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Marvel Comics And The $4.99 Twenty-Page Comic Book

This is how Empyre #3, published today, was solicited, at $4.99.

EMPYRE #3 (Of 6)
The tag-team action comes home!
Wakanda is the battleground – as the Avengers and the FF unite to prevent a Vibranium-powered threat to all life as we know it!
A long-lost Avenger returns to active duty – but will that be enough to turn the tide?
And in space, interstellar intrigue threatens the fragile Kree/Skrull alliance…and the repercussions might just doom planet Earth!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99

Note that last bit. Forty pages. Now everyone knows that doesn't actually mean forty pages of story. It includes house ads, letters pages, titles and the like, but usually suggests 24-28 pages of story. But that's changing. Empyre #3 has twenty pages of story, plus title page, character designs and lots of house ads. For a 20 page story, it is usually listed as 30 pages, and charged $3.99, not $4.99.

Marvel Comics And The $4.99 Twenty-Page Comic Book.
Marvel Comics And The $4.99 Twenty-Page Comic Book.

It wasn't that long ago that $2.99 was a 20-page comic, then $3.99 but now it's jumping on some occasional to $4.99. DC Comics will charge that extra dollar if the title has a cardstock cover. But Marvel just has a few additional foldout advertisements to make it thicker. We are now at 25 cents a page. In 1975, comic books cost around 25 cents or $1.25 in today's money, taking into account inflation. $4.99 is four times that amount.

Any while most comic books are still tacking to the 20 pages for $4 model (just over three times the inflationary-compensated 1975 price), today's Spawn #309 is still priced at $2.99, which is what most comic books were priced at fifteen years ago in 2005. If Todd McFarlane can do it, why can't everyone else?

Marvel Comics led the way with $3.99 twenty page comic books and with $4.99 twenty-five page comics. Is $4.99 for twenty pages to be the next about-to-be-common price point? In the UK, the price in comic stores will be usually around £4.50, or thirty cents a page…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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