DC's $3.99 Comics to Move Back to 22-Page Stories

Once upon a time, DC Comics decided that their comic stories would shrink. 22-page stories, the norm through the eighties, nineties and noughties, would now be 20-page stories. It was a way to preserve the $2.99 price point by reducing story length by a tenth.

While $3.99 comics would be extra length, 27 or 28 pages long, often with a back-up strip. Or they would be the $2.99 copy with a bagged digital code.

And that's how the New 52 line launched in 2011.

Then the $3.99 comics length started to drift back to 20 pages. And the digital codes went away.

Then it was decided that $3.99 comics would be the monthly titles and $2.99 would be twice-monthly. And the $3.99 monthly comics would have a free digital code.

Then the digital codes went away and the twice-monthly titles moved to $3.99. All the DC Universe titles, save for the New Age Of Heroes line would be $3.99.

But now?

I am told that, spinning out of the recent DC Writers Summit, that DC authors have been told to start moving from 20-page stories back to 22-page stories for $3.99 titles. It looks like this is the new compact to be entered into with DC Comics and readers.

Will it encourage Marvel, who followed DC into 20-page stories for $3.99 plus digital code, follow suit?

Some comic book writers complained when the page count switched from 22 pages to 20 pages that it was like losing a story-telling limb – and of course two pages worth of fees – but it's worth noting at one point in the seventies, trying to maintain a price point, that comic stories fell back to 17 pages. And that where DC goes Marvel follows…

I note that Man Of Steel has been running 22-page stories at $3.99 with two additional pages per issue by Jason Fabok, but Justice League has been 20 pages for $3.99 as well.  Batman: Wedding Preludes have been 22 pages for $3.99, yesterday's Aquaman was 20 pages for $3.99, Batman was 20 pages for $2.99.

Could the new price point per page be being eked in? Either way, writers at the DC Summit were left in no doubt that 22-page stories will be the new norm.

The New 22?


About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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