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

March 17, 2010

Your Quality Feature News Round-Up

A few articles out there I'd suggest as either better than the average Internet posting, touching on an important issue, or both:

* if there's one historical/soft news/feature piece you need to be reading right now, it's Steve Bissette's ongoing look at the censorship wars of the 1980s -- so far in parts one, two, three, four and five. I've long thought this important, too, not only for the issues raised by the schism that resulted between various camps over how they negotiate the mainstream comics culture of their time period. I'm in full absorption mode right now on this, although I'll express an opinion on this material at some point, but that doesn't mean you should fall behind in keeping up with what Steve is putting out there.

image* Johanna Draper Carlson brings our attention to Tyler Page's breakdown of how much self-publishing has cost him under a certain strategy that involves a lot of con appearances to drive publicity. I think the thing that's interesting here in an historical sense is that while it's funny to say, "Don't go to so many conventions, dude!" I think there was definitely a point at which some sort of direct outreach was absolutely crucial to small- and self-publishers that wanted their work to reach readers, and that this wasn't always the case. When people make relative different ways of getting work out there, they're missing the boat that some methods are far more costly than others, and that all of these methods shape the kind of work readers get to see and how they view them.

* Ada Price of Publishers Weekly talks to a small sample of working retailers about Life During Recession. Direct Market retailers and prominent indy book stores do so much to shape their individual markets that it's hard to find agreement between them and even harder to make much of any shared threads you might discover, but the range of solutions and strategies on display in this piece sure is fascinating. One seeming area of agreement: it was a good year for top-end sellers in terms of books from the regular book publishers, which is something that not all comics shops are set up to sell, and which was an under-reported new story from people like me that if certain books hadn't hit between summer and Christmas last year I have a hunch the commitment from such publishers might have changed. That Yen Press Twilight book should do very well, although I wonder if that isn't a completely different subset retailer-wise from the kind of stores that sell things like Genesis.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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