So I jumped on e-bay to pre-order a copy of Dell'otto's ASM #800 and I honestly can't believe what they are going for and what people are willing to spend on it. It's a 1:25 ratio and one seller has them up for $119.99 with more than 10 copies available. Some have already sold and there are even active bids over $100. This kind of made me sad and it did so for a couple of reasons. The first being that I've started to accept the fact that the variant craze is hurting the collector that just wants to add a cool cover to his/her collection. I've been collecting variants for a while now and I've defended them since I can remember because it was affordable and fun for many (I understand not everyone). If you wanted to pre-order or buy a variant it wouldn't cost you 4 times the ratio. It used to feel like a choice right? If you wanted the variant cover because you liked it and you wanted to collect it then great, if you didn't then that was ok too. Now it doesn't feel like the collector has much of a choice because of such high prices. I'm lucky enough to have a great job and honestly I could throw down the cash and buy new (not rare or time tested) variants at these prices but it doesn't feel right or healthy both for the comic industry and one's personal finances (maybe a lot of people here are way way better off then I am but still). I know the topic of variants hurting the industry and whether it's sustainable or not has been discussed many times over in other threads but this is just crazy. The median hourly wage in the U.S. is about $22 and that's before taxes and other deductions. It would take someone a whole day of work at this wage to afford this ASM #800 variant. More for those whose wages are lower. The argument could be made that "hey no one is forced to buy it, if they can't afford it then they shouldn't buy it" but to me that's not how it should be or the mentality that as a community we should ever endorse. Comic collecting, even variants, shouldn't be increasingly out of reach for people. Before I go on, I AM NOT talking about comics or variants that appreciate over time and truly are rare. These I understand if you want it you have to be willing to pay for it and have the money.
All of this brings me to the second reason of why seeing the ASM #800 prices made me sad. If I were to buy it at these prices it kills my budget for other comics or variants. This is acceptable here and there but increasingly every month I'm seeing 3-4 variants for the same comic at unreasonable prices. Variety and choice is great for the consumer but there has to be a balance. I've heard and read that it's flippers and speculators that are fueling and keeping this store exclusive/multiple variant environment going but I find that hard to believe for something this size . Either the majority of comic collectors have well above six figure salaries with a reasonable mortgage and no debt or there are many who are buying every Dell'otto or Mattina variant and have huge credit card debt. Have any of you recently felt like f**k it I'm out and thought I have my retirement to fund or simply start saving more?
Anyways, I'm done with my rant. If any of you here have any thoughts I'd love to hear them