my reaction to…

Jason Zwicker‘s article in the City Paper:

it’s a great article. you should read it.

but i think he’s a little too pessimistic about the future of the industry. i don’t think the monthly “floppy” is in any danger. it’s a lot easier to self-publish a simple bi-fold book than a trade, and it’s cheaper for a big house like Marvel, DC or Image to cancel a series after a few issues if it isn’t working than absorb the publication cost of a failed trade.

monthlies also pay for the trades; the relatively high unit price and advertising most likely subsidizes the glossy-format ad-free books made from the same content. i realize i’ve ranted about trade prices in the past (and i probably will again), and i tend to buy individual books because i like the format (ephemeral though it is), but how much money is Marvel making from continued sales of the hardcover Marvel Zombies trade (currently in its sixth printing)? a book that hopefully paid for itself in its “floppy” run. without the ability to try such a (at the time) non-mainstream concept, i doubt the book would have been made.

Jason does point out that comics in first-run have become a niche market. but so too are ultra high-end luxury cars – and Rolls-Royce is doing rather well, last i checked.

this is not to say that comics should be an ultra-luxury item, or that the creators (and publishers) should be complacent about market issues. but the “traditional” comic book isn’t in danger of disappearing any time soon.

quote of the day:

“It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a sperm whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet. But since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity. This is what it thought as it fell: ‘Ahhh! Whoa! What’s happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by ‘who am I’? Okay, okay, calm down, calm down, get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? It’s a sort of a tingling in my… well, I suppose I better start finding names for things. Let’s call it a… tail! Yeah! Tail! And hey, what’s this roaring sound, whooshing past what I’m suddenly gonna call my head? Wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do. Yeah, this is really exciting! I’m dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There’s an awful lot of that now, isn’t it? And what’s this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ‘Ow’, ‘Ownge’, ‘Round’, ‘Ground’! That’s it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it’ll be friends with me? Hello Ground!’ (the sperm whale crashes into the ground, viewed from a distance with a rising plume of ice/snow) Curiously, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias, as it fell, was: ‘Oh no, not again.’ Many have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that, we should know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.” – HHGttG


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