It's no secret that I like comic books; I read them, I collect them, I review them, and I rant about them (usually in private). However, there is something I really don't understand about comics: pricing. The Canadian dollar amount on comic books is, not surprisingly, higher than the U.S. dollar amount; the Big Two typically add a dollar or a dollar-twenty-five. Just looking around at my comic collection, Jonah Hex is $2.99/$4.00, Iron Man is $2.99/$4.25, Hellblazer's $2.75/$3.75, you get the idea. Smaller publishers and indie imprints are usually cheaper for the same American price; Powers is $2.95/$3.85, and Fell is $1.99/$2.40.
This seems ridiculous to me, because the Canadian dollar's been climbing against the American dollar lately. They decreased the Canadian prices by a quarter a year or two ago, but it's still an unequal situation. According to the latest exchange rates ($1 US = $1.147 CAN), the Canadian dollar amounts for Jonah Hex and Iron Man should be $3.42, Hellblazer should be $3.15, and Fell should be $2.28. Fell's actually close to the accurate price (God Bless Warren Ellis), but I'm getting jerked around for 50 to 70 cents an issue. That doesn't seem like a lot, but that's about $6 a year for a monthly title.
When I picked up my comics on Wednesday, I got a few comics that didn't have Canadian prices actually printed on the covers, so imagine my surprise when they were twenty to forty cents cheaper than they were last month. I thought that the prices had come down again, but it was only the "small press" titles; DC and Marvel's cover prices haven't changed. Furthermore, DC just announced that the price for their big event 52 (a comic every week for a full year) is the special "low low price" of $2.50. I'm not grinding my teeth in anguish or impotently moaning about the price point, but if it costs me $3.50 instead of closer to $2.90, I'm going to start to feel cheated. After all, that's over $31 when all's said and done. So, does anyone have an explanation for this price discrepancy? Are there bizarre tariffs that I'm not aware of, or is it really hard to ship the comics to us (even though most are actually printed in Quebec)?