Gemstone cancellations

deanmary deanmary at
Thu Oct 26 20:47:47 CEST 2006

Wow...  I also feel, like Derek, that I could curse up a storm that would make Scrooge look like a nun! :(   I guess a lot of my current thoughts could be summarized as "Censored!" as Barks would put in Donald's mouth on occasion.  When I read about the cancellations on the list today it felt like a nasty punch to the stomach!

Before anything else though, I want to follow the example set by Derek and profusely thank everyone at Gemstone for all they have done so far and for all they will do in the future.  This is a dark day, but lets remember that if it were not for Gemstone we would have had *no* Disney comics for the last 3+ plus years.  Not only have they provided us with Disney comics, but they have done so in fantastic fashion!  While I am deeply concerned about the future, I in no way want to forget or diminish what a great job they have done so far.

I also would like to know how high the prices of the $2.95 and $7.95 books would have had to have been raised.  I can't speak for others, but I would have contained to buy these titles each and every month even if there were *hefty* price increases.

As far as the two prestige titles go, raising the price from $6.95 to $7.50 is more than fair considering that the price on these books has not increased since 1997.  That gives me an idea though.  If Uncle Scrooge and WDC&S are still successful for Gemstone, why not make Donald Duck and Friends and Mickey Mouse and Friends monthly $7.50 books?  You could then keep these titles going at a more successful price point.  I know I would love to have both these titles continue as prestige format titles.  What do other people on the list think of this idea?  Would you be willing to buy two more prestige format titles a month?  If not two new prestige titles a month, how about one more prestige title a month perhaps called "Donald and Mickey and Friends"?  The 64 pages of this prestige title would equal the 32 pages of MMaF and DDaF and only cost a bit more each month.  Wouldn't this be kind of a way of having your cake and eating it too?  You could publish just as many color pages per month, but at a price point that would be more successful for Gemstone.  Or is there some reason that this would not work?  I fully admit I know next to nothing about the economics of comic book publishing, so please feel free to educate me all about it.

Back to the two prestige titles that you are going to publish each month.  Since there will now only be U$ and WDC&S on a monthly basis, could you really limit the amount of reprint material in it, especially Barks?  With only these two monthly titles now, and there being SO much material that has NEVER been printed for the North American market, I would like that each and every page be of new to North America material.

Of course, I imagine people at Gemstone and buyers of Gemstone comic may still want a good deal of Barks reprints.  A couple of thoughts about that.  One, I am hoping that in the next few years Gemstone will start a Carl Barks Library similar to the EC Library that Gemstone has just very recently started.  If a Carl Barks Library starts in the next few years (a hint and a hope! :)), there is really no reason to keep reprinting Barks stories in U$ and WDC&S.  Why not keep the pages of U$ and WDC&S open for new stories?

Perhaps Gemstone thinks many people will not buy a Carl Barks Library.  I however think most serious Disney comics fans will.  This kind of brings up a "big elephant in the room" topic that has not been discussed much.  Since Gemstone started they have had a strong goal of getting kids to read Disney comics again.  That was a laudable goal and a goal I applaud them for trying for.  In my humble opinion though, this has not happened.  I certainly wish kids had come back to Disney comics and it pains me to think  they have not.  And if someone at Gemstone can tell me that I am wrong that marketing for kids has not been much of a success, please let me know.  I would LOVE to be wrong about that! :)  I just think getting kids to read *any* comics in a traditional format is next to impossible these days.  No offense to Gemstone, but if DC and Marvel can't do it, I don't see how Gemstone could either.  Of course that leaves out manga, Shonen Jump, etc., but I will get to that later.

So what I am getting at is for Gemstone to embrace the fact that 90% of there customers are not kids and instead older collectors.  I think most of us older collectors are not that upset about the price increase and in fact would like there to be more to buy each month.  And for Gemstone buyers who say they still want Barks stories and will not buy a Carl Barks library, you can really get most of Barks' stories that were reprinted during Gemstone I, Disney comics, Gemstone II, and even earlier comics.  I imagine you can get most of these earlier re-reprints for about 7 or 8 bucks, so it is not really more expensive than getting them in the monthly U$ and WDC&S comics.

I am excited to hear about Gemstone turning Walt Disney Treasures into a ongoing series.  Have you decided if they will come out on a regular basis?  If so, will they be monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.?  I would encourage considering having them come out on a monthly basis.  >From almost the beginning of Gemstone, I have thought having a monthly trade paperback would be a great idea for Gemstone. The first Walt Disney Treasures came out this past summer for $12.99 and had 160 pages.  Even if you had to increase the price to say $14.99 or $15.99 and could keep the same number of pages it would be a great deal.  It costs $15 a month for both U$ and WDC&S and you will get about 128 pages total.  Well, if there were a monthly Walt Disney Treasures for say $15 you would be paying the same price as U$ and WDC&S combined and even get *more pages* for the same amount of money!  So having a monthly Walt Disney Treasures TPB would ease much of the pain of losing MMaF and DDaF.

What are the content plans for Walt Disney Treasures?  I think it would be nice if they could at least some time focus on a particular creator.  Imagine having Treasures TPBs devoted to Vicar, Scarpa, Gottfredson, etc.  Not to even mention the obvious choice of having Rosa collections that I can't help but think would sell very well.  Does this idea appeal to other list members beside myself?

Onto the Shonen Jump style black and white books.  While it may be hard for me to adjust to reading Disney comics in B/W, I still think this is a great idea.  If there is one last chance at getting kids to read Disney comics, I think this is it.  You just get *so* many pages for *such* a cheap price that it is an incredible deal!  Derek wondered what the paper qualities of the B/W collections would be.  I am just guessing, but wouldn't the paper quality be similar to the quality in DC's "Showcase Presents" and Marvel's "Essentials" collections?  I kind of think of them as having a "phone book" quality to that paper.  So no, they will not be nice as regular monthly 32 page "pamphlet" comics, but on the other hand you get so much value for your money.  For example, DC's "Showcase Presents" and Marvel's "Essentials" retail for $16.99 and include between 500 and 600 pages!!!  I am not very familiar with "Shonen Jump", but I believe it is around 300 pages each monthly for about 6 or 7 dollars.  Perhaps some who reads Shonen Jump can be more specific.

So I would love see these "Shonen Jump" style collections come out as often as possible and for them to be a huge success.  Are there any plans yet for what stories will appear in these collections.  I think some reprints (even re-re-reprints) would be OK for this format, but I also hope that there will much new material as well.  Many Italian creators such as Scarpa, Cavazzono and others produce some quite long stories and these would fit well with these collections due to how many pages are available in each collection.

So while I am very saddened about the cancellations, at least there is some good news as well.  I concur with Derek though that this whole business is unsettling.  I realize that there are NO guarantees in life.  However, do we Disney comics fans have anything to fear like the last time Gladstone cut its production to only two titles a month?  Is there any way you can let us know if Gemstone is still doing well and plans on being around for a long time to come?  Hopefully these cancellations do not forebode further bad tidings but on a more positive note are just Gemstone changing which formats it finds more successful.

So to close this, *anything* *anyone* at Gemstone could let us know more about the future of Gemstone know would be greatly appreciated.  I realize that may not be possible at this time though.  Whenever you have "tidbits" or more though, please let us know! :)  I would love to hear what other list members have to say about Gemstone's new direction and/or some of my ideas and suggestions.  Please feel free to tell me that my ideas stink if you think they do!  After hearing about Gemstone's bad news, hearing that my ideas are awful won't hurt a bit in comparison! :(

Dean Rekich

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the DCML mailing list