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

May 17, 2007

Comics Magazine Print Squeeze Two

Updating yesterday's post about the pressures being felt on several fronts by many comics-related magazines:

* Guy LeCharles Gonzalez rips into what he seems to feel is blind support for Tim Leong's attempts to get Diamond to carry the print version of his modestly-trafficked web site Comic Foundry, and floats the notion that Leong's pursuit of a magazine that hits an imagined sweet spot between hardcore devotees of art comics and superhero comics may not be worth supporting at all.

It's a good article, and I think it adds a valuable idea to the discussion, if only through my inference. Having to call on the reserves of focused public pressure to get past the hurdle of simply being carried by Diamond doesn't speak well to any magazine's chances for eventual, general success. This goes double when the standard for success depends on reaching a projected audience no one's sure exists in large-enough numbers to support a magazine given ideal conditions. This goes triple for a magazine launching in a market for new periodicals that resembles the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

As I said yesterday, I think Diamond should carry Comic Foundry. Not because I think it's going to be good. No one knows if it will be good. Not because I think Comic Foundry is likely be successful. I don't know that, either. It sure isn't because I like the guy. Most people like Tim Leong.

The reason Diamond should carry Comic Foundry is because it's in their best interest to do so. As with Dan Nadel's and Hope Larson's respective publishing efforts that were scrutinized in much this same fashion in 2006, Diamond is better off in the long run embracing those devoted in a perceptible, professional sense to bringing comics and related publications to the market. The less likely the chance a project has to succeed in a Rotisserie Publishing sense, the more it should be given the benefit of the doubt that comes with a couple of inches of listing space for a half-dozen issues. If the project tanks, it adds to that market's collective wisdom of what strategies work and what won't. If the publisher finds a way to make their listing work, and some will, the market is transformed just a little bit for the better.

* Dick Hyacinth muses on what the rough launch for Wizard's latest on-line magazine bearing its name says about that company's self-conception. And it is a rough launch, let's be clear on that.
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink

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