Axel Alonso addresses – or, maybe, avoids – the issue of why so many of Marvel’s $3.99 titles have dropped to 20 pages in recent months. From CBR’s Axel-in-Charge column:
There are occasions when a writer requests additional pages for an issue, and if it doesn’t imperil the ship date, we try to accommodate — though we’re more frugal in soft economic times like these. Conversely, there are occasions when a writer, knowing that his book’s behind schedule and looking to fend off the possibility of a fill-in artist on the arc, shaves down a script a little to help the artist hit their deadline and move on to the next issue. If they do this, they usually balance it out later, with an extra page in a subsequent issue.
On the plus side, if this is true, we can expect some really, really long issues on titles like Ultimate Spider-Man and Moon Knight soon (Alonso also suggests that 20 pages may also be used to help low-selling titles like Deadpool Max).