When it comes to choosing retailers for regular comic buying, the local comic shop has always been the hallmark. It still is in many ways as we can see the 2015 numbers showing that new stores are starting to crop up and dealers tend to be doing well. People often go to the stores for a personal feel, subscription boxes, and a little conversation, but this is often the most expensive way to go about it. For many people, going online is a matter of affordability, and it can be what actually allows you to keep up your monthly titles. In recent years a lot of Internet comic retailers have popped up, but Discount Comic Book Service has risen closely to the top. This is a fully earned position in that DCBS has made itself a presence all over comic book media (I first heard about them through their sponsorship of the Comic Geek Speak podcast), and there deals are legendary.
The first thing that you are going to notice about DCBS is the prices. They seem to have the largest discounts available for new and pre-order books, where 40% off seems almost like a standard for them. This extends to a massive list of pre-order comics from the major two and all the Indies, and the value just go up from there. When it comes to sales items, which often include rare variants and recent issues, you can see the discount climb well above 50%.
Where you really start to see the savings is going to be with their bundles. These are new every month, with some common ones being bundles of multiple Vertigo titles, DC kids bundles, and different bundles based on event releases or multiple covers of first issues. An example of this would be the recent DC Convergence bundle, both available for the standard covers or for the variant covers, which clock in at under $80 for bundles including all 40 tie-in first issues. This is a 50% savings, and a way to justify jumping head first into an event. Even if you want to pick and choose from this event, you are still going to save 40% on each title. This has also been great for those who want an entire run of variant covers, such as DC’s monthly variants, with a recent bundle including all of DC’s move variant covers. They also have DCBS exclusive covers, and you can go pretty far into the future to get a lot of variant covers.
Their unique sales often come through their partnership with their other companies, namely In-Stock Trades. This means that you will often see deals like “50% off all Marvel and DC trade paperbacks” for that month, or unique specific trades getting an even larger discount. This means that you can really splurge, and don’t have to worry about trying new things out as much since it is not going to break the bank. They also offer other types of discounts, such as digital comics through Comixology and a special 8% off discount for first time users from a Comic Geek Speak code.
DCBS positions itself as a monthly comic book subscription service where you can set up your books through pre-order and then receive them weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the shipping schedule you set. This is a great option, and packaging is always well done and you will not be risking damage to your books. It is this format, however, that often causes a bit of an issue. There have often been slightly late books, and if you want in-stock items you may end up waiting quite a while before your books ship. This is more true for people who come in and out of purchases from DCBS because then your order system may be irregular, but it does mean that you could end up behind. They list themselves as shipping every Wednesday, but this was not my experience and there are several books I have waited for longer than I preferred. The shipping is very affordable however, which may end up being a part of the slow shipping period.
Likewise, while they have a good selection, it doesn’t go very far back. You aren’t going to see a massive selection of older books or a ton of diversity further back. What this really all plays together on is that DCBS is less of just an online comic shop and more of a real “service” in that it is great to do regular pre-orders and receive regular shipments of your monthly books. It is easy to look forward with DCBS, but go somewhere else for back issues and trade selection. Their shipping system is also one of the more confusing I have ever seen. It is often difficult to see when a specific shipment is actually going to go out and what is in the process of being filled and what is coming up. You basically need to be open to the idea that you are going to make an order and hopefully it arrives within a vague period of time.
All in all DCBS stands out for the prices and the ease of pre-orders, but you are going to need to not mind a little wait sometimes. Their customer service system is very lacking in that you cannot talk to anyone directly, and instead have to just email. That being said, they are very reliable and you can depend on them to get your books. They have a good selection of recent books and their deals are what are going to allow you to really keep that regular reading up. A great place for pre-orders, and a retailer everyone should try!