Until the financiapocalypse, the bargain bin was known more for the final resting place of "Tales of G.I. Joe" variant covers than real deals. Not anymore. Now the recession special's the name of the Comic-Con game. Here's seven ten-buck deals.

Calling a comic book purchase a "deal" is sort of an anathema to me. I love comic books — more importantly I love certain comics. The value to me is less in the potential for monetary transaction as it is for the potential for enjoyment. Still, we understand where people are coming from in these trying fiscal times we live in.

That's why we approached every comic book retailer at the San Diego Comic Con to ask for their best recession specials. Some comic book guy-like owners, like Scott Hudlow, the owner of Scott Hudlow Comics of Bakersfield, CA, told us he didn't need no stinkin' value meal for his customers, claiming "there's 100,000 potential customers out there in front of me, why do I need a deal to get them to buy. What value is there in that for me?" He then proceeded to show me his 50% off trade paperback rack.


Others are taking different tacks. The proprietor of What's Hot Comics & Cards had hidden in his dollar-per-issue bargain bins a plethora of $15/$20 silver age comics to entice value-hungry collectors. So, there are certainly deals to be had in San Diego this weekend. To see the seven deals we found, click the next button over at the right to start by seeing how we determined what's a deal.

Almost every retailer on the floor has some kind of a bargain in their booth because, hey, comic shop owners have to keep themselves stocked with nuke-able burritos and rent money — and if the kiddies have less to spend, then they've got to keep pace. Which is how we've created the rules for these "deals." I've put myself in the just-dropped-off-at-the-door laces-untied shoes of a twelve-year-old kid who's been given ten bucks by his or her parents. That ten dollars is a lot of money because his or her dad just lost his job at the GM/Toyota/Tesla plant so he or she wants to get the biggest bang for the buck from a personal as well as a financial value perspective.


But basically the rule is how much can this kid get for ten dollars. Let's find out.

Retailer: Coastline Comics
Booth #: 1137
What You Get:
• Stephen King's Dark Tower: Treachery #1-#5
• Stephen King's Dark Tower: Long Road Home #1-#5
eBay Total Value: $40.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: Although the cover price may say you're getting a deal here at $40 for ten books, we've got to say there's probably some better books out there. Still, at least it's the entire storyline, so the kid will feel fulfilled. But although the financial value's high, but the kid's probably better off just reading King's books instead.

Retailer: Major Comics
Booth #: 531
What You Get:
• Hellblazer #2
• Saga of the Swamp Thing #29
• The Thing #1
• Spawn #8
• Silver Surfer #2
eBay Total Value: $25.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: At $25, this deal's in the middle of the financial value range. There's also a nice variety of books here with some interesting storylines. I'd have to say this is a nice way to get a kid hooked on a couple new books. Not too shabby for any retailer to be doing at Comic-Con.

Retailer: What's Hot Comics & Cards
Booth #: 708
What You Get:
• Patsy & Hedy #108
• Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #1
• Daredevil #100C
• Dark Horse Comics #7
• Adventures of Superman #500
eBay Total Value: $72.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: Huge financial value, but who wants to read "Patsy & Hedy?" Also, a bagged copy of Adventures of Superman #500? He'll never be able to read it without opening it first! There goes that financial value. Well, at least $4.00 of it.

Retailer: Comic Age Entertainment
Booth #: 1343
What You Get:
• Batman: The Cult #1-#4
eBay Total Value: $25.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: Another middle of the range financial value deal, but again, at least you're getting the full story line here so the kid'll feel fulfilled with his purchase on the way home. Also, although the subject matter's a bit on the older side, we think we could have handled it at twelve and most kids probably can too.

Retailer: Superworld Comics
Booth #: 5318
What You Get:
• Fantastic Four #176
• Fantastic Four #71
eBay Total Value: $22.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: This is one of the retailers who may not have understood the question well enough. Yes, we get two comic books that'll probably rise in financial value over the next ten years, but the kid's going to be bored before he even gets back to the minivan.

Retailer: Graham Crackers Comics
Booth #: 5316
What You Get:
• Strange Tales #161
• Captain America #123
eBay Total Value: $24
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: Same problem here. Who thinks a kid wants a story about Dr. Strange? I mean, there's a reason he lost his book so many times. Just sayin'. Still, it's two high-value (for a kid) books. Hard to beat that.

Retailer: Torpedo Comics
Booth #: 815
What You Get:
• Iron Man #250 - #260
eBay Total Value: $30.00
Your Price: $10.00
Ray's Comic Deal Value Scale: Torpedo Comics basically told us they think the best value's any ten comics in a series for ten bucks. Smart idea — you get a lot of books for a little price and you've got reading material for the next two car rides. True, the financial value isn't that high, this one smacks of a retailer making an effort to give the kiddies what they want.