Why DC Comics’ ‘Rebirth’ Is A Bid To Change How Comics Are Sold

DC making over their line of comics every few years is nothing new. They bring the books that aren’t selling to an end, try a few new things, and we’re set for another few years. And Rebirth would seem to be more of the same, except that DC is making some major publishing changes.

First, DC’s trimming their superhero line down to 32 books, which sounds like a reduction until you notice more than half those books are now running biweekly. Yep, instead of one issue of Detective Comics a month, we’re getting two. DC is also cutting the price point of single issues to $2.99. It also means DC has, effectively, only cut three books from a publishing perspective. Unfortunately this means a lot of their smaller, more interesting books are coming to an end. Midnighter, Omega Men, Secret Six, and Martian Manhunter, particular favorites in our review column, are all wrapping up, and Grayson will become Nightwing.

That said, there’s no shortage of intriguing titles. Blue Beetle is back, Birds of Prey has returned after years of fans begging DC to put it back on the shelves, and there’s now a lot of Superbooks. In addition to the expected Action Comics, which is returning to its normal numbering, and Superman, there’s Supergirl, Superwoman, Super Sons, and a book called The Super-Man. Sure, there are still nine Batbooks, but Supes getting such an upgrade is telling.

Also telling is the biweekly strategy. DC is targeting three audiences at once; digital buyers, people who only read trades, and comics shops. Comics retailers, for example, are getting 100 percent of their Rebirth advertising paid back by DC. Similarly, digital sales numbers are closely guarded by every publisher, but you can spot signs that digital is important to DC if you know where to look. For example, Tom King, writer of critically-acclaimed but low-selling DC miniseries Omega Men and Sheriff of Babylon, was signed to an exclusive deal with DC right before Rebirth was announced.

Like any shake-up, we’ll see how Rebirth goes; there will be books that work and books that don’t. But it will be just as interesting to see if DC’s plan for more books and more trades will pay off.

(Via DC Comics)