I wish I were the not-a-monopoly of something. Then I could totally mess with people by withholding information that is pretty straightforward, too. Turns out comics do have to have UPCs on them, which makes sense now that I think about it because an ISSN is a number that identifies an entire series, not the individual issues, and thus not appropriate for tracking stock.
The UPC requirement means that publishers who do not already GS1 membership have to pay $750 to get a vendor ID number and start putting those barcodes on comics! (Seems they can be put on the front or back cover... actually the letter doesn't specify that it does have to be on the cover, but we'll assume that's the best place for it.) Trade paperbacks and graphic novels have to have ISBNs, which are $275 for ten. Now, let's all sit back and watch the small publishers fall. Anyone care to adapt the R.E.M. lyrics to fit this grim occasion?