Eye on Comics

Comics criticism and commentary from Don MacPherson

When Love Turns to Greed

Posted by Don MacPherson on December 30th, 2016

I was pleased to find my local comics retailer stocked copies of Love Is Love, the softcover comics anthology aimed to benefit the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., earlier this year. I’d informed the manager of the shop that I’d be interested in a copy if his boss had ordered some. It turns out I was quite lucky to get my hands on it, as it’s selling out all over the place. It’s also rising quickly in the ranks of Amazon’s most popular books this week.

The project was spearheaded by comics writer Marc Andreyko, who managed and herded an inordinate amount of talent, and who even got DC Comics and IDW Publishing to facilitate the book’s publication. To call Love Is Love a success would be as major an understatement as referring to the mass shooting that sparked this creative reaction as a tragedy. It clearly brought out a lot from those involved – emotion, personal connections, generosity of time – not to mention what it evokes from and instills in those who read it and appreciate it. There’s a second printing on the way, and Andreyko noted on Facebook that there’s also a third printing in the works.

Sadly, it appears Love Is Love is something quite different out of others: profiteering. Given the book’s popularity and sellouts at various retail venues, it’s become somewhat challenging to get a copy. The first instance of someone trying to cash in on the popularity of the book popped up in my Facebook feed this evening. I belong to a couple of comics-selling groups on the social-media website, so it’s not unusual for me to scan past the occasional post touting the sale of the latest “hot” book. But seeing a listing for Love Is Love was jarring, mainly due to its status as a charitable effort. The seller was asking $50, shipping including, but was open to “reasonable offers.”

I immediately checked eBay, and I found numerous listings – auctions and buy-it-now options – for Love Is Love. Prices ranged from $20-$60, and that was just from a cursory search. One of the big selling points appeared to be that Love Is Love marks the first comics appearance of Harry Potter, illustrated by the popular Jim Lee, no less.

When reached for comment, Andreyko said it’s his hope that those selling the newly released book at inflated prices are donating the extra cash to charity.

“Making profit and price gouging on this honestly makes me sick. That is such bad karma. The creation of this book came from love and generosity, so to see people try and squeeze money from it is sad and thoroughly distasteful,” he told Eye on Comics.

Jeff Jensen, a comics writer, screenwriter and Entertainment Weekly critic who contributed to the book, told Eye on Comics he was dismayed to learn speculators were flipping copies of Love Is Love for a quick profit.

“Honestly, I don’t understand this aspect of the business. So maybe my reaction shouldn’t count for much. But it pains me that people might be taking advantage of this particular book to profit from it in scuzzball ways,” he said. “They should consider donating a percentage — or all of it — to the causes the comic supports. And more so than any other comic, this one shouldn’t live sealed in a plastic bag. It should be read and shared.”

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