It’s finally happened! The Walmart DC Giants have been replaced with packets of several issues in my local stores. How I’m going to miss those 100-page spectaculars!
For several years, DC provided those 100-Page Giants through local Walmart stores. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up or read any of them, they were big books that largely focused on the company’s main characters or events, including Superman, Batman, Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman, Our Fighting Forces, and Swamp Thing, to name a few.
Each issue would have about two new stories focusing on the highlighted character or story, then move into reprints of past stories that I found made great re-reads.
Usually, these books could be found in what I called the “playing cards” aisle. It was often near the front of the store, near the cash registers, and were in between Pokemon and Magic cards, among others. For a while, my local Walmart sold the smaller versions of the Batman: Black and White statues, some of which I was happy to pick up.
So, my trips to the Walmart were made more fun, besides saving money and finding a wide variety of stuff, by sifting through these books, which often turned up monthly. I worked hard to keep them in good condition, of course, so I went through the self-checkout lanes to accomplish that.
Well, those days are gone now, sadly. Most of the comics in those packets are either ones I wanted and already purchased or I didn’t want and still don’t have interest in buying.
WILL THE NEW FORMAT SUCCEED?
The 100-Page Giants were the brainchild of Dan DiDio, and I often found they vanished off the shelves if I didn’t get to my local Walmart as early in the month as possible.
I did wonder, though, if things were going to change when they started renumbering several of them, going back to issue #1 most of the time. “Well,” I thought, “that often happens in comics, so I won’t worry.” I guess I should have.
Then I heard they were no longer going to make it to my local comics shop. I figured I’d still get them at Walmart, although the woman who owns the store told me I was the only one buying them at my LCS. That was when I started to get concerned.
See, DC had begun releasing the stories of The Flash by Gail Simone and others I enjoyed as “Digital First” books. I assume they’ll come to my LCS eventually—hence the “First” part of all that.
The important thing is, like Marvel, DC now has at least some of their books for sale in a store that gets quite a lot of foot traffic. My biggest concern has to do with how many people actually want to buy several books in a package like that. The cost is likely to still cause some concern—$7.99 is a lot for books you may not know much about. The Giants were only $4.99, and I still think that was a good price for 100 pages of reading.
My hope is that DC will package them based on the main hero in that bunch or maybe similar stories. I don’t see Marvel doing that, though, so I doubt DC will do much different.
Will this format succeed? I don’t know, honestly. I don’t know how well those Marvel packs sell, either.
GETTING INTO TARGET AND BEYOND!
Maybe this is the chance for comics to break into more “big box” stores, including Target and others. If they could get and sell them for a decent profit, it could be that we’d see comics return to a “mainstream” existence. If that were to happen, hopefully LCS’s would gain more customers and income. I’d go for that!
This could all be wishful thinking, though. All we can do is continue to support the industry as best we can.