Are Modern Comics Too Expensive?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Tim Crowley, Nov 8, 2019.

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  1. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lyndonville, VT
    News came out this week that DC Comics are raising their prices to $7.99 for comic.

    I already thought they were too expensive at $3.99 per; Does this move mean the American comic book is in a death spiral? Maybe not for Marvel, but for DC(the inventor of the 20th century comic book), I say yes.

  2. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs.

    Atlanta, GA, USA
    HA! I got irritated when they went from 12cents to 15 and more or less stopped buying then.
  3. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Since I clearly remember the days when I was a kid and would walk over to the Tic Toc or Stop N Go Market to buy a DC Batman or Superman comic book for 12 cents, yes, they are too expensive!
    MoonPool likes this.
  4. Slackhurst Broadcasting

    Slackhurst Broadcasting Forum Resident

    For the last twenty years people have been saying that the traditional comic book was a dead format that was going to disappear soon. Yet it's still there.

    NB that DC's new books aren't the standard format, they have more pages and are larger sized. The rumour is that they're going to do a New 52-style relaunch with new versions of the characters and those will still be published in standard format, while the "canonical" versions of the heroes will carry on under the Black Label imprint in the larger format, more expensive books. Sounds to me like a recipe for disaster.
  5. JakeKlas

    JakeKlas Impatiently waiting for an 8-track revival

    United States
    Are you saying that’s per issue?

    I know their monthly DC Unlimited is $7.99 a month. I subscribed to that because I want to go back and read old comics.

    I bailed out of buying comics off the rack back when they went to $1 an issue. While I’m not big on comics anymore, I do find a sub to DC Unlimited is a nice blast from the past when I’m in the mood.
    Chris DeVoe likes this.
  6. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lyndonville, VT
    Yes, per issue.
  7. JakeKlas

    JakeKlas Impatiently waiting for an 8-track revival

    United States

    When I was a teen, there was a comic book store in my town that became a great place to hang out and talk about comics. Kind of like Cheers, but for comic fans. They’d pull stuff for you and keep it behind the counter so you wouldn’t miss whatever was important to you. I was probably pulling about 30 comics a month. And even at about $1 each (give or take), it was stretch on my teen-age budget.

    $7.99 each would drive me out of comics all together. I joined DC Unlimited when they started and paid $75 for the year, mainly to get old issues and that’s been good enough for me.
  8. will_b_free

    will_b_free Forum Resident

    Boulder, CO
    Do most people wait for the trade paperbacks anyway?
  9. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lyndonville, VT
    I do.
    Simon A likes this.
  10. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    There was a crash caused by the relentless release of special editions/covers, crossovers, and the dilution of the known characters. In no small part was the role a price hike played back then.

    My guess is though the movie industry is thriving with all these licensed projects, the comic book industry per se will likely suffer another crash in the not so distant future.
  11. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I started actively reading and collecting comics in 1975 when they had just changed to 30 cents for a 32-page comic, which is still the page count (including those for ads) for a standard comic book. I ran that amount through a Inflation Calculator and in September of this year it equals $1.42. I do think that standard comics have become too expensive with the current regular comics from DC going for $3.99 and it is driving away potential fans.

    Another factor is competition from manga. With many manga titles you will pay a bit more per book but you will get books that have page counts of more than 150. I'm currently reading a series called Cells At Work! and while each book costs about $12.99 they have a page count of more than 150 pages.

    Concerning the $7.99 comics, that is the cost of comics released under DC's Black Label imprint. There are a number of differences between the standard comics and the Black Label imprint comics. Among them (the following is based on a Harleen - Book Two [which features an enhanced version of the origin for Harley Quinn] that I just purchased):
    • Standard Comics are 6.5" by 10.25", while Black Label comics are 8.5" by 10.75"
    • The page count of a regular comic is 32 internal pages with ads, while the Black Label comic has 60 internal pages with no ads.
    • Black Label comics use much thicker and higher-quality paper, the internal pages are thicker than the covers on regular comics, and the covers are in thick card stock.
    • The stories are aimed at an adult audience.
    This isn't the first time that DC tried different levels of comics. At one point they released Baxter Edition comics, which were more expensive but had few to no ads, and had higher quality paper (the paper was actually white instead of being newsprint colored white). For a time they used a hardback/paperback type system for their most popular titles (New Teen Titans and Legion Of Super-Heroes) were they would release the new issues in a Baxter Edition, and then reprint them in a standard edition 1 year later.

    To sum up, I do think that comics have become too expensive for the casual reader. Someone might pay $2.00 for a comic book but would likely balk at a $4.00 or $5.00 price tag. Plus, comics are often only available in comic book shops and in book stores, rather than on grocery/convenience store comic racks like it was when I started collecting (then it was my only source for comics when I started collecting).
  12. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I think another factor are the reboots and continuity alterations that are continually happening. When I started reading and collecting, comics had a fairly simple and straight-forward continuity. Although there was some issues it was fairly easy to follow. As an example, I could easily follow and understand the entire DC Pre-Crisis Continuity but I couldn't follow the X-Men because of how confusing it had become.

    However, now things have become so confusing that I can't follow it anymore. Every time I start to get a handle on things, everything changes once again. At this point, I've lost my enthusiasm. I started to get a little bit back with the release of the first issue of Doomsday 2017. Now, I'm just waiting for the last issue (of 12)...which hasn't been released yet (we hope that it will finally be released in December) so it can be over.
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    The same as soap-operas and sports. At some point, when it becomes too much work for the audience to be interested, you lose parts of it.

    Personally, I stopped with the comic book stuff when I was in my early 20s but I do remember all too well there were a handful of Spider-Man series alone, a couple of X-Men ones, a bunch of Superman and Batman. Back then, I thought it was just ridiculous and it more than helped kill my interest in continuing. I figured "What's the point? The product's diluted and going in every which direction" and it just frankly felt directionless. No logic or ground rules applied for anything. In one series, some guy might be an ally but in another in the same time period, he's a foe because of some of kind of technicality like it's happening in another dimensions or some other nonsense.

    I recognized some of the storytelling to be compelling to a degree but even when restricting yourself to a one or two series, you'll read publications, websites, or other readers discuss elements pertaining to the same characters you're sticking with which are wholly confusing or (in the context of what one is currently reading) nonsensical.

    It probably makes business sense to do what they do but as someone who once enjoyed the product, I find it goes against what I personally liked about the experience.
  14. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    There isn't really any such thing as casual comics readers anymore, except for people who might buy an Archie digest at the grocery store. Comics are a niche product for a small but dedicated group of hardcore fans, and are priced accordingly. If they were able to sell more copies of each issue, they would likely be cheaper. It's analogous to record companies making $100+ super deluxe edition sets of albums.

    Personally, I have no interest in modern superhero comics. The "decompressed" style of writing means you get about five minutes' worth of entertainment per issue, or maybe ten minutes if you take really long pauses to look at the pictures. Too little text and too little happening in an issue to make it worth the price.
    Byrdsmaniac and Veni Vidi Vici like this.
  15. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    $7.99!!?? Sheesh, I used to get 'em for a dime! 10 for a buck! I remember how outraged I felt when they went to $.12 which meant I could only get 8!;)
    rebellovw likes this.
  16. AirJordanFan93

    AirJordanFan93 Forum Resident

    Funny, Given how popular general comic culture has been over the last 10 years or so.
  17. johnod

    johnod Forum Resident

    Seems ridiculous to me.
    Don't actual paperback books start around that price?
  18. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Traditional paper thin color comics should return to ( at least ) a $ buck per issue.
  19. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
    That must be DC Dash Uber Uber delivered.
  20. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Lyndonville, VT
    The only books I buy now are the Marvel Facsimilie Editions; Where else can you get a brand-new copy of Fantastic Four #1?

    My main interest is 60s-70s comics. Thus, I buy Marvel Essentials trade paperbacks, & other TPBs.
    Motorcity supernaut likes this.
  21. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    One type of comic book I like are the nine-panel-page comics, which was used in Watchman. Each page has nine panels arranged in a three by three pattern. This forces writers to tell much more story to fill all those panels. It also surprises you when a page departs from the nine-by-nine format.

    For a time, Legion Of Super-Heroes went with the same format and each issue told a lot of story. Among the biggest surprises is that in issue #36 you turned the page and see the Earth literally blow up* in one-panel on two pages. That gave it a much stronger impact.

    *Short story: Centuries early a massive amounts of chemical waste were dumped far below the planet's surface, were it rotted. During the last war, someone ignited the waste and it caused the planet to explode. They got as many people off the planet as possible, but 3/5th of the people died in the planet's explosion. Only 92 cities (which had propulsion systems that allowed them to lift off the planet) survived.
  22. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident


    I wait 'til the collections
    come out, and check them
    out of the library.
  23. profholt82

    profholt82 Resident Blowhard

    West Michigan
    This is not true. Standard monthly comic books are 3.99 per issue. Occasionally, there are special issues which may be priced as high as 7.99, but these are generally one offs that are much longer than the standard length. I'm assuming the OP got confused when he came across a special issue like this. But all standard length monthly comic books are 3.99.

    Also, it should be said that there are numerous facsimile issues that come out each month for between 1 and 3 dollars per issue. These are usually reprints of older issues.
  24. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Bonn, Germany
    Please get informed before spreading misinformation.
  25. Frangelico

    Frangelico Forum Resident

    Source please - is this for standard issues or large format ? I don’t buy comics and $3.99 is still too high for a regular issue, IMHO, but retract this if false.
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