"CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS" IS SLIGHTLY BOTHERED... SERENITY NOW!Here's a story from Fandom Wank that might interest Firefly fans.
Nathan Fillion, star of the short-lived but cult sci-fi series from Joss Whedon, Firefly, where he played Captain Malcolm Reynolds, is angry at a Edmonton comic book store. Fillion went to Warp One Comics to purchase a copy of the first issue of Serenity, a three-issue limited series that bridges the gap between the Firefly TV series and the upcoming Serenity movie, to give to his mother. Warp One had a copy in stock, but they were selling it for $20 Canadian, which, even taking into account the exchange rate, is a wee bit more than the $2.99 American cover price.
From Fillion's blog entry (which you can't seem to read unless you sign up for the official "Browncoats" Serenity movie community, but Fandom Wank has the full text up):
""That's what they're worth." he sneered at me. I asked him to show me a listing of some sort to back it up. "Well, I just know what I paid Dark Horse for it." He wouldn't show me that, either. I am aware that Dark Horse wasn't expecting these books to sell as well as they are, and that they are going into a second printing, but I just picked up three of them two days ago at cover price at another store. My brother piped up with a, "What an interesting attitude you have." Let me tell you folks, this fella had an attitude, and a smirk that you wanted to knock off his face with a baseball bat dipped in dog poop. Of course, my brother couldn't help letting this guy know who he was trying to hose by holding the issue next to my face. "This guy look familliar? This isn't some JoJo off the street! He knows what he's talking about!" Check this out- the reply of this crap-catcher, who shall remain nameless (Darryl) was, (and imagine a dullards voice- how we make people we don't like sound in a story) "Well, then you can call Joss Whedon and ask him." I had to tell this purplebelly that I was being sarcastic when I thanked him for his excellent service, and I don't think he knew what sanctimonious meant!
Wouldn't a smart business man ask me to sign an issue and sell me one at a fair price? Wouldn't that fetch a prettier penny than ripping me off for one issue? Congratulations, dude! You are now on the Browncoat $hitlist."
An employee at Warp One, Ivica F., tries to explain the price discrepancy, saying that Diamond Distribution was out and they had to get it off the secondary market.
An employee from Happy Harbour Comics, a competing comic book store, tries to debunk some of the things the Warp One guy wrote, saying that margins are a bit better than what the Warp One guy was implying, and also that, if you read between the lines, he seems to be saying that, while it's okay to charge a bit of a premium for a comic in high demand, $20 Canadian is still a very steep mark up.
I don't know whose side I'm on here. I understand that comic book stores are not charities and there is no reason that a comic book store owner should treat Mr. Fillion any different than a normal customer and, if a comic book store owner has to find an in-demand item from outside normal distribution channels, then the price will end up a bit higher than just the exchange rate, but, on the other hand, as an anime fan in Canada myself, I know from first hand experience that some Canadian comic book stores sell some things at prices that reek of price gouging, well beyond the exchange rate, so I can definitely sympathize with Mr. Fillion. The question is, who to blame? Is it the comic book store, or is it the distributors, because distribution of fandom-related goods of all sorts in Canada is often very inefficient, and I've seen various Diamond catalogues over the years, and they simply won't distribute a good percentage of what they sell because they're simply too niche for the Canadian market to be worth shipping up in bulk. (I'm talking about non-pornographic items that aren't featured on the notorious "Prohibited Importations Unit" lists.)
This should all be taken as a cautionary tale about the state of domestic distribution of some comic books and comic book-related accessories: something's a bit "rotten in the state of Denmark" when Mr. Fillion is paying graphic novel prices for a single issue of a comic book in the normal 32-page magazine format, and I mean a current issue still in print, not a back issue of a classic comic book.
By the way, I am looking forward to seeing the Serenity movie when it hits theatres on my birthday weekend. I watched some of Firefly when it was originally being aired on Fox. I can't honestly say I'm a fan, but probably only because it wasn't on the air long enough for me to get used to the feel of the show so it could really "click" with me. It seems like the sort of show I would have liked had it been on longer.
As a bonus item, here's a "classic" Anime News Network forum thread dealing with the bogus claims that Firefly ripped off the anime series Outlaw Star. (Short answer: No, western-themed "space opera" was around long before Outlaw Star, and the similarities are mainly due to Joss Whedon and Takehiko Ito were just both inspired by "pulp" sci-fi from writers like E.E. "Doc" Smith. As usual, the anime fanboys screaming "rip-off" confused merely noting similarites with proving "cause and effect".)