Rich Johnston is reporting that starting in August DC will be dropping the page count on some of their newer books priced at $3.99. This is a change from the standard DC had set for its $3.99 books which would all have at least 30 pages of content. So far it looks like only lower tier titles will be effected. Some of the titles being changed are Emerald Warriors which spins out of Green Lantern Corp, Time Masters which in a mini series companion to the Return of Bruce Wayne and continues what Dan Jurgens was doing in Booster Gold, and Mighty Crusaders which sees the Red Circle characters being folded into one book. I would assume the strategy is to try and generate more for less given that these books are not going to be top sellers. These are the kind of books that sell at a level that Marvel cancels books at.
I don’t like this move at all but for the few fans that will support these books this is likely the difference between life and death for the titles. The negative side is that it will severely limit the chances of these titles growing a larger audience, which was already a big problem regardless of page count. One only needs to look at the slumping sales with Marvel’s Ultimate line which all carry the $3.99 price tag with less then 30 pages of content to see what will happen to the DC books. Realistically DC should be shifting these lower tier books into a cost effective digital format. This is not content that is going to be a big seller in trades and what they need more then anything else is fan interest, which is especially the case for the struggling Red Circles characters. Of course it would help if DC had some sort of digital distribution in the first place, which they are way behind on.
It looks DC’s big sellers will still keep the 30 page minimum for $3.99 books. DC would be wise it keep it that way since they stand to make money on the trades of books written by Johns and Morrison, and a higher page count in the monthly means more for the trades. DC has at least continued to do well with their top tier books as they took the top four spots in direct market sales for April. Marvel still far outsells DC collectively as there is a huge drop off with DC books when you get past the Johns and Morrison related books.