Peering through the haze

Gary Leach bangfish at
Sat Dec 2 19:09:38 CET 2006

Chuck, Dean, Margaret:

Can't think what I could add to the remarks you've all recently made  
on the DCML, but here are some observations of mine in relation:

The demise of the newsstand titles leaves me with mixed feelings. On  
a purely business level, continuing them at any price point wasn't  
feasible, because the format requires a volume level of printing and  
distribution that, though anticipated and sought, just wasn't able to  
be achieved. Personally, I still have a lot of affection for the 32- 
page magazine - it is, of course, the format I grew up with - but I  
have to admit these days I prefer my comics in handy, reasonably  
affordable books and book collections. The question remains, will  
books reach the kids, or is it still worth trying to reach them with  
the 32-pager?

I don't really know, but the old put-'em-out-there-and-they-will-find- 
them newsstand approach plainly no longer works. Not that this is  
news; the signs were there before the Silver Age even started.

The reason Gemstone can - and will - continue with the prestige  
titles is that the format is not burdened by the newsstand business  
model. The very methods of printing them allow for much smaller print  
runs that can cover costs and even make modest profits in the direct  
market. It isn't possible to draw the newsstand format down to that  
level with any hope of even covering costs, unless you price them at  
a level that would make the prestige books seem like amazing bargains  
by comparison.

While there is no third prestige title presently in the works, it is  
possible that one will join the line eventually. And the one-shots,  
as I may have mentioned before, show some promise of earning their  
way in the direct and bookstore markets over time.

As for the parks, the relations between them and the parent company  
continue to leave me scratching my head. I do think, though, that  
these days comics are difficult for those shopping for the park  
vendors to perceive as having much to do with what they're out to  
sell -  namely, souvenirs of the park experience.

Dean: no news on the Shonen Jump-style titles at this time.


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