Are You Ready to Pay $3.99 Per Monthly Comic?
In case you hadn’t noticed, the price of your monthly comics has been creeping up. For the past few years, monthly comics from Marvel & DC have cost $2.99 each. Rumors have been floating around about a price increase on the horizon. Well, Marvel is starting to move up. For example, both New Avengers and Dark Avengers are already priced at $3.99 with no additional pages added. Most of Marvel’s new limited series are also priced at $3.99. Both companies have been using the $3.99 price for a while on extra-sized comics (usually with an additional 8-pages), but the 22-page comics had remained $2.99 until now. It’s worth noting that only Marvel has announced the price increase on 22-page comics at this time. But don’t be fooled, both companies tend to match prices. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until DC catches up.
Just a couple quick thoughts about this price increase:
- I realize that paper prices are increasing. I deal with the increasing expense of paper every day in my job. However, did Marvel really need to raise the price a whole dollar? Couldn’t they have just gone to $3.25 or even $3.50? $3.99 is a lot to pay for 22 pages of story – that’s 18 cents per page. It’s quite possible Marvel has exceeded the threshold people are willing to pay for a monthly comic.
- Marvel is being inconsistent about the price increase. Some 22-page comics remain $2.99, while others have been moved up to $3.99. The only 22-page monthly comics at $3.99 so far are: Dark Avengers, New Avengers, Spider-Woman, Hulk, and Punisher (Max series). Why the difference in pricing? Why is one comic more expensive than another? Are they charging more for Bendis comics because they can get away with it?
Just a quick history lesson on price increases. Here are the past few price increases, showing how much of an increase and when they happened. I used Uncanny X-Men cover dates for this example:
- June 2000 went from $1.99 to $2.25
- August 2005 went from $2.25 to $2.50
- June 2006 went from $2.50 to $2.99
Some people have suggested that the “Big Two” should just drop the monthly comics and move to a trade paperback-only industry. While that’s an interesting thought, neither of the “Big Two” is currently structured in such a way to support change like this. From what I’ve heard, the monthly comics are paying the bills, while the trade industry is where the profit is. As it stands right now, they can’t afford to pay their bills without the monthlies.
While only a handful of regular-sized comics are $3.99, it’s likely that Marvel & DC will begin to price all their regular-sized comics at that price. So you gotta ask yourself, is $3.99 too much to pay for monthly 22-page comic? I’m starting to think it might be.