Over the past decades, two publishers (Marvel and DC) have dominated the Comics industry. However if you examine comics sales charts of the past few years, you will see that Marvel Comics sales represents a majority of the top of the sales charts, and flat out dominates the middle region of the sales charts. If DC was to remain a viable competitor to Marvel, they needed to take drastic action, and that's exactly what they have done. Last week, DC announced an extensive business and creative plan to reinvigorate their sales and perhaps those of the industry as a whole.
Today we'll be looking at some of DC's plans for September, specifically the 52 ongoing series that will be launched in September with new #1 issues.
Accessibility and Jumping On Points is something that you hear discussed a lot these days among Industry Professionals, Retailers, and Readers. That's because its often times difficult to get a casual fan, a new reader, or a non reader to pick up a book that has been published for decades, accumulating an intimidating amount of continuity.
How does the non experienced reader know where and how to jump onto a book, especially when it's on Issue #246? Many different attempts to offer jumping on points have been tried over the years, most recently Marvel's .1 initiative that would offer a .1 issue of a book that would act as an introduction to new readers. However as CBR reviewer Greg McElhatton noted, how is the casual reader supposed to know what a .1 issue means?
History has shown that nothing works better than a #1 issue. It's a clear sign that this is a beginning point where readers can enter into a story, and its a guaranteed sales boost, partially because of people jumping on, and partially because of collectors grabbing up the issues because they think they will be valuable someday.
While it is possible that 52 #1 issues will be too much for fans to handle in one month, the line wide accessibility combined with the news splash that this bold move has already made is probably worth the risk. New readers are so few and far between these days, that any effort to make it easier/more appealing to pick up new books should be applauded, so I think that DC made a smart move here. If nothing else, they will definitely dominate the top of the sales chart for at least September, something they haven't done in over a decade.
However I really do hope that DC's two longest running titles Action Comics and Detective Comics will not be renumbered as this is history and legacy that the publisher should be proud of.