Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 12, 2013

Bundled Extra: Smoke Signal Ramp-Up In Works


Gabe Fowler of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn has announced the next step in an overall surge of activity from his corner of the comics world. After announcing a one-day festival with Comic Arts Brooklyn to take place in November, after what I'm told is a series of physical improvements at his store (that may be still ongoing), Fowler is now focusing on his Smoke Signal free comics publication. His released plan involves three initial steps.

* increasing circulation on the publication to 10,000 copies
* expanding distribution into the NYC subway system by recruiting volunteers to had out copies at high-traffic locations like the Union Square, Grand Central and Bedford L stops.
* hiring Chris Ware for a wraparound cover and nailing down a "stellar lineup" for that debut issue.

I think this is intriguing for several reasons. Three spring to mind initially. One is that comics can use as much energy and focused activity on the industry end as is possible -- I think the creative end in comics has far outstripped what is being done with them. Still another is that this is another person in one part of comics using the weight or relatively settled nature of their involvement in that part to explore another aspect of being involved with the medium. I think that's a general positive. Yet another interesting thing here is that I'm not sure anyone has aggressively pursued the free-publication model aggressively. It's been done a ton, but it usually settles into something you hear about and might even mail order as opposed to a publication that seeks its natural audience with some sort of vim and vigor driving it. Fowler should have a very interesting Fall 2013.

image above of the most recent issue as covered by John Broadley
posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink

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