With the rapid growth of eBooks, it is becoming more and more difficult for publishing houses to sell books in traditional brick and mortar stores. This is especially true for niche products like comics and graphic novels. However, DC Comics, publishers of Batman, Superman, and hundreds of other iconic properties, announced that this September they will relaunch their entire Universe line with new #1 issues. More importantly, they will be the first comic book publishers to embrace technology and release all of their super hero stories day-and-date digital.
Up until this announcement, DC, Marvel, Image, and other comic publishers experimented with day-and-date releases, which means making the print and digital copies available the same day for purchase. This experimentation has led to a few special issues being available on digital platforms when their physical counterpart arrives in stores. Other than these exceptions, however, all new releases are reserved for actual stores. For those who prefer to read digitally, comic material is limited to the handful of new books given day-and-date releases and the libraries of back issues that fill the online app stores.
DC plans to change that by relaunching their super hero line after their major event comes to a close in August. Flashpoint–the storyline that is expected to change the status quo for these characters–will put an end to the existing seventy year history readers love. On August 31st, the final installment of Flashpoint and the first issue of the revamped Justice League will arrive giving readers a chance to read the end of the old and birth of the new simultaneously. Along with completely re-imaged versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the entire JL family, this brand new #1 will also begin DC’s day-and-date initiative. Regarding this transition, David Hyde, of the DC Source Blog, said this:
The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all  ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.
It is hard to say how effective this will be considering the specific audience DC and Marvel usually target. Many existing readers tend to enjoy physical copies of their books, and the act of collecting comics is just as much of a hobby as reading them. On the other hand, since 2002, DC is always behind Marvel in book sales. If the Superman-publisher want to survive in today’s market, it is essential for them to make a bold move, tap into a new audience, and create original stories that excite new and old readers alike. The coming months will be interesting for Flashpoint readers as their favorite super heroes go through radical changes. However, the announcement of day-and-date digital is filled with even more long term possibilities for the comic community.
What are your thoughts? Is this the end of comic book stores? Or, is this just another way for comic fans to get their fix? Sound off in the comments section.
Links: DC Comics
I’m glad to see this. Should have been done ten years ago. The comics also should be free. There should be a digital line and a printed line. The Big Two have been far too slow on this.