I have a nit to pick with this statement about retailers:
"They've notoriously rallied for the bigger margins of $3.99 comics over the fan-friendlier $2.99."
First, the margin remains the same for retailers as our cost rises with the price increase. If a retailer theoretically pays $1.50 for a $2.99 comic, the retailer would then pay $2.00 for a $3.99 comic. The retailers margin would still be 50%.
Secondly, the majority of retailers that I know prefer lower priced books. That is why DC's drawing the line at 2.99 promotion was successful. I would love to know where your perception that retailers are NOTORIOUS for wanting $3.99 books over 2.99 books stems from.