Bleeding Cool reported a few days ago that DC Comics is raising the price of its newsstand comics to $5. Not a rumor, but true. I saw on a trip to Barnes and Noble earlier today that their issues of “Superman/Wonder Woman,” “Batman,” and “Detective Comics” all cost $5 each. While “Looney Tunes” and “Scooby-Doo” were still $3, I’d wonder if DC would consider raising the price of those to $4.
While there’s no guarantee it’ll happen, Bleeding Cool has noted that a direct market price hike’s usually followed newsstand price hikes in the past. If so, that’d mean DC’s reversed course on canceling its “Batman going up to $5” plan awhile ago. It also seems to be hitting a pretty big milestone. I’ve written at length in the past about single-issue comics’ price increases, but at $5, I think it’s time for another discussion on the long-term viability of single-issue paper comics.
It also requires comic companies re-thinking the mindset that one’s not “supporting the book” by trade-waiting (or buying it cheaper digitally, etc.). Not only is $5 an issue in my opinion not affordable or viable long-term, but individual comics shouldn’t be punished because readers are doing what they’re basically being urged to do anyway. Especially between the price of single issues vs. TPBs and the fact almost all of DC’s/Marvel’s stories are “written for the trade” anyway (the “done in one issue” comic story at DC/Marvel is mostly dead).
And even if fans don’t mind $5 an issue for a character they can see in movies, video games, or TV shows, what happens when it inevitably goes up to $6 an issue?
(Update) Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston responded to my remarks on this on Twitter with a bit of clarification:
— Rich Johnston (@richjohnston) March 15, 2015
Either way, I’m still not optimistic. But we’ll see what happens.