Chuck Rozanski, President of Mile High Comics, reportedly lost $10,000 at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con because of low sales. The reason for the low sales wasn’t because people at San Diego Comic-Con weren’t in the market for old comics at 50 percent off. The real reason? San Diego Comic-Con exclusives.
Rozanski has accused comic publishers of cleverly exploiting the “greed and avarice” of comics fans by selling exclusive comics at their own booths. These greedy fans buy exclusive comics directly from the publishers, then have no more disposable income left to spend at his booths.
Rozanski threatened not to return to San Diego Comic-Con next year. Form his July 26 newsletter:
So where does this leave us? As much as I hate to admit this, it now seems obvious to me now that we finally have to end a lifetime of exhibiting at San Diego, and instead seek out relatively popular comics conventions in other cities. Especially conventions where our publisher friends choose to not exhibit. Doesn’t that thought just drip with irony? Comics publishers have evolved to become toxic to their own retailers. Who would ever have thought that would happen? Even with all my many years of experience, I simply cannot believe that our world has now been so perverted by the mania for exclusive variants, that comics retailers can now only survive in the absence of the very publishers we support. No matter how you look at it, this is a profoundly sad day.
Not so fast! It would seem that Rozanski has had a change of heart. From his July 29 newsletter:
If you are wondering why we did not succeed in meeting our convention goals this year, I would urge you to read my last two newsletters. Before you read my two previous essays, however, I want you to know that I ultimately did heed the outpouring of requests that I received from fans and professionals at the show, and renewed our booth for next year. In all honesty, however, I have to admit that my decision to renew at SDCC for one more year was driven more by an emotional response to all the kind words of support that we received, rather than any kind of good business sense. Simply put, I do not have any faith or belief that the circumstances that devastated our sales at this year’s convention will be in any way mitigated at next year’s show. Our comics publishers will all express sympathy with the plight of participating retailers at conventions, but will then continue engaging in behaviors that solely benefit them. Such is life.
Looking at the Mile High Comics booth at San Diego Comic-Con, I can honestly saw that if I were there, I’d walk right by. It looks too flea markety, too swap meetish to me. I’d figure that anyone slashing prices by 50 percent was probably charging too much to begin with. Traditionally, when merchandise is 50 percent off, it’s because there’s either something wrong with it or that people just don’t want it.
If I went to the San Diego Comic-Con, I wouldn’t be there to buy cheap stuff that nobody else wanted.