In late August 2011, just ahead of DC Entertainment’s’ high-risk relaunch of its superhero line, the company’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development emphasized the New 52 wasn’t merely a gimmick to seize more shelf space.
“To be clear – DC is not a market-share-chaser. If we were, we would not be creating a quality lasting direction across a controlled number of titles,” John Rood wrote on the DC Comics blog, setting up on obvious shot at Marvel. “We would instead be flooding the market with over 200 titles a month, changing your prices with abandon, killing off a character every quarter or so, and/or randomly announcing decimal-pointed event-ish thingies. We haven’t.” That, of course, was a reference to Marvel’s Point One initiative and the then-recently announced Fear Itself #7.1, #7.2 and #7.3.
Now fast-forward to this morning, less than two years later, as DC rolls out the details of its newly confirmed “Villains Month,” the September event in which the company’s antagonists take center stage in the aftermath of “Trinity War”: As the Batman solicitations for September show, any issues DC had about decimal-pointed event-ish thingies appear to have resolved, because we’re presented with Batman #23.1: The Joker, Batman #23.2: The Riddler, Batman #23.3: The Penguin and Batman #23.4: Bane.
The 3D lenticular covers the publisher debuted this morning all boast “.1” numbering, seemingly confirming the approach is line-wide; we’ll have to wait for the remainder of the solicitations to see just how many titles that works out to for the month (it’s highly unlikely every series gets a .3 or .4). But whatever the case, DC is on track to release significantly more New 52 titles in September than the 50 or so it typically does.
To the company’s credit, there’s more logic to the Villains Month numbering than to Marvel’s occasionally random use of decimals. But on the other hand, this stunt brings with it those ’90s-style motion covers and a one-month increase to a $3.99 price tag.