Comics Buyer's Guide, R.I.P.


The Comics Buyer's Guide, which has published continuously since 1971, will cease with its March issue. I haven't seen an official reason yet but I'd suspect Competition From the Internet as a pretty obvious one. Before there was a web, CBG was the first place to hear news of the industry. Now, it's just about the last. Its other main function — ads — has pretty much been usurped by the 'net, eBay especially.

I go way back with the publication, back to when it started as The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom, published by Alan Light in February, 1971. My then-partner Steve Sherman and I were, I believe, its first columnists. We did one in the fourth issue but never followed-up on it. I then became a columnist for them 23 years later in 1994 and quit in 2002. I thought at the time I was resigning because one of the publisher's staff members had been less than polite to me when I asked that my compensation be raised a penny per word so as to match another columnist's rate. In hindsight, I decided that was only my conscious reason. The sub-conscious one was that I'd been blogging more than a year by then and come to prefer the independence and immediacy of this medium.

When Alan ran it, the newspaper was a fine place to read ads and a few good articles but not much more than that. Still, at that price — free for the first years of its existence, darned cheap thereafter — it was a must-get for most of us in and around comics. In 1983, he sold it to Krause Publications, a firm which specialized in hobby-oriented material. Don and Maggie Thompson were hired to run it and the publication was quickly revamped into the central nervous system of the comic book field with timely news, opinions, articles on comic book history…and lots of ads. The ads never interested me much but I found other things to enjoy…and in every issue.

Since the Internet flourished, we've watched CBG shrink like Ray Palmer after a gastric bypass. I hardly know what to say about its termination except that this does not come as a surprise. I'll miss it…but then I've missed it the last few years as each issue arrives with fewer pages than the one before. It was a great thing in its day and I'm sorry that day is over.