A few more details are emerging about DC’s new line of 100 page giant monthlies being created exclusively for Walmart stores.
The Beat has been told the following information is being floated around backchannels:
There will only be 12 pages of new content per issue (with 100 pages and 3 reprints, that leaves plenty of space for ads).
They’re not planning on digital editions, not even of the new material (though one supposes that could always change).
This 100% being spun as general audience outreach – and that may well be straight up truth, not merely spin. Word is they’ll be highlighting and pushing the Comic Shop Locator in advertisement in the comics. So effectively, this is combination of 1) getting a newsstand presence back and 2) an attempt to advertise the rest of the line to that potential newsstand audience.
If you’re sitting there saying “but there aren’t any DM shops close to a lot of those Walmarts,” I’d agree. For a lot of that newsstand audience, any advertising is going to be for mail order / digital / tpb special orders from a bookstore (although there’s not always a bookstore particularly close). There’s a serious country mouse / city mouse dynamic to this when compared to the Direct Market.
And really, this is why Walmart distribution is such a fascinating experiment. On the whole, it should be audience expansion, but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. Marvel didn’t continue their $5 tpb experiment from a few years back, so we can’t really make any assumptions on how this will perform.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.