Batman Volume 9.jpg

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?


  1. I only have 4 series affected so all things considered, not a huge chunk of change particularly after preorder discounts (~$3 more after discount and tax). I just slashed $40-50/mo off the Marvel budget so this isn’t painful at all on the wallet.

    It’s nice being able to support the LCS while still having the convenience of digital.

    Honestly though, comics are getting so expensive. I think DC needs to roll out a subscription service similar to Marvel Unlimited.

  2. Still too high for day and date digital. Anything more than $1.49 is just affirmative action for comic shops. People like Barger should ask their Republican buddies to let them in on the Trump Corporate Welfare Gravy Train. Stop expecting lovers of the art to subsidize their classist delusions. LCS have never supported comics as an art form. They’re still pissed about trade paperbacks!

  3. I think we’re approaching the point where comics are going to stop being made. It seems like trades can’t be made without monthly serials, but they cost so much and younger people seem to have no interest in them. Monthly sales numbers don’t really change all that much so it’s not like there’s an influx of new customers. If comics have to be sold at $3.99/month just to stay profitable and the industry can’t survive a Spotify type option where people can get as much as they want without killing the industry, then the party’s basically over. Kids get their superheroes from video games and movies now, so they’re not going to miss it much.

    Or, the true titans of comics like Jeff Smith and Raina Telemeger will be the only kind of comics left. People who produce all-ages comics that engage readers.

    I just don’t see how the modern form of the industry can survive. The only people who want to buy 32 page collections of stories anymore are older people. And if comic companies can’t reasonably produce trades or digital editions for a realistic price, there’s no way this can last.

  4. I personally fail to see a sustainable digital only comics market ever developing. The multitude and variety of devices, lack of attention span on digital platforms, and basically a conversion from printed story to web-comic format will always make digital comics a niche market. At least with print comics, you always have a tangible product as a reward for time and money spent. Now that’s not to say digital comics are any less profitable, but let’s be real – digital comics only can exist on a large scale because they’re free money from already created artwork made for print. Marvel or DC wouldn’t be putting out 80 issues a month for digital only. This is all just publishers tweaking and testing the market to make more money on the same product.

  5. @Nick
    Since DC and Marvel own the IP, for them it’s actually viable with a Netflix-style all you can eat subscription services after a generational change or so. Then sell $$ fancy HC format collector’s editions for those who want print. Digital consumption is fast becoming the norm (if not already) for younger generations.

    While a lot of individual titles may have problems selling 20K copies, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an aggregate of at least a million comic readers (or would-be readers) who would be willing to pay $5-10/mo for an all you can eat service. We just need good, cheap tablets to read comics on.

    Our household has subscriptions to both Amazon Prime and Netflix, as well as Marvel Unlimited and Comixology Unlimited. I wouldn’t hesitate spending an extra $10/mo for a DC Unlimited subscription service if they ever roll one.

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