PictureBox shutting down on December 31st

201312021044 PictureBox shutting down on December 31st

Dan Nadel’s art comix publishing company PictureBox will shut down on December 31st, he announced on his tumblr, while also announcing a 50% off sale which everyone should hop on like white on rice:

As of December 31, 2013, PictureBox will no longer release any new titles. This was not an easy decision, but the company is no longer feasible for me as a thoroughgoing venture. Change is, as the cliché goes, a good thing, and I am proud of PictureBox the idea and the company, and grateful to the many artists I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve been publishing since 2000, and without such an astounding array of loyal and talented people PictureBox would be nothing. Some of my closest friends were made while working on PictureBox projects.

I want to thank all the artists and writers I’ve worked with over the years, and I look forward to future ventures together in other areas. I also want to thank all the stores and distributors who have carried PictureBox over the years. And thank you, readers and book lovers, for your support.

PictureBox books will remain available to stores and individuals through my distributors and this web site.

But don’t be sad. Celebrate by taking 50% off everything on the PictureBox site through January 2.

PictureBox was one of the most influential publishers throughout the growth of the entire art comix movement which took hold during the last decade, spearheading the post-Fort Thunder work of Brian Chippendale and CF while also putting out challenging manga such as the S&M work of Gengorah Tagame, and supporting US cartoonists such as Frank Santoro and Anya Davidson.

In other words, while everyone knew this was coming, it’s a wounder.

Nadel gave an exit interview to The Comics Reporter, in which he explained that his decision was personal and not because it was losing money hand over fist.

What Nadel couldn’t guarantee, and which had become a major concern having recently become a father, is insulation from the ups and downs of publishing: that he could somehow always make it so that that every book would work, that he could somehow avoid one or two books that might take a heavy chunk of his personal savings when they failed to meet sales expectations. This was further complicated by the changing state of publishing as print continues to feel the effects of a growing market for digital and the impact that new methods of production and new priorities had on those devoted to print. While Nadel claimed a fantastic relationship with his book distributor and a solid one with the shows he regularly attended, including TCAF and SPX in terms of sales at those shows, his penetration into the bulk of North American comic shops was limited due to the nature of the material he published.

Nadel’s contribution to the art comix world also included his co-founding The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest (which has morphed into Comic Arts Brooklyn) as well as co-editing the online version of The Comics Journal. Nadel has taken a full time job with art book publisher/distributor D.A.P. and to be honest, that’s the kind of thing you do when you have a baby and a wife at home.

Experimental comics publishing is a game for young people or trustafarians (but see below comments). That doesn’t make it less important or less vital to support. It’s just kind of how things work in this world. As Dan himself says, don’t cry; just buy some of his amazing books.

 

Comments

  1. Kris Swanberg says:

    “and a wife at home”

    You know his wife runs a gallery, right? Your choice of words suggests she’s barefoot in the kitchen…

  2. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Can you restrict your appropriation of my material to less than a paragraph? I’d like for people to have a reason to use your link, which I appreciate. Thanks.

  3. jacob lyon goddard says:

    Oh no!
    This is heartbreaking. They would have been one of the best for publishing The Ganzfeld alone.

    Any ideas where their ongoing titles will be moving?

  4. Charlie says:

    “Who is “everyone” and what do you mean they “knew this was coming”?”

    Yeah… I really hope I don’t sound like I’m attacking the author here, just a little bit of criticism, but I’m subscribed to The Beat and so I scroll through every entry, and over time I’ve notice that this author has a habit of posting these weird little ‘remarks’ at the end of the ‘news’ itself, sort of like her personal comment on it. And most of the time, and this entry is a perfect example, it’s either weird, nonsensical or shows a real miscomprehension of the story. And maybe always unnecessary too, maybe that’s a key part of it. It usually reads like someone coming into a conversation at the end and trying to add something to have everyone nod their head but instead saying something that is just head-scratching.

  5. RIP PictureBox, one of the greatest publishers there ever was.

    I strongly disagree that “Experimental comics publishing is a game for young people or trustafarians.” Make the work you want to see in the world and to hell with self-limiting attitudes. Dan is moving on to work with a more powerful and influential arts institution. The comics community is lucky to have him in a commanding role in the art world, where he can bring the work to an even wider audience.

  6. Tom Spurgeon says:

    To be fair to Heidi, Dan Nadel told his artists that PictureBox was shutting it down back before SPX and it was pretty widely discussed openly in that world for months that he was making this move. Not everyone, but a lot of people. I’d say about 80 percent of the people I encountered in that world where the subject came up knew about it. So that specific statement could be less an editorial comment on the state of that company — there are other comments of that type Heidi makes in the above with which I’d disagree strongly — than a simple statement that this announcement was expected as soon as the Fall con season was over and Dan got all his books launched.

  7. Tom Spurgeon says:

    by the “specific statement” i mean the one discussed in the first comment, the one about the expected nature of the announcement, not the characterization with which Gabe Fowler disagrees; I share Gabe’s disagreement with the statement he mentions

  8. Tom, just saw your comment on “appropriation” (which many call “quoting” for accuracy) as I missed it while traveling. I doubt anyone didn’t click on this story who was interested in it, but I’m happy to oblige.

    I was maybe a little unclear with my ” young people or trustafarians” comment, but I know many people in and out of comics who went mainstream when they had a kid to support. Having someone entirely dependent on you for their survival somehow makes people weigh their choices carefully. I’m sure having a working wife helps a lot, but the way to make a small fortune in comics is to start with a large fortune.

    Kris Swanberg, you’re kinda a dick, and obviously someone with a chip on their shoulder so bye bye baby.

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  1. […] the art comix world is still reeling from the announcement of the closure of PictureBox, the innovative and fearless publisher that picked up the Highwater ball and ran with it, the end […]

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