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Sunday, 25 February 2018

A Few Words On A Sunday While My Hip and Hand Allow It...no,it is NOT a song!

Above: no idea where it is from (if you know please tell me) but it is hilarious if you know the Carry On film history 
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I keep an eye on trends and that, luckily, doesn't mean a lot of physical exertion so that's good.  As I predicted when the whole tsunami of Comic Geek Chic started -it lasted so long and now the numbers have dwindled and the number of comic shops who catered and pandered to these people while being rude to their long time regulars, have dwindled.

I know comic shops are business but when you hear that customers of 5-15 years have books taken out of their standing orders because some hipster wants it that is very bad.  For the long term regular to then be told "We can't get it now but there are plenty of comics on the shelves!" that is more than very bad.  And shop owners hiking up prices by $10 two days after a book was released because "it's a hot book". Say no more. Despicable.

Comic shop owners who really do not care about their customers are now reaping the rewards of their actions.  The hipsters are onto other things now.

I subscribed to 20 You Tube comic channels owned by these Comic Geek Chic types. After 5 years only 1 remains and has slightly veered off of comics.  I have discussed this before and you'll get someone in their 30s or 40s who "used to read comics and thought I'd get back into it" and will buy from Ebay, marts, shops and then you can tell they are out of that phase....vinyl -that was really hot for five minutes and they jumped onto that.  Guess what?  Something else popped up -one went from comics to vinyl then a motorcycle (that was a classic mid-life crisis) and then....his You Tube channel vanished.

Toys -old were the ones people wanted.  Same sad reasons and they spent lots of money and did lots of videos and then...lost interest.  Dealers made a fortune but then looked for another new thing to sell.

We had channel after channel about old toys and I subscribed to 20 again on you Tube.  All gone after a couple years.  Raiding car boot sales and charity shops -early starts in the morning and  all the enthusiasm needed....lots of subscribers and people sending in gifts of old toys.  Then the effort was too much so an occasional Face Book posting on anything.

Funko Pops.  Massive craze but if you watch US You Tube channels you see that the big craze is gone -lots and lots of Pops and action figures reduced by 50-75% the normal price.

Oh, then we have the "Toy Hunters".  They use terms like "Going on a hunt" or "A team of us are going hunting" and "Let's hunt and see what we can scope in the wild" or "I scoped the item and pulled the trigger on it" (they bought it) and the hilarious "I'm going to show you my hunting haul" or "What I bagged in the wild"!

Look, you are men in your 30s who drive in expensive cars to toy shops to look for toys and then mess up shelves looking for your "prize" and -really, this is hilarious- they will literally have stomping fits because someone probably "bagged the last one" or the store does not have a particular figure. And goddam kids in toy stores -these hunters want to film their stalking but shop keeping SJW sonsabitches yack on about privacy or don't film customers.  Spending between $150-500 buying toys means you have too much money and when these people snap at their kids going near to their "trophies"....get help.

If you like action figures and want to collect them then that is fine.  I have action figures.  I never went on the hunt looking for a trophy or to scope any out in the wild before pulling the trigger on them and bagging the prize.  I just went into a shop, looked at what was on the shelves and paid for it then brought it home.  Oh...just what the hunters do (except I don't lead a team of skilled hunters).

It is what it is: buying and collecting toys.  It is also a declining field of interest and yet the collectors are asked to pay more.  No doubt the kids that were driven from stores by gangs of rather suspicious men with cameras will wait until they are in their 30s or 40s to venture back!

You see the same thing in wargaming where someone jumps back in "because I used to have these little soldiers when I was a kid" -spend a fortune buying, painting and putting them on shelves -even buying a small library of reference books and building 8' x 4' gaming tables.  All shown on videos. Yet to see one actually playing a game. Then their channels vanish.

Nostalgia is good for dealers (they won't buy your items for a quarter the price they sell them for though!).  Dealers and companies are the only ones make money because the schmuck wants to recapture their childhood memories or is looking for a new hobby and why not go for one that is very hip at the moment?

I may be a bit "sharpish" as my hip and leg are in pain but the point is this: people are always going to jump into gaming, comics or whatever when they are trendy.  And some 99% will simple vanish when they get bored (and find out only then that no one is buying at the prices they paid!)

I won't mention the name of the person involved as he was a much loved wargamer and is dead now.  However, about thirty years ago I stood by as this man, who had practically invented rule books, was told by someone who had just jumped into gaming (it was getting a bit popular again back then) and had not even gamed yet but amassed a 1000 point army, just how unstructured gaming rules were and that the rule book (which he waved)  was "a farce". "I wrote that book" was the response.  Other members refused to speak to the newcomer who went off in a sulk.

Those here today and gone tomorrow types come in waves and dealers make money from them.  If those dealers are wise they do not do this at the expense of pushing aside or scamming life long customers who have been involved with whatever for 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years. You see, without those specific "invested" customers businesses die. "I crapped on you to make a quick buck but now I respect you because I am desperate for your custom!" does not work.

Idiots at Marvel Comics say they do not care about readers who have invested in characters since 1963 because they want the young, hip and here for five minutes set...the company lose out. Believe me, if the rumours are correct then people at Disney which owns Marvel, have noticed and things are being discussed.

The long term reader or collector or gamer -these are the people that matter and some shop owners understand that these are the people who will introduce their hobby to younger family members  and that next generation is vitally important to any industry.

In France and Germany I see people -men and women- in their 20s and 30s collecting and learning more about comics from the pre-1990s. These are not the bagging, boarding and slabbing types looking for a huge financial investment (those videos on You Tube from US 'collectors' tend to make my skin crawl -especially when they make it clear they only know what is in the book because of a comic price guide.  They have never read the comic). These new comic fans in Germany and France are picking up old, sometimes battered old comics as well as ones in better condition.  They are getting into comics history.  I love them.  I am sure that they exist in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and elsewhere but I never get to see them is all!

Shops dealing with comics want to survive then they need to not just offer Marvel, Image, DC and Dark Horse but also Independents and, yes, even the Small Press. Pulling a face at that simply declares you are not interested in surviving as a business.

There was a point there somewhere but my hand has come out in solidarity with my leg and hip and are using the pain gag.  But think about it: the long term buyer with investment in whichever hobby is the most important for survival.


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