Wayne’s Worlds: Is Smaller Actually Better?

Apparently, many new readers today prefer a smaller publication, so DC is going after those consumers!


DC Compact ComicsDC recently announced they will be releasing a line of books called Compact Comics that will be 5.5” by 8.5” (probably best known as a manga or YA/younger reader size). These will be noticeably different from the average comic size—6.625” by 10.25”. They will begin arriving in stores in June of 2024 and will retail for $9.99 each.
Why go to this size? The recent DC news release explains:
“The new format pulls bestselling, new-reader-friendly titles from DC’s evergreen library as the first books offered in this new lineup of compact editions of adult graphic novels.”
Anne DePies, DC’s SVP and General Manager, noted: “This paper cut is the most widely circulated softcover book size in the U.S. and is popular among graphic novel aficionados in international markets. At $9.99, it’s a great price point for retailers to stock these classic titles.”
Included among these books will be Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, BatmanThe Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, AllStar Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Far Sector (a Green Lantern book) by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell, Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, BatmanHush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee; and CatwomanTrail of the Catwoman by Darwyn Cook and Ed Brubaker.
If the initial launch is successful, I’m sure more titles will be released soon after.


DC Compact ComicsAs shown in the illustration here, these books will be smaller than the average graphic novel.
There are pluses and minuses to this. On the positive side, these books will work on book shelves in “standard” book stores and bigger retail chains like Target and Wal-Mart. The hope is that they will attract new readers used to buying and diving into stories that size. Granted, given the popularity of manga and YA titles these days, it sure seems worth the gamble.
Also, they fit into carry bags more easily, which means you can fit several into a backpack instead of just one or two. Maybe that will encourage new readers to buy more?
On the negative side, readers like me (who are on the older side of things) don’t like things smaller. It may be that our eyes don’t like having to squint in order to read books. Or it’s just that with age comes limited reading ability.
I prefer bigger books these days. I fondly remember the much larger comics that featured the art of Alex Ross. They included the Treasury size BatmanWar on Crime and SupermanPeace on Earth. Those I could dive into and feel like I was actually there, just inches away! I loved those!
So, the smaller the book, the less interested I usually am.
However, the recent manga book One Operation Joker has forced me to reconsider that perspective! I even read that backwards (from the American perspective), so I am now more open to changes in my comics!


DC Compact ComicsWhile I am much less likely to pick up the DC Compact Comics line, I remain steadfastly committed to the survival and expansion of the comics industry. In other words, if it will bring in new readers, I’m all for it!
But that may change! If they print a story I don’t have a good copy of anymore, I might pick that book up.
So, I applaud DC for being observant regarding what readers are buying and reworking classic stories to a different size. If it works, comics companies who aren’t also printing in that size may follow suit! The more copies of comics that are sold these days, the better!

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