Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics in Ankeny, Iowa talks about the difficulties of budgeting for new comics when there are so many variables.

No matter what business or organization someone is a part of there is only so much money.  From a small business where the owner is the sole employee to the USA government, there is only so much money to spend.  Recently customers have been asking why didn't we order more?  Batman / Fortnite: Zero Point #1 is a title on which everyone wishes more copies were ordered.  DC made it returnable, which did cause us to bump up our orders.  So if it was returnable, why didn't we order a thousand copies?  Because those comics still have to be paid for and then after a period of time they can be returned.

The Joker #3 blew out of here.  Surprised the heck out of me.  Why?  People were buying all three covers of the issue, causing it to sell out quickly.  Of course, customers were asking why I did not order more.  I had no idea so many people would be picking up all three covers. L uckily, we got the reorder in quickly enough to receive more copies to cover everyone.

Right now, collectibles are doing very well.  Selling out is, of course, the goal in retail; having non-returnable material not sell out is not what a business wants to see.  Customers get annoyed at not having what they want on hand though no one other than me is annoyed when a title ordered does not sell close to what was ordered.

Stores only have so much money and ordering comics is very complex.  When ordered online, often times multiple covers have a message saying "image coming soon."  This makes ordering even more of a guessing game.  Renumbering so often means guessing how many people will check out the latest "first" issue or stop getting a title.  After ten years of ordering comics, I have seen this happen.

Currently if a comic has a first appearance, it is hot.  I had no idea W.E.B. of Spider-Man would be hot.  It is a limited series tied to the opening of the WEBSLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure ride at Disneyland.  It also features the first appearance of Harley Keener, the kid that helps Tony Stark out in the Iron Man 3 movie.  I confess I was not a big fan of Iron Man 3 and totally forgot what the kid's name was.  Not a single person in store said anything about wanting the comic before it came out.  Of course, now that it is out, I wish I had ordered more.  That darn budget.  Though just like when gambling, it is easy to say what one should have done after the fact.

Many people’s' budgets here in Iowa have been doing well.  Unemployment in Iowa is under 4 percent.  Of course, this doesn't mean everyone is fortunate.  There are plenty of people who lost their jobs during Covid and have not managed to get a job paying the same or better as they had before.  The government stimulus checks left many with more money on hand.  March was our best sales month ever.  It was quite the shock.  At the end of 2020 I was slightly dreading 2021.  At the time I had no idea stimulus money would cause people to spend so much on collectibles along with not knowing a vaccine would be made for Covid.

Now it’s the flip side business-wise.  More and more movies are being released.  People are traveling more.  I have a voucher from a trip I had to cancel last year due to Covid which I will be using soon. Movies and vacations cost money.  People can now (or soon will be able to) do things they had not been able to do for nearly a year.  More customers’ budgets are being used for things other than collectibles.

Will people stick with their collectible habits, or refocus their budgets on things they miss (or new things)?  As the supply chains get back to normal, making collectibles easier to get, will people lose interest?  Yes, it is human nature.  People often want what is difficult to get.

Will Diamond have the means to survive after the changes with DC and Marvel?

Things keep changing.  As a business, we try to keep up with times and adjust, along with keeping our customers interested in comics.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of

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