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Solicit Statistics for July 2010

DC
Number of $3.99 issues: 22
Percentage of DC’s periodicals: 24.2%

Marvel
Number of $3.99 issues: 70
Percentage of Marvel’s periodicals: 68%

Dark Horse
Number of $3.99 issues: 0
Percentage of Dark Horse’s periodicals: 0%

IDW
Number of $3.99 issues: 32
Percentage of IDW’s periodicals: 91.4%

Image
Number of $3.99 issues: 7
Percentage of Image’s periodicals: 27%

Above numbers do not include collections, variants,  or “magazines”. Only single issues, almost all of which are 48 pages or less. A 64-pager may have slipped in there somewhere.

Funnily enough, the majority of DC’s $3.99 singles are at least 40 pages. Marvel includes 40-48pp singles in the mix, but many $3.99 titles are merely 32pp. Dark Horse, meanwhile, is finding a happy middle ground at $3.50 for all but its most popular titles, which remain at $2.99. Only three IDW singles aren’t $3.99, and those are a $2 Parker prelude, a $7.99 Doctor Who annual, and a $9.99 Sam Keith sketchbook.

33 Comments

68% of Marvel’s books are $4 now?!? It doesn’t seem like that many, but then I haven’t been buying all the Siege titles or other stuff like that.
I can barely afford the stuff I’ve been buying. If they keep raising prices I’m going to have to get fewer titles.

Wow, way to go, Dark Horse! Image, too.

If I remember correctly, IDW started at $3.99 way back when, and used to get a lot of flack for it. Turns out they were just ahead of their time.

The only $3.99 book I care about is Thor – and why Matt Fraction is suddenly off it (or at least on hiatus – after one issue). Anyone have any insight?

This is a wonderful example of why I don’t buy IDW titles any longer. I’d probably pay $3.99 for my Dark Horse titles.

This is a good example of how Marvel is gouging comic book buyers. $3.99 for all those 32 page books is too much for me.

All the Marvel titles I drop frees me up for more DC titles, as DC is far better value right now.

@ Roman: what that’s about Fraction being off Thor? I was looking forward to his run

I think its crazier that Marvel is publishing more than 70 titles. Streamline those famiy lines. Yeesh

I only buy $3.99 issues if there’s actually more pages of story than a standard comic. So that pretty much rules out all of Marvel’s one-shots and mini-series. There’s been quite a few I would have happily bought at $2.99 that I’ve passed on.

I’m glad you’re doing this because I put some thought into starting something like this. It just shows how like waldorf said, DC is a lot better of a value right now and how much bullshit Marvel is pulling. I’ve bought significantly fewer titles from Marvel for some time now and more DC books.

To be honest, I find it a little more excusable with IDW. First, I’ll support a smaller publisher if it’s a really good book. Second, a lot of their books are licensed, which cost more (like Transformers). Maybe some don’t find that as good enough an excuse but Marvel doesn’t have a lot of good reason to keep raising prices.

It really seems like Marvel is ratcheting up towards all of their books being $4. I’m curious to see when it’ll happen though. I don’t think a book like Amazing Spider-Man can sustain that since its 3 times a month.

I remember when I paid 75 cents for the first issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths and I thought that was almost way too much for a comic. This is pretty much why I stopped buying new stuff off the rack and now stick to trades.

I love the secondary market!

I typically don’t spend more than 6-8 bucks per trade.

Generally, I think of price in terms relative to income. E.G., ‘Would I be happy if I spent an hour digging this hole and they gave me 3 comics?’ Probably not. ‘Would I be happy if they gave me two TPBs?’ Probably.

@TheDude: Marvel’s July solicits indicate that Kieron Gillen is returning to Thor along with Doug Braithwhite. It seems improbable that Fraction and Ferry need a fill-in just one issue into their run, so I don’t know what to think. I, too, was really looking forward to Fraction’s Thor, but its $3.99 price did conflict with my principles.

"O" the Humanatee!

April 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

A couple of further thoughts:

- A number of Marvel’s one-shots (or limited series) flesh their page counts up with reprints. It would make some sense to subtract those out to get a sense of how much new material is in the books. (Of course, there’s a subjective judgment there, since old material is new to anyone who hasn’t read it before, and some people enjoy the old material as much as the new.

- I fear that DC is gradually ratcheting up to Marvel’s proportion of $3.99 titles, letting Marvel take the hit for initial bad will toward the price increase. I’ve got no proof of that, of course.

"O" the Humanatee!

April 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I just realized I probably borrowed the term “ratcheted up” from O.’s post. However, we are not the same O.

@O

I agree about IDW costing more. The small publishers need to charge more to stay open.

Marvel on the other hand is the 400 LB gorilla. Now they are a greedy 400 LB gorilla. I am almost certain that Marvel will follow up with $4.50 or $4.99 40+ page books. Why not, if people will pay $3.99 for a 32 page one…

@”O” the Humanatee!

DC is not doing what Marvel is doing. DC still only charges $2.99 for their 32 page books. Heck, some upcomming Brightest Day books are 40 pages and still only $2.99. The vast majority of DC’s $3.99 books are the larger ones.

Number of comics I will pay $3.99 for: 0.

I can’t believe this is sustainable. But then I’m often surprised by how much people will pay for stuff. It saddens me a little, but I’m leaving my LCS for the world of ordering discounted trades on the interwebs.

Andrew Collins

April 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I bite the bullet and pay $3.99 for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man each month because I like it just that much, but I refuse to pay that price for any of their other books…

"O" the Humanatee!

April 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm

@waldorfTM: I’m probably being obnoxious, but you need to look up “ratcheting up” and maybe “fear” and “gradually.” I know what the situation is now – it’s what Bill just described. I’m concerned about what I worry DC will do in the future.

I think some people are confused. $3.99 is not the real problem. The problem is $3.99 for the 32 page books.

32 pages is the regular monthly issue size, and the size of a lot of mini series issues. DC is charging $2.99 for the vast majority of their 32 page books. Marvel is now charging $3.99 for many of their 32 page books. This is a 33% price increase! 33 freaking percent!

To make this worse, Marvel is charging their more popular 32 page books at this price. This can only be seen as gouging.

40 and 48 pages are the regular over size ones and usually sell for $3.99 from DC and Marvel. This is a fair price for the larger books. They require more art/writing/paper.

Again, the problem is Marvel ripping people off and charging them 33% more for their smallest book.

@”O” the Humanatee!

Fair enough, but you said “is”, as in present tense. You did not say “will be” in yout initial post. It is all good though. :)

I’d like to know what the average production cost of a DC title is compared to a Marvel title when talent cost is figured in.

jjc — Marvel regularly publishes around 100 comics a month.

Alan – yeah, they put out a lot of non-superhero books with their series based off stuff by current authors (King, etc) and illustrated classics, etc. But still, we could use 1 less X-book or Avengers.

i wonder how many comic readers are still Marvel zombies and buy things that they don’t really enjoy? That may be one reason that Marvel is comfortable charging more for less.

Also, i encourage comic readers to use a discount order service, especially for flopies. The service that i use gives a 35-50% break on flopies and trades. i have tried out several things for 1/2 cover that i may have passed up at my LCS.

i feel bad that i’m not giving my $ to my LCS, but if i did that, i wouldn’t buy nearly as many issues/tpb’s. i still buy back issues & other things at my LCS, but new stuff i don’t touch.

DFTBA

I started buying comics almost 40 years ago. As a kid I could afford a couple with my allowance. When I took on my first paper route, I could afford a bunch more. Exactly how do kids today afford even one comic book? I’m afraid these prices are eventually going to do in the entire genre.

It’s very simple for me: the more that comics cost, then the less comics I will buy. The $3.99 price also makes me less likely to start following a new series. I dig comics, and Marvel has current and upcoming titles I’m interested in, but I’m just not paying four bucks (and usually more in Canada) for a 32-page comic book.

I suppose we’ll see how this plays out. I’ve been enjoying “Amazing Spider-Man” for a while now, but I’ll have to reconsider buying it if they raise the price on that title as well… Can’t justify buying three issues a month of a single title at $3.99.

In defence of IDW, they do seem to have better quality paper and thicker covers, as well as almost no adverts (other than in-house ones). I still can’t afford to buy ‘em though.

I figure that I bought about 180 less Marvels this last year due to the price increase…. And I purchased somewhere around 60 more DCs due to their lessor cost (and I’ve enjoyed many of the gems that I found, as a result)….

Dark Horse and Image both publish comics at $2.99 with no ads and nice materials. Even the best of the best like Wizard of Oz, Detective Comics/Batwoman, and the upcoming Avengers book get hard to justify in comparison.

A few comments to a few people.

The problem with switching to collected editions is that they’re proving to be sometimes more expensive, especially at Marvel. Marvel often puts in extra issues/stories to bump up the price that are either unnecessary or undesirable. Also, Marvel and DC both put out the hardcover first. Now, that’s not inherently a bad thing; often, it’s good because if it’s something I’d really like in HC, I can get it right away. For the majority of titles though, I’d probably go with a softcover trade first and you have to wait a good extra while to buy that.

Related to that, I’m someone who likes to read most of my titles right away (not that I read everything on the Wednesday that it comes out but I at least like to have it in my possession). So, I pretty much have to go a LCS (which I enjoy) and it prohibits me from buying collections. I know that this is my problem but if you’re this type of reader, cost is a big factor and I don’t think anyone thinks what publishers like Marvel is doing is acceptable.

@s1rude:
This model isn’t sustainable. What’s even more troubling is at Marvel, new titles like the all-ages/kid-friendly Spider-Man book is priced at $4 from the get-go. Kids books should be priced at $2.50 at the most.

I have subscriptions directly from Marvel that drop the price to about 1.66 an issue. I still support my local shop, but paying $3.99 for Avengers or X-Men is a bit steep. I’m not sure why more people don’t just subscribe to Marvel directly.

Yeah, I have subscriptions too. They’re even cheaper when you renew. I use the comic book store for titles I only buy occasionally, and for limited series and stuff. I don’t understand why people don’t subscribe, either.

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