FYI to DC Comics: It’s the PRICE!
With the success of Showcase Presents series of 500-page plus reprints chock full of Silver Age material selling, not only in comic books shops but bookstore chains all over, I'm not surprised DC is considering shelving their Archives line of collections, according to Publishers Weekly.
Even geeks like me can do the math. Retailing at $16.95 a pop, the Showcase Presents collections feature 500-plus pages per volume of some of the choicest Silver Age stories on the planet, albeit on cheap paper and in glorious black-and-white. Volumes of the Archives series, while printed in full color and on great paper, were only half as big and sold from $49.95-59.95.
Granted, by next summer, DC will own the honorable distinction of being the only publisher to reprint to entire Spirit series of classic Will Eisner stories from the 40s and 50s in its Archives format. Even for a Spirit fan like me, however, I figured the final investment -- at least $1,250, if not more, for the 25-volume set -- wasn't in my budget.
To their credit, DC is experimenting with other formats, like their Omnibus line reprinting Jack Kirby's Fourth World books and James Robinson's Starman series next year Publishers Weekly says. Again, as good as those stories are -- even with double the page count and all of them in full color -- DC's Omnibus editions start at $49.95, and are no more of a bargain than their Archives.
Perhaps, to the good, DC has started publishing Deluxe Editions of individual stories or arcs in a slightly oversized format, bridging the cheaper Showcase Presents and pricier Omnibus, with its Shazam: Monster Society of Evil "deluxe" edition collecting the three-issue mini by Jeff Smith.
I was pleased to learn the Jonah Hex and House of Mystery volumes were among the best sellers in the Showcase Presents line. Considering both were refreshingly continuity-free and bereft of superheroes, it's no wonder the "off-genre stuff" is selling well...
And, don't get me started about the Absolute line...