Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vertigo gets it!

I've been saying for some time when asked about whether I thought floppy monthly would ever go the way of the 8 track tape (no) and cellphones that don't do anything but make calls (yes).

There are a tone of comic book titles out there and many do well by today's standards. When I hear someone lamenting modern sales compared to the sales of bygone eras, I snicker. We aren't guaranteed to always make the money we made in the past and IMO publishers spent a good amount of effort giving us substandard product to make that money and retailers should have known it.

Personally this period in comics is the most diverse the market has seen in a long time and if retailers do their job and attract the appropriate market while publishers listen to that same market, then the medium with survive and thrive.

Vertigo gets it.

In August they are releasing 2 new titles under the banner of Vertigo Crime but instead of making 2 new monthly titles which will enjoy healthy 1st issue sales that will have dropped off like a major league split finger fastball, they are releasing them both as Graphic Novels and bypassing monthlies altogether.

Filthy Rich by Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos isn't about a character fans already have a measure of loyalty to and loyalty is one thing that helps sales of monthlies as well as well known creators. I have no doubt that I could move this comic if it were a monthly but I'm kinda glad I don't have to. Instead I can devote that one spot on my shelf to some indie title that needs the exposure more than a DC/Vertigo title. In this case, I could make space (hypothetically) for a title like Four Eyes (Once upon a Time in America with Dragons). Instead of making shelf space for Dark Entries by Ian Rankin and Werther Dell'edera, I can give that space (Hypothetically) to Terry Moore's Echo, which is simply a well done Terry Moore property with an interesting female lead but with super powers (unlike Strangers in Paradise which had well developed characters and more drama than day time TV).

The main point is that major publishers would do well to consider introducing new properties in GN format for a while and save the monthly comics for that which already works. It could prevent them from having to cancel a series by issue #32 even when the title, characters and creators are well regarded.

I think a lot of indie creators pushing new titles could benefit from this too. I've only got so much space in my shop and I am pretty picky about what mothlies I'll add to the rotation based on what I perceive to be the tastes of my clientele and my abilty to sustain interest in it.

One doesn't have to be overly picky in order to consider the strain on their comics budget put there largely by Marvel and DC comics. Many of my customers will avoid unknown properties in order to still afford the old stand by titles but would support a well done indie original graphic novel in a heartbeat.

A step in the right direction by DC.

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