Numbercrunching DC Comics' Shrinking Output – April 2021

Recently, Bleeding Cool did some number crunching on the content that DC Comics was putting into print in 2021. Bleeding Cool had reported swathes of DC senior editorial figures being made redundant, and publisher and CCO Jim Lee talking about DC reducing print content. And so it has come to pass – and continues to pass in April 2021 solicitations. We have observed that DC Comics is dropping title count, increasing the number of anthologies, they were publishing, but overall, the number of pages of comics content produced was dropping. We noted that this was common among several publishers who had been reducing content a) because of fears of flooding the market and b) problems with both supply and demand caused by the pandemic. But DC Comics seemed to be doing this more than anyone.

For April 2021, DC Comics solicited only 38 original items, made up of 20 $3.99 titles and 12 $4.99 titles. There were no original graphic novels, just a collection of Harley Quinn digital comics, totalling 1552 pages of content and costing $186. Though the amount of artwork generated is less, as this page count includes advertising and editorial pages, it is a workable rule of thumb to make general comparisons.

That is a drop from March 2021 solicits, when DC Comics have listed 39 items totalling 1,896 pages, costing $221, made up of 16 $3.99 and 12 $4.99 titles and several original graphic novels.

For December 2020, DC Comics was soliciting 52 new items, totalling 2,352 pages costing $286, made up of 29 $3.99 comic book and nine $4.99 titles. And for  March 2021, DC Comics has solicited 39 items totalling 1,896 pages, costing $221, made up of 16 $3.99 and 12 $4.99 titles. Dubbed "Stepping Over The Line At $4.99!"

And for March 2020, just before the pandemic started to affect schedules, DC Comics solicited 62 new items, totalling 2,632 pages costing $281 made up of 49 $3.99 and 9 $4.99 titles. Several titles were cancelled or delayed because of the pandemic and the shutdowns – but not many. From March 2020 to April 2021, that's a drop of over a thousand pages of content a month.

Numbecrunching DC Comics Shrinking Output - April 2021
DC Comics numbers taking a hammering?

It is worth noting that DC Comics is moving more titles to digital-first, without print serialisation, which will take longer to come to the print market. Harley Quinn: Black, White And Red is an early one of these high profile projects to do so, which will add a little drag to the numbers coming through. But with delays to original graphic novels and few announcements that DC will be publishing many more, the page count may continue to stay much lower than before.

The DC Comics Infinite Frontier continues to look more and more finite.

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About 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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