Jun 1, 2010

Why DC?

Regular readers of the Comics Cube may see a bias toward DC Comics-published books in my posts, specifically in my reviews. The simple answer is that I read more DC-published books, because I have more DC-published books, because I buy more DC-published books.

Do I intrinsically prefer DC? A year ago, I think I would have said yes. Certainly, I like their superhero concepts - at their very core - more than I do any other company's. They're more hopeful and more uplifting. But I also know that execution and concept have a wide gulf. In fact, of all the "main" superheroes, looking quickly at my shelf, the most I have comics of is the Amazing Spider-Man. So that's not the reason why I have more DC stuff.

Do I not like indie stuff? Sure I do; my shelf is full of indie stuff from Dan Clowes, Lynda Barry, Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Craig Thompson, and more. So that's not it, not it at all.

The real reason is price. For whatever reason, DC-published books have cheaper prices than books from any other publisher - that's if you go by number of pages and all other things being equal. Now, assuming that all things are indeed equal, I think it's ridiculous that Batman: Hush, at 320 pages, will sell at the same price as Spider-Man: Election Day at 184 pages. Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, at 168 pages, is two whole dollars cheaper than Spider-Man: American Son, at 136 pages. Given that quality is subjective, and that money is tight, and also given that all comics get marked up upon getting her, making a decision based on price really disqualifies Marvel Comics. Even on a sale, a regular Marvel comic will at best go for the same as the retail price of a similarly sized and publicized DC product.

But wait! What about the indie stuff? Well, as you know, DC Comics, unlike Marvel, actually has creator-owned comics, and therefore has what you may term an indie division. So let's check this out, yes?

Promethea book 1 by Alan Moore and JH Williams III, published by DC/Wildstorm, 160 pages: $14.99.
Sherlock Holmes by Leah Moore, John Reppion, and Aaron Campbell, published by Dynamite, 168 pages: $19.99.
David Boring by Daniel Clowes, published by Fantagraphics, 136 pages, $21.95.

When I buy a comic, I want something that will take some time to read, and I could read recursively. I've noticed a lot of comics fail the second test, but if I'm going to spend money, I'm going to have to judge. Since I respect all these creators and I don't fall back on buying for characters, I must decide based on price.

Therefore, my note to publishers: Match DC's price. Please.

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