Headline LinkBlogging

DC Raises Prices, Adds Backups

DC announces $3.99 comics — matching Marvel’s price — but with extra pages featuring backup characters. The matchups are a little odd — Blue Beetle returns in Booster Gold’s title, instead of another teen-character book — but I think this is better than just raising the price for the same content.

DC Explosion ad

On the other hand, my memory is long enough that I’m thinking “Shades of the DC Explosion!” Back in the late 70s, DC announced the same idea — higher prices, but more backup stories — only to wind up canceling dozens of comic titles in 1978. You may have heard this referred to as the DC Implosion. Let’s hope this time turns out better.

When Fangirls Attack Seeks New Owner

Kalinara and Ragnell have found life taking more time, and they’re seeking someone to take over the When Fangirls Attack linkblog about women and comics fandom. Ragnell elaborates: “Email me … if you’re up for keeping track of the blogosphere and posting a regular linkdump. Oh, and don’t do it alone. Bring friends, for sanity’s sake as well as to spread the work out.”

AfterWatchmen.com Launches

The website for the After Watchmen, What’s Next? promotional campaign has gone live at AfterWatchmen.com with an expanded list of 20 titles and a slick tie-in design to the movie.

Buying Award Recognition

Don MacPherson discusses the scam that is ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. I pointed out two years ago how much money they might be making from this “recognition”. Not to mention that they sell reviews for $305, for which they pay writers $50.

Clockwork Comics Reconsiders

Last week, Clockwork Comics announced its ending; now, the author is reconsidering, although the webcomic will still be on hiatus. I hope it continues and is eventually collected, because I’d love to read it as a whole.

17 Responses to “Headline LinkBlogging”

  1. Don MacPherson Says:

    I completely missed your original essay about ForeWord‘s awards. I’m not as critical as you are of entry fees for awards; I can see the need to keep potential entrants from mail-bombing an awards program. But the review-for-fee service? Highly objectionable.

    By the way, Johanna, how much do I owe you for the link? :) (Kidding! I’m kidding, folks!)

  2. Johanna Says:

    Funny, I feel the opposite. Selling a review, as long as you don’t promise a particular outcome or slant, is less objectionable to me than fixing an award. In the latter case, you’re potentially leaving out the best material because they didn’t pay you, and that’s scummy.

  3. Don MacPherson Says:

    Your comment about selling a review is understandable, but the implication from ForeWord — that publishers will be able to use the review for marketing purposes — seems to be that the $305 will garner one a positive review.

    While I can see the value in charging a fee for an awards program in order to cover costs, for example, your original post about ForeWord‘s awards does make it clear that the fee charged was bringing in a lot more than just enough to cover the cost of the program. Your objections under those circumstances are quite merited.

    BTW, Mr. Luedke has posted a response to some of my criticisms of his promotional material.

  4. Jamie Coville Says:

    The DC Explosion was about an explosion in the number of titles.

    Marvel was pumping out a lot of different titles in the late 70s, Carmine Infantino proposed to Stan a limit of titles their companies would put out. Stan refused, said if they titles were selling he would continue to pump out more books. Carmine was afraid the newsstands (with limited rack space) would reduce the amount of DC titles they carried to get the Marvel books. He felt once they lost that rack space it would really hurt the company and be difficult to get back. He responded by pumping out a bunch of titles, hence the DC explosion.

  5. Johanna Says:

    I wrote a couple of reviews a couple of years ago for ForeWord — not the pay program, just the print magazine. The editor kept telling me to rewrite to use more examples and less opinion, so I’m not surprised that they’re pushing them for marketing. If they’re simple factual description, anyone could use them… but why would they want to?

    They also, as soon as I contributed, signed me up for their marketing email, constantly pushing me to buy ads and be part of “special issues”. That was annoying.

    Don, you make the point in your comments that marketers should send review copies instead of news releases to reviewers, but I’m noticing more and more the opposite. DC, especially, seems to want coverage of upcoming comics based on what they say about it instead of actual content. I figure it’s fishing, seeing who’s interested, and a way to cut down their mailing costs.

  6. Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes Says:

    […] Webcomics | Cartoonist Jane Irwin is rethinking her earlier decision to end her historical webcomic Clockwork Comics because of her concerns over the depiction of racial stereotypes: “… I’m reconsidering my stance on permanently ending the book. Let’s call it a hiatus for now; the end of the first chapter’s a good stopping point. In any event, I need to pull back and do a lot more reading and researching, then re-evaluate the first half of the book to see if it’s something I can fix to better match the much darker tone of the second half.” [Clockwork Comics, via Johanna Draper Carlson] […]

  7. Alan Sepinwall Says:

    Johanna, I’m assuming they put Blue Beetle into Booster’s comic because of the affection fans have for Booster’s friendship with the previous Beetle.

  8. Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Food or Comics | A roundup of money-related news Says:

    […] prices accompanied by the addition of back-up features — seems a little familiar, blogger Johanna Draper Carlson notes that’s because it sort of happened at DC before, in the mid- to late ’70s: As […]

  9. Johanna Says:

    Alan, yes, but that affection — and the resulting unwillingness to accept the new character — is part of what killed the title before.

  10. James Schee Says:

    For me the idea of backup stories is interesting, but I really don’t like any of the characters being used.

    If I hadn’t already switched to trades on it, the $1 increase for Booster + adding a character I don’t like would have sent me running to trades.

    I tried Jamie’s series, and it should have worked for me. Since I like teen characters, am from Texas and love original writer John Rogers Leverage TV show.

    Yet it didn’t work for me, but I’m willing to admit that I really liked Ted Kord as well. (my one old fogie, can’t accept change moment?:) )

  11. Johanna Says:

    I don’t know that’s it “not accepting change” — the potential of the Jamie series was often greater than the actual, unfortunately. I liked it for what it could have been.

  12. James Schee Says:

    Yeah, I tried going in to separate my dislike for what happened to Ted to give this a chance. There were some interesting things here, like not keeping the secret from his family. His friends were okay too, Jamie himself was sort of annoying.

    Yet overall it didn’t seem to have a real… cohesive direction. It probably wasn’t helped by, at least from an outside view, being SO involved with all the various DC crossovers that came one right after another.

  13. BobH Says:

    Jamie, the DC Explosion was more than two years after Infantino left DC. I think you’re mixing up multiple stories of unreliable veracity to get your version of the events.

  14. Dave Carter Says:

    Most people remember the DC explosion/implosion (or at least have heard about it form us old-timers). The explosion was when they raised their prices from 35¢ to 50¢ and increased the story page count from 17 to 25 (and as previously noted, also added a bunch of titles). As we all know it bombed (for all sorts of reasons) and DC soon dropped the story page count back down to 17 and dropped the price to 40¢. So comics still cost more, you just didn’t get anything for the extra cost.

    What many people forget is that just a few years later, DC once again raised their prices to 50¢ and added 8 more story pages (again, mostly through back-up stories, but within a few years the extra pages ended up become part of the main story); this time the increase worked and the price & page count stuck.

    Later when they increased to 60¢, the story page count was increased to 27 pages!

    Back in the day, an increase in price nearly always was accompanied by an increased in perceived value: either more pages, better quality paper, fewer ads, etc. Then as time went on, that value would be whittled away, until the next price increase and the cycle continued.

    I see adding more pages with an accompanying price increase from $3 to $4 as being more tenable than Marvel’s “we’ll increase our prices to $4 on our top titles and you’ll smile and like it” approach. But then I’m probably sadly wrong…

  15. sirjorge Says:

    I wonder when the comic book industry is going to realize that a lot of people are downloading comics now via cbr files.

  16. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I’m pretty sure they’ve realized that … although no one knows what to do about it. Alternately, they’re not willing to address the issue directly.

  17. Clockwork Game Returns » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] a year later, she reconsidered, first announcing the strip’s ending, then making it a hiatus. Now, the wait is over! The strip is […]




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