DC to Begin Simultaneous Digital Release for Major Titles

Today may be a big day in the history of the American comics industry. Just a few hours ago, DC Comics announced on their blog DC: The Source (and through their Twitter account @DC_NATION) that starting Wednesday, August 31st of this year the publisher will release "all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print".

That is to say that anybody who doesn't live near a comic-book store (or anybody who doesn't want to bother WALKING to a comic-book store) will be able to download to an iPad or similar digital reading device the last issue of the "Flashpoint" mini-series and the first issue of the new volume of "Justice League" the day they are available in print. (This will be the beginning of a slow relaunch with new volumes of all of DC's major titles. A new series will be relaunched with a new #1 issue every week for a calendar year afterwards. [CORRECTION 6/2/11: All fifty-two new volume #1 issues will be released in FIVE WEEKS.])

[via @f_francavilla via @DC_NATION via DC: The Source blog]

My friend David Brustlin (@davidbrustlin) was just marveling last night at the fact that a prose novel he's pre-ordered will be available for him to read on his Kindle the second it goes on the market. The same is now true of DC's comics as it already is of publisher Archie Comics' titles.

When interviewed by Newsarama.com after Archie's similar announcement in January, Mike Wellman, co-owner of Manhattan Beach, California's store The Comic Bug said "If it was Marvel, DC or any of the other bread-and-butter companies, I'd be much more concerned."

Today's post from DC ends with the sentence: "This year, make history with us."

But, tellingly, the comments for the entire blog are closed and have been for the month of May. Could the company have done so in advance consideration of backlash from this major announcement? Certainly the brick-and-mortar comics retailers are not going to be very happy to hear this news. Marvel's and DC's weekly superhero releases form a large portion of their income and the approximate six-month-delay both companies held up has been perceived as the major barrier to the complete cannibalization of their print sales. That combined with the retailers' (and my own shared) belief that a great number of readers enjoy the tactile feeling of print too much to read more than a very few new titles in e-book form.

The next few months will tell us how true those perceptions are.

~ @JonGorga


  1. The pricing sounds ridiculous. $3.99 for the print copy. $3.99 for the digital copy. $4.99 for the bundle. So really, either you buy the bundle (which you don't really need, since you don't need two copies of these things, I think), or you buy the product at 1 dollar more than you were just paying and — more importantly - one dollar more than the price point they were just so incredibly adamant about keeping.

    Much like, oh, everything else DC has done lately, it sounds like they keep making news only to reverse it. Remember when DC LEGACIES was supposed to be the definitive history of the DC Universe?

  2. My brain has somehow over and over again glossed over these prices. I see them again and again but I don't think I've been registering it until Josh spelled it out for me:
    DC is asking their customers to spend the same amount of money on a digital copy as on a print one.

    That is insane.