Hey, Paul's not the only nerd at the con this year! I've been milling around all weekend, covering panels for Comic Book Resources. Having had enough time to take in the spread of vendors this year, I've come away with a really disappointing realization: this feels like the first legitimately post-recession ECCC. I've been all nine years, and there is normally more than one booth selling back issues of old comics for 50 cents or less.

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Granted, today is when all the crazy bargains go down, and this is the first year that, cash-strapped and desperate, I am actively trying not to spend money. Still, the prices at 99% of this year's retailer booths are grossly inflated. The majority of them are proffering single issues in the $1-$3 range, which doesn't sound like much, but compared to years past, that's ridiculous. A charming bit of retro trash like this would be no-brainer of a purchase at fifty cents...

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But for $3? Forget it. That's bus fare, dude. There's probably some far-reaching, Didion-esque generalization to be made about how this price gauging gouging ties into the quivering, delicate bubble that the comics industry is currently resting atop, but I'm not the dude for the ask.

For the uninformed, the short version is this: the comics industry is basically reliving the '90s, an era that was choked by overproduction and unnecessary collector-baiting bullshit like variant holofoil covers and periodic reboots ("#1" issues famously sell better). More '90s backstory: in the span of a decade, Marvel comics went from having one of their golden boys, Rob Leifeld, (a hilariously terrible artist that later defected to co-found Image Comics) in a Levi's commercial, to being bankrupt. Put that context in your pipe and smoke it.

I'm hoping to find better deals today, as the vendors get desperate in the last, frantic hours of the convention. Ideally, I'm looking for low-grade, low-priced schlock this year anyway (and some, ahem, trippy independent comix). I'm talking about the Marvel 90's Swimsuit Editions because, c'mon folks, look at this stuff:

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The world should be lousy with unwanted copies of that shit. Wish me luck.