Newsletter #4: Winter is Coming
It's November, so according to my partner, it's basically Christmas. I'll pump one of these out now so I can do another come New Years I suppose. We'll be doing a quick rundown of updates, nothing too explosive this time around, but hopefully interesting enough to keep you engaged.
The end of the year is coming, so if you haven’t checked in on your pull list, swing by and double check it to make sure it's up to speed. For various reasons we'll discuss later in this column, you're gonna want to make sure that is is indeed correct going forward.
However, if you'd like a greater level of control, we are using a new system to track pulls:
LEAGUE OF COMIC GEEKS
We have listed Limited Editions as a shop on League of Comic Geeks, so if you have an account or would like to make one, we can handle your pull through there!
If you aren't in the know, League (as we refer to it internally) is a website that allows customers to track what books are coming out week to week, as well as let you keep track of your weekly pull. However, it lets you register your shop (that's us!), that way we can track your pull exactly to the books you'd like.
The system allows you to "subscribe" to a title, which will let you automatically pull any titles for, say, Superman: Son of Kal-El going forward, as well as pull a specific cover if you would prefer a variant, as well as let you add any other one-shots or even just add a single issue if you'd like to try.
Obviously we can't order an infinite amount of books for every single person to have their pick of all the books and variants, but within reason we should be able to accommodate requests, especially if you already partake in the livestreams each week to add new titles. And if you keep your list updated at least a month in advance (you can add up to three months ahead), then we can better order ahead to make sure you do get any variant requests.
We're still testing out the system of course; so far we have about two dozen of our more active pull members trying it out, we wan't to see how many more we can sign up this way as we slowly phase out more of our physical pull sheets. Additionally, the bigger the base we can get, the more accurately we can track orders to better ensure the quantity of books we'll need.
Couple of important notes:
*The League of Comic Geeks platform is available as a website or an app. I have the boys testing out both to see the functionality, but personally, the website works best for me.
*PLEASE reach out to me HERE if you'd like to join up. There is an approval process and we will only approve people we have already signed up on our pull list. New members who want to join using this system are also welcome to reach out. Also, for all intents and purposes, I'm running technical support so any questions can go right to me as well.
*We're implementing protocols to avoid scalpers using the system to add speculator books last minute. For the security of your books, have your titles at least a month in advance (recommended), and if there's any variants you want to add last minute, the Saturday before should be the last day to add things. We run through the list twice, once on Monday afternoon for DC titles, once on Tuesday for Marvel/Indie, so if you add something for the week Monday at 8pm, we're going to miss it. So don't do that.
*Any incentive additions will be taken as intent to purchase, and we will pull them for you with our standard prices (i.e. a 1:25 ratio will price around $15/30) based on fair market value prices. If a ratio incentive spikes for whatever reason, we will reach out to you. If we do not receive the ratio variant or we only got one and more than one person asked for it, we will default to the regular cover or a variant if you have added one. Of course, it helps if you ask us about incentives ahead of time, both to claim it and to get a price check.
*Relevant to the previous point, adding us as a shop means we can see your history on the platform and see when you added/removed something, which should be useful in case of disputes over incentives or in case someone adds something after FOC and does not receive it due to limited quantity, etc. I don't foresee it being a huge issue if everyone plays ball, and I do think our pull members are pretty understanding regarding how ordering works, but we're just covering our butts *just in case*
*Any discrepancies that occur, we'll reach out to you to confirm or let you know.
Hopefully this system gives the people who wants a greater level of engagement and foresight that extra benefit, and it'll help us to streamline our process. Paper pulls are still around for those who prefer a less hands-on approach or anyone who is scared of technology.
Comics are doing great! A recent report from comichron showed that the top 300 comics sold this summer quarter sold more than any other summer quarter in the last 25 years except 2016 (due to DC Rebirth) and 1997 (twice as many LCS open). That's quite exciting considering that the previous year had a 7 week shutdown in publishing due to COVID-19 and Marvel didn't even begin publishing weekly until mid-July. Full sales reports here.
Additionally, Diamond's retailer summit this year reported publishers like Vault, Dynamite and Aftershock announce growth upwards of 30% compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
We're bouncing back, and more than that, we are growing! On our little corner, we have seen an increase in pull members and pull sizes overall as well, and while I realize that that's anecdotal evidence and to be taken with a grain of salt, taken with these numbers, it does make me hopeful of our industry carrying on, and I do hope other comic book shops have seen similar growth.
If you haven't noticed, prices are going up! Everywhere! Don't blame me, I didn't do it, it's actually a global thing. Unfortunately, that also affects us, as we are not immune to the effects of economics.
These effects have manifested mostly in small ways, a five cent increase to individual bag and boards (now they're 25 cents), a dollar increase to new DC Multiverse figures (to 25.99), etc. Over the course of a few months, that's not bad.
However, more and more upheaval is happening across the board (Little Caesars is $5.55 now!) and more and more items are being affected! Funko announced a dollar increase to their wholesale prices, which means that our standard price now goes from 10.99 to 11.99. Not much we can do about that, unfortunately.
More changes will likely come, but we will try to mitigate the price changes as much as possible and keep our numbers as close to Minimum Advertisted Price as we can.
The day Spawn goes up to 3.99 though, we're rioting.
PAPER SHORTAGES, SUPPLY CHAIN, AND YOU
There is a paper shortage happening worldwide due to various factors I won't go into here, but you should know if you've been keeping an eye on the supply chain.
Wait, what are comics made of again?
That's right, major comics distributors are having trouble getting their hands on enough paper to keep up with our growing numbers! In response, many titles are being pushed back last minute a week or two, some more than once.
Al Ewing's highly anticipated Venom #1, originally scheduled for October 20th, has been pushed back a week three times in the last month, now officially releasing November 10th. Donny "Big Dog" Cates' Hulk #1 has been pushed to November 24th, originally scheduled for last week.
Image has announced their intent to stop publishing reprints, so more reason to get your titles all lined up. You don't want to miss out on new titles because you assume that there'll be enough. Don't wait till the last minute!
Titles are occasionally being delayed last minute, or partially released either in quantity (Spawn #323 had us five copies short; they arrived the following week) or by covers (Primordial #1 cover A arrived on release, cover B and C arrived the following week). Please be patient if something gets delayed or pushed back, that stuff is out of our hands.
Reorders are becoming more scarce as publishers order less extra titles as cushion, and realistically, this will be the case at least for another year. Make sure your pull is up to date. If you don't have one, sign up. We're gonna order closer to what we need for our pull members with help from our newly implemented League system, so don't trust the racks to stay stocked so long.
Closer to the supply chain issue is the lack of comic supplies. Orders have been delayed/cancelled for toploaders, mylars, etc. Bag and boards have also been a little harder to come by, so if you see the kind of bag and board we use for pulls or singles differ, it's all we can get our hands on, and for that, we do apologize.
On the other hand, a lot of the pops/figures that were ordered earlier this year are finally starting to arrive, especially Funkos. Hopefully the supply remains steady and all our orders for the few months stay on track. Of course, we still expect a lot of stuff to be backordered, so don't hold us to it.
The solicits for January are officially out! Our new format for posting titles will be the full new title breakdown, then the individual title over the following few weeks, and then the week of FOC we'll post all the titles up for the cutoff on our story.
That's the last time books can be ordered to a guarantee, so remember to add titles before the cutoff.
Personally, I'm hyped for Daredevil: Woman Without Fear. Chip's been killing it on Daredevil, and Rafael Latorre's art as a fill in on Black Widow has been spectacular.
Our 50% Back Issue Sale will be ending January 1st, they will be reverting to 25% off.
We will likely be having 60% sales once or twice before the year's end (Black Friday/Christmas), so if you want to fill your stockings and your collections, better get to it.
No Q&A this time around. Too busy grinding on Valorant.
This one was a little dour, I admit, but also hopeful. We'll be implementing League into our pulls more by the end of the year to make it easier for you all, and despite delays, there's a lot of great comics coming. If I can stomach it, we'll put out a few more articles out before the New Year, and of course I gotta do a top 5 of 2021 so there's that to look forward to.
Thank you so much for tuning into Limited Editions, the only newsletter completely in 3D ⚡
[LE] Luis is the visionary talent behind such works as the Eisner-nominated Nightly News, The Manhattan Projects and Pax Romana. He also plies his trade at Marvel working on books like Fantastic Four and The Avengers.
His twin brother, Marc, went missing in St. Lucia six months ago and hasn't been heard from since.
Luis lives in South Carolina when he isn't vacationing or searching for his brother.