Archies Monkees Cover May Be Super Exclusive Because They Can’t Ship Correctly

The Archies #4 exclusive variant cover

Last month, I ordered one of the “limited to 1000 pieces” “exclusive” “collectible” covers to The Archies #4 from (which is run by Warner Music).

I was heavily disappointed by what I got. They dropped the comic into a cardboard mailer with no other protection. The result was a book with numerous spine creases, a scrape mark across the front cover, and a half-inch tear on the back cover. Even if I only cared about the cover art, the scraping ruined that. (And I can’t figure out how shipping caused the tear, which suggests to me that they may have ripped it putting it into the envelope.)

The Archies #4 exclusive variant cover

That was a shame, that given the poor shipping practices, I probably wasn’t going to get a good condition copy of this comic I was looking forward to. (The two things that brought KC and I together were comics and the Monkees, so this was kind of a big deal for us.) Then I realized that Warner wanted me to pay return shipping in order to get my money back, even though the damaged item was totally their fault. In other words, they want me to end up losing money because of their mistake.

It’s strange, because we’ve ordered other things from, and they usually take excessive care, to the point of missing shipping dates if they can’t get the packaging right, or sending out hundreds of replacement boxes because they got dinged in shipping. I guess they pay a lot more attention to a $60 CD set than a $10 comic, or maybe they figure the comic customers aren’t worth worrying about.

They’re still sending out email ads trying to get people to pay $10 for this “exclusive”. Here’s a warning: don’t risk your money, because you won’t get what you want or what they’re promising.

On the other hand, if by some miracle you get an undamaged version, it may end up being a lot more exclusive than expected, since so many of them will have been messed up in shipping.

Update: After filing a complaint with their site customer service (email only, no phone) and a PayPal claim, Warner refunded my money in full without my having to return the damaged issue. Which is the best possible option, other than them doing a recall and reshipping properly.


  • Stan

    Are they sending a replacement?

  • No, but I just updated the post with the conclusion: They gave me a full refund after I complained.

  • Jeff

    Sorry this happened to you. I ordered two copies, and they arrived in great condition with no problems. Are you sure that this is a widely experienced problem or is this something that may have just happened to you?

  • It’s always a gamble when you’re sending collectible items through the mail with minimal protection. I’m glad to hear yours arrived with no issues. I also suspect that many of the customers aren’t comic fans, and so aren’t aware of the details of condition that a long-time collector would be concerned about.

  • Jeff

    Certainly true. I am both a Monkees fan and a comic book collector, so I was very excited when I saw the announcement for this. Understanding your disappointment in what you received, I can tell you the Warner/Rhino/The Monkees have been extremely responsive to quality issues like this in the past. When I ordered the 50th anniversary DVD box set and there was a packaging issue, they responded quickly and sent out new packaging right away. What I think is unfair here (and I don’t personally know how many people had a similar delivery issue to what you had, and I don’t think that you do either) is that you wrote this article out of anger before your issue was addressed, and now others are retweeting the article, which is how I found it. Adding the post-script at the end doesn’t take away from the power of your headline. I thought the packaging envelope was sturdy and adequate for the two comics that I received, and I would happily order from them again.

  • Yes, I’m angry at a return policy that requires me to lose money (by having to pay return shipping) when I receive a damaged article that was not well-packed. I will certainly think twice before ordering from Warner/Monkees again because of that clause hidden in their help files. In this case, to return a $10 comic, I would have been out $2-3, or 25% of the cost, for nothing, if they hadn’t made an exception. (And it’s because I knew of their exceptional history handling packing issues that I was shocked at how this product was handled.)

    Shipping a “collectible” “exclusive” comic (their words, which set expectations) without even a bag and board or protective sleeve is not industry standard. I wanted to make sure prospective customers (since they were continuing to advertise the item through a new promotional email sent on the day I received it) knew what they were going to get, so they could decide whether the gamble was worth the risk. How is communicating my experience, and my opinion on their poor shipping methods, “unfair”? I’m sure the giant media company will still sell all their 1,000 issues at $10/pop with no problems regardless of whether I rated their process poorly.

  • Don Jack

    I experienced the same as Johanna. I ordered two copies, both were in much less than collectible condition. No response from Warner about returns or exchanges. It’s obvious for the price these were not the typical read and toss comic books. Very sad that we can’t get good quality copies shipped out.

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