Rich Johnston’s latest bit of speculation about the market is something that I hope he’s wrong about. According to him, the comics industry seems poised to have comics prices jump to $4.99 an issue sometime this year. This is due to the fact that most of the industry has transitioned their titles to the $3.99 price point while most of Marvel and DC’s top-selling titles are already there and have been there for a while. “New Avengers” was cited as a prime example, as it has been priced at that level since it debuted back in 2009. With inflation still a factor in the materials that go into the comics themselves, and a reported reduction in the advertising in them, Johnston clearly thinks that someone is going to try to sell a monthly title at $4.99 sometime this year.
While I think that raising the price of comics is a terrible idea as a consumer of such, the only way they could pull this off is with a commensurate increase in the content in each issue. Anyone with a memory that can remember back to the 90’s and early 00’s knows that if you paid $4.99 for a comic, you were getting at least twice the pages of a monthly title. Without ads too if the comic was in the “prestige format.” If they’re going to start charging this much for a regular 22-page comic, then sales will start to freefall shortly afterwards. The sticker shock will be too much for an average fan to overcome, and people like me will just keep looking for better deals on the collections they buy. They’re welcome to it… in a few years after Image has re-established its dominance in the direct market and can sustain things on their own.
At least, that’s what I’d like to hope will happen.