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

March 9, 2006

AMP: Comic Strip Collection Round-Up

imageOf all the major comics publishers, Andrews McMeel seems to keep future books closest to the chest. I have yet to hear of a big-book follow-up to last year's Complete Calvin and Hobbes juggernaut, although company representatives once told me that up to four or five properties were being considered for collection on that scale. This is interesting, because while no one expects any property to do as well as Calvin (widespread appeal, extremely fondly remembered) or The Far Side (devoted hardcore fanbase, also well-regarded), it's hard to figure out where they'd go -- the last of the '80s nostalgia trinity (Bloom County), or something slightly (or deeply) more classic. It's a mystery. Or maybe there are no plans at all. Certainly, I would guess, not this year -- I think the previous two books had more than year to ramp up.

Still, if you look at the usual places to get a rough idea of what's forthcoming -- the company web site, on-line booksellers -- very little about Andrews McMeel's efforts come out past the season they're in. (One thing I'd love to know, actually, if anyone out there can tell me, is if the publisher's schedule contains fewer Christmas books and more summer books because of the enormous number of calendars the company does for the Fall.) So while you might see mention of an untitled Pat Oliphant book for September, most of the marketing energy shows up in sudden flashes for books that are one or two months away: Spot the Frog, Sherman's Lagoon, Fox Trot, Baby Blues, Dilbert and Rose is Rose. It seems like a pretty stable publishing strategy: first books from new cartoonists, established series in established formats coming out in regular fashion, and then properties that might not support multiple books having volumes out according to anniversaries.

Andrews McMeel usually also publishes one or two books a year that are comics-related but more in line with their general upbeat gift-line of books. They have one of those coming up this Spring as well, with Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig's When I Talk to You: A Cartoonist Talks to God due in stores in a few weeks.
posted 1:07 am PST | Permalink

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