #4
    Yeah, that's really us Greg Hatcher's Avatar
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    The short answer is, "No, the pricing doesn't make SENSE, but if the store can get it and fans will pay it, more power to them."

    Trying to apply real-world economics to comic books invariably gives me a headache. The actual laws of supply and demand don't seem to apply. The damnedest things end up causing fan stampedes and being hoarded, even if they're not scarce.I don't understand why current comics suddenly jump in price at some stores, but more, I don't understand why anyone pays it. But it happens.
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  5. #5
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    Good to know. It just seems odd to me that they jack up the price of something that they haven't been able to sell prior to the 2nd print being released.

    Like I said with GL 36, They had the first print for $5, when they had several copies of the 2nd print sitting there for $3. Again, for 1 issue, not a big deal but I was thinking more in the case of if you're gettting 10-20 issues a month and somehow fell behind in several.

    That said, i went to two comic book stories that had at least 10 copies of GL #38 sitting on the shelf. I wonder if in two months those will be bagged and sold for $5 each...

  6. #6
    Night Surgeon ALEX-23's Avatar
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    If your behind 10 to 20 issues< I'd say go with TPBs. Should be cheaper!

  7. #7
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    It's because just the idea of a 2nd print coming out automatically makes collectors run to get the 1st print.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit266 View Post
    It's because just the idea of a 2nd print coming out automatically makes collectors run to get the 1st print.
    It is interesting though. I guess I'd buy comics to read stories first. If someday my collection is valuable, then kudos to me, but I guess some people's reasoning is to acquire something they think will be valuable someday.

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