DC’s sudden announcement of digital codes as a bonus in comics priced at $3.99 seems to be a clear dig at Marvel’s dropping this bonus. However, in subsequent news stories, a few updates to the story.
Digital single issues will remain priced at $2.99, meaning that you can get a print + digital for $3.99 or digital only for $2.99.
All-Star Batman, which already included extra pages, will stay at $4.99 and include a digital copy.
As previously announced, twice monthly Rebirth titles will stays at $2.99 However Batgirl, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey, Batman Beyond, Batwoman, Blue Beetle, Cyborg, The Hellblazer, New Super-Man, Red Hood & The Outlaws, Super Sons, Supergirl, Superwoman, Teen Titans, Titans, and Trinity will all go up to $3.99.
Reactions to all these moves seems to be somewhat positive among readers, for many of the same reasons they were down on Marvel essentially dropping the free digital copy: codes can be sold on Ebay or elsewhere to help fund comics purchases, or read anywhere while the print version is safely bagged and boarded.
It does seem like a bit of a chip away at comics shops though, with a push towards a more affordable digital option. That said, it will probably only sway people who were fence sitters already as people who like holding a comics periodical in their hands are unlikely to give it up entirely.
And of course, price increases bring with it an inevitable culling of titles.
We’re in a period of flux in all things right now, and comics too, as Marvel and DC are both tinkering with their core periodical business models. Will a 32 page comics remain a form of cheap entertainment for readers wanting escapism? Or will the satisfying chunk theory come in to play?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.