As Newsarama, The Hollywood Reporter, and other media outlets have recently reported, DC has announced that it has partnered with Walmart to release exclusive 100-Page Giant issues of its comic books. This is both good news and bad news for the comic fan community.
“We are extraordinarily excited about working with Walmart to expand the reach of our books. These new monthly books combine new and accessible stories with reprints of classic comic series. It’s a great way for new readers to get into comics and follow the characters they’ve grown to love in TV and film.” -DC Publisher Dan DiDio
The good news is that comic books will be put in front of people who may not have been exposed to the medium directly in the past. With the fantastic proliferation of comic source material for movies, tv, and toys, many non comic readers will now have an opportunity to buy and read some really excellent comic books. It is assumed that DC’s goal, besides the upfront sales of these books, is to cultivate new comic book readers. It is similar to the recent announcement that GameStop will also be carrying comic books. That is really good for the industry, because the hope is that they will be become interested and seek out more content. New readers may be encouraged to read different new content and to find older stories in the form of physical back issues, trade paperbacks, or digital collections. That would grow the population of comic readers and serve to improve the health of the industry as a whole.
There is, however, a negative aspect to this release. One of the highlighted points of this plan is that these exclusive collections will include original exclusive content. Stories written and drawn by high level talent. Therefore, existing fans of the characters and creators will have to get this content from Walmart.
Part of the comic reader experience has been the Local Comic Shop (LCS). That is the direct market location for many comic fans for new releases and back issues. Following this announcement, some LCS owners have questioned if the publishers are concerned at all about the LCS’s existence. The exclusivity of content at Walmart will force fans to a different outlet to get these issues. While this may not end up being a difference maker in the long run, it certainly has some concerned that it could lead to a change in the way comics are consumed.
Many comic creators have chimed in on this announcement to laud it as good for the industry.
This is great great GREAT. https://t.co/Jgx5RdRt8E
— ryan stegman (@RyanStegman) June 22, 2018
Thrilled to be part of DC’s Exclusive line of Walmart books. Great chance to cultivate an audience of new readers that might not otherwise find their way to comics. Plus–that 100-page Comic GIANT! masthead is awesome to see again. pic.twitter.com/A6a569Pz0w
— Dan Jurgens (@thedanjurgens) June 22, 2018
This industry needs people outside our circle to buy comics again. This program will help that big time. I am super excited to be involved and super happy a comic shop locater is in each title. pic.twitter.com/7zPCwL5L1Z
— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) June 22, 2018
In truth, the concept that comic books are available in plain sight is exciting for those who want readership to grow. However, there is still some trepidation that the livelihood of many people who supply comic books at the local LCS will be threatened. It is great that least one of the advertisement pages in these 100-Page Giants has a LCS locator web-page mention.
We here at PCS certainly hope that this becomes an all-good story.
Links to the full press release and issue descriptions can be found below:
Featured Photo credit: Dan DiDio’s Facebook page
Photo credits: DC Comics