Superman: Earth One price and page count solicited

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One big question mark in last week's announcement of DC Comics Earth One original graphic novel initiative was what the price point would be, and how many pages.

We get at least an inkling of that answer today with this solicitation for Superman: Earth One, at $19.95, 128 pages, and hardcover.

Here's some rough math, and please correct me in the comments section: Your average issue of Superman is $2.99 and 22 pages (that's story pages, if I understand correctly, not including advertisements). 128 pages is five to six issues; let's split the difference and say five and a half issues would be about $16.45.

So to start with, we see that Superman: Earth One is more expensive than the same number of comics issues. But everyone and their uncle gets some kind of discount on comic books, at least 30%, so let's say Superman: Earth One will actually cost about $14.00, not $19.95. Now we're looking at each "issue" of Superman: Earth One costing about $0.50 less than your average comic book.

This is important for two reasons:

1) A side benefit of being a trade-reader has always been that the books tend to cost less than single issues. This only makes sense; as with movies and other media, the customer gets immediate gratification (the weekly comic) and pays a premium for it, or gets delayed gratification (the later collection) but saves money to offset the wait. By rights Superman: Earth One should cost less than equivalent single issues.

2) Price will be key for garnering readers. If the cost of Superman: Earth One were ostentatious (and it could be, given that it's technically a "first run" book), this would be another reason to dismiss the Earth One concept out of hand. $19.95 is considerably low in comparison to other hardcover collections (Superman: New Krypton volume 1 was $24.99) and that means we'll see an even cheaper paperback to follow.

One sore spot about this announcement is the release date, September 2010. Granted any of these details could change -- including the page count and price -- as the release gets closer, but September is a very, very long time to wait for the Earth One books to begin -- DC runs the danger of losing excitement for the project before it even begins if it's after next summer before it starts (though this gives lots of convention lead-time to advertise). I expected something more like March or April. Maybe it'll turn out Batman: Earth One is coming first, but currently it doesn't look that way.

Five and a half issues, from my perspective, is still better than nothing. I remain very excited about Earth One, especially since it begins to look, if not thick, then affordable at least. What do you think?


Couple more new solicitations in addition:

* Batman and Robin Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin - The second volume of the Grant Morrison series also in deluxe oversized format, like the first volume and Batman RIP

* Justice League of America: Team History - The first James Robinson/Mark Bagley trade after Cry for Justice

* World's Greatest Super-heroes Deluxe - This appears (unconfirmed) to be a deluxe format edition of the painted Alex Ross stories written by Paul Dini. These were previously only available as very large paperbacks and an Absolute edition; "deluxe" is a far more manageable size. Could this be the beginning of an Absolute-to-deluxe trend?

* Batman: Life After Death - Following Judd Winick's Batman: Long Shadows, here's the next volume in the solo adventures of the new Batman, by Tony Daniel

What's on your to-buy list? Does Superman: Earth One made the cut? Chime in at the comments section below.
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  1. I have to admit that I'm a wee bit disappointed with 128 pages. I was hoping something... chunkier to set aside these graphic novels from DC's usual releases. It's not uncommon for other companies' outputs to be 300+ pages (okay, for maybe a few dollars more). I suppose these are origin stories, but that means the entire line will be putting out less than 300 pages a year.

    I suppose I don't care as long as they are quality.

  2. I'm not too disappointed. A hundred and twenty eight pages is actually a pretty good page number in regards to most OGN's I've seen. Quite a few in the past were lucky to clock in at 98, as I recall.

    Rarely does anything but a big event or an Essential/Showcase volume clock in at three hundred some odd pages.

    The price doesn't really surprise me. It's a hardcover. I tend to find that hardcovers are often the same price as they would be in individual issues, not including discounts. I take exceptionally good care of my trades, so I've never been afraid of the paperback volumes and truth be told I actually prefer them; hence I end up waiting for the paperback trade most of the time. By the time we get to that point we're looking at the mid teens price-wise, which is a-okay with me.

    Not sure what the Robinson volume is going to entail. I suspected they were going to pack up the Len Wein issues and the first three of Robinsons with the Blackest Night tie-in as a volume; it would have made a lot of sense considering their first arc proper doesn't start until #41. But I don't see Wein's name there anywhere and I'm not even remotely sure how Andy Kubert plays into things, as I don't recall ANY Justice League material with him on art duties.

    Being the Bat-freak that I am, I'm of course going to get the Batman volumes despite the fact that I'm looking more towards Bruce's eventual return, but I'm sticking with the paperback as always. So I'm probably not going to be reading those stories until, oh, 2011. Alas, the paperback waiting game, she is cruel.

    Not sure about the Worlds Greatest Super-Heroes; I may make it one of my rare hardcover exceptions.

  3. I thought I would add a little international feel to the blog here...

    Superman: Earth One will be about £14.50 in a regular comic shop in the UK on the thursday after it comes out on wednesday in America (Fed-Ex does a great job here)

    Now in order to get a discount, UK customers will have to wait until the UK graphic novel distributor Titan gets their stock, stickers it up with a UK barcode and price and sends it out to book stores (Like Amazon). This process usually takes about 3 weeks.

    So for me, i will be getting it on the thursday, at full price from a standard comic shop. This is something I'm not going to have to wait to read, so would like to be there from day one even if it means paying extra. The up side of this is I get to support my local CBS in the process.

    You guys in America should feel lucky that you TPB haven't gone up this year - as a result of the USD exchange rate against the GBP£, all books that are marked $19.99 increased in price this year from £12 to £14.50.

    Should I wait the extra 3 weeks or so, I would expect amazon to offer this for anywhere between £9.50 and £13....

  4. "But everyone and their uncle gets some kind of discount on comic books, at least 30%, so let's say Superman: Earth One will actually cost about $14.00, not $19.95. Now we're looking at each "issue" of Superman: Earth One costing about $0.50 less than your average comic book."

    I think you may have forgotten to take into account that this discount is also applied on monthly comics. Sadly, I think these OGN will still cost more than monthlies...

    Anyway this is still a great news and I'm really looking forwards this new line!

  5. Most of us overseas don't get discounts, sadly.

  6. True that monthlies get their own discount, too (it's been so long, I'd forgotten!). Still, I find $19.95 to be a warm price point, and simply based on anecdotal evidence, I think $19.95 will appeal more to the intended wider fan base than $24.95, for instance (the price of both a New Krypton volume or Superman: Secret Origin).

    I appreciate the international insight. Discounts aside, I feel the same way you do -- on one hand, I'll probably buy this off the rack, discount or no, just to have it in my hands on that day.

    Now if only someone from DC would speak up and say it's being released first quarter 2010 ...

  7. How are the Ross stories? I've never heard a word about them one or the other.

  8. The Dini/Ross stories are well-regarded, as I understand, and hailed in their heydey for the oversized format that showcased Ross's art (these are illustrated with prose on the page). Here's a Wikipedia entry with more details:'s_Greatest_Super-Heroes