Victorian Squid wrote:No, there's no going back, you're 100% right about that. There isn't even the option of cheap paper goods on pulpy newsprint or anything else these days. The past is the past, and kids today aren't living in it.
Except that there is a modern-day equivalent to the cheap pulp newsprint paper that would, at least in principle, allow for lower prices and wider mass-marketing, and its something today's teenagers love: digital. Since there is no "printing" or "shipping" cost associated with digital, and in principle no real middle-man (since if they wanted, DC could sell digital items directly to customers from their website), the production costs should be astronomically lower for digital, and thus it should be possible to sell them a lot more cheaply -- 99 cents, maybe even less, and still make equivalent profit compared to a 2.99 or 3.99 paper book. But doing this would force DC (or Marvel, or whoever) to shift away from a paper distribution method. At least in theory, doing this properly (and note, I said "properly") should lead to widely-read comics by hundreds of thousands of young people, who love devouring electronic content on their iDevices and Android-ma-bobs. Yes per-item profit might go down a bit (but probably not that much) but (again if they did it right) they would more than make up for it in volume.
But that would require a company that decided to target kids again, instead of one that, as they have said elsewhere, views its market as exclusively "45 year olds" -- which also means, exclusively hardcore collectors who exclusively want to read comics on paper. Sure, I know they sell digitally, but they're almost doing it on a lark, rather than as an effort to widen their sales distribution. Digital is an afterthought, still, rather than a prime focus. Think about this Villain's Month business -- you can't get 3D covers digitally. So this is an event whose major selling point was not even available to digital customers, and I'll bet you dollars to donuts DC didn't even consider what that would mean to those customers.
No one's tried it, really, but I would be willing to bet that if one of these companies started a line of "all ages" comics and soled them relatively cheaply as digitals, tens of thousands of kids would be all over that. But first the comic companies have to embrace the medium.
Without that, then yes, all we are left with is the "45 year old" hardcore collectors who demand high-quality printing on top-notch paper and are willing to spend $4 a pop for comic-books. Of which, I may be one, but I'm not happy about it (especially the age part).