PaperRad: Good enough for the Tate but not Diamond

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paperrad 733390 PaperRad: Good enough for the Tate but not DiamondAs we’ve often mentioned here, as monopolies go, Diamond is one of the most benevolent ones out there. We often hear general kvetching about Diamond, but also admissions that they have gone out of their way on many occasions to help out publishers and cartoonists. Thus we present the following story not as a scathing condemnation but rather as a head scrtaching look at How Things Work.

Over at his blog, Comics Comics PictureBox’s Dan Nadel reveals that Diamond has rejected most of his output, a group of art comics that includes:

Paper Rad, BJ and da Dogs by Ben Jones/Paper Rad, Me a Mound by Trenton Doyle Hancock and Incanto by Frank Santoro.

I should note that Paper Rad has exhibited work in museums and galleries internationally, including the Tate, Britain, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Pace Wildenstein, New York. Hancock, meanwhile, was featured in two Whitney Biennials as well as the documentary Art: 21, and his work was recently featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He’s one of the most important young artists in North America. Santoro is the creator of Storeyville, generally considered as one of the five best comic books of the 1990s, and a well-regarded painter himself. PictureBox, meanwhile, won a Grammy last year for our package design of Wilco’s A Ghost is Born. Oh, and both myself and company have recently been profiled in LA Weekly and The Washington Post. All of this is not to puff up my chest, but to note that it’s not exactly amateur night over here. Anyhow, our other books are distributed to museums and stores worldwide by the most prestigious art book distributor in the country, DAP. Just
not to comic book stores.

Yesterday I received a slim envelope from Diamond containing form letters detailing their reasons for rejecting each and every one of my titles: Cold Heat, which is a standard comic book, was rejected because “The format you have chosen for your title is unpopular with collectors and retailers.” Let me repeat that: Cold Heat is a standard sized comic book. Huh.

Nadel goes on to list more reasons for rejection: substandard art and so on. He’s not accusatory, although he does worry that Diamond rejecting his publications is stunting the growth of the medium., concluding: “But, honestly, I have to wonder: if it’s good enough for MoMA, why not for Diamond?”
Nadel’s publications aren’t for everyone, or for folks who enjoy easy reading. But they should be seen. And will be. Developing.

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