7/05/04 - I've been buying Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG) for approximately 15 years; the last 10 as a subscriber.  I've always enjoyed the title and looked forward to the weekly comics fix it provided.  With issue #1595 that weekly fix became monthly.  When announced, I was very anxious to see what the new format would look like and what changes have been made.  I personally think the weekly served a unique fan base.  No other comics publication has a weekly magazine/newspaper and CBG was in a print arena all its own.  By switching to a monthly, they are running full bore in competition with the popular Wizard and, for the serious collector, Overstreet's Comic Book Marketplace.  A gutsy move to be sure but an uphill battle against these more established publications.

So what do I think about the first monthly issue?  I like it.  I like it a lot and think it's a great foundation to build upon.  It's not without reservations though....

First, what I liked:  

-  All the prior columnists are still here.  Peter David, Tony Isabella, Mr. Silver Age, the good Capt Comics, Chuck Rozanski, and Heidi MacDonald are all given more space for their columns.  CBG wouldn't be the same without them.  With that said, I still miss Mark Evanier's Point of View column greatly.  I know it's been a couple of years now but the gap he left has never been filled.

-  Much more new content than the old weekly.  This is a Spider-Man issue through and through.  Easily the subjects in this issue would have filled two months worth of weeklies.  Also, Mike Doran, formally of the internet site Newsarama.com has been brought onboard with a new column.  Can't say I agree with his "speculation isn't bad for the hobby" argument but it's nice to see other views outside of the normal columnists.

-  John Jackson Miller has returned!  Always a favorite of mine before he left CBG for other in-house Krause work.  His common sense insight to the hobby, whether the subject is popular or not, is welcomed.

-  Advertisers, some that used to be CBG staples, have returned.  It was nice to see Harvey Yee and Metropolis Comics with full page ads.  That was one of problems with the weekly.  CBG used to be ad heavy and part of its the appeal was being able to scour an issue for mail-order deals.  As the internet, and specifically eBay, have become a fixture for anyone who wants to sell comics most dealers stopped advertising in CBG.  

-  Average CGC 9.4 average sell info in the price guide.  Good information to know if you're going to buy slabbed comics.  But the price guide has other more serious problems......

Now with that said.....what I didn't like:

-  Not much left me cold except the one section that takes up the bulk of the issue.  The price guide.  The loose NM prices listed in the guide are laughably low.  I believe the guide is an association with ComicBase.  They are way off with current market realities.  I suggest a real critical review of the price guide be accomplished to get it in line with market conditions.  This needs to be done rather quickly.  No matter how well the rest of the issue is written if the guide can't be given at least some validity, especially considering the amount of pages devoted to it per issue, the whole title will be in trouble.  Sure an argument can be made that Wizard's guide is out of whack towards the high end as well.  But it's hard to argue that the modern market doesn't follows Wizard's lead.  That's a credibility factor CBG will have to quickly overcome if they want into the monthly price guide arena.

This was a good first issue that frankly reminded me of the first Wizard.  And make no mistake, that's the audience this monthly is trying to sway.  I'm not sure it was intentional but the issue seemed modeled after Wizard.  If they can keep it up, and fix the price guide, I think they are well on their way to being a viable monthly comics magazine.....


7/05/04 - You'll notice a new button on the left toolbar with links to my current eBay auctions.  That right...despite my reservations with the military side of the postal system, I'm going to list a couple rounds of comics and see how they do.  Recently I've sent some comics I've sold on the side and all have made it to their new owners with no problems.  Maybe the secret is to make sure I pay to track the packages.  Regardless, I'm offering some nice Silver/Bronze issues up for auction if you're interested....