Robin faces mortal peril in the Facsimile release cover art of Batman #232.
Image: Neal Adams (DC Comics)

We live in an era where making access to high-quality versions of retro comics is easier than ever. That can only be a good thing, right? Not exactly, at least according to DC Comics’ co-publisher, Dan DiDio.

According to Newsarama, while speaking to fans at the DC Meet the Publishers panel at San Diego Comic-Con yesterday, DiDio polled the audience over just how many people in the room read DC’s Facsimile Editions—reprints of classic storylines from the companies’ long history in their entirety, right down to the original adverts these issues ran with.

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The publisher got on board with the train earlier this year, following in the footsteps of Marvel, who have been doing a similar thing for a while to this point, and to great success.

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It’s worked well for DC too, but interestingly DiDio went on to express that it’s not necessarily something he’s entirely pleased with:

We do these Facsimile Editions where we reprint older issues of comics including all the old ads and stuff…and in some cases these are selling more than the new comics with these characters. People are more interested in buying the stories from 30 or 40 years ago than the contemporary stories, and that’s a failure on us.

We should be focused on moving things forward, always pushing the boundaries and finding new stories to tell. That’s how we’ll survive and grow this industry.

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Given all the current shake ups at DC, as it tries to realigned its current comics output, it makes sense that DiDio would at least like to see fans more invigorated by the current creative output instead of flocking to reprinted classics. But as more and more readers of all ages come into comics for the first time, having easier access to iconic stories from across a publisher’s back catalog is a valuable gateway to the legacy history behind those current characters.

But DiDio’s right in that it’s not the only thing a publisher can focus on—there has to be new books and series to keep it all going. If people aren’t onboarding to the current books on offer as enthusiastically as they are going back to old ones? That’s a problem DC needs to deal with.

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Maybe announce less Joker books? Only so many problems can be solved by throwing Batman and Batman-adjacent things at them.

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