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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. 12 part serials at 12 pages per part? That’s the size of a 6 issue trade paperback when all is said and done. I’m sure the collections will appear in the Direct Market as soon as the Walmart exclusivity runs out. And since the stories will have to be “out of continuity”, then nobody’s missing anything. They might just have to wait a little while. Horrors!

    More interesting: How long until the artists run late on these titles and DC needs to bring in their squadron of inkers and regular guest artists to fill in to finish them off? Or was the 12 page segments designed to give the artists a chance to meet their deadlines? (Bonus: By keeping the stories out of continuity and away from major cross-over events, they won’t need to keep changing them until the last possible minute to keep up with the other creators or the whims of the editorial office….)

  2. I wouldn’t expect ground breaking comics stories to be told in these issues. It’s comic material being packaged/created for a very general mass audience. Something kids or parents might see by magazines and pick up to flip through. It’s not going to be a collectible or some literary masterpiece withheld from direct market readers. I’d expect a story like Batman solving a mystery of why everyone in Gotham is laughing. Oh gee, it must be the Joker! Or Superman saving Earth from a bumbling giant alien looking for a way back home. And just maybe, that Wal-Mart kid audience will buy more DC merchandise, watch more DC TV, and grow up to appreciate more niche comic material. It’s like DC Superhero Girls entry level content for a mass consumer audience. DC certainly has no interest in sending hobby level comic readers to Wal-Mart for comics. And also, I’ll point out many cities and towns have both direct market comic stores and a local Wal-Mart. My city has 3 comic shops and 2 or 3 Wal-Mart stores.

  3. Though it’s a net positive that they’re actually trying this, 5 bucks for only 12 new pages probably won’t help this format to be seen as a “good deal” for the fans once the novelty of buying comics somewhere besides an LCS wears off. Also, serialization over many months may be a tough sell to non-fan audiences who are accustomed to the instant gratification found in other (cheaper) entertainment options that don’t even require leaving the house.

    Two questions spring to mind.

    Who is the distributor for these Giants, assuming it’s not Diamond?

    Are these fully returnable? (It’s possible the returned comics could eventually wind up at Ollie’s to help recoup some of the losses if this fails to launch).

  4. “5 bucks for only 12 new pages”

    The young audience this is apparently aimed at won’t know or care that only 12 of the pages are new material. I loved the 25-cent Marvel Tales, Fantasy Masterpieces, and Marvel Collectors Item Classics reprint books when I was a kid. I didn’t care that they were “old” stories. They were new to me!

    Seems a lot of fans have trouble comprehending anything that isn’t aimed at hardcore fan/collectors at the comic shops.

  5. @George, I guess I wasn’t clear enough as I specifically said the new page count was a downside to “fans” while serialization was a downside to “non-fans”. The former will go to Walmart because they can’t get the exclusive content at an LCS. The latter won’t be aware there is such a thing as an LCS.

    All of the titles you mention contained complete stories. My point was that these new Giants reprint chapters in an arc.

  6. @george if it isn’t aimed at hardcore fan/collectors at the comic shops then why is any of it exclusive new content? Why are they using big name creators? That won’t matter at Wal-Mart as much as it will at Bob’s Comics.

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