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October 16, 2008 Talks To DHP's Mike Richardson: Clamp, Webcomics and Pamphlets

imageThe comics business news and analysis site has one of its massive interviews up with a publishing heavy-hitter, this time a four-part interview with Dark Horse head honcho Mike Richardson. I think the big takeaway for most people is going to be that Richardson kidney punches the classic comic book format:
"As far as pamphlets -- especially with what I see happening with the economy -- as much as we all love them, the traditional comic book is going to be going to harder and harder to sell, and harder and harder to make work."
Richardson is perfectly suited to come right out and say this because unlike the core mainstream publishers the creators with whom Dark Horse works aren't as dependent on the incomes made possible by successful serial comics publication. You have to remember that if the comics industry comes to mirror book publishing in terms of what its creators make, that's a step up for many art-comics people and likely a similarly-lucrative situation for many top-tier mainstream talents but probably means a real gutting of a comics middle class of people making some sort of decent living without being superstars. In other words, I think companies will adjust better than the creators as a whole.

The other reason why I'm always interested in people talking about the fate of the pamphlet is that I think buying an array of comic books is a unique and interesting way to interact with an art form. However, even I know that $4.50 for 22 pages of comics, if that's where we're heading, probably isn't going to reward that experience the same way a $9.95 or even a $19.95 graphic novel will reward that experience.

The rest of the interview is worth reading, too, of course. I like the idea of a Nexus movie, if one happens. I took a lot of pleasure out of reading that comic book when I was a teen, I think the creators would like to see it, and I think its core elements work well enough to drive a movie plot.
posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink

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