As my cohorts J.R. and Casey will attest, I have a moment or two of bitching about having to pay an extra dollar or two when some kind of special feature, usually an issue number hitting a multiple of 25, for something like reprints of other comics that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Perhaps the worst culprit of my recent purchases was Uncanny X-Force #25 which threw in two earlier stories by the normal creative team of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena, neither of which had anything to do with the current title, and one of which not even in continuity. Those two stories upped the price to $4.99.
But that’s not to say that it was much better back in the days of yore, as I learned when I was rereading 1994’s crossover the Phalanx Covenant. Check out these two covers (and try to believe that the picture of M was actually drawn by Joe Madureira):
These are the two releases of Uncanny X-Men #316. The one on top was the regular cover, featuring a harder cover and a nice holographic stripe down the front behind M, representing the Phalanx. The one on bottom was the “newstand edition”, or the one you’d find in book stores and groceries (or for a 12 year old Jacob, a rack at his local Walgreens). That one featured the regular cover paper and an ugly red stripe, likely representing the ugly red costumes of Generation X.
Other than the cover paper and the holographic stripe, there is no difference between the two issues. The actual issues feature the same quality paper, the same number of pages, the same advertisements. But the holographic cover literally doubled the price of the issue. The top one cost $2.95, or about what half my comics cost today, 18 years later. The bottom one cost the normal issue price of $1.50.
So next time Marvel tacks on an extra dollar to the price for 10 more pages of story, I’m just going to shut my mouth and appreciate that they’re at least giving me something.
Okay, fine, not really.