@JohnJacksonMiller Do you think a combination of digital singles with printed TPBs could be a workable model?
These numbers are way outdated, but I can only assume that executive salaries also contribute to the cost of comics: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=13443
Now that Marvel and DC are both owned by major media conglomerates (Disney and Warner Bro, respectively), how much of the profit from comics is being siphoned off by corporate owners? How does executive compensation at those parent companies compare, adjusted to inflation, to the salaries of executives at Marvel and DC back in the 60s?
The rise of the direct market isn't entirely a bad thing. Although newsstands, and now book stores, bring in new readers and expand the market behind specialty shops, they create huge risks for publishers. Publishers like Comico were driven out of business by newsstand returns, and Devil's Due suspended publication for a couple years because of book store returns on trades. Publishers that stay out of those markets can create smaller but more sustainable businesses.