Comic price war invades Peg

Comic fan Gordon Mroz browses through discounted comics at Comic Factory IV
Photo Credit: Shawn Houde

There’s a new war in comics, but not between the pages of X-Men. This battle is over cover prices, as some Winnipeg dealers are selling comics and graphic novels at U.S. or discounted prices.

With the Canadian loonie at or above par with the U.S. dollar, local comic stores are adjusting their prices to give customers a break.

This adjustment has created a comic price war. At Book Fair on Portage Avenue, manager Donna Shuwera has adjusted comic prices as a “good faith policy”, noticing that “regulars are buying more comics.”

For example, a standard X-Men comic would sell for C$3.75, but is now sold at the US$2.99 price in Canadian funds.

But graphic novel prices remain the same. Book Fair is not selling them at the U.S. listed price, and neither is McNally Robinson in Portage Place.

“Bringing (graphic novels) down to par isn’t something that’s possible for us to do,” says Kris MacQueen, McNally Robinson store manager. “It would simply put us out of business.”

Because of the minimal profit in comics and graphic novels, he says reduced prices are a “dangerous practice,” because if the dollar shifts “then comic stores have to mark items back up,” which could anger customers.

Jarett Charowsky, owner of Comic Factory IV on Notre Dame Avenue, is aware of the danger, but has chosen to sell both comics and graphic novels at U.S. prices.

Hey says the price switcheroo has led to an increase in profits, but knows the price reduction might not last.

“It could last for a year or it could last two weeks,” says Charowsky. “It all depends on the dollar.”

Whether the price reduction is temporary or not, comic fans see the potential for expanding their shelves.

Dave Montizambert, 28, an 18-year comic addict, admits that instead of pocketing the savings, he’s now “more willing to check out something new.”

Even the newer fans are catching on. Gordon Mroz, 21, a five-year comic fan, says he’s going outside of his “usual purchases” to buy back-issues with the recent savings.

The price war also means big changes for the annual Manitoba Comic-Con.

Michael Paille, promoter/organizer of the event, says a discussion panel will be set up over the weekend for local businesses and customers to discuss the price war.

Dean Cooper, a Red River College instructor, will have a booth at Comic-Con selling back-issues. He says each year “there is always a certain amount of competition among dealers,” and with the price wars in full swing the time to buy comics is now.

'Nuff said!

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Shawn Houde

  • 38 years old
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • User since Sep 18th 2007, 09:24