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?