All this business about DC’s “WTF month” got me thinking — while you’ve got the whole gimmick cover thing as an attempt to get attention (they’re getting the attention and it falls under “no such thing as bad publicity), this really screams of something where the consumer is supposed to pick up the book off the rack/shelf, flip open the cover and then be so shocked/intrigued as to buy it.  The impulse buy, if you will.

OK, let’s ignore that this strategy doesn’t work if you buy mail order or digital and that it may not be effective if you’re overly focused on your pull box.  At various times over the years, including right now, the shop I’ve frequented has bagged the comics in mylar before putting them on the shelf.  If this is the case, you have to 1) already know the WTF covers need to be folded out, 2) remove the comic from the bag and 3) hope the shopkeeper doesn’t yell “WTF?!?” at you for browsing the book.

I wasn’t sure how many shops still pre-bag the books.  I don’t remember any from my days in NYC, for instance.  I’m throwing the question to you:

[poll id=”7″]


  1. Of the several comics shops I frequent in the NYC area, none pre-bag new comics, except for variant covers and certain ‘adult’ comics, like Black Kiss 2. A few months ago, I went to a store in North Carolina that had everything bagged, which was a big turn-off.

  2. I used to get my comics via mail from Midtown, and they pre-bagged and boarded, which drove me crazy. I asked them not to and they said they could not comply. That and their constant lateness made me drop them.

  3. In high school the biggest local comic shop bagged everything, AND would then mark up any popular titles that were more than one week old (I’m still bitter about shelling out $5 for Elektra Assassin #3 before #4 was even released.) I preferred getting my comics at the grocery store, mall bookstores or to this smaller, seedier downtown comic store that only put the mature books in bags, and I would only go to “Bags Galore” when I couldn’t find something anywhere else. I went back a few years ago and was shocked to find out that not only were they the only store in the area that was still business but they still bag everything, even hardcovers and trade paperbacks! Ugh – the WORST.
    Whenever I walk into a comic store that has new comics in bags I just walk right back out the door and never go back.

  4. not only does my (former) comic shop bag and board their new issues, they charge more than cover price for any #1 or *important* issue. Not uncommon to see $15 price tags on new comics on that Wednesday if somebody is dying in it. Back issues older than a month or two are marked up by a dollar, until they go to the Dollar bin a year later.

    Been voted best comic shop in my city for 10 yrs straight and they are in a high rent district so they’re doing something right…except keep me as a customer.

  5. My comic shop (Star Clipper) does not bag their comics, and they have my business. Another local shop is closer to my house, but they bag all their comics and I refuse to shop there unless I have to because SC sold out of something. Their loss.

  6. My shop bags everything in customer files, but stuff on the shelf is only bagged if it’s Mature Readers.

    However, they do shrink wrap every TPB and hardcover themselves, which means you can’t browse through them. That’s annoying.

  7. I like getting my books pre bagged with board. It keeps those people who just want to read the book from reading it for free and keeps the books I want clean and without bends or fingerprints from a non paying slob.
    I feel if you are that interested in reading the book buy it. Stop being a lazy cheap comic browser and support the industry you say you support.

  8. I used to live in a town whose only comic store bagged their books, made you pay when requesting special orders, and wouldn’t order Madman because, “we don’t carry that indie shit.” Most comic stores are terrible.

  9. Only one of my locals sells comics in bags with boards. Then they want extra money for that. I get them to take the comic out of the bag becasue I don’t need pristine. In my opinion, you could sell me a folded copy for half price and I would prefer that. I am just a ‘reader’, not an archiver.

  10. Pre-bagging comic books, really? I mean seriously, that is just about the craziest thing that I’ve ever heard of in 40 + years of buying and reading comic books. It doesn’t exist in northern Ohio. Most comic books today have little to no value beyond that which you find in reading them. Except for variant covers( which have an imaginary value ) and certain ‘adult’ comics( to protect the young eyes ), I can’t imagine what would possess a comic book store to think that people would want to buy sealed up comic books.
    Really, people actually go the this, wow?!

    “Mr. fox pleaseeee don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

  11. “I feel if you are that interested in reading the book buy it. Stop being a lazy cheap comic browser and support the industry you say you support.”

    There have been many, many, many times when I’ve become interested in reading a book only after flipping through it, often because art by someone I’m unfamiliar with catches my eye. Any store that pre-bags all their comics is risking losing a potential sale to me of any book that I’m not already intending to buy the moment I walk through the door. There is a risk to the retailer and other customers that if I don’t wind up buying it, its virginal purity will have been tainted by my cheap, lazy, slobby touch.

  12. Hey! I figured something out at my comic store the other day! If you look closely at the bags, lots of times they can be RE-opened. That means a comic in a bag can still be read if it is removed-the store didn’t ruin all those comics after all! God damnedest thing I ever came across. And like many of you, I was going to burn the place down.

    Guess that just leaves more gasoline for the grocery store…unless…you don’t suppose potato chips can be removed from a bag as well, do you?

    The implication of this notion of removing things I buy from the bags they come in…this might just change my life…

  13. Stop trying so hard to be an idiot, J. If the comics are sealed in bags that prevent you from opening and looking at the contents before buying, then you are not at a bookseller that’s promoting the medium of comics… you’re at a collectibles store promoting bad investments. And those deserve to go away.

  14. Again, this is what happens when you quit treating the stories as precious and think the container they come in is more so.

    The Japanese have this down pat – great stories told in black & white on cheap, cheap paper for the readers (mostly everyone). Trade manga in b&w on good white paper for the collector. Supersize editions in color and bonus features for the uber-collector.

  15. I live in the San Francisco bay area and I’ve been to many stores around here… none of them have bagged new titles on the shelf. Comics in long boxes, however, get plenty of bagging and protection.

  16. An old shop did for a while.. but it just got too costly for him. The shops I go to now don’t bag them unless the few that come bagged or maybe if there is mature content.

  17. The hostility of buyers (jokes about arson, really?) coupled with the idiocy of some stores (‘indi shit’, really?) is insane.

    Our LCS bags everything, new and old – and happily encourages you to open anything you like for a flip. They just give out a free bag with every issue (as well as discount all new issues), and pre-bag them because that’s what the *vast majority* of the customers would do when they got them home anyway.

    Jesus Christ, get a grip, people.

  18. Ha! Just talking about this today. I recently went to the outskirts of the SF Bay Area and found myself craving comics. I found a place that was the size of a Chinese prison with everything bagged and boarded…. And taped shut! That’s the worst. The owner also had a police scanner turned on in the background, shops like these dont further our choice of art form. Most of the stores out here don’t do that, but I’ve found the smaller suburban stores pull that crap more often. I’m not sure why that is but my unscientific eye finds that to be true.

  19. “I feel if you are that interested in reading the book buy it. Stop being a lazy cheap comic browser and support the industry you say you support.”

    I don’t support the comics industry. It would be better for everyone if the publishers offered us better comic books. Once I’ve thumbed through a few pages, and decided it looks interesting enough to read from cover to cover, I’ll buy it. If it doesn’t look interesting, back on the shelf it goes.

    I haven’t purchased any superhero comics in the past year, thanks to this policy, but I have been following ALL-STAR WESTERN with Jonah Hex. Keep on browsing in the store!

    @Eagan Algarmi: “The owner also had a police scanner turned on in the background …” Sounds kind of frightening. Maybe the guy is awaiting a personal call from the police commissioner. Or he plans to radio the police after he shoots you for browsing at the comics.

  20. In the Bay Area I switched to Comic Ink lately. They DO pre-bag and board but for the first week the books arent taped at all, just protected. They don’t tape them until they go to the recent back issue wall. I also love that the new owner is really cool guy and I love the changes they’ve made in the last 2 years.

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