DC Drops Page Count, Prices
DC Comics announced today that they will be cutting almost 10% of their editorial content from their ongoing books while at the same time standardizing the cover price at $2.99.
Their innovative 40 page format, where the reader received a second feature in addition to the lead, is being abandoned.
This is your classic “good news / bad news” situation. DC decided $3.99 was too expensive for a pamphlet containing 22 pages of story. Seeing as how their line had been split between $2.99 titles and $3.99, they’re moving to $2.99 across the board but, in the process, dropping two pages of story. This might come as a relief to artists who have a difficult time producing 22 pages each month and it certainly will be a boon to readers and retailers – with one dramatic exception.
For quite a while, comic book stories were 20 pages. They simply weren’t as interesting as the 22, 24 and 27/28 pagers that followed. Since comic book stories are far less dense today then they were back then, even less will be going on in each individual issue. Historians will note that the 20 page story was only a stopping point on the way down to 17 page stories.
Writers are particularly screwed. Plotting a 20 page story takes just as much time and energy as plotting a 22 pager, and writing two fewer pages of dialog saves every little time indeed. Since they can’t sell two page stories, their monthly income will go down noticeably.
In a press release, co-publisher Dan DiDeo said “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.”
About that “allows this creative industry to thrive for years to come” part? We sure hope he’s right about that, and sincerely wish DC the best with this new strategy.
As long as the page count doesn’t become the proverbial slippery slope.