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AICN COMICS NYCC REPORT: DC drops prices of their comics from grossly overpriced to just overpriced! Plus Bug is off to NYCC!

Hey folks, it’s your pal, Ambush Bug here. I leave late tonight / early tomorrow for the 2010 NEW YORK COMIC CON, but already there's a story being dropped that is pretty big and big enough to share with all of you. Reports are flying all over the place that DC is dropping the price of their monthly comics from the wallet-emptying price tag of $3.99 back down to $2.99. Though it isn't the 60 cent comic value I grew up on, it is a step in the right direction. So yay DC! Rumors also are swirling that Marvel is going to make similar announcements to follow suit with the price cut.
So there's that. Comics are a bit more affordable now!
I'll be reporting back to you all periodically from the Con with reports, pictures, and interviews and be sure to look out for an all new AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column tomorrow from yours truly.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 7, 2010, 5:32 p.m. CST

    55 cents

    by Eddie_Dane

    I remember what a drag it was when comics went from 50 cents to 55. You couldn't get two for a dollar any more, which is all my mom would give me.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 5:32 p.m. CST

    55 cents

    by Eddie_Dane

    I remember what a drag it was when comics went from 50 cents to 55. You couldn't get two for a dollar any more, which is all my mom would give me.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 5:46 p.m. CST

    A Bob Harras policy?

    by Chewtoy

    Either way, good to hear.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 5:50 p.m. CST

    95 Cents

    by Autodidact

    95 Cents is the main price I got used to as a kid, before I ever stepped foot into a comics shop. I knew that with tax it'd be $1.02.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:09 p.m. CST

    60¢?

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    You're just a kid. It was 35¢ when I was coming up.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:26 p.m. CST

    The earliest I can remember is....

    by Shakeshift

    30 cents. Then 35 (around 1976), 40(1979), 50(1981), 60(1983), the BIG jump to 75(1985), and then right to a dollar(1988)

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:28 p.m. CST

    DC's backup stories.

    by RedChief

    One thing DC did though when they bumped some titles to 3.99 was add an additional 8 pages of backup stories. Some of these stories (particularly the Metal Men story in the Doom Patrol) were worth the price of the book.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Comic Dollar-a-pop

    by kobain

    You DO realize that since the end of the '80s (when comics used to cost about a dollar) and today, 20 years have passed , right? at ~6% annual inflation... do the math. What cost $1 in 1988 would cost $1.86 in 2010. They ARE overpriced indeed, but there's no way they could cost around 1 dollar anymore. I'm thinking that $2.50 would be the sweet spot for today. $2.99 is kind of expensive , but $3,99 is armed robbery.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:38 p.m. CST

    redoing the math

    by kobain

    I just realized that if the math is done with the "medical cost" inflation between 1988 and today (instead of the CPI as I used before) the current cost of a (1988-priced) comic would be $2.98. Now we know what kind of index DC is using :P

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:40 p.m. CST

    For those interested in the mat:h

    by kobain

    U.S. Medical Cost Inflation 1988-2009 Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1988 = 6.5% 1989 = 7.7% 1990 = 9.0% 1991 = 8.7% 1992 = 7.40% 1993 = 5.9% 1994 = 4.8% 1995 = 4.5% 1996 = 3.50% 1997 = 2.8% 1998 = 3.2% 1999 = 3.50% 2000 = 4.1% 2001 = 4.6% 2002 = 4.7% 2003 = 4.0% 2004 = 4.4% 2005 = 4.2% 2006 = 4.0% 2007 = 4.4% 2008 = 3.70% 2009 = 3.2% Cumulative U.S. Medical Cost Inflation 1988-2009 = 188.32% ------------------- U.S. Price Inflation (CPI-W) 1988-2009 Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1988 = 4.0% 1989 = 4.8% 1990 = 5.2% 1991 = 4.1% 1992 = 2.9% 1993 = 2.8% 1994 = 2.5% 1995 = 2.9% 1996 = 2.9% 1997 = 2.3% 1998 = 1.3% 1999 = 2.2% 2000 = 3.50% 2001 = 2.7% 2002 = 1.4% 2003 = 2.2% 2004 = 2.6% 2005 = 3.50% 2006 = 3.2% 2007 = 2.9% 2008 = 4.1% 2009 = 0.07% Cumulative U.S. Price Inflation (CPI-W) 1988-2009 = 87.80% that is the table I used to calculate what today's price should be.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Back in the day

    by deelzbub

    I cried actual tears when Marvel raised their prices from 35¢ to 50¢. I realized I wasn't going to get three comics for a dollar and change anymore. Those days are long gone.<P> What is interesting is that the big companies can't go back to newsprint, and they are stuck with the more expensive paper. The companies that sold newsprint either no longer manufacture it or are gone.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:54 p.m. CST

    My price is in CAN$

    by Autodidact

    95 cents was the price for a regular comic from about 1985 to 1988 here in Canada. When it was about 75 cents US. Right after X-Men 225 the price went up to around $1.25 on avg. <p>Hard to believe X-Men is past 500 issues now... last time I read Uncanny regularly was up to around issue 315 which is sometime in 1995, the time when Marvel decided to suck complete balls for the next five years... since then have never really "followed" any title while it was new, only reading collections for the most part.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 6:57 p.m. CST

    The more expensive paper has gotten cheaper

    by Autodidact

    Paper prices peaked in the 90s.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7 p.m. CST

    Can't go back to newsprint?

    by OutsideChance

    Why not? They're printing all those USATodays on something.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7:02 p.m. CST

    I'll be there too Ambush.

    by ONeillSG1

    We should get together and talk shop. You got media credentials?

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7:23 p.m. CST

    what do digital comics cost?

    by Adelai Niska

    I keep hearing about how cool comics are on an ipad, but are they like a buck or full retail price? Not that I have an ipad, but you know what I mean.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7:32 p.m. CST

    I remember 25 cents for a comic.

    by Surfsilver

    50 cents for an "Annual". Remember those? And I ain't that old.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7:38 p.m. CST

    I stopped buying comics after they topped $1.25

    by Raymar

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Marvel did make same announcement like 2 hrs later

    by wilsonfisk89

    Great news

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 8:02 p.m. CST

    prestige format

    by Shakes

    So how much do DC's prestige format books go for nowadays. I remember at the height of my collecting in the 90's they were priced around 4.95 an issue, and some really special ones would be 5.95. Sometimes the story quality was worth it, but others you'd get home and read it only to find it to be a generic by the numbers elseworld's story that could have just as easily been 2.99. Or what about the times when they'd start doing entire mini-series in the prestige format-format, I believe Superman Red Son was one of the first instances of this.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 8:03 p.m. CST

    Well whoopdeefuckingdo...

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    I stopped buying monthly floppies 8 years ago. Now all I get are trades. And with Borders coupons ranging from 25 to 50% off I'm stacking trades up high.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 8:26 p.m. CST

    what they need to do

    by yabory

    is offer their comics for the ipad but at a much lower price. like 99 cents per comic. keep the paper stuff at 2.99, but it would be a good balance.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 8:45 p.m. CST

    The comic book model is out-dated

    by Snookeroo

    Comic books can no longer compete as an independent mode of entertainment - especially with the current mode of distribution and price structure. Comic companies should be practically giving comics away as an advertisement for the character properties - and realise the profit off of licensed toys, clothing, etc.<br><br>Also -- charging the prices that the comic companies are for digital downloads is greedy and stupid. DC and Marvel are their own worst enemy -- they're working off a business model that was outdated a long, long time ago.<br><br><br>And for the record, when I started buying comics they were .12 each.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Nice. Very Nice... !

    by Se7en

    Me like... !

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 9:49 p.m. CST

    The Best Priced Professional Comic Today!

    by Grinning White Skull

    DC is dropping 22 pages of art to 20 pages in its 32 page books (meaning it has 12 pages of ads/editorial).<br> <br> With the upcoming Monsterverse's "BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE" you get a comic book filled from front to back with art and stories (no ads and minor editorial). That's 48 pages along with front and back covers of beautiful art (inside and out and again, with NO ads!). All for $4.99.<br> <br> That breaks down to 48 pages of art in the first issue with two distinct covers (main cover by legendary artist Basil Gogos, variant cover by John Cassaday and back cover by Bruce Timm) wrapping the book meaning a DC book is 20 inside pages of art for $2.99 and from Monsterverse you get 20 inside pages of art for about $2.08 (that's not including the inside cover art). Meaning that even with the new lower price a DC page cost one half MORE than a Monsterverse page!<br> <br> Find out more about Monsterverse Entertainment and its new horror comic book "BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE" at www.monsterverse.com and on Facebook.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Marvel's digital comics are way overpriced, and pointless.

    by Chewtoy

    The Ipad app is truly well done, but Marvel's commitment to it is such garbage as to sink the whole endeavor. I assume they're scared of killing off their trade paperback market, because they price individual issues at $2 to $3 a piece... (You know... the prices they are apparently "reducing" back down to for the printed versions.) This is all so that 6 issues of a book will cost roughly the same as buying the trade paperback, I would guess.<br><br> The big problem though is the selection. This would be an ideal format for offering subscriptions or letting people follow new releases, but instead it's all random 6 issue runs from decades ago. Here... try 6 issues of Iron Man from 1983. Like it? Well, you can't buy any more from that time, but we have another 6 issues by another creative team featuring Iron Man from 1997...<br><br> I would get back into buying some Marvel comics if they would just sell me something current. (Or hell, something 2 months old, but with the promise that they'll keep putting out their ongoing series, rather than offering something different 6 issues in.)

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 10:14 p.m. CST

    They are stuck in the story-arc thing

    by deelzbub

    that way they get to put out a new #1 every couple of months (weeks)or so. And so, instead of keeping an ongoing storyline in a regular series, you get stories that you might as well wait for the TPB for. Forget missing a couple of weeks at the comic shop. Nobody wants to keep back issues anymore, and I don't want to pick up issue #3 of a mini-series, so I pass. Maybe someday I will get that TPB, but who knows. The comic companies have become their own worst enemy.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 10:32 p.m. CST

    I have very early memories...

    by Master Bruce

    from my pre-K days of 20 cents, then 25, but very few. Mostly I remember the 70s prices going up in nickels; 35, 40, 45, & 50 cents, etc. The price of comics was usually comparable to newspapers. Then I remember the jump from 60 to 75 cents. $1.00 was coming, & we all knew it. The days of comics being cheap entertainment were gone.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Actually, what I really think started...

    by Master Bruce

    the outrageous price increases was the landmark THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Once DC & Marvel saw that readers would pay $2.95 for a comic book, then the race was on to get there. Little did they know then that they would surpass that price easily. Thankfully, it didn't work out. Dropping the price back to $2.99 is a good FIRST step, but not good enough. These guys will never bring in younger readers - essential to comics continued exsistence - unless they drop their outdated biz model, & reduce prices even further. And don't tell me they can't...all those ads from big companies are a far cry from Sea Monkeys & X-Ray Specs! They don't have to gouge the buyer too.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 10:45 p.m. CST

    $2.99 is about what a comic should cost in 2010...

    by Chet_P_Disney

    Comics doubled in price every ten years from about the '50s onward until the early '90s when all that fancy-paper foil-cover shit started pumping the price up. 1975 = 30c 1985 = 75$ 1995 = $1.25 2005 = $2.50 current price should be $3.00. The only way DC could afford to sell comics for under $2.50 these days would be by printing retro B&W/4cheap color on newsprint with lots of annoying ads.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Monsterverse - No Crossover Comics & Self-Contained Stories

    by Grinning White Skull

    With Monsterverse Entertainment's BELA LUGOSI'S TALES FROM THE GRAVE you get self-contained stories within a horror anthology series. No cross-over to other upcoming books. The industry's top writers and artists are challenged to provide exceptionally well-told stories and that is it. There are no business dictates to stretch out or pad story arcs to be turned into collected TPBs. The focus of this horror series is to get back to telling stories as tightly as possible while allowing artists to put their best efforts into the work (eight pages, more or less). One recent critic who got a sneak peek at the book said it is the "perfect gateway comic" for readers new to comics and yet is a wonderful reminder to long-time fans of what comics are at their best.<br> <br> You will not need to ever read a back issue to enjoy a current issue of Monsterverse's horror comics.<br> <br> Check it out at www.monsterverse.com and on Facebook! There is a link to a YouTube preview on the monsterverse.com site.

  • Oct. 7, 2010, 11:26 p.m. CST

    I barely remember 20 cents

    by Geekgasm

    Then 25, 35, 50, 60, very briefly 65, 75, and then all bets were off.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Chet_P_Disney...

    by Master Bruce

    Actually, comics were a dime from the late 1930s to the early 60s before the first price increase happened. Amazing how they continued to be profitable all that time, huh? Comics don't have annoying ads now? They advertise everything under the sun these days & make a shitload of $ doing it. They don't have to charge $2.99 per issue if they didn't want to. And if they went back to publishing in newsprint they wouldn't have to be in b&w!...they never were before. Prices would drop even further & readership would increase...sounds like a win/win to me.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 6:55 a.m. CST

    Guess I *am* the oldest one here...

    by Sw0rdfish

    My grandfather and my uncle had a used book store, and every Saturday I'd spend there, I'd grab whatever comics they had, and read through the stack. It was after they shut the place down that it struck me I'd have to pay out of pocket if I still wanted to keep up with comics, and so decided it was time to outgrow them. After all, they were 10¢ each, and I wasn't willing to spend that kind of money. Remember, that meant that you could have the total output of Marvel, which was limited to a few titles, for under $1/month.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Rose-colored nostalgia glasses

    by Vincent Gecko

    I love how everyone's all "comics were this much when I was a kid..." Were all your families rich back then? Minimum wage in 1970 was less than $2. Food for thought. Also, comics could be cheaper because they sold a bunch more and paid pretty much everyone much less. Think of all those horror stories about how the big two treated golden age creators. We're now paying for fairer wages for creators and much smaller profit margins since comics used to sell the by the MILLIONS. Now 100,000 is enough to be a top seller some months. There's just too much other competing entertainment out there: consoles, computer games, home video, cable, dtv, internet etc...

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Still too expensice for me

    by bat725

    Let me know when they're a buck again. I don't care what kind of paper they use, in fact, I kinda prefer the old comic book paper, as opposed to the glossy stock they use these days. It feels more like a comic with the old paper.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 8:02 a.m. CST

    I usually just tradewait.

    by rev_skarekroe

    And when I don't, I rarely buy DC. Just not all that interested in what's going on in that universe right now.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 8:49 a.m. CST

    35 cents

    by Abominable Snowcone

    When I started collecting. It was 65 cents when I stopped. I'll never buy another. Too fucking pricey.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST

    cents or dollars never bought you a good comic, pennies used to.

    by moosetutters

    dc and marvel, wtf?!"?!"?!"!are you geek-sheeple so fucking addled with bazooka bubble-gum? you poor fuckers, you wouldn't know a good comic if it came up and licked your sweating crotch-rot, even at the age of 4, (in 1974) superheroes to me were woefully unimaginative, the ads were the most amusing thing, (and sooo many f them too), - we had 2000AD in the UK, (which fell into an irreversible coma since the late eighties...RIP) but at its best, nothing touched it, no ads either, - 10 pence, sure it was in b&w, but thats testament to the quality of the material, if anyone can point me to a single dc or marvel story that holds up to Nemesis, or Rogue trooper or mechwarriors, thargs future shocks, please please bring it to the table, 2000AD was pure imagination, heaps of variety, not a single pair of undercrackers in sight... european comics still rule, the rest of world may catch up...keep trying

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Penetrate bigger markets!!!

    by trevoasisr

    The solutions to the problem seems relatively simple. The big two just need to learn how to penetrate a much larger market. In the old days, comics sold in the millions because they were available everywhere. Now, they are available in comic stores and Barnes & Noble (where they sit completely ignored on the spinner rack). They won't find their way back to the grocery stores until they stop sporting ridiculously high prices. When I used to work in a comic shop I'd see new people find their way into the shop. They'd take a gander at the prices of the comics, take a big, nervous gulp (think Tom & Jerry gulp) and then head for the door with their tail between their legs. Another potential reader bites the dust. Look, people love comic book characters. Box office success of comics book films have more than proven that. Kids are frothing at the mouth to collect comics. They just can't afford them. Moms won't grab a comic for their whiney kid if it costs $3 or $4. That's crazy. They might do it at $2 and they certainly would at $1.50. Kids would spend their paper route or lawn mowing cash at those price points but would save it for video games at $3 to $4. So, Marvel and DC need to drastically reduce prices, and get comics back into supermarkets and convenience stores. That'll save comics and would work as an excellent cross promotion for their movies.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 1:16 p.m. CST

    maybe

    by moosetutters

    cheap comics is good..but, like I say, comics aren't good compared to anything out there, its the same old shit re-cooked, the comic industry fell on its tail bone ages ago, and is still trying to get up, there was a slight aberration in the early 90's, sienkiwicz etc, and alan moore still does good stuff, but most shelf stock is puerile and moronic, with tits on...kids can tell crap anyway its served...

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Print Ink quality surpasses 80's comix

    by donkingkong

    Just throw'n that out there. Glad it's down to 3 bux, but will still keep me away from buying individual issues for the most part, I usually wait until the run is collected in graphic novel form, thems just the times.

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Lose Diamond Dist. already

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    That's the problem. Everything you guys have have suggested is possible as soon as the industry is free from the monopoly. Aren't there laws against that type of thing?

  • Oct. 8, 2010, 11:48 p.m. CST

    losing diamond...totally agree...

    by moosetutters

    ...they charge a kings ransom, helps to keep the prices inflated...and these days they're less necessary than ever, - why? because comics can be browsed online, - if the stuff is really good, and the customer covets a real copy they can simply order it direct from the creators, like a print on demand service, (i think kaboom does this) this would skirt around the hefty 40% mark-up that diamond charges, no wasted printed volumes, no ads in the comic either, its a win-win, diamond should be queueing up behind blockbuster at the welfare office, besides this might give comics stores a kick in the rectal bone for shifting the emphasis towards toys and collectibles, stockpiling crap comics and not genning up on the good stuff from elsewhere in the world...i went into forbidden planet recently, and couldn't find any moebius or bilal, the shop assistants didn't know who these guys were, thats like going into HMV and no-one knowing who iggy pop or jimi hendrix is......am i getting old and cranky.??...colostomy bag needs emptying, I'll be back....

  • Oct. 9, 2010, 1:15 a.m. CST

    15 cent Lee/Kirby FFs!!! 25 cent Annuals!

    by Big Dumb Ape

    My introduction to comics and collecting days goes back to the Sixties and Marvels being 15 cents, with the Annuals being a Quarter.<p>Those were good times, my friends, when even an allowance of a few quarters a month, saved i the piggy, would then allow you to collect the entire Marvel Universe for like a buck and a half a month.

  • Oct. 9, 2010, 8:22 a.m. CST

    @ moosetutters

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    That's a really good point about comic shops today, and it definitely falls on Diamond's shoulders. The reason any of us started gravitating towards comic shops in the first place is all the amazing, often times foreign, publications that the news stands didn't carry. Now the experience is every bit as homogeneous as going to B&N. Flipping through PREVIEWS just makes me more disappointed. The Moebius experience at FB blows my mind. Seriously? I bet they can name fifty manga artists, but only those from the last fifteen years. That seems to be typical of younger fans who only seem to know about whatever shit you can't avoid on the internet, but then again I would blame Daimond for cultivating wider profit margins instead of lifelong comics fans.

  • Oct. 10, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST

    indeed

    by moosetutters

    the only comic shop i like going to is Gosh Comics off tottenham court road, almost opposite the British Museum, its a national treasure, probably as much as the museum itself, lots of underground and foreign (i.e not dominated by marvel/dc), they're an oasis, - and its all comics and books, no toys n crap, - yeah the diamond previews are abyyyyysmal.....

  • Oct. 12, 2010, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Comic Book Manifesto

    by clay_mckinney

    I wrote a treatise on high comic prices at www.comicbookmanifesto.com and got some good feedback on it from AICN Shoot the Messenger and Denis Kitchen. Check it out. These companies need to get out of the "collectibles" industry and get into the "magazine" industry. Prices should come down, page counts, ads and readership goes up, and most comics should be bought crinkled and torn on the newstand - at a price where crinkeld and torn doesn't matter. Most magazines offer subscription prices that are 90% off the newstand price. Marvel subscriptions are 50% - 65% off, and I have several, but other companies only offer 20% - 30% off. I can handle creased books for $1.38 an issue (like my ASM subscription). That's close to the inflation adjusted .60 from 1982. But other subscriptions are just too high to put up with that. I'm so glad to hear the price is dropping back to $2.99. I'll be picking more of them up.