The Big News, or: Why can’t I ever be happy?

While I’m fairly certain nobody from Marvel or DC has read my heavily documented case against escalating cover prices, it appears that the publishers have been listening to the cries of the community that comics are getting too expensive.  (There’s even a Facebook group for it.)

On Thursday DC announced (followed hours later by Marvel) that all of their 32 page books would stay at or drop to $2.99, and their 40 page books with backup features would drop the backup and move to $2.99 as well.  Great news! 

Well, except for one thing: DC also announced that their 32 page comics would be dropping across the board from 22 to 20 story pages*.  I think that there’s a strong case to be made that this is a line-wide price HIKE.  Creators are paid for 2 less pages, DC gets the ad revenue for two more pages, and prices stay the same.  We’re paying the same amount of money but for less content.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens to production quality.

I’m trying hard not to be the world’s biggest cynic, but I’m not necessarily convinced that this is the boon for fans that we think it is.

* No word on this from Marvel yet.
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One comment on “The Big News, or: Why can’t I ever be happy?

  1. Saint Walker says:

    The price drop for some titles seems like a good thing. The two fewer pages of content is a shame, but I can live with it. The loss of the backup features breaks my heart, though. Superboy preview incident notwithstanding, I love those things.

    Sure, they may not be the most exciting stories, but they’re still enjoyable. Plus, they help soften the blow of coming to the end of the comic. You’re reading the main story, it’s getting good, and — bam! — “to be continued.” Suddenly realising you have to wait another month to read on, you turn the page ready to make do with reading the letter from the editor. But what’s this?! Another story? Woohoo! It’s like finding that one last present that was hiding under the Xmas tree when you thought you’d opened them all.

    I seriously doubt they’re going to publish stories like that without the main features, though. It’s like those ’60s cartoons. You’re probably not going to tune in to a half hour of Mr. Peabody, but if it comes on during Rocky & Bullwinkle, you’re gonna watch it. And guess what? You usually end up enjoying it. It’s a well-told story that just needs a little sales pitch. Plus, it gives the writers a chance to focus more on characters that might not get a lot of — what’s the comic equivalent of screen time? page time? — without necessarily imposing on the main storylines where it might not flow organically. And without having to add ten more titles just because you have too many characters in one group.

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