$2.99 across the line, new letter columns, Milligan on <i>Red Lanterns</i> top DC announcement onslaught

Wow, DC Comics has returned from the holiday break with a vengeance. On its multiple blogs and here on CBR, the publisher has unleashed a veritable avalanche of announcements and initiatives for 2011.

Topping the list is the announcement, first mentioned by DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and then expanded upon by Jim Lee, that DC will be holding the $2.99 price point across its line for all standard format ongoing series from both the DC Universe and Vertigo.

Meanwhile, PR guru David Hyde unveiled the return of letters pages to DC's comics, presumably in the place of the current DC Nation column. Letters will be collected from both snail-mail submissions and messages submitted to the publisher's new DCLettersPage.com website.

Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee spoke to CBR's Kiel Phegley at length on both topics. DiDio argues that the return of the letters page will foster an increased sense of community among the company's readers, while Lee echoes the suspicion voiced in many quarters that the now-abandoned $3.99 price point was breaking the weekly-comics habit for a dangerous number of consumers:

But more importantly, we were concerned that for a lot of fans we were breaking them of their love of comics. If we kept increasing the price point on these books, rather than making a decision of whether they'd buy one book over another, they'd just give up the hobby all together because it's too expensive. We really wanted to make the point that DC is very aware of this and that we want them to stay. We want them to continue buying comics, and we want to make that as economical for them as possible.

DC also broke some news about specific publishing projects as well. For starters, Peter Milligan will be launching an ongoing Red Lanterns series as part of the company's already flourishing, movie-enhanced Green Lantern franchise, starring Atrocitus and company and getting to the roots of the Red Lantern Corps' rage. Meanwhile, you've already read here at Robot 6 that Joe the Barbarian artist Sean Murphy will be joining Vertigo's hit American Vampire with a variant cover for issue #13 and interior art for a spin-off series coinciding with the main book's new World War II storyline.

Clearly, the publisher has hit the ground running in the New Year, with the "$2.99 across the line" announcement in particular a hefty salvo in the price (and PR) war with its crosstown rival -- and hopefully a shot in the arm of the dwindling Direct Market; and the Red Lanterns announcement a sign that DC is following up its "Return of Bruce Wayne"-fueled expansion of the Batman line with a similar boost to its other most popular franchise, Green Lantern.

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