Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Brief (and Incomplete) History of DC Price Increases

I originally wrote this as a comment over on a post by Johanna at Comics Worth Reading. Seeing as it's fairly substantial (and we're somewhat lacking in actual content at YACB lately) I figured it was worth posting here:

Most people remember the DC explosion/implosion (or at least have heard about it from us old-timers). The explosion was when they raised their prices from 35¢ to 50¢ and increased the story page count from 17 to 25 (and as previously noted, also added a bunch of titles). As we all know it bombed (for all sorts of reasons) and DC soon dropped the story page count back down to 17 and dropped the price to 40¢. So comics still cost more, you just didn’t get anything for the extra cost.

What many people forget is that just a few years later, DC once again raised their prices to 50¢ and added 8 more story pages (again, mostly through back-up stories, but within a few years the extra pages ended up become part of the main story); this time the increase worked and the price & page count stuck.

Later when they increased to 60¢, the story page count was increased to 27 pages!

Back in the day, an increase in price nearly always was accompanied by an increased in perceived value: either more pages, better quality paper, fewer ads, etc. Then as time went on, that value would be whittled away, until the next price increase and the cycle continued.

I see adding more pages with an accompanying price increase from $3 to $4 as being more tenable than Marvel’s “we’ll increase our prices to $4 on our top titles and you’ll smile and like it” approach. But then I’m probably sadly wrong…

No comments: