Here’s the announcement DC Comics had on their inside front covers in December, 1961, announcing their 20-percent price increase to twelve cents an issue. I can clearly remember that, though I was only nine years old at the time. Notice the prices of other items DC mentions in this “letter” to the boys and girls who bought the comic:
Of course, the other comic publishers quickly jumped on the bandwagon; Dell Comics, who outsold everyone with their Disney/Warner Brothers-licensed comics and movie/TV-adaptations, went to fifteen cents for a 36-page comic earlier in 1961, at least for a while. From the sales figures I’ve seen, and some folks have published a lot of info on this, sales of comics went into a decided slump after this increase and the slump lasted for a long time. Marvel had just begun their superhero output with the Fantastic Four, but one of their pre-hero monster comics lost 30-percent of its sales.
Today, when a DC or Marvel Comic costs three or four dollars, a couple of pennies doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was to a kid back then.
For our younger readers, here are some common prices and such from 1961, by way of comparison:
Average cost of new house: $12,500.00
Average income per year: $5,315.00
Cost of a gallon of gas: 27 cents
Average cost of a new car: $2,850.00
23″ black-and-white television: $219.99
Bacon, one pound: 67 cents
Loaf of bread: 20 cents
Eggs, per dozen: 30 cents
Ounce of gold: $35.25