DC Comics Rolls Back Prices… I Think Hell Just Froze Over
Pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming! DC Comics drop prices on $3.99 titles; moves to $2.99 price point for ongoing comic book series!
Here is a relevant quote from the press release:
“As Co-Publishers, we listened to our fans and to our partners in the retail community who told us that a $3.99 price point for 32 pages was too expensive. Fans were becoming increasingly reluctant to sample new titles and long term fans were beginning to abandon titles and characters that they’d collected for years.” said Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “We needed a progressive pricing strategy that supports our existing business model and, more importantly, allows this creative industry to thrive for years to come. With the exceptions of oversized comic books, like annuals and specials, we are committed to a $2.99 price point.”
Wow. I’m struggling to add anything to DiDio’s comments. He really covered all the bases. You don’t often get to see a happy story like this.
DC had to cut two pages per issue to do it, but that’s fine with me. It will teach comic writers brevity. In the era of decompressed storytelling, having less pages isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the old days, comic writers could tell amazing complete tales in just eight pages. Gail Simone was quoted during the New York Comic Con as saying she doesn’t think the price drop and pay drop with affect the writing at all. I’m not sure if there is a general pay drop for DC writers or if the pay drop is simply a function of being paid per page written.
Bravo, DC. Bravo. Now it’ll be interesting to see how Marvel responds. They’ve insisted over and over that sales haven’t slipped due to the price increase. This should be fun to watch.
4 thoughts on “DC Comics Rolls Back Prices… I Think Hell Just Froze Over”
If Marvel was smart, they’d adopt the flat $2.99 without dropping two pages, just to stick it to DC.
If Marvel was smart.
I agree, it is good news. It probably will not mean a net increase in the number of books I buy, though — but at least it will be a slightly smaller total bill!
Yes, this is great news, but I’m not sure it will be enough. There was a lot of frustration — even anger — when prices jumped to $3.99, and I fear the habit might already be broken for a lot of readers and collectors. I know it has been for me. It was the first time in my 30+ years of buying comics that a price increase made me stop buying certain titles; they just didn’t meet the necessary entertainment-bang-for-the-buck ratio. It’s been a year or so since I dropped a bunch of titles and I’ve found I haven’t miss them. More money for Bronze Age back issues! Still, it might work, especially if either of the Big Two publishers can break free of the event mentality that makes their lines almost impenetrable to the casual reader (but that’s a whole other story, isn’t it?)
One other thought on this: It will be interesting to see how this plays out between the Big Two publishers. The last time they really danced with price decreases following a big increase was during the early Bronze Age, and Marvel’s deft handling of the situation allowed them to surpass DC to become market leader — and they’ve never looked back. I doubt the stakes are that high this time — their dueling digital comics initiatives are likely to have more to say about the future of the two companies than print prices — but there could still be some interesting fallout.