Comic book industry analysts were shocked this morning to learn that the Marketplace Fairness Law, which received ceremonial support in the U.S. Senate on Friday, would affect comic book sales. The law allows states to charge sales tax for purchases made online, adding potentially tens of dollars to the coffers of state governments if it is applied to the sale of comics. It is designed to take away the price advantage online retailers hold over brick and mortar retailers, but neglects to address what really makes buying online so attractive: the ability to never leave one's house.
One digital comic buyer, Phil Sowerby of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, recounted his reaction to the news in an interview with The Outhouse. "When I first heard that I would soon have to pay the same taxes to buy from online retailers like Mile High Comics, DCBS, or even eBay, I decided to get ahead of the game and try shopping for some comics out in the real world," he told us. "It was scary, but exciting at the same time."
According to reports, Phil made it only a few feet outside his home before being frightened by his own shadow and scurrying quickly back into his basement. "I just feel safer down here," explained Phil. "I don't care if I have to pay taxes."
Phil's sentiment is shockingly prevalent amongst comic book readers. The affinity readers feel for the dark, musty environment of a basement has led to many physical comic retailers trying to replicate this atmosphere inside their shops. However, despite their best attempts, even uber-nerdy events like Magic the Gathering card tournaments often prove too social for most comic book readers.
"In 1997, there was a confirmed sighting of a girl in my local comic shop," reported Scott Bataglia, a reader from Dayton, OH. "We don't know if she bought anything, if she planned to return, or if she had entered mistakenly, thinking it was a JC Penney, but I haven't gone back since regardless. It was difficult at first, as the web was not as well designed or easy to navigate back then, but I managed. Nowadays, the entire internet, with the exception of Ain't It Cool News, has advanced to a point where it's easier to find and purchase comics online than it is to go to a store and thumb through the back issue bins."
As for the publishers, most seem to be in favor of the bill. "We would actually prefer even stronger measures against consumers," said Dan Didio, head honcho of DC Comics, in this fictional quote. "Regulating where they buy is a good first step, but we'd like Congress to regulate what they buy as well. For instance, we could use higher sales on Phantom Stranger and Stormwatch, and Green Lantern Corps could use a boost to make up for that whole John Stewart controversy from last week."
While the Marketplace Fairness Act was supported by most in Fridays budget negotiations, it will still need to be passed as a bill and signed into law, which may not happen for months, since Congress likes to take three month vacations after doing any kind of work. Regardless, their support sends a strong message to big business, namely, "we like money." The Outhouse will keep you updated on future developments from the comfort of our computer chairs inside our moms' basements.
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