Then they started selling some of them for $3.99 and the people thought "blimey that's a bit steep". So the companies added extra story pages, usually 8-10 pages more. And the people grumbled, but paid up.
Then DC started selling 20 story page comics for $2.99 instead. And Marvel had a mix of 22 story page comics for $2.99, 22 story page comics for $3.99 and 30 story page comics for $3.99.
But in the last few months, something changed. Pretty much all the $2.99 Marvel books have moved to the DC model. And all the $3.99 comics started shrinking. Until Ultimate Fallout #2 was 19 pages for $3.99. Some kind of numbercrunching was in order.
In July, Marvel published 45 $2.99 comics and 32 $3.99 comics.
The $2.99 books had 20 story pages each. Of the $3.99 comics, 1 had 19 storypages (Ultimate Fallout #2), 9 had 20 storypages, 2 had 21 storypages, 16 had 22 story pages, 3 had 23 and 1 had 25 (Captain America #1). And Ultimate Fallout #4 is 21 cents a page.
That's a total of 1587 pages for $262.23, or 16.5 cents a page. For their $3.99 comic, there's an average of 18.5 pence.
In August, Marvel published 58 $2.99 books and 35 $3.99 books. A five week month there.
Of the $3.99 comics, 1 had 19 pages (Moon Knight #4), 13 had 20 pages, 1 had 21 pages, 19 had 22 pages. 1 had 23 (Amazing Spider-Man #668)
That's a total of 1901 pages for $313.07, or… 16.5 cents a page. For their $3.99 comics, that's closer to 19 cents. And Moon Knight #4 is 21 cents a page.
Meanwhile, DC's monthly comics are remaining at $2.99 for 20 story pages or $3.99 for around 30, which put the price per story page at between 2 and 1.5 cents cheaper than Marvel every month. It may not sound a lot, but for ten comics, on average, that would mean DC is giving you around $3-4 more value right now.
Naturally value changes from comic to comic. And a bad comic is still a bad comic, no matter how many pages it has.
Thanks to Brian O'Sullivan from the Bleeding Cool boards for help with the numbercrunching.