Posts Tagged ‘format fever’

Frank’s Soapbox #4


Friday, May 21, 2010

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SPX crowd

Howdy True Believers! Frankie The Wop here with a rant for your Friday afternoon. We’re in the middle of a pledge drive here at CC and we thought we’d keep you faithful readers peppered with some thoughts on our beloved little community (while you groan at the computer screen waiting for the pledge drive to be over).

I was over at Jim Rugg‘s house yesterday hanging out and talking shop. He’s got this cool new mini-comic called Rambo 3.5 and I asked him if he’d taken any by Copacetic Comics to sell. “I haven’t had time,” he said. “TCAF was a couple weeks ago, I’ve got this show in Indiana this weekend and Heroes con is coming up soon. I’m almost sold out of the edition just from doing shows. I want to sell them to stores but the shows are more important.”

A light bulb went off in my head when Jim said that the shows are more important. Since the late ’90s when SPX and APE and other small-press comics shows popped up, there has been this yearly schedule that many cartoonists operate under. I know I try and have a new book out by MoCCA (which used to be in June) or by SPX in the fall. Nowadays, there is a convention every few weeks. I think this is a good thing. But it makes me think about how getting work into comics stores has become less of a priority for many cartoonists. The shows are the priority.

Also, this is the part of the argument that I think is missing when we all wonder why there aren’t more serial alternative “pamphlet” comic books out there. Retailer Brian Hibbs often argues that if 20 to 30 cartoonists each committed to two or three releases a year, that a critical mass would form so that every week you walk into a comics store there might be something that tickles your fancy. I think he is correct but I also think the fact that there are so many shows nowadays that many alt cartoonists and fans of alt comics just do not go into comics shops that often anymore because there really isn’t anything for them. The fans of such work know that they can wait until SPX or MoCCA or TCAF or just order from the artists directly or through distros like Sparkplug.

The other reason, I think that there are less serial pamphlets is because the market determines the form. The Direct Market determined that the pamphlet form was THE FORM. Now, the form is whatever tickles the fancy of the maker and what they can sell at a show. I know 20 to 30 alt cartoonists who release two or three comics a year but they aren’t serials and they aren’t pamphlets. These works don’t engage in the Direct Market’s periodical model. These works reflect the demand of the market which is generally geared towards handmade zines or trade paperbacks that are not serialized.

Anyways, I could go on and on. I know there are a a lot of different factors that make up the current marketplace and that I’m missing some important points. But I just wanted to float this one out there. The Bridge is over. We live in the era of The Show.

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ramblin rose ramblin rose


Saturday, September 27, 2008

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ramblin rose ramblin rose I got a ha..ah..ah…ahhh…..

If you don’t know that song, then I’m sorry, you have to stop reading right now. You can’t sit at this lunch table.

Had a meeting with Big T — Tim Hodler, editor in chief of Comics Comics — and we batted around some format ideas for Comics Comics.

See, the problem with the giant newspaper is that stores HATE carrying it, shelving it, dealing with it. The other problem is that the readers LOVE the format. Everyone loves it. Except the stores. And, even though I’m the first to say “fuck that, we’re gonna do it our way” — it’s tough because we can’t “penetrate” certain stores, certain awesome COMICS stores that may like what we have to say about Ogden Whitney or Wacky Packs.

So, I thought I’d spit the bit and ask our rabid online following what they think. My thoughts are that we could continue to do newsprint “specials” –sort of like one-offs that would focus on a particular artist (and also similar to other 16 page Picturebox newsprint editions) and then we could try a new format that has a “spine” as they say, meaning that we could “penetrate” these book stores, comics stores that continually tell us how much they hate the format of the newspaper.

My problem with making a more book store friendly edition of Comics Comics is simply my fear that it will sort of take away from the down home comics fandom feel of the publication. I really like that we offer an alternative to more “professional” mags about comics BUT –the very stores, fans, that may really like our mag might not ever see it simply because it’s a newspaper.


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