The week in PW Comics Week

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A lot of good stuff, as usual, in this week’s PW Comics Week (which I co-edit) and sometimes we like to draw your attention to it:

Kai Ming Cha, Brigid Alverson and Calvin Reid take a look at the Broccoli Books shutdown and what the manga market in general looks like. Unsurprisingly, it’s a time of change:

” While some manga and comics publishers declined to comment for this story, others expressed a cautious optimism about the comics market, acknowledging that a tough economy is going make consumers as selective as retailers. Kuo-yu Liang, v-p, sales of Diamond Book Distribution, which distributes graphic novels and other pop culture material, says “B&N and Borders are putting pressure on mid-sized publishers. They are cutting back across the board, stocking less and returning more and considering the economy I can’t really say that that’s wrong.” But he said that retailer cutbacks are likely to affect manga publishers more than conventional comics publishers. “Other publishers can fall back on comics shops and internet sales,” says Liang, noting that these channels represent a smaller market for manga publishers. “Teen girls buy their shojo at the chains.”


Todd Allen runs some numbers on the Bendis/Kirkman debate and looks at what it takes to make it:

While Top Cow’s Fathom/Witchblade/Darkness are pushing the definition of a licensed comic these days, what Kirkman is probably trying to bring to Image, err, creator-owned comics are more projects teaming writers and artists with DC/Marvel exposure like Back to Brooklyn (Garth Ennis/Jimmy Palmiotti) and War Heroes (Mark Millar/Tony Harris). If you look at ex-DC/Marvel writers paired with artists without many Big Two credits you get Joe Casey on Godland, Joe Kelly on I Kill Giants, Todd DeZago on Perhapanauts, or Larry Hama on Spooks: Omega Team. That is to say, the street cred may be there, but the sales are so low as to make you wonder if anybody’s making money off those books. Especially when Image is charging a $2500 listing/production fee off the top, which would suggest a color comic doesn’t start to put a dime in the creator’s pockets until the sales start climbing to the 4-5K range.


Plus:Udon’s kids line, Ven Jensen on what’s up with horror comics, an interview with Dean Motter about MISTER X, and a preview of Theo Ellsworth’s very cool looking CAPACITY.

Comments

  1. “B&N and Borders are putting pressure on mid-sized publishers. They are cutting back across the board, stocking less and returning more and considering the economy I can’t really say that that’s wrong.”

    “We are managing our working capital efficiently, which is evident in the reduction of $107 million of inventory compared to last year.” Steve Riggio, Barnes & Noble CEO
    http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/press_releases/2008_november_20_third_quarter_earnings.html

    How much of that $107 million is manga and graphic novels? If the cuts are the same across the board, then one could use the percentage for each category. However, some categories are selling worse than others, like compact discs. I would guess-timate maybe $200,000 worth of returns, max. Another factor is more conservative ordering of new titles. Yet another factor is that each department has a budget, and if one title sells well, then other titles might suffer. The good news? Children’s books are a bit more recession-proof, and B&N does merchandise some titles in that category. (Bone, Amelia Rules, Wimpy Kid, Avatar) Stores can also order extra stock of titles they think will sell. (My old store skids gift books like crazy… and there are a lot of nice GN coffee table books this season.)

    (I am an employee of B&N, but should not be quoted as a reliable source. The above analysis is based on empirical evidence, with no access to any current sales data.)

  2. After reading Todd Allen’s article I feel like quitting. I’ll never make it to such lofty heights. My pipe dream to nowhere has sprung yet another leak.

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