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In Reply To
Escaped Ratt

Subj: so many things to consider
Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 03:20:57 pm EDT (Viewed 100 times)
Reply Subj: Comic Price Per Page, Adjusted for Inflation
Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 at 12:13:54 am EDT (Viewed 37 times)

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I've seen that Marvel is raising prices to $3.99 per comic. Some fans are angry, and some seem unfazed.
I thought it would be interesting to do a cost-comparison, adjusted for inflation.
Let's take an example from Captain America comics. Captain America increased from $0.50 to $0.60 at #265, which was in January 1982. That was a 20% increase. The page count of #265 (not counting ads) was 21. That works out to $0.028 per page in 1982 dollars. Adjusted for inflation up to 2009, that same comic would cost $1.33 today, or $0.063 per page.

Now let's look at the current situation.
Going from $2.99 to $3.99 is a 33% increase.
A typical comic will still have around 22 pages of content. For example, New Avengers The Reunion #1 cost $3.99 for 22 pages, not counting ads. That works out to $0.181 per page in today's dollars.

The current increase of 33% is significantly higher than historical increases, which were usually around 20%.
After the latest increase, today's comics will cost nearly TRIPLE the amount in INFLATION-ADJUSTED dollars, as a comparable comic from 1982.
Again, I stress that the figures are inflation-adjusted using a readily-available online calculator.
You're going to be paying *three times* the amount you should be.
Personally, I don't think that's reasonable.


Looking at the changes in prices over a time period is never really helpful, there are just so many other factors. I'd be interested to see a similar price timeline of something like Sports Illustrated.

The cost of paper has gone a lot.

Economies of scale have disappeared. The more copies you produce, the cheaper the per unit cost. So a comic that sells 500K is going to have a cheaper per unit cost than a comic that sells 10K.

Creators are compensated more. In the past, creators had to scrape to get buy. You'll see some older creators say that the reason they had to produce so much was because they wouldn't afford not to. Today, creators get a much higher salaries, and even health benefits. Are you going to say that your favorite creator needs a wage reduction, or that he doesn't deserve health care?

Comics have moved away from seeking new readers. When you have older readers, who you know will pick up the next issue no matter what, you can increase your profit margin. Simply put, comics have moved away from mass entertainment and into a niche hobby. And hobbies are typically expensive.

Now, if you the price bothers you, look for alternative methods if you still want to get the story. Online stores like DCBS allow for great discounts, often up to 40-60% off a comic. TPB collections are an option, even buying them online from a place like Marvel currently offers a digital comic service. Or you can go to the library. Or you can share comics with a friend. Or you can go on eBay. Or you can even download the comics illegally online.

Or you can simply not buy the product if you think it's overvalued. That's the best way for your opinion to get noticed.

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