Monkeys Fighting Robots

Last Friday, DC Comics announced an exclusive partnership with Walmart: the publisher will begin selling “100-page giant comics” at Walmart starting July 1.

“Available for $4.99, each 100-page anthology features all-new stories written exclusively for these books by some of DC’s top creative talents,” according to DC Comics.

The price point and exclusive content are a big issue with comic book retailers. As this could drive potential sales from your local comic book shop to Walmart, and where every penny matters to your comic book shop, you can understand their concerns. We polled our Twitter audience and 58% of the people surveyed said they would buy comics from Walmart.

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Here’s what several retailers had to say.

Emerald City Comics, Clearwater FL

The only negative to this is that along with other big box stores and gaming chains, this increases places that consumers can go for comics other than your local comic shop, which of course, impacts our business.

On the plus side, as a comics fan, I’m excited about the format, as I used to love the 100-Page Giant comics as a kid, and it’s cool to see them return, and at a reasonable price.

DC is bringing some A-List talent to their main original stories in each issue, so I’m happy to see them get even more work, and gain new fans, which will hopefully bring them to Emerald City in search of their other works, or maybe wanting to know more about a character they’re just now learning about. So, if discovering Nightwing, or Jimmy Palmiotti brings them to us, that’s great!

Also, I’m always happy to see people, kids especially, with comics in their hands, which often leads to a lifetime of reading, and that’s always a good thing. If they’re parents stop in to buy clothes or tooth-paste, and their kids leave with a big, thick comic book that will inspire them, I’m all for it.

Assuming these Wal-Mart exclusives eventually bring their readers to us, looking for more, it could be a very good thing. We have a large Wal-Mart just a few miles from us, so it’s certainly possible that it could be very good for us!

Dark Tower Comics, Chicago IL

I think that this is just another slap in the face of comic stores everywhere. This shows how little DC gives a shit about the brick and mortar retailers. My assumption is the books with be fully returnable for Wal-Mart’s which something they would never do for us.

Third Coast Comics, Chicago IL

My belief is that DC and/or Marvel can’t grow this market of readers without finding a way to put their books in places other than comic shops. The direct market is great for drilling down into the interests of the fanbase but we are not going to generate even a moderate influx of readers with a model designed to squeeze more money out of the already converted customer.

If we want growth then comics need to be widely available. So far all the big companies have been about to do is increase the popularity of their characters but not the range and circularity of the print product.

As far as the original content here, I have to believe that we’ll get that product eventually but I don’t really care about that. Honestly, I’d be willing to order a few of these for my shop. I wouldn’t order massive numbers because our customers just don’t do many reprints but this format is designed put the most interesting stories of the past in new hands at a great price.

I really just wish it wasn’t Walmart.

A Comic Shop, Winter Park FL

I wish we could get 100 pages for $4.99. The comic shop locator website better be in each issue, since we subsidize most of the content by ordering it nonreturnable at a retail price of 20 pages for $3.99.

Maybe some of the people of Walmart will follow the stories into comic shops, maybe we should all get riding carts for our shops.

I want to know if we’ll get to sell the new King and Bendis stories as collections when they’re done.

Gotham Newstand, San Antonio, Texas

I have been making my living selling comics for six years and currently own and operate two physical stores and one eBay store.

I am happy that comics are making their way from specialty shops to a newsstand situation again. Although I was initially dismayed that some exclusive Bendis and Tom King stories might make their way to these collections and Wal-Mart’s stores first, they are going to see eventual release in the DM either as individual comics or in the trade paperbacks.

While I could get upset that Wal-Mart is exclusively getting these, reprint tomes like these wouldn’t sell well to the hardcore crowd: 12 pages of new story amid 88 pages of reprints is a 12 page comic to most hardcore readers. Their tremendous size and I’m sure low paper quality would make storing them difficult, too.

I welcome the new readers this will bring. Wal-mart can tap into a crowd that would never go out of their way to go to a comic store to pick up their first comic, and when they find Wal-Mart’s selection lacking, they will look for stores like mine to start filling in their collection and to find other stories like the ones reprinted here.

I also am happy that DC is continuing to make moves to keep their comic section profitable!! I have heard many stories of Disney contemplating canceling their comics publishing division and to farm out Marvel’s IPs to other publishers, and if that would happen, the feeling of the shared universe would go away, and I think comics as a whole would suffer if Marvel failed.

The problem with the Walmart partnership is it’s a short-term fix. DC Comics will sell a ton of books in 2018, but it will not develop a long-term pipeline of new readers. Superheroes are more popular now than ever before, Marvel and DC Comics need to develop a program that leads each new genration down a path of reading that evolves as they get older. Make it very easy to read what comes next and make it extremely accessible. With the partnership with Walmart, DC Comics has made its books accessible – but a book by Tom King is definitely not a one size fits all reading experience.

Are you going to buy the new “100-Page Giants” from Walmart? Comment below.