Monday, September 15, 2008

Everyone's Ethics

You have probably heard all about the All Star Batman & Robin #10 scandal, but if you haven't I'll summarize. There were some bad words in the word balloons. The words were shaded out, but not well enough. Some of the misprinted comics were accidentally sent to comic book stores. Stores were to destroy them if they received them. But yet there were copies being sold on eBay, and for big money too. The picture is one page, and you can head here to LITG for some others. Rich also gives you the exact words in the panel.

In today's LITG Rich gives us some names of retailers who sold copies of this comic book: "Some put them on eBay, either obscuring exactly who the seller or was, or being totally blatant about it. Such as Comix Central in Canada, Warp 9 Comics in Michigan or Empyre Comics in Maryland." There are 85 currently listed on eBay right now. These are all being sold by comic book retailers, or from customers of those retailers who bought a book they shouldn't have been sold. Many of the retailers have disguised themselves so that Diamond and DC won't know who they are. However, I do think that Diamond should at least know who they sold copies to and who has not returned them or returned all of them, and I hope they take some action. This type of thing is unethical, and it disappoints me. Fellow retailer Brian Hibbs also shares is disappointment in these actions on his blog. Read it, it's quite good and spells out very clearly with some profanity just why this kind of behavior is bad news.

You know what else is unethical? That DC's editor for this comic book didn't have these words removed from the beginning. Also, that Frank Miller isn't clever enough to write the story without using excessive bad language. Why the word Cunt? He couldn't come up with anything else? This comic book story is filled with mysogoney anyway, but this just takes it to a whole new level.

This whole situation makes me mad because it makes the comic book industry look bad. The series isn't great and Millar shouldn't be allowed to use the language he did. They black it out anyway, right? Or at least try to. It shows the greed and opportunistic nature of retailers who, rather than doing what's right, go for the cash grab. And what about those that feel the need to spend excessive amounts of money to purchase the issue in question? What's wrong with you? Don't you have anything better to spend your money on? If that's the case how about donating some to the Neptune Comics moving-the-store fund. t least you'd be investing in something that makes money. And this isn't just some little thing that was kept within our comic book community. It's been a story across the country, thanks to the Drudge Report breaking it.

In light of this event and because of the actions of some unethical retailers, ComicsPRO has been discussing the establishment of a Code of Ethics for their members. I say it's about time. Although I do believe that most members are ethical and wouldn't participate in this, there are some that may have. Sure, it can be hard to resist making $50 + on one comic book, I get that. But those of us that agree that these kind of actions are not best practices should establish and agree upon a code of ethics that we can be proud of as retailers. If we want the general public, distributors, publishers, and the media to take us seriously we can't behave like used car salesmen! And those of us who want better for the comic book community shouldn't stand by and let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.


Sleestak said...

I think there would be more cooperation on the returns if people didn't see the misprints as a marketing stunt (which I doubt it was). Also, the comic companies have a hard time decrying the rabid activities of an out of control speculator market that they themselves fostered and created.

Ben from Arizona said...

To be fair, I did e-mail Craig to see if you guys got any copies of the "Potty Mouth" A.S. Bats and Birdboy issue - only because I didn't feel like waiting ANOTHER three weeks for the issue to come out. There are only two things this book has consistently been: outlandish and late. I can handle the ridiculous storyline, dialogue and basic "tear down" of everything we've come to know and love about Batman. I don't consider it canon in the slightest (and I also think Frank Miller needs to up his psych meds from what he's churned out) and were I in my right mind, I'd probably have ditched this book months and months ago - but it's so off the wall, I wanna see where it goes.

That being said, I abhor the constant lateness of ASB&R.

Printing gaffe aside - those naughty words shouldn't have been in there to begin with, Neptune Comics should have been able to sell it to me last week - sans profanity, and I should be reading the damn issue right now.

Way to go editing team at DC.

DiDio is a moron and so's 50 percent of his staff. Lucky for him, it turns out the other 50 percent of his staff is Geoff Johns. God forbid Marvel swipes him away...

As for the other comic stores tossing the issue up on ebay - well... everyone's out to make a quick buck. If I had a box of that issue sitting in my store room, I probably would have put 'em up on ebay too. If fanboys with an endless supply of disposable income wanna drop 50 bones on an comic book that has bad words in it (convincing themselves that it'll be worth so much more in the future... yeah right), and I had several copies of that comic - I'd sell it to 'em. Supply 'n demand. I probably would have done it secretly though.