A Review of Midtown Comics

I was in need of some back issues recently, including a couple more recent issues of a couple titles (that I could not get from my usual comic book suppliers–DCBS or the Comic Book Shop), so I decided this time to try one of the biggest online retailers, Midtown Comics.

I found what I was looking for easily by using their search feature, but what impressed me was that the default choice shown was the best quality comic they had in stock, or you could choose what quality book you wanted (if there was more than one available).

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Once I had found the comics I wanted, I went to checkout. Here you can see them listed and what discount I received. Also, I could decide which shipping option I wanted. As you can see, I mostly received a 15% discount, which I’m guessing is Midtown’s default. I love this! I’ve long thought that if a comic book retailer wants to move their recent unsold acquisitions for anything, say, 1-3 months old, they should discount the issues, not increase the prices!

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Anyway, after I paid for my comics, I received an email confirmation of the order Friday, and by Monday morning I received word that Midtown had processed my order. It was another two days before the order was shipped and I received a tracking number, however, the USPS tracking information tells me that the post office got my shipment the day after I received the email letting me know the order had been processed, so Midtown was fast regarding processing and shipping my order. Finally, I received my package 8 days after Midtown handed the box over to USPS, so I received the comics well within the 3-12 day shipping window.

When I opened the box, this is what I saw:

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Look at that bubble wrap!

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Inside that paper sack were the comics. They were bagged and boarded, and most included a sticker on the bag indicating the rating. I am not an expert when it comes to rating comics, but based on what I do know, it seems like Midtown Comics’ ratings are pretty good (and I think better than mycomicshop.com, which tended to be a bit too generous about what condition a comic is rated, at least for the titles that I bought).

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Midtown offers a subscription service, but it appears that most mainstream titles are 35% off (whereas DCBS offers 40% off normally). The site also has daily and weekly deals, plus clearance items. Finally, there are weekly “codeword” sales (e.g., “20% off all back issues O-S”), but you must sign up to receive an email to get the code.

With this order, I was able to complete my run of Blue Devil comics, as well as some Stephanie Brown appearances in some Batman titles, plus (as shown above) the Terry Moore written issues of Birds of Prey, and the World’s Funnest issue. All in all, I was pleased with this service and will consider buying from Midtown Comics again.

Podcast Episode 24: Creator vs Contract + the New Vertigo 4

Using Chris Roberson’s public exit from DC as a springboard, we discuss the ethics of corporate contracts and what’s fair to the creators (note: we are not lawyers). Then, at about the 59:30 mark, we discuss the four new Vertigo titles (Fairest, Saucer Country, Voodoo Child, & New Deadwardians).

Thanks for listening!

Direct Download (1:27:54)

A Review of mycomicshop.com

I’m always on the lookout for a great deal, especially involving comics! I’ve used and reviewed DCBS and Fearless Readers Online, and now I’ve obtained some comics from yet another online source: mycomicshop.com. I “discovered” mycomicshop.com (hereafter known as MCS in this review) via the comic book database site StashMyComics. Whenever you look up the details of an issue at StashMyComics, there’s a handy Buy link that directs you to MCS. And from there, let the money fly out of your wallet! (Update: Before buying from this vendor, please review the comments below.)

The first thing about MCS that I like is how easy it is to find back issues (or even newer comics). Simply type in the title or portion of the title and you get a list of potential hits. At this point, you can already see if MCS has a complete run or not, or you can click the associated tabs to only see the In Stock books, CGC rated books, or if there are any auctions for issues in that title. Seems pretty handy. When you click the title link, you can then see the issues. This is the part that I really like. For each issue that MCS has in stock and has multiple copies of, you are presented with a quality rating and corresponding price. You can just choose what copy you want and it is added to your cart automatically.

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Be careful with this. It might be very appealing to order that copy of Avengers #177 (1963 series) for $1.10, but in the case of this store, that grade of GD is probably pretty accurate. I bought an issue of Americomics with a rating of VG and was surprised that it wasn’t in better shape. This isn’t a knock at MCS’s graders–I know I have an uninformed view of these grades (in fact, this is something that I need to become much more familiar with; fortunately, MCS helps with that). Plus, considering that I can buy $1 back issues at Fearless Readers Online and the quality of the issues is always really good, I’m more than a little spoiled when it comes to getting cheap, good quality copies. Regardless, MCS usually gives you a choice in obtaining that issue to complete your run.

Once you’ve selected all of the comics that you want, you can review your cart and change the amount or easily remove the titles if you’ve found that you’re spending too much (is that actually possible?!). Again, it’s the ease of use with this site that I particularly like. After you start the checkout process, you’ll be asked to log in or create an account. When you choose your shipping, you are given more choices than is usual for an online comic shop. I went with the cheaper Lone Star Economy option, but you may have to wait 10+ days to receive your order with that one. Keep in mind that they have to process your order, then ship it–the time frame MCS gives is for when they hand your package off to the USPS or UPS, and this is where MCS does get a knock: it took them four days to pull my order and ship it (including a weekend). Realize that MCS is the online presence of a comic shop in Texas. Someone has to process the order, and go find and package the comics. I get that, but I’m also used to the processing of online orders being much faster (there’s that “I’m spoiled” thing). That aside, when you get your comics, they come pretty well packaged/protected.

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As you can see, my comics were placed between slabs of cardboard, wrapped in thickish plastic (with the exception of one title that came in its own bag with a board), and taped pretty securely. Because of the great selection at MCS, I was able to complete runs on eight different series! And the price wasn’t bad either. The average price that I paid per comic was $2.90 for 16 issues, plus a little more than $4 shipping.

MCS also offers a subscription service, but based on its discount tiers alone, I can’t recommend it. If you want to buy your monthly comics online more cheaply, go with DCBS (and no, I don’t work for DCBS, nor do I get anything from them for recommending them). Also, if you’re looking for those rare, collectible comics, MCS offers an auction service.

All in all, I was pleased with this service and will consider buying from mycomicshop.com again.