Note From The President, Cerebus 133, April 1990Copyright 1990 Dave Sim
I just wrote out the announcement for our price increase.
I remember sitting in Gene Day's kitchen in Gananoque rolling a mound of cigarettes with his cigarette rolling machine in 1976 and saying that if I could just make a hundred dollars a week and if I could just make it drawing comics and (dream on) if I could just make it doing the comics that I wanted to do, I would never ask for anything again for the rest of my life ever.
When I moved out of my parents house in December of that year, I was making sixty dollars a month working three days a week at Now & Then Books, I had a bank account of about a thousand dollars I got by selling my comic book collection (to Now & Then Books, of course) and my rent was one hundred and twenty dollars a month.
Ger just talked to one of our accountants (Joy. Hi, Joy) and our Gross Profit Margin is down by about ten percent.
See. I don't think that way.
There's money in the bank - not as much as there has been, but certainly more than enough because a big batch came in on the Cerebus trade paperback 30 days after it shipped and replaced the divot from the downpayment on the Off-White House.
Shit. It took me years to get over the idea of working til there was a pile of money and then living off of it until I needed some more. At the same time I understand Gross Profit Margin. The printing bills are slightly higher. So are the professional fees (Hi, Doug, Hi, Wilt). Our mortgage payment is about fifty percent more than our rent was. Circulation went down and then levelled off. Now its going down again. No big crisis. Everyone's circulation is going down. In our case, revenues from the graphic novels hide the vanishing profit margins on Cerebus and Cerebus High Society. But that can go on, literally, to the point where both comic book titles are operated ata loss and the graphic novels are what pay the bills (or, more accurately, are the primary sources of sand in the top of the hour-glass).
It's been two years since the last price increase. We have to increase the price sometime, right? At the same time there are people who will stop buying the book when the price goes up. Is Ger's and my time worth an extra twenty-five cents a month or an extra thirty cents every other week? The Canadian dollar has been holding firm around 84 or 85 cents and most comics still have a Canadian price based on the 75 cent dollar of five years ago. The British pound is nose-diving and I haven't read a word from Mrs. Thatcher that addresses that fact.
What to do? What to do?
Well, we're increasing the prices by an average of 10% so the top of the hour-glass keeps pace with the increased consumption of the bottom of the hour-glass. The Canadian price change (in proportion) is the smallest, the U.K. price change (in proportion) is the largest and the U.S. price change is somewhere in between.
With any luck it will be at least two years before I have to rationalise about money again.
Cerebus 137 - $2.25 USA - $2.75 CANADA - £1.25 U.K.
Cerebus High Society 11 - $2.00 USA - $2.25 CANADA - £1.10 U.K.
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