§ October 12th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

From the NEWSFLASHES column in Amazing Heroes #68 (April 1, 1985):

Marvel Comics will be combating the problem [of the increase of costs in printing a 32-page comic] by converting all of its existing titles into a 100-page format. Retailing for $2.95, these new comics will bear the headline ‘SPECIAL GREAT BIG COMIC – MORE FOR YOUR MONEY!’ across the top of each cover. The story content in each issue will total 85 pages, with 12 pages of ads and a 6-page letters column.*

…CHRIS CLAREMONT will be in charge of The X-Men Super Giant Big Book, which will include a regular 30-page X-Men series drawn by JOHN ROMITA, Jr. and DAN GREEN, a 25-page New Mutants series drawn by FRANK ROBBINS, and rotating series of features starring other mutants.

DC Comics’ reaction?

What DC will be doing instead is cutting down its comic books to 16 pages – ‘like Cerebus, just a step further.’ Ads will be cut down to 4 pages, leaving 14 pages of story per issue.** Letters pages will be confined to the inside front cover, a la First Comics.

…’Let’s face it,’ DICK GIORDANO said, ‘it’s already tough enough fitting, say, the Legion of Super-Heroes into one 25-page story.’ As a result, all teams will be cut down to three members.

…Justice League of America will reduce its membership to Vibe and Vixen, according to readership polls the favorite members of the audience. GERRY CONWAY will continue to write, and MIKE SEKOWSKY will draw.

It was meant as a joke at the time, but nearly 20 years on, do either of these options sound terribly farfetched? I think the estimate on the number of ad pages is a bit low…I think we’d be looking at about a 50/50 ratio of ads to story, just to keep the costs down on a 100-page monthly comic. And pal Dorian mentioned to me that Warren Ellis had suggested some kind of 16 page weekly comic in place of the 32-page monthlies. (I hadn’t read Ellis’ comments on that, so forgive me if I have the details wrong.)

Well, at our store, people are still buying the regular monthlies like they’re going out of st…er, like they’re hotcakes, but with the increase in popularity of the trade paperback sales model (particularly in manga), monthly books may have to evolve in order to continue competing in venues aside from the comic book store niche market.

Just a thought…I don’t think the 32-page format is going away anytime soon, but there will come a point when its price point will become too high for even the most ardent comics fan. What will happen then, I wonder?

* Yes, I know that adds up to 103 pages.

** See? Still funny!

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