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New Way
01-23-2010, 06:19 PM
What do you guys think about this?

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=24545

Newt
01-23-2010, 06:44 PM
I agree that it is a good idea, and have said similar things on this forum in the past. I am not an industry insider or in publishing at all, so I have no idea about the logistics and sales side of things, but it feels like a good idea to me.

Also, I just plain like anthologies, and periodical anthologies would be that much better. Stories that are good, but too odd or too brief to warrant a monthly title, could still have a place in the anthologies. New series could be debuted in a low-risk way, and really given time to catch on with a fan-base before being canceled. Installments that are running behind can be replaced with other material rather than just not being there that month.

Buying one monthly comic at a time is like buying one short story, or one episode of a TV show. Who wants to do that? I usually buy TPBs when I buy comics, but of course that requires some amount of certainty that I'm going to enjoy the thing. I seldom drop money on a TPB that I know nothing about, but I would drop that amount of money on an anthology that has a story or two that I know I will enjoy, and some others that I know nothing about. I might discover a previously unknown (to me) gem and become a fan of a new property/series/writer/artist.

Then again, I am not representative of the comics audience at large. I wonder if anyone has made a serious attempt to judge the appetite of American audiences for this sort of thing? Heavy Metal and Shonen Jump are popular enough here, but seem to occupy very different niches from those filled by Marvel and DC.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 06:49 PM
Really? I think it's a terrible idea. It forces the solidification of the market into the big two or three who are willing to do this, it keeps indy titles from breaking into the market alongside Marvel and DC, and at the beginning Erik commented about shops closing down, then he goes and suggests an idea that makes shops virtually obsolete altogether!

Newt
01-23-2010, 07:00 PM
From what I understand, the big (five or six maybe) are the only ones breaking even at this point anyways. What's the difference in going from one model untenable for indies to another? At least someone will keep making money with printed comics, and keep that avenue open for aspiring artists and writers. This model might also be more attractive for publishers currently offering mainly books and non-comics periodicals, so it could potentially increase the number of powerful publishers in the game, which should be good for everyone.

As for comic shops, I just don't know what they can do to improve their position. It may not be possible. And as for the smaller independent publishers- there's the internet, and there's the back of your car. In the rest of the entertainment industry, if you have no capital and no deal with a big player, that's generally how you have to do things. It was nice that hard work and a minimal amount of money could get you distributed nationwide in the past, but I don't think we should expect that state of affairs to be perpetual.

Vittel
01-23-2010, 07:08 PM
I think it is a GREAT idea.

Too sad they won´t do it.
Atleast not anytime soon.
Maybe in ten years...

CHWolf
01-23-2010, 08:38 PM
Seems to be the way things were skewing way before now. At least IMHO.

I'd love to start putting together an anthology here - but I don't know if just anyone can, etc.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 08:38 PM
From what I understand, the big (five or six maybe) are the only ones breaking even at this point anyways. What's the difference in going from one model untenable for indies to another? At least someone will keep making money with printed comics, and keep that avenue open for aspiring artists and writers.

But it doesn't. It does just the opposite. It closes off that avenue for aspiring artists and writers by narrowing down the field to only the bigger names. Unless said aspiring writers and artists fit into the "mainstream conformity", they're not going to get a chance at all. The indy market will dry up, kaput. With POD availability, it opened up more avenues for indy publishers. Even though most comic stores still stocked the big companies, there was room on the shelves beside them for the indy titles. And with internet marketing/word of mouth, a person could walk into a store and ask the manager to order some of those books. Are newstand owners or big book stores like Barnes and Nobles going to do that? Extremely unlikely at best.


This model might also be more attractive for publishers currently offering mainly books and non-comics periodicals, so it could potentially increase the number of powerful publishers in the game, which should be good for everyone.

Again, this benefits the big publishers who can afford to do this. Who do have multiple lines to maintain, and can afford to publish in such formats. This totally shoulders out the indy titles, the smaller publishers who have one really good (or sometimes, really crappy) story to tell.


As for comic shops, I just don't know what they can do to improve their position. It may not be possible.
Sure it's possible. First off, diversify. There's often no way comics are a profitable, business sustaining entity by themselves (especially with Diamond's forced monthly minimums). Being customer friendly/available (which newsstands and big chain book stores aren't). There are, and will be other ways, but the point is the method Larsen suggests doesn't give them a chance. It simply shoves them right out of the picture along with the indy comics.

And as for the smaller independent publishers- there's the internet, and there's the back of your car. In the rest of the entertainment industry, if you have no capital and no deal with a big player, that's generally how you have to do things. It was nice that hard work and a minimal amount of money could get you distributed nationwide in the past, but I don't think we should expect that state of affairs to be perpetual.

Indy publishers are already doing that! The only chance their snowball has in hell is that they also have comic book stores right now. If you don't leave those avenues of distribution and availability open (because it's been proven time and again that people *like* to have a book in hand, something they can hold physically), you're going to stifle creativity, cut off a potential floodway of inspiration and great stories, even future generations of writers and artists, and not only do I think we should expect that state of affairs to continue, I believe it should expand! And by shrinking the market down, it gives the publishers who can keep publishing, more excuse and leeway to be lax on quality control (lack of competition breeds laziness).

If this type of system were in place 20 years ago, there would probably never even have been "Image"! I think the only reason Larsen feels he can safely bite the hand that feeds him, is because even if the bigger publishers did decide to take comics in this direction, it would likely be long after he's decided Savage Dragon should end and none of the repercussions would affect him.

Newt
01-23-2010, 09:05 PM
Well, having a ton of indy publishers is one way to diversify, but having a strong marketplace driven by a moderate number of large publishers also allows for diversification, as does the anthology format. See the paperback novel and magazine industries for the diversity allowed by large publishers in a large market. Also see the (now-struggling but once vibrant) short story anthology format for how that can work in a periodical format.

Most indy publishers do NOT seek out new niches not filled by other publishers- they compete head to head against existing powerhouses with books similar in content and tone, if not quality, to the heavily promoted books of the big three. These are the ones who would be hurt most by a format cahnge, but they are probably not going to do well under any business model.

The ones that do seek out different niches are (I would guess) more successful. That's pretty much what Fantagraphics is...an exploiter of vacant niches. I don't think the availability of mainstream comics in anthology format would effect them much one way or another.

There is also the fact that big publishers can afford to take risks by offering odd or unproven titles. This happens in novel publishing all the time. Most of their books flop, but you can't always predict which ones will be big successes, so they just put out lots and lots of varied books.

The trouble is, monthly comics is not a very large market at this point. If a change in format can expand the market, it can allow diversification.

I sympathize with comics stores and small publishers, but if giving them breaks sinks the whole industry, what good is that? Your prescription for comics stores to succeed is for them basically to become something other than a comic book store, which also happens to sell comics. I believe this is the most likely success route for most stores, but it makes them indistinguishable from existing hobby stores and independent bookstores- prime targets for a newer, more substantial style of comic.

I think I had another point or two, but I have become distracted by my dinner.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 09:28 PM
Well, having a ton of indy publishers is one way to diversify, but having a strong marketplace driven by a moderate number of large publishers also allows for diversification, as does the anthology format. See the paperback novel and magazine industries for the diversity allowed by large publishers in a large market. Also see the (now-struggling but once vibrant) short story anthology format for how that can work in a periodical format.

Except that by doing this, the venues are SEVERELY limited. No more comic book shops, and newstands and chain book stores aren't going to carry the basic comic book format if it's only being used by indy publishers. There will be *no* venue for indies to go. Diversification can only take place if distribution venues remain the same, or expand. Not if they reduce or are altogether eliminated.


Most indy publishers do NOT seek out new niches not filled by other publishers- they compete head to head against existing powerhouses with books similar in content and tone, if not quality, to the heavily promoted books of the big three. These are the ones who would be hurt most by a format cahnge, but they are probably not going to do well under any business model.
But that's the point. They CAN be seen side by side with the "existing powerhouses" as it stands. If Larsen's suggestion is taken to heart, they will have no such chance, no venue.

The ones that do seek out different niches are (I would guess) more successful. That's pretty much what Fantagraphics is...an exploiter of vacant niches. I don't think the availability of mainstream comics in anthology format would effect them much one way or another.

It's not the availability of them in anthology format. Larsen is suggestion a totally different format (physically). A more newstand friendly format, that also allows the bigger publishers to feed the audience a lot more than one storyline/character plot at once. It would all but destroy the indy market, because they couldn't compete in that same format (anthology or with the changes in physical dimension/printing costs). Let's face it, comics have too limited a niche as is. Indies can't seek out different niches, because there just aren't any. At least right now, which the formatting the way it is, they can at least compete with the "existing powerhouses". Under Larsen's suggestion, there is no more competition.

There is also the fact that big publishers can afford to take risks by offering odd or unproven titles. This happens in novel publishing all the time. Most of their books flop, but you can't always predict which ones will be big successes, so they just put out lots and lots of varied books.

Again, these are anthologies of mainstream books. None of the big publishers (with the likely exception of Dark Horse, if they can even stay afloat in this format) would be including creator owned stories in their anthologies. And if they decided to try putting out an anthology that did happen to be individually creator owned (think of the logistics nightmare trying to cover the royalties of that monstrosity), most newstands and book stores wouldn't even order it, not being associated with a specific mainstream title (Avengers, X-Men, Batman, etc.). Again, death to the indy.

The trouble is, monthly comics is not a very large market at this point. If a change in format can expand the market, it can allow diversification.

I still don't understand where you're getting diversification, from a business model that's all about consolidation.

I sympathize with comics stores and small publishers, but if giving them breaks sinks the whole industry, what good is that? Your prescription for comics stores to succeed is for them basically to become something other than a comic book store, which also happens to sell comics. I believe this is the most likely success route for most stores, but it makes them indistinguishable from existing hobby stores and independent bookstores- prime targets for a newer, more substantial style of comic.
Why is that so bad? It allows the stores to stay in business, it allows more diverse distribution methods, it allows more open venues for indy publishers to succeed. The downside to this is what now?

L Jamal
01-23-2010, 09:38 PM
I don't think the big 5 or 10 going to an anthology format kills the indie market. A strengthened comic market bolstered by newsstand sales drives more readers into comic book stores where those retailers are able to stock a wider variety of material because they have access to it.

The DM used to heavily stock and support indies when the market supported it. The market supported it because a wider audience had access to the Big 2. Indies aren't the ones bringing new readers into the medium that will always be the big media comics. The indies are there for when those readers grow beyond the intro level comics.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 09:49 PM
Right, but what Larsen is suggesting is an attempt to bolster the indirect market. This will cause comic shops (ie the biggest slice of the direct market) out of *business*. When the comic shops close, the big publishers will be fine, but the biggest venue for indies will be gone. Larsen's suggestion turns the newsstands and chain book stores into the direct markets.

L Jamal
01-23-2010, 09:53 PM
The DM began because the newsstand failed to carry anything but the new comics. As long as readers want back issues, then the DM will have a market that the newsstand and book chains can not serve. Even with collections, not all collections stay in print all the time, so there will still be "back issue" demands that the DM could serve.

Newt
01-23-2010, 09:58 PM
So, the comic book shops would become essentially "used comic book shops"? Sounds all right to me. Used comic books + coffee = I'd shop there.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 10:01 PM
The DM began because the newsstand failed to carry anything but the new comics. As long as readers want back issues, then the DM will have a market that the newsstand and book chains can not serve. Even with collections, not all collections stay in print all the time, so there will still be "back issue" demands that the DM could serve.
How is that lucrative? How many shops do you know that have tons of long boxes of back issues that never sell? Even diversifying, comic shops are not going to devote that much space to back issues that hardly ever sell...

Newt
01-23-2010, 10:03 PM
Most of the comic shops I go to devote a significant portion of their space to used issues and older (not the very most recent) TPBs.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 10:09 PM
That's by necessity (since there is so much back log). But that's essentially the point. Even if shops manage to stay in business by becoming "used comic shops" or "back issue shops", again, they'd have to diversify to stay afloat (because most can't stay profitable with *new* issues, nevermind if they specialize in back issues), there's going to be virtually no room for indies, and even the few that do want to keep carrying indies, the significant decrease in venues (and diamond isn't helping by getting pickier about what indies it's willing to distribute), will simply drive indies out of the market. The back issue situation isn't going to improve if the main issues are all easier to obtain via newsstands and book stores. How is improved availability going to bolster a sub-market based on *lack* of availability? (ie back issues).

And again, if the majority of the comic market (percentage wise) is going to start publishing in this anthology magazine format, how is a single story indy supposed to compete? Almost by definition, the implementation of this standard will significantly hurt the indy market, and if it's successful, will virtually destroy the indy market.

L Jamal
01-23-2010, 10:11 PM
How is that lucrative? How many shops do you know that have tons of long boxes of back issues that never sell? Even diversifying, comic shops are not going to devote that much space to back issues that hardly ever sell...
It's often more lucrative than selling new issues.
My local shop has 3 stores and they buy back issues literally for pennies. They make profit on all back issues that they sell for more than 10 cents.

Demand for back issues has changed since eBay, but shops like Mile High Comics and Lone Star still make significant amounts of money on back issues. Distribution has greatly changed the DM's focus towards new issues but that doens't mean the back issue market couldn't support the DM especially with evergreen material that chains and newsstands won't stock.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 10:17 PM
And when 5+ issues are consolidated into one cheap back issue? And when it's easier for a person to just go to the corner newsstand to get the most recent issue, every two weeks when it comes out? How lucrative is the back issue market going to be then?

Part of the reason that "evergreen material" has a market is because it's able to sit alongside the mainstream material. Take that away, and then what? If nobody has to go to a comic shop for new issues, and even current issues are easy to obtain (thus significantly reducing the need for a back issue market, not to mention consolidation of the titles making few back issues sold *anyway*), how are stores going to stay afloat on back issues, and how are those evergreen materials (I like that term, btw) going to get exposure when the customer base of *most* comic books shops will drop tremendously?

L Jamal
01-23-2010, 10:18 PM
How is improved availability going to bolster a sub-market based on *lack* of availability? (ie back issues).

Comic shops flourished from the mid-80s through the mid-90s when comics were widely available in the newsstands. I got all my new comics from the newsstands from 1985-1993 and somehow my local comic shops managed to stay in business, so I could buy back issues from them when I needed to.

Newsstand books have limited availability. There are readily available for 1-2 months. Outside that window, they are no where to be found and become increasingly more scarce because they are stripped and destroyed. That of course, assume that the magazine doesn't sellout. Local scarcity would be the bigger issue to drive readers to shops that could guarantee the magazine was available for them without the hassles of a magazine subscription.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 10:25 PM
Newsstands will had significantly limited stock space. You would still have had to go to a comic shop for 75% of all the new comics coming out (aside from the normally big selling mainstream titles). Comic shops were way more popular during that time frame. For everybody getting their comics from the newsstands, there were probably a dozen or more people getting their comics from shops (comics were way cheaper, it was easier to get a lot for a small expenditure).

Your point about newsstands having issues available for 1-2 months only strengthens my POV. That makes it even *easier* to get the current issues. Not to mention, Larsen's suggestion whittles down the publishers to only about 5-8 titles apiece. A newsstand can easily stock the entire company's product line, and more of them.

With Larsen's suggestion, there is virtually *nothing* driving people into comic shops anymore. And although diversifying can help keep a comic shop afloat, the number of people actually coming in for *comics* would be significantly reduced. No amount of shelf space devoted to indies is going to keep the indy market going if the actual eye exposure is a fraction of what it is now.

L Jamal
01-23-2010, 10:32 PM
The newsstand is more than just comics.
That alone limits the amount of comics available.
Even 8 books per company is a lot. That would give you 8 from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW and Boom! That's 40 comics weekly! Even if 1/2 were not weekly that's still a significant number of comics. The fact that they were weekly would mean that the newsstand would only have them until the next issue was available so the time frame would be cut from 6-8 weeks down to one week.

I don't understand how you can argue this would be the death of the DM when this is the very situation the DM grew out of.

Newt
01-23-2010, 10:36 PM
Except that by doing this, the venues are SEVERELY limited. No more comic book shops, and newstands and chain book stores aren't going to carry the basic comic book format if it's only being used by indy publishers. There will be *no* venue for indies to go. Diversification can only take place if distribution venues remain the same, or expand. Not if they reduce or are altogether eliminated.

I think you are sticking on the point of indy publishers being the only venue for these stories. They are not. A stronger market with more books sold would allow for more different books to be sold, by publishers of whatever magnitude. Yeah, some lower-quality or unappealing works that can now be distributed might lose out, but the stronger titles now sold as indies would be able to make it with bigger publishers. As for current indy publishers, they would simply have to scale up, band together, subcontract to the big boys, or go to other outlets (i.e., the internet). A publishing company existing to move one or two brands is just not feasible in the modern economy (unless they are BIG brands). Parallels exist in books and music. There are "indy" labels that get wide distribution because they work with the big players; by spreading the risks and retaining separate houses/labels/whatever, they can exploit different markets yet mutually profit.

But that's the point. They CAN be seen side by side with the "existing powerhouses" as it stands. If Larsen's suggestion is taken to heart, they will have no such chance, no venue.

See Jamal's points above.

It's not the availability of them in anthology format. Larsen is suggestion a totally different format (physically). A more newstand friendly format, that also allows the bigger publishers to feed the audience a lot more than one storyline/character plot at once. It would all but destroy the indy market, because they couldn't compete in that same format (anthology or with the changes in physical dimension/printing costs). Let's face it, comics have too limited a niche as is. Indies can't seek out different niches, because there just aren't any. At least right now, which the formatting the way it is, they can at least compete with the "existing powerhouses". Under Larsen's suggestion, there is no more competition.

I don't see this as comics leaving the DM so much as expanding into the IDM. The DM will still be there. Again, see Jamal's points.

Again, these are anthologies of mainstream books. None of the big publishers (with the likely exception of Dark Horse, if they can even stay afloat in this format) would be including creator owned stories in their anthologies. And if they decided to try putting out an anthology that did happen to be individually creator owned (think of the logistics nightmare trying to cover the royalties of that monstrosity), most newstands and book stores wouldn't even order it, not being associated with a specific mainstream title (Avengers, X-Men, Batman, etc.). Again, death to the indy.

That is the beginning of Larsen's suggestion, but if anthology-style formats become widespread, other types of anthologies are likely to become prevalent. It opens up different opportunities for publishers than currently exist. Sort of like the introduction of the LP in music, or the DVD in film.

I still don't understand where you're getting diversification, from a business model that's all about consolidation.

See above.


Why is that so bad? It allows the stores to stay in business, it allows more diverse distribution methods, it allows more open venues for indy publishers to succeed. The downside to this is what now?

I'm not saying it's bad for comic book shops to diversify- I agree that it is their best bet! I just don't think it will have that much effect on the comics market overall.

An important point to make here is that periodical anthologies of creator-owned material already exist. Heavy Metal is still going; Weirdo, RAW, and Drawn and Quarterly belong to the not-too-distant past. If the big property-oriented publishers are publishing in this format, surely other middle-range, creator-oriented publishers are likely to follow. There is also reason to suppose that the big book and magazine publishers entering the field would focus on creator-owned material as well; after all, it is what they are used to.

Newt
01-23-2010, 10:40 PM
And when 5+ issues are consolidated into one cheap back issue? And when it's easier for a person to just go to the corner newsstand to get the most recent issue, every two weeks when it comes out? How lucrative is the back issue market going to be then?

Part of the reason that "evergreen material" has a market is because it's able to sit alongside the mainstream material. Take that away, and then what? If nobody has to go to a comic shop for new issues, and even current issues are easy to obtain (thus significantly reducing the need for a back issue market, not to mention consolidation of the titles making few back issues sold *anyway*), how are stores going to stay afloat on back issues, and how are those evergreen materials (I like that term, btw) going to get exposure when the customer base of *most* comic books shops will drop tremendously?

I suspect the big two would offer at least three kinds of "big books": the existing TPBs of a single title, the "family" periodicals, and "samplers" with new titles or titles from across the published range. If a customer buys one of the latter two and decides he likes one of the titles included, where is he going to go to get the backstory? That's right, the used comic shop.

Biofungus
01-23-2010, 10:42 PM
I'm going to leave this alone now. Obviously we disagree, and I can't seem to make you understand my POV, and while I (believe) I understand yours, I don't agree with it.

Newt
01-23-2010, 10:58 PM
I believe I see your POV as well, I just disagree with it. You seem to believe most stories currently fielded by indy publishers would have no venue under this different model. I believe the "indy" stories would still find their way to the public under the proposed model. As for the comics shops and small publishers, I have no particular sentimentality about them; they are only important as a means to distribution of the works.

MBirkhofer
01-24-2010, 12:56 AM
Really? I think it's a terrible idea. It forces the solidification of the market into the big two or three who are willing to do this, it keeps indy titles from breaking into the market alongside Marvel and DC, and at the beginning Erik commented about shops closing down, then he goes and suggests an idea that makes shops virtually obsolete altogether!
Not at all. In fact the opposite.


For one, by creating a stronger main market, you would still have room for smaller pamphlet sized comics if people wanted.
Another, Marvel would be only putting out 1 may 2 books. Again, leaving a ton of room for other publications.
And another, an indie publisher putting out a book would be putting out a book with 10 stories or so maybe. You have 8 strong ones, and 2 every week that you can let new people trying to tell their story. Alot more room for creativity, vs now where unknowns don't get read by anyone.

Think about tv. They put new shows on at key times right after well established shows in order to boost ratings. Formats like this would work like a TV lineup and be amazing for getting people to read new books.

Jason Arthur
01-24-2010, 09:24 AM
Why not just go to a trade paperback only format?

And anthologies? God love Digital Webbing and all, but anthologies apparently do not do very well.

Just follow the manga market. Put out 48-100+ page books whenever those books are ready.

Seems pretty simple to me, but I admittedly know very little about the way the industry works.

-- J

L Jamal
01-24-2010, 09:39 AM
Why not just go to a trade paperback only format?
Cost and ROI. Original GNs take a long time to complete and are often more expensive than a collection of the same material because they didn't have the comic to subsidize the costs of art production. Compare a DC OGN like the Earth 2 HC with a reprint HC and you'll see that Earth 2 was $25 while the World of Warcraft reprint HC is only $20.

And anthologies? God love Digital Webbing and all, but anthologies apparently do not do very well.
Apples and oranges. DWP is an indie anthology with all new talent and no continuing features. Marvel Comics Presents and Dark Horse Comics Presents ran for 100+ issues. DHP launched Buffy, Sin City, Hellboy and a couple other properties.

Just follow the manga market. Put out 48-100+ page books whenever those books are ready.
Most manga in the US are Japanese reprints. The original Japanese runs of these comics are serialized in magazines exactly as Larsen has proposed. That was the source of his idea.

Hanzou
01-24-2010, 02:51 PM
I think its a fantastic idea frankly. I've long said that there's way too many spin-offs on the shelf. Imagine a kid who walked into a comic shop and just wanted to buy an X-Men comic. Which one would you buy? Astonishing X-Men? Uncanny X-Men? X-Men Legacy? X-Men Forever? X-Factor? X-Force? Or do you just give up and buy Wolverine? Its absolutely ridiculous.

Heck, I'd buy a monthly collection of X-titles ala Shonen Jump for six bucks.

UniverseX259
01-24-2010, 03:22 PM
I love Erik Larsen and all, but I don't really think this is too prudent of an idea. His article started off saying that American comics can flourish again if we follow the Japanese comic format. The only problem is I'd imagine that American and Japanese comic book readers have very different buying habits, and as such there is more emphases on comics and animation in Japanese culture than there is in American culture which is why they can get away with the anthology format.

In order to get a 100-page anthology for $5.95 weekly you'd most likely have to shrink the dimensions of the book down, and then you'd probably have to take color out of the interiors completely. This is what they do in Japan and it works, but perhaps their comics culture has always emphasized B&W books and to them this is the absolute norm. In America we emphasize large page sizes with bright, vibrant color. I don't think a new reader will latch on to the Hulk or Thor or the X-Men if the book doesn't have color.

And in the end, ANY kind of printed media is doing poorly in this economy. Major magazines which are read by hundreds of thousands of people every month are cutting down their page count or just folding entirely. The fact that Marvel and DC have books who have published 400, 500, or 600+ comics continuously for 40 years is a good sign. So far we haven't seen cancellations in X-Men, Batman, Superman, etc., except for the second-tier titles.

In poor economic times the entertainment industry thrives as a form of escapism, but many times people have to budget their money, and, well, comics, magazines, movies, cable boxes with 8 million channels, and DVD's sometimes have to go by the wayside. Once things pick up then I'd imagine there could be an increase in comic readers.

That being said, I support the industry by buying single monthly issues. I could easily buy the trades, but I figure it's a bigger waste of money to pay $15-20 on a trade that sucks than to spend $3 on a single issue that sucks.

Hanzou
01-24-2010, 03:36 PM
In Larson's defense, he didn't say 100-pages, he said 64 pages done in a weekly fashion.

L Jamal
01-24-2010, 04:50 PM
That being said, I support the industry by buying single monthly issues. I could easily buy the trades, but I figure it's a bigger waste of money to pay $15-20 on a trade that sucks than to spend $3 on a single issue that sucks.
Then stop buying TPBs that suck.
The advantage of TPB buying is that you know in advance it the story si worth buying.

Jason Arthur
01-24-2010, 05:21 PM
Cost and ROI. Original GNs take a long time to complete and are often more expensive than a collection of the same material because they didn't have the comic to subsidize the costs of art production. Compare a DC OGN like the Earth 2 HC with a reprint HC and you'll see that Earth 2 was $25 while the World of Warcraft reprint HC is only $20.

Yeah, but we're talking about Marvel or DC or even Dark Horse and Image which all have slews of talent at their disposal. I don't know what ROI is. Another problem is that a lot of indy (and even a decent number of mainstream) books don't make enough on singles to support a trade. For many it's either/or.

Apples and oranges. DWP is an indie anthology with all new talent and no continuing features. Marvel Comics Presents and Dark Horse Comics Presents ran for 100+ issues. DHP launched Buffy, Sin City, Hellboy and a couple other properties.

When DHP was coming out I had never heard of some of the talent in that either. Hellboy got his start there. I might be wrong, but didn't Paul Pope start there too or was that Negative Burn?

I guess my point is that everyone is an unknown at some point, but for some reason anthologies aren't doing well (at least in the US market). Why that is... I don't know.

Most manga in the US are Japanese reprints. The original Japanese runs of these comics are serialized in magazines exactly as Larsen has proposed. That was the source of his idea.

Nice, I didn't know that. What's weird about it (and this might just be a passing fad) is that a lot of US readers of Manga just get the collections/trades.

I wonder what kind of numbers the collections put up versus floppies in the originating country(ies)? Because the problem here is that singles are not putting up good numbers outside of Marvel and DC's biggest titles.

Singles used to be a good idea, back when they were a truly disposable form of entertainment. A kid could go into his/her local supermarket and for some pocket change they could escape for hours.

Now you need a checkbook or credit card to read two or three singles. You need a parent or guardian to go into the comic store with you (at least at my "local"). The grocery store no longer has a nice spinning rack of cheap entertainment.

Of course, what I propose doesn't solve those problems either. There needs to be a bit of a balance between trades and individual issues.

Wondering how much of a problem Diamond is in the grand scheme of things? Do their rates eat too much of the profit line? Are their rates warranted/fair? Is there another distribution system that could work in lieu of Diamond?

But now I'm off on a tangent...

UniverseX259
01-24-2010, 05:24 PM
Then stop buying TPBs that suck.
The advantage of TPB buying is that you know in advance it the story si worth buying.

Maybe I should clarify my opinion. You can read all the reviews you want on a series, but it'll be hard to determine if you'll actually like a comic until you buy it. If everyone says "XXXX" comic is awesome, and you go out and buy the trade and hate it then, well, you're out $15. But if you buy a $3 single issue and hate it then it's less of a loss. For me, a recent college graduate with VERY little disposable income, it's safer to buy single issues so that if I want I can drop a series more easily if I don't enjoy it.

This rationale also follows my thoughts on the major comic companies doing only anthologies. Let's say a reader likes the X-Men but they don't like X-Factor, X-Force, New Mutants, etc. I think this could deter them from buying that anthology because they don't want to essentially spend $6 on 10-20 pages that they actually like.

Again, this is all my opinion, as I grew up on single issues and I prefer them. Maybe the default format for comics could change in the next decade or two, who knows. But like I said earlier, the main issue for comics not selling as well as they have in the past is probably due to the economy as all print media, not just comics, is suffering. So if someone would rather eat food than buy a comic then changing the format may do nothing to convince them to pick up a comic.

Jason Arthur
01-24-2010, 05:31 PM
Well, with trades I generally buy them used through eBay or Amazon at the cheapest rate I can. If I don't like it I can resell it for almost the same price I paid.

If I buy a single issue at a local shop or even off the net then I can't resell it (usually) and I'm out whatever I paid in shipping (or just the cover price at the local).

I did this with the Showtime series: The Wire. I bought the whole shebang and over the course of three or four weekends I watched the series (and loved it). Then I put the series up for sale on eBay and made every penny right back (minus shipping).

Anthologies are generally good for one read and then you stuff them into a box or give them to a friend.

Trades have substance. They can go on your shelf. You can resell or re-read them (since they contain a complete story).

That's the format I prefer, but I want there to be floppy issue options (like indy books).

Maybe instead of full blown anthologies we could go for more of a flip-book style. One story in one half of the book... flip... another story.

-- J

Crestmere
01-24-2010, 05:48 PM
I think the man is on to something even though I think 100-150 page magazines would work better then the 60 page ones he is talking about.

And this model could work for both indie people and the big publishers.

For indie people, the benefits of working together to share marketing and print costs should be obvious. Even if you are only taking home 25%, remember that 25% of a lot is better then 100% of nothing.

For mainstream books, they could either put three or four stories from the same character together or they could do an anthology with one or two popular books and then throw in some books that could become popular if they were given a chance to build an audience (i.e. the kinds of books that get canceled before issue 10 in the market today).

Jason Arthur
01-24-2010, 07:10 PM
I think the man is on to something even though I think 100-150 page magazines would work better then the 60 page ones he is talking about.

And this model could work for both indie people and the big publishers.

For indie people, the benefits of working together to share marketing and print costs should be obvious. Even if you are only taking home 25%, remember that 25% of a lot is better then 100% of nothing.

For mainstream books, they could either put three or four stories from the same character together or they could do an anthology with one or two popular books and then throw in some books that could become popular if they were given a chance to build an audience (i.e. the kinds of books that get canceled before issue 10 in the market today).

I think YOU'RE on to something here.

I hadn't considered indies joing up to make a (say) 4 person anthology type book.

Think of it more like Azarello's NOIR, perhaps. One common theme, several styles.

I like this idea.

-- J

JamieRoberts
01-24-2010, 08:26 PM
I stopped caring about comics a few months ago, so maybe my opinion here is worth squat (or maybe I'm one of the people who Larsen expects to bring back/bring in).

The UK has traditionally published either US reprints in anthology format, new content like 2000AD or licenced properties aimed at a younger demographic. These inevitably carry a toy of some kind and will include puzzles, competitions and the like. What got me started was Transformers UK. Those comics were thin, magazine-sized and reprinted US material (roughly 8-10 pages), a UK strip (same) and a back-up feature such as GI Joe, Visionaries or Machine Man 2020 (Trimpe/BWS art!!).

Now, times have changed a lot since those days, but the thing that I always found interesting was the sheer variety of content, which is sorely missing in modern comics. An editorial intro opened the comic, the three strips were broken up with features on characters, then there was the letters page (yeah, they're pretty much pointless now). A comic these days... has less heart. You're lucky if it takes more than 12 or 13 minutes to read, and other than the story itself, you'll have to be content with the same ads for whatever videogame is big at the time.

Larsen's idea at least partly resolves that issue. It would bring variety into the equation (at least, it could). I know nothing about the financial side of things, and I won't pretend to be interested in finding out, but putting shorter stories of a handful of titles in one large issue sounds like exactly the kind of thing that for me was so appealing about comics in the first place. If there was some form of interaction from the creators in there too, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat. Even now.

What I disagree with is the grouping of titles in the way that Larsen has suggested. Maybe you're an X-Men fan. Doesn't make you an X-Factor or X-Force fan. I personally think the best thing about this format would be the chance to get some variety in there. Is Marvel still publishing that anthology that collected X-Men Legacy, Nova, Ghost Rider, Ms Marvel and Immortal Iron Fist? That was amazing. I never picked up any of those books individually, and probably never would. They weren't my cup of tea, any of them. But shove them all in one book and I'm suddenly very happy to read the lot of them together. There's no running theme, nor is there any need to be. It would have been just as good if it had contained half-issue instalments (11 pages) and bits and pieces about the characters or an interview with a creator or something.

I know this is basically me saying "this is what I like and this is how I want things to be". I can't be alone in this. When manga first took off in the mid 90s, manga anthologies appeared featuring Akira, Godzilla, Appleseed, Dirty Pair and all that stuff, plus features on the latest movies and what was happening in Japan. It was a magazine, yeah, but it was mostly manga in content.

So in theory, I agree with Larsen. I think it could use some refinement, some story shuffling, some extra content to give it an identity, but it's a good idea.

As far as indies go... is it such a good thing that smaller comics can be made guerrilla style? There's a lot of crap out there and as much as there's something to be said for the tenacity of the creators and the "love of the industry", I think that small press companies adopting an anthology format would force a tighter quality control policy. Can't be a bad thing. And would a small press creator object to having their work printed on crappy quality paper if it was in that company's flagship publication? I doubt it. Indie books are by far and away the biggest risks when it comes to blind buying. The writing can be great but the art off-putting. The premise could be hard to grasp without reading the majority of the issue (this isn't a library, pal). The creators are usually unknown, the title obscure, the characters never before seen. An anthology is surely the best format for these books in that respect, but the rights issues would be a mess, admittedly.

G'night.

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 12:55 AM
I read Larsen's article.
Larsen’s idea of looking at the variety in European and Japanese comics
is interesting from a creative and thematic POV.
Looking at what these markets can do outside the superheroes
formula can be exciting and inspiring.

But suggesting adopt their production and distribution system would be very expensive
And totally unpractical in a market who don’t have a need for that.

Marvel and DC are the kings of the DM with thousand of comics stores who are selling their
products in an 80% of effectiveness.
They also have the capability of reach any other market option available.
They won’t kill the hen that put golden eggs.
They won’t kill the DM and the comic’s stores who are strongly selling their product.

The newsstand system requires a lot of money, for printing in high scale.
And for assure the continuity of a creative team providing books regularly.
Newsstand system requires big publishers with big capital. (Moneys.)

A 64-page book per week requires close coordination by the editor and an army of
artists working in team an in-house or Studio system, all financed by the publisher.
Which, under American laws, is thousand times more expensive than working
with isolated freelancer artists. From America and overseas.

For the other hand, as Bio says, just having “only” a newsstand system for comics
will kill all the chances for Indie authors, who can not afford high scale printing,
Neither to pay for having a team of artists working and providing books regularly
and with continuity as is required by the Distributor.

Good thing is to look outside the box.
But not idealizing others reality.
The reality over there could be far away of being a Paradise.
They have their own issues over there.

BTW, they look up American comics as “the Paradise”.

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 01:55 AM
But suggesting adopt their production and distribution system would be very expensive
And totally unpractical in a market who don’t have a need for that.

Larsen talks only of changing the format.
If you look at what he says, he's taking a normal 20-paged monthly and dividing it into fourths so that it's 5 weekly pages. No change in production at all.


The newsstand system requires a lot of money, for printing in high scale.
And for assure the continuity of a creative team providing books regularly.
Newsstand system requires big publishers with big capital. (Moneys.){/quote]
Marvel, CD, Image and Dark horse have all had a newsstand presence within the last 5 years. This isn't anything new for them, it's simply a format change to make the comic book a more desireable product for the masses. He's put forth a new format designed to encourage non-collectors to pick and READ comics.

[QUOTE=Scribbly]A 64-page book per week requires close coordination by the editor and an army of
artists working in team an in-house or Studio system, all financed by the publisher.
Which, under American laws, is thousand times more expensive than working
with isolated freelancer artists. From America and overseas.
Except Larsen is only proposing to consolidate books. It's the same work just divided differently.

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 06:51 AM
Larsen talks only of changing the format.
If you look at what he says, he's taking a normal 20-paged monthly and dividing it into fourths so that it's 5 weekly pages. No change in production at all.
Except Larsen is only proposing to consolidate books. It's the same work just divided differently.
The business for Marvel and DC is to fill up the comics store with different
variations of their products.
Creating presence and hoging all the options for the comics audience.
Leaving limited room for competitors.
Also, having all their books being paid upfront by the retailer
Is not a business for them to get all their production concentrated
or "consolidated" in a few books.
Daring risks with the newsstands system.
They are using newsstands or bookstores as promotion tool.
Their gross sales are coming from the DM.

What Larsen is proposing already exist.
This is the current comics system used in Italy right now.
64 pages anthology printed in black and white.
With 5 different characters playing 5 different stories.12 pages each.
All in the same Anthology book. Price 6 euros.
(It could be more expensive with full color.)
Originally, these books were published weekly and
nowadays (due comics crisis) are published every 15 days.
Twice a month. (Maybe they are back to weekly again, but I don't know it for sure.)
Comics are sold by newsstand system.
Such constant production requires the use of several
Studios who are paid by the publisher, in order of
match with the newsstand distributor’s exigencies.
All the IP and copyrights are owned by the publishers.
As result of this all comics production get centralized in two big companies.
No “Indie comics” can exist there.
They can't be part of the distribution system.

France has a different system.
They go for the full color 48 to 96 pages book.
The books are totally financed by the publisher who also
will share the IP ownership and copyrigths with the authors.
(But not always.)
They also have a different system of production and distribution.

"Shonen Jump" Weekly by Larsen.

My proposal is for American comic books to follow the Japanese model married to Europe’s 2000 AD: weekly 64-page books with all original content and a cover price of $5.95. These comics would have thicker, more durable cardstock covers so they would be a step closer to trades but they would be bound like comics. Easier to rack with magazines and, with a similar price point, more lucrative for the retailer.
It would be easier to get these into book stores and magazine racks.

Then cancel everything else.
Think of it – ten weekly books with as much content as 100 monthly books. Like Spider-Man? Now you’d get 20 pages of Spider-Man weekly and instead of one shots and spin offs it’s all in there, plus other related or even unrelated features all bit into 5-page installments.

In the Manga weeklies readers are constantly poled on favorite features and flagging ones are swapped out for new ones. Marvel and DC could do the same – plus ask what features readers might like to see. It would be a great way to keep characters active and visible, it would make collecting easier, it would make it easier and more profitable to get on the newsstand, it would cut printing costs and there would be a big savings for readers who would get more bang for their buck – more pages for their money.

And sure, trades would still exist! Individual chapters would be collected as trades all the time just like before only instead of it collecting five 22-page stories it would collect 22 five-page stories. It all adds up to the same page count and nobody gets hurt in the process.

But – like the formation of Image Comics, where the biggest names in comics left to form their own company – it only works if everybody has faith and makes that jump together. If DC does one book – it fails. If Marvel does one – it flops. If both did it for their entire lines – it would be gold. This is, historians may note, not a new idea. Comics in the United States started off as 64-pages in length with numerous stories filling up their four-color pages. The format was a real bargain but the supply of artists was thin and the output was often sloppy or crude.
With an ample army of talented creators already producing a large body of work now would be an ideal time to run this format up the flagpole again and create a new golden age.

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 09:03 AM
What Larsen is proposing already exist.
That wa sthe idea. Larsen KNOWS this format is already in place.

This is the current comics system used in Italy right now.
64 pages anthology printed in black and white.
With 5 different characters playing 5 different stories.12 pages each.
All in the same Anthology book. Price 6 euros.
(It could be more expensive with full color.)
Marvel and DC have produced 48 to 64-paged color books on better paper and better covers in the recent past for less than $8. Those had no advertising. Advertising would server to reduce the cost on that same package, so NO it would not be more expensive in color.


Such constant production requires the use of several
Studios who are paid by the publisher, in order of
match with the newsstand distributor’s exigencies.
All the IP and copyrights are owned by the publishers.

Larsen's proposal only takes the current production model 32 page/month times 6-12 books (132-384 pages/month) and switches it 48-64-page/week books (192-256 pages/month)

As result of this all comics production get centralized in two big companies.
No “Indie comics” can exist there.
They can't be part of the distribution system.
Larsen's idea applies to the newsstand where indies are already excluded so no change there. It doesn't stop indies from confinuing to format the same 32-pagded format in the Direct Market. It's designed to re-open to the newsstand market and increase availability of comics.

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 11:05 AM
L Jamal]That was the idea. Larsen KNOWS this format is already in place.But Marvel and DC are not using it because it is not convenient for them someway.
Neither seems it is convenient for Larsen himself.

Marvel and DC have produced 48 to 64-paged color books on better paper and better covers in the recent past for less than $8. Those had no advertising. Advertising would server to reduce the cost on that same package, so NO it would not be more expensive in color.
Sorry, I was talking about the Italian comics who also had advertising, but they keep the B/W for their pages.
I don’t remember those 48-64 paged color books with not advertising from Marvel or DC.
What was the purpouse of these? Promotion? Why are these not longer available?

Larsen's proposal only takes the current production model 32 page/month times 6-12 books (132-384 pages/month) and switches it 48-64-page/week books (192-256 pages/month)
Which accelerate drastically the timing of production.
Creating the need of more people working that may be edited and
coordinated in less time.
Raising the production costs.

Larsen's idea applies to the newsstand where indies are already excluded so no change there. It doesn't stop indies from confinuing to format the same 32-pagded format in the Direct Market. It's designed to re-open to the newsstand market and increase availability of comics.
So, the current DM distributor will allow these publishers to work on both markets at once?
Remember that newsstands are not prepaid business, as DM stores are.
The distributor is now covering comic stores and bookstores.
Is their current distributor going to create a new line of work
only for covering the newsstands distribution as well?
Or are they going to leave this job to someone else for distribution?
What are the publisher's chances of success in going this venue?

What that I believe can be possible, if they really want to try this alternative.
(Pretty sure they already considered this thousand times.)
Is to NOT produce new books.
But to reuse and resell the same books they already had sold in the DM.

(Maybe a selection of their best seller titles.)
And make of these "anthologies" only for being sold in newsstands.
This way, they can really save half of the costs and increase availability of comics.

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 01:26 PM
But Marvel and DC are not using it because it is not convenient for them someway. Neither seems it is convenient for Larsen himself.
Marvel and DC do what makes the most money.
Most comics used to be anthologies. Action Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Mystery Comics, Amazing Fantasy ... those were all anthologies featuring Superman, Batman, Submariner and the Human Torch, and Spider-Man, respectively.


I don’t remember those 48-64 paged color books with not advertising from Marvel or DC.What was the purpouse of these? Promotion? Why are these not longer available?
They were special projects. They aren't still doing them because they were special projects. The point is those were full color comics at 48-64 pages with NO ads and arounf $5-7. That means that they CAN do full color comics with ads at the same page count and price.


Which accelerate drastically the timing of production.
Creating the need of more people working that may be edited and
coordinated in less time.Raising the production costs.
22 pages/ month is 5 pages a week. It's the same amount of work being done by the same number of people. The only change is the way thr books are put together.


So, the current DM distributor will allow these publishers to work on both markets at once? Remember that newsstands are not prepaid business, as DM stores are.
Newsstand distributor do pay upfront. They pay based upon estimated sell though. They then assess sales after 6 months and send another payment and then once again after 1 year.
While Diamond is the exclusive DM distributor of Marvel and DC, that does not mean they are the only distributor of Marvel and DC. Marvel and DC have been active in the newsstand continually since the early 1930s. However it's not their only or even primary source of comic book distribution as it was before the early 1980s.

[QUOTE=Scribbly]What that I believe can be possible, if they really want to try this alternative.
(Pretty sure they already considered this thousand times.)
Is to NOT produce new books.
But to reuse and resell the same books they already had sold in the DM.
(Maybe a selection of their best seller titles.)
And make of these "anthologies" only for being sold in newsstands.
This way, they can really save half of the costs and increase availability of comics.
[\quote]
They've sold the same books at an increased price.
They've repackaged the stories into anthology collections.
They've repackages the books into magazines with other content.
They've tried everything but new comics in a new format company wide. As Larsen said, it would have to be done company wide so it was the ONLY way to get new material, otherwise your main readers (the DM) would continue to buy the old format.

NaveenM
01-25-2010, 01:39 PM
I’m going to stick a toe into this debate even though I’m just now working on completing the first issue of my self-published title, and don’t have nearly the level of experience some of you guys do.

But here are my thoughts:

The Big 2 (or 5, or 10), aren’t in business to prop up the indy market. They’re in it to sell comics. And currently, the number of comic readers in the U.S. is simultaneously shrinking and aging. That’s a recipe for disaster for the entire industry -- not just the big publishers, but for indies as well.

If you’re looking at this from the point of view of a comic book lover, then you want comics to be available in more places, and read by more people. Period. If you want to see the industry as a whole thrive, that’s the only way.

But if you’re specifically focused on indy comics -- small, self-published, creator-owned books, then BioFungus may have a point.

Or not. Newsstands and bookstores have limited space, since they sell a wide array of products. Comic shops will still be the place to go for devoted comic readers to get a wide selection of both comic periodicals and trades. Only now, there may be even more room for indies, since the comic shops have to offer something other than what can be got on the newsstands or at Barnes and Noble.

In any case, one thing is clear: the industry must experiment with new formats or face near extinction. Those new formats may be what Larsen is talking about, or they may be digital (web/mobile/tablet/etc -- which I think is the future, more than a new format of dead trees).

Anyway, my 2 cents.

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 02:19 PM
=L Jamal]Marvel and DC do what makes the most money.
Most comics used to be anthologies. Action Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Mystery Comics, Amazing Fantasy ... those were all anthologies featuring Superman, Batman, Submariner and the Human Torch, and Spider-Man, respectively.If they do what makes most money, anthologies apparently, are not making more money for them.
Otherwise they should be doing anthologies by now.
They did that, yes…50 years ago. Now they are making movies with 3D SFX.

They were special projects. They aren't still doing them because they were special projects. The point is those were full color comics at 48-64 pages with NO ads and arounf $5-7. That means that they CAN do full color comics with ads at the same page count and price.Especial projects. Can they make the same in extend not loosing money?
22 pages/ month is 5 pages a week. It's the same amount of work being done by the same number of people. The only change is the way thr books are put together.The Japanese and European formulas mentioned by Larsen are calling for more pages per week.
Only 5 pages a week of each character in one anthology book is not worthily and confusing.
But having a weekly anthology with only 3 stories of 22 pages each> 66 pages, is more interesting.

Who want read anthologies with only 5 pages of each character per week?
In a book of 64 pages? You need to fill the book with 12 different stories at once for the same book.
A real nightmare for edition and production
Newsstand distributor do pay upfront. They pay based upon estimated sell though. They then assess sales after 6 months and send another payment and then once again after 1 year.
While Diamond is the exclusive DM distributor of Marvel and DC, that does not mean they are the only distributor of Marvel and DC. Marvel and DC have been active in the newsstand continually since the early 1930s. However it's not their only or even primary source of comic book distribution as it was before the early 1980s.Newsstand distributor do pay upfront, but from his pocket.
Unlike the DM distributor who pay upfront from the retailers pocket.
Quite different.
They've sold the same books at an increased price.
They've repackaged the stories into anthology collections.
They've repackages the books into magazines with other content.
They've tried everything but new comics in a new format company wide. As Larsen said, it would have to be done company wide so it was the ONLY way to get new material, otherwise your main readers (the DM) would continue to buy the old format.Sure thing, that if DC, MARVEL or Diamond can see the gain of doing this, they won’t hesitate on doing that.
Whatever they do, it won’t help Indie comics.
And Bio have a point on this.
I will like to see mainstream comics in newsstand again.
Why do you thing that the ones who are producing these are not
interested on doing it, as eveybody else does?

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 02:48 PM
If they do what makes most money, anthologies apparently, are not making more money for them.
Otherwise they should be doing anthologies by now.
They did that, yes…50 years ago. Now they are making movies with 3D SFX.
As long as they can prop dropping sales with increasing the cover price they will. That can't last forever as $4 for 32 pages has proven to be too much and you're beginning to see 2 feature books of 48 pages.


Can they make the same in extend not loosing money?
They are already doing 48 pages for $4 (8 cent/page), so 64 pages for $5-7 (8-11 cent/page) is more profit per page so it should be equal or better.

The Japanese and European formulas mentioned by Larsen are calling for more pages per week. Only 5 pages a week of each character in one anthology book is not worthily and confusing.
MArvel Comics Presents lasted over 150 issues with the the format of 4 stories with 5-6 pages every month, so clearly the format can work.

Who want read anthologies with only 5 pages of each character per week?In a book of 64 pages? You need to fill the book with 12 different stories at once for the same book.
A real nightmare for edition and production
See the MCP example above. At one point it was one of Marvel's most popular books. The entire point of Larsen's example was to take Marvel current output of 40+ books a month and reduce it to 4 weekly books. That would be at least 10 comics per anthology.

Newsstand distributor do pay upfront, but from his pocket.
Unlike the DM distributor who pay upfront from the retailers pocket.
Quite different.
Why does Marvel care where the money comes from? Marvel's money ultmately come from their distributor (DM or newsstand) and that distributor gets its money from its customers (the retailers).

Whatever they do, it won’t help Indie comics.
And Bio have a point on this.
Anything that creates more comic readers helps indies. Indies almost exclusively feed off current comic book readers that have grown beyond the material produced by Marvel and DC. Create more readers and you create more indie comics readers. Indie comics flourished when the DM flourished. The DM flourished with comics were readily available in the newsstands.

I will like to see mainstream comics in newsstand again.
Why do you thing that the ones who are producing these are not
interested on doing it, as eveybody else does?
Comics are in the newsstand. They haven't left the newsstand. They just don't sell as well because magazines take up the same amount of space, but cost more so a retailer given the choice between selling a $4 comic or an $8 magazine willl use the space for the more expensive item. This fact is the entire reason for Larsen's thoughts. How do you deliver a larger format comic that rivals the magazine for price and has enough content that someone would purchase it at that price.

NaveenM
01-25-2010, 03:14 PM
I think one thing to consider when we talk about "newsstand" sales with the past vs. the present it the shift in American demographics from cities to suburbs.

If you're living in a city, and you're a 10 year old kid walking home from school, you're quite likely to pass a newsstand or corner shop selling periodicals. If some of those periodicals were comics, you'd be likely to buy them if the price was reasonable.

But if you're a suburban kid riding the bus to school, it's probably less likely. You'd have to be in the mall or grocery store with your parents. It's still possible to get them (I grew up in the 'burbs and got comics from newsstands until high school), but less likely.

Availability is key.

Personally, I think book stores may be a better avenue for sales if we're talking about print, and thus a thicker book is more likely to be stocked, whether it is 64 pages or 100 pages.

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 03:15 PM
Two guys were talking.
One of them is having a well and established social position
and he’s living at large.
The other guy is not.
So, the poor guys said to his friend.
Come on man, IF I were you, having your position and resources
I will do this, that and that about it.
The first guy look at him and say.
"IF" you were "me"on my position, you’ll will be doing exactly what I’m doing now.
Nothing, because that is what is more convenient for me.

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 06:48 PM
"IF" you were "me"on my position, you’ll will be doing exactly what I’m doing now.
Nothing, because that is what is more convenient for me.
...until it's no longer convenient which was the entire point to Larsen's thoughts. Comics are reaching the point where the 32-paged format is no longer a via format. DC is already experimenting with longer formats for some books like World of Warcraft and the Vertigo Crime which are only available in graphic novel form.

So you can bury your head in the sand and think that nothing will change, but since the beginning the monthly comic has been in flux content and page count. It's only been the last 20 years that the format remained constant and although the format was constant the cover price has continued to change.

ehendrix
01-25-2010, 08:25 PM
In order to get a 100-page anthology for $5.95 weekly you'd most likely have to shrink the dimensions of the book down, and then you'd probably have to take color out of the interiors completely. This is what they do in Japan and it works, but perhaps their comics culture has always emphasized B&W books and to them this is the absolute norm. In America we emphasize large page sizes with bright, vibrant color. I don't think a new reader will latch on to the Hulk or Thor or the X-Men if the book doesn't have color.


The pricing might be more realistic than you think... Once you make the run large enough to ignore the setup costs, just imagine the print runs they could pull off on some of these! How much do you think it would cost to print 100k copies of a 100 page anthology in full color? Maybe they lower the paper quality of the interior, maybe not... I'll say this, though, the rise in retail prices of comic book issues I believe have less to do with printing costs, more to do with trying to make the same profit with less people purchasing the books.

On the X-Men side of things, despite the fact that some people may not like X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, etc, there are enough books to make a couple of X-Men weeklies and a Wolverine weekly. Avengers - 1 for the main books, 1 for the characters within, etc... you get the idea...

On indies, though, it is challenging, but not impossible. For unknowns, split the royalties from sales evenly amongst all books involved ~ in a 100 page anthology, 1 page = 1% of royalties. If you take a Kirkman special, he might get a larger chunk because he's a name that draws sales. Kirkman may have 2% per page, for example... Not really an administrative nightmare, just a different way to look at the existing model.

Now do I want the industry to do this? Nah... Would be a good idea in some cases, though, especially to give (in Marvel for example) 2nd string characters a fair shake in another format. But why not just make comics 32 pages and throw in an extra 8-10 page story monthly in some of the larger, guaranteed sales, comics to get some exposure and build a fan-base. It would be like prime time TV... they stick a show following or preceding a big draw show to get them viewers until the fan base grows. Buffy and Angel (when they started)... would Angel have taken off it it had not followed Buffy at first?

Scribbly
01-25-2010, 10:29 PM
L Jamal]...until it's no longer convenient which was the entire point to Larsen's thoughts. Comics are reaching the point where the 32-paged format is no longer a via format. DC is already experimenting with longer formats for some books like World of Warcraft and the Vertigo Crime which are only available in graphic novel form.Whatever DC or Marvel wants to do with their products is their business.
And is not up to Larsen’s, you, I or somebody else’s to point what they should do.
What would you think if someone in here or other comic forum
would start patronizing you in how you should manage “your” Warmageddon?
Also, Larsen is telling to his publishing competitors how to manage
their business. Weird.

So you can bury your head in the sand and think that nothing will change, but since the beginning the monthly comic has been in flux content and page count. It's only been the last 20 years that the format remained constant and although the format was constant the cover price has continued to change.I don’t really mind what format Marvel or DC should have.
Or were and how they should sell their comics.
They are the mainstream guys who had the money and resources for
do whatever they want to project.
Usually, it will be something good, that everybody will buy.
They will decide if they want to change something about something.
And they do changes, when changes are convenient for them.
Convenient for them, not for us or Indie comics.

I am more interested in the chances for Indie authors and the
possibilities for creation and production that they have nowadays.
I look up at DC and Marvel products as a guide and references on
how good comics should be done.
That's all.

L Jamal
01-25-2010, 11:57 PM
Whatever DC or Marvel wants to do with their products is their business.
So why did you spend so much time debating it?
Seems to me that everyone but YOU understood why Larsen is speaking about format and now you're saying that it doesn't matter.

How about you just go troll the letterer showcase?

Scribbly
01-26-2010, 02:03 AM
So why did you spend so much time debating it?
Seems to me that everyone but YOU understood why Larsen is speaking about format and now you're saying that it doesn't matter.

How about you just go troll the letterer showcase?
i don't know, you are the only one supporting these sayings.
If that make sense to you, it is fine for me and everybody else.
Why to debate with you? Really.

Jason Arthur
01-26-2010, 02:23 AM
So why did you spend so much time debating it?
Seems to me that everyone but YOU understood why Larsen is speaking about format and now you're saying that it doesn't matter.

How about you just go troll the letterer showcase?

NOOOOOO!

Send him to the hell that is Chit Chat.

-- J

Scribbly
01-26-2010, 02:25 AM
NOOOOOO!

Send him to the hell that is Chit Chat.

-- J
Sweet Jason...

Kevin Lee
01-27-2010, 02:46 AM
I hate his idea. I think GN's are the future myself.

Scribbly
01-27-2010, 08:00 AM
I hate his idea. I think GN's are the future myself.
I don’t hate it.
But it is an Anachronism, impractical and inconvenient.

1) Anthologies per se, are a very good thing when you get used to it.
2) A 64- 90-page comic book is always A good thing.
3) Weekly comics are a good thing for have too.
4) Having comics back in the newsstands could be great as well.

But the mere idea of having these four things all together.
All in “one” same comic book.
(Maybe, a new line of 3 books of similar sort,
for having "presence" in the newsstands.)

Al new a material (not reprints, no reruns.)
Coming out every week by newsstand system.
This is very expensive to produce and coordinate.
You need an Army of "paid" artists and creatives
and all the printing/delivery issues under control, permanently.
Every week.
A big commercial risk and pressure for the publisher who intent it.

Plus the fact that even, IF these books are produced,
You need to get the “audience” back to the newsstands,
buying these comic books massively, every week, permanently.

It will cost time and millions in advertisement and promotion.
Also, small flaw in the audience interest, will cost millions in loss for the
Publisher.(The Krispy Krème effect.)
The new potentials for massive audiences are in use of
I-pods, Kindles and laptops right now.

In a very, very different scenario,
Right now, anthologies are a good and effective tool for
Indie authors and publishers.
These are books that can be produced and worked in a very low pace.
(People usually will work for free on these books.)
Nesting an Indie book, 64-90 pages right to the bookstores.

L Jamal
01-27-2010, 08:28 AM
Coming out every week by newsstand system.
This is very expensive to produce and coordinate.
You need an Army of "paid" artists and creatives
and all the printing/delivery issues under control, permanently.


Saying the same thing over and over again doesn't make it correct.
DC has been doing weekly comics for the last 3 years without "an army of paid artists." In fact, they did 32-paged weekly books with a rotating staff of 3-4 artists. That's essentially 1 artist per book. So it's possible using the same resources for the current output and consolidating books.


Plus the fact that even, IF these books are produced,
You need to get the “audience” back to the newsstands,
buying these comic books massively, every week, permanently.

These books aren't just for the newsstand. They would also be sold in the DM. The entire point is to release only one format, so the formats aren't competing with each other.



Right now, anthologies are a good and effective tool for
Indie authors and publishers.
These are books that can be produced and worked in a very low pace.
(People usually will work for free on these books.)
Having an Indie book, 64-90 pages right to the bookstores.
So.. people won't buy an anthology with established characters by established talent, but they will buy an anthology with unknown characters an unknown talent?

Even ignoring the fact that most of the indies don't have thr resources to get into the bookstores in volume because you are paid months AFTER the books are sold AND are subject to returns, look at all the failed indy athologies that failed to launch any ongoing properties. Flight is the only "indy" anthology that has launched properties. The only indie anthology over the last 10 years when indie anthologies like DWP flourished due to cheaper printing from Korea.

I think you have a very flawed and/or limited knowledge of the US comic market.

Scribbly
01-27-2010, 09:45 AM
I think you have a very flawed and/or limited knowledge of the US comic market.
Yes, maybe DC and Marvel will like to put this idea in practice,
Maybe this is what they were in need for their publications.
Didio and Quesada should definitely be doing something about it.

L Jamal
01-27-2010, 01:27 PM
Yes, maybe DC and Marvel will like to put this idea in practice,
Maybe this is what they were in need for their publications.
Didio and Quesada should definitely be doing something about it.
And now you're finally to the point where Larsen began.

Jason Arthur
01-27-2010, 01:38 PM
And now you're finally to the point where Larsen began.

You could have saved yourself a lot of time by just putting Scribbles on ignore like the rest of us.

:whistlin:

Scribbly
01-27-2010, 01:48 PM
You could have saved yourself a lot of time by just putting Scribbles on ignore like the rest of us.

:whistlin:
Jason, our happy jester everybody!

Biofungus
01-27-2010, 03:45 PM
Jason puts everybody on ignore who disagrees with him.

L Jamal
01-28-2010, 12:04 AM
You could have saved yourself a lot of time by just putting Scribbles on ignore like the rest of us.

:whistlin:
But then I don't get the extra posts to boost my post total.

Scribbly
01-28-2010, 09:18 AM
Hey LJamal,
Seriously, what do think is going to have more chances
in the near future.
Comics in newsstands or comics by Ipad?

L Jamal
01-28-2010, 10:28 AM
While comic book readers trend to be early adapters of technology, I don't think the iPad will be able to sustain the industry on its own unless we see a lot of current non-comic book readers utilizing it to read comics. I think it will become a lucrative additional revenue stream for all levels of the industry, but the print comic will still be around.

Until you can get an iPad in the hands of every kid in the US, the newsstand will still have further reach and a larger audience.

JamieRoberts
01-28-2010, 10:36 AM
I agree, but I also half-expect to see iPad take off big time once the price comes down a little. There are a lot of people saying it's an unnecessary beefed-up iPhone. While I can see the validity in that viewpoint, underestimating Apple is more often than not an unwise move. Scratch that: underestimating the public's rabid desire for the next new gadget, of which Apple are the premier brand, is usually an unwise move.

The timing of the iPad announcement makes me wonder whether Larsen's theory still holds up. Maybe it holds up better than before, with the potential drop-off in comic stores, or at least their income from monthly books if single issues are available on a widely-owned device at a much lower price point.

Jason Arthur
01-28-2010, 12:20 PM
I agree, but I also half-expect to see iPad take off big time once the price comes down a little. There are a lot of people saying it's an unnecessary beefed-up iPhone. While I can see the validity in that viewpoint, underestimating Apple is more often than not an unwise move. Scratch that: underestimating the public's rabid desire for the next new gadget, of which Apple are the premier brand, is usually an unwise move.

The timing of the iPad announcement makes me wonder whether Larsen's theory still holds up. Maybe it holds up better than before, with the potential drop-off in comic stores, or at least their income from monthly books if single issues are available on a widely-owned device at a much lower price point.

the problem with comics on mobile devices (so far) is that they haven't lowered the price point yet. Granted comixolgy gives a lot of #1 issues out for free, but the Marvel books on there are still cover price and I'd only be willing to drop $.99 per book to read it on a mobile device.

Maybe I'm just cheap.

-- J

JamieRoberts
01-28-2010, 12:38 PM
No, I'm with you on that. I don't have anything capable of reading mobile comics so I didn't realise that. Maybe it's a case of every publisher committing or it's not worth doing. I bet the price is staying the same as print purely on the basis of it being early days. A lot of toe-dipping is going on, it seems.

Jason Arthur
01-28-2010, 02:44 PM
No, I'm with you on that. I don't have anything capable of reading mobile comics so I didn't realise that. Maybe it's a case of every publisher committing or it's not worth doing. I bet the price is staying the same as print purely on the basis of it being early days. A lot of toe-dipping is going on, it seems.

one thing to note about coxiology on the mobile devices:

someone has to edit the books for that format, which means telling the device which way to view each panel, what order to go in, etc

with the ipad though I imagine they can skip that step and just digitize their books in a lower res format for easy up/downloading

-- J

Biofungus
01-28-2010, 04:12 PM
the problem with comics on mobile devices (so far) is that they haven't lowered the price point yet. Granted comixolgy gives a lot of #1 issues out for free, but the Marvel books on there are still cover price and I'd only be willing to drop $.99 per book to read it on a mobile device.

Maybe I'm just cheap.

-- J
For once I agree with you (not about being cheap, but about there being no excuse for them to still charge full cover price for a digitally distributed product).

TimR
01-30-2010, 12:13 AM
I've thought they should do something like Larsen is suggesting for years. The main thing I would change with his idea, would be to put the stories in larger chunks (10 to 20 pages each) and then say "continued in two weeks" or "continued in one month". Maybe the first story in the book would be a 5-page weekly serial, but then three others would rotate out week to week.

ponyrl
01-30-2010, 12:30 AM
You can read comics on you psp. & buy them at the PSP store online downloading them to your psp.

It's interesting.

MrGranger
02-01-2010, 09:44 AM
But then I don't get the extra posts to boost my post total.

If you took all your posts on DW and stitched them together then you'd have a book. Or two.

Jason Arthur
02-01-2010, 10:53 AM
If you took all your posts on DW and stitched them together then you'd have a book. Or two.

But could you read it on a PSP?

:nyah: