Recently, DC Comics rebooted their entire line of stories. I hadn't read comics in a year or two, but I was intrigued. I stopped by the local comic store and picked up the new books. The price of the new issues was $3.99 a copy.
I thought to myself that the price is really rising. When I got home, I read a great article on comparing the price of comics to the minimum wage by Von Allen.
Soon I was wondering what the relative cost of comics was in the past. I mean, I know they were 10¢ in the 50s, but what does 10¢ in 1950s dollars compare to in 2011?
So I did a little research. I looked up the cover price of comics over the years on Wikipedia and I used a site called Measuring Worth to covert prices in the past to prices today based on the Consumer Price Index.
I threw all the values into a spreadsheet.
|Year||Cover Cost||Cost Adjusted To|
2011 $ (CPI)
Graphed it looks like this:
Looking at the graph we can see that the relative price of a comic book stayed around a buck until 1970 or so, slowly ramping up to a buck fifty over the next 15 years. That's a 50% increase. From 1985 to 2000 the price almost doubles (100%) getting neat three dollars. From 2000 to 2011, it's around a 33% increase.
It's a fact that costs increase over time, so I'm not saying prices could remain at a buck forever. But it is hard to see how young kids and teenagers can get into comic books, it's simply too expensive. For $20 you get 5-7 books. Serious comic readers will pick up 10-20 books a week. A few years ago, when I was a more regular reader, I would the totals of other people routinely $30-50 a week. That's $120-200 per MONTH. There can't be many parents helping pay that much for a kid's comic habit.
Perhaps comics are now becoming a purely adult pastime. That would be sad. The joy of reading, sorting, and collecting comics was a wonderful part of my youth.