The GeeksverseFrom the Fan’s Desk | DC’s Weekly Overload

From the Fan’s Desk | DC’s Weekly Overload
Published on Monday, March 3, 2014 by
DC will soon be publishing two weekly series with next month’s debut of Batman: Eternal and the May premiere of Future’s End. And the publisher has a third weekly series in the pipeline for October. How much is too much?
Batman: Eternal #1 cover art by Jason Fabok.

Batman: Eternal #1 cover art by Jason Fabok.

At last year’s NYCC, DC Comics announced that it would be doing another weekly series reminiscent of 52, which ran from 2006 to 2007. The Batman: Eternal weekly series debuting next month will be handled by a large creative team headed by Scott Snyder and featuring names like James Tynion IV, John Layman, Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley, and Jason Fabok, will launch next month and is supposed to set a new status quo for Gotham City and its Dark Knight. It was also announced that during this event we would see the New 52 debut of fan-favorite character Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. the Spoiler.

All that is well and good, but I have a fundamental problem with weekly series and that problem has to do with the weekly release schedule’s financial demands on the reader. Most print comics already range in price from $2.99 to $3.99. Most people have a set weekly or monthly budget for comics and to put a new book into the mix, that usually means dropping a title from the pull list to make way for the new addition. How are these readers expected to squeeze in what is the equivalent of four new books per month?

Batman: Eternal is $2.99 an issue according to the solicitation copy. For Batman fans committed to picking up the comic, that comes out to an additional $11.96 for the month and every month for the 15-month duration of the “event”—Batman: Eternal is supposed to run for 60 issues, “eternal,” indeed. Where will that money come from? New readers? Maybe, but I can’t see new readers suddenly starting a $12-a-month comic habit out of the blue. More than likely, Batman: Eternal‘s market is going to consist largely of already-existing DC Comics fans and Batman comics readers, who’ll either make drastic changes to their pull list to accommodate Eternal or will just have to deal with spending significantly more on comics for the next year-and-a-quarter.

Future's End #1 cover art by Ryan Sook.

Future’s End #1 cover art by Ryan Sook.

But wait, there’s more! Besides Batman: Eternal, DC has a second weekly series up its sleeve. Future’s End premieres in May with four issues, each priced at $2.99 a pop. I believe it’s supposed to run a full year, 52 issues all in all.

So now the DC Comics fan who simply has to keep up is looking at an extra $24 a month. Doesn’t this seem a little excessive? How can a publisher expect its readers to make those additional payments each week? DC obviously hopes that readers cut down on their orders for comics from their competitors, but how often do plans that involve flooding the market with a glut of material actually work to the benefit of the publisher?

I was initially interested in checking out Batman: Eternal and Future’s End, but there’s not enough room in my monthly comics budget for an additional eight purchases and of the books I currently read, I can’t really think of eight titles that I would want to drop to make room for DC’s weekly offerings (and keep in mind, these eight new monthly purchases are really just two titles, so it’s like exchanging eight serials for two serials—I don’t know if that’s a good return on the investment in story). I can afford to make exceptions for shorter-term and/or bi-weekly “event” series like Marvel’s Infinity, but not something like what DC is doing. (And what’s this about DC launching a third weekly series later this year?)

It’s just too much.

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