Back when I was ten years old a 32-page comic book cost 60 Cents.
Nowadays a 32-page-comic book costs $3.99. The same as a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk. Or a delicious frozen pizza.
The price of comics is. TOO DAMN HIGH.
Especially considering what the customer is getting for their money these days. Back in 1983 a customer got for their 60 cents:
22-pages of original story. A story that was usually finished in one issue or by the most three issues tops.
22 pages of original art with multiple panels telling a complete story filled with action.
Advertising for video games, wrestling, bubble gum Ninja turtle pies and other cool stuff.
Today what do people get for their $3.99? Not much.
20 pages of a mediocre story. A story that’s usually part of a mult-part crossover saga that goes on for at least 100 issues. Entire issues of exposition and talking heads.
20pages of art, but with mostly splash pages so an artist can resell their art on the secondary market. All those paneled pieces from specific issues don’t sell for as much.
Seriously, why do comic books cost so damn much?
Is it because of the limited distribution? Is it because of the demographics skewering older? Is it because of the high printing and production costs?
Those are the usual excuses. But seriously, $3.99 for 32-pages? That seems like a bit of a rip-off. Back in 1988 when I was buying comics even the independent comics like Now and Fantagraphics didn’t charge that much.
I can see paying $3.99 or even $5 for a self-published indie comic like R.K. Milholland’s Super Stupor. (GREAT comic BTW) And I’ve done so to support self-published comic artists when I had money. Why? Because it was an original-one-of-a kind piece, and I wanted to show that artist how much I loved their work.
But for a mass-produced Marvel or DC Comic? Come on? The price for Comics is TOO DAMN HIGH.
Today comic books have the lowest entertainment value per dollar out of all the media out there. A customer can get much more entertainment for their dollar out of eBooks, apps, and a redbox DVD. Or they can enjoy that delicious frozen pizza.
For over two decades the comic book industry has said it desperately needs new readers. However, the high price of comics is one of the things prevented new readers from trying comic books.
For the price of four comics a new reader can go out and buy a 400 page paperback and get a complete story in one volume.
An age ago, comics were affordable. At 60 cents to a dollar people could give them to their kids to read until the covers came off. And the low price gave readers of all ages an incentive to collect and trade them.
At $4, people have no incentive to give them to anyone. And less incentive to buy them for themselves. Most people today wait for a trade paperback to come out so they can mitigate the high cost of 32-page comic books. Trades are much higher entertainment value per dollar, especially if you can pick them up on eBay used.
I would love to see the price of comics come down to something a bit more reasonable so all of the tweens and teens can discover what’s so great about comic books. A 32-page comic from corporate sponsored Marvel or DC shouldn’t cost anything but $2.50-$2.99 tops, a price in line with most apps and eBooks. I can see $3.99 as a starting price for an indie because they have higher production costs, and more limited runs. But there’s no way a comic book from Marvel or DC should be costing $3.99. That price is too damn high.
Support Shawn’s Kickstarter project! I’m trying to raise $500 so I can hire a professional comic book artist to design the cover of Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess! $20 donations will receive a FREE autographed copy of the paperback!
$100 donations will receive autographed copies of ALL SEVEN paperbacks in the Isis series!