I believe the following idea will get comics in the hands of more kids. I started thinking about this once I heard Thor:Mighty Avenger was canceled.
Would it be difficult to start a new line of, let's say, Marvel comics for the mainstream?
This Marvel Mainstream line would feature comics on "pulpy" paper, for about $1.99, the stories would be mostly stand-alone, the cover indicia would just reveal issue month/year (so the consumer wouldn't feel like they're missing anything, as opposed to seeing issue #14 on the rack and thinking well I've missed the first 13 - never mind), and these cheaper comics, which feature closer to G/PG-rated stories or older classic tales, would be available at grocery stores and the big box retailers near the check-out.
Let's the direct market continue as is. The DM will be a haven for collectors, completists, serious readers and those interested in "universal" or in-continuity stories and crossovers. The DM is where you'd find me and most of us, I assume.
I don't see any harm being inflicted to the DM stores; in fact, the Marvel Mainstream could eventually steer people to the DM if handled properly.
However, easily finding a 50-page comic for a couple bucks featuring either new stand-alone tales or classic inventory issues would be a treat for my son, and I'm sure millions of other kids.
The challenge would be working out the partnerships with the new mainstream retailers.