Friday, March 13, 2009

Supersizing Comics

There's been a bit of back and forth in the comics world ever since DC announced that they were adding Blue Beetle and Ravager backups to a couple of books -- and raising the price.

I think everybody (including me) knew that price hikes were coming. It's inevitable, what with inflation and this economy. But what I didn't expect was to actually get something for that extra dollar.

It's a calculated risk, of course. But it's one that really has to be taken. As much as I love monthly floppies I worry sometimes that they've been stagnating. Not in the sense that "everybody will just read trades." I don't think you can do that with comics -- at least not the kind of comics I like. The serlialized nature of the medium is one of the big pluses for me. I'll never give up the weekly grind if I have anything to say about it.

But $2.99 for twenty-two pages has been a forced industry standard for far too long. There's no reason why the page count can't go up (along with the price). I think the people who read comics these days are certainly different from those who used to. By and large, comic readers (and we're talking mostly about superheroes here) are not kids with just a little pocket money. They are adults -- people with jobs and disposable income.

Now, they're going to make choices about what the spend their money on, no question. It'll come down to going to a movie versus picking up a comic book. But I wouldn't imagine that a higher price -- as long as you're getting something for that price -- is going to drive down sales a huge amount.

Indeed, the extra content may even bring some people aboard who might otherwise stay away. Clearly DC has noted Blue Beetle and Ravager as popular characters -- though perhaps not characters popular enough to hold solo titles. So they receive backups that could entice fans of those characters to pick up Booster Gold and Teen Titans.

In the end, we're going to have to wait for sales figures to see what happens. Will the backups quickly disappear and the prices drop? Or will bigger, more expensive books be the wave of the future for superhero comics? Time will tell...

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At 11:10 AM, Blogger Saranga said...

I thin this increasing the page count thing is a great idea. Any easy way to get extra exposure to my favourite characters is bound to be good!

At 11:56 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

I'm just glad to be able to read about Blue Beetle, and even better, his outstanding supporting cast. At least I hope so. I don't mind so much the price raise, if there is more content.


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