Gemstone line expansions

John Lustig john at
Thu Nov 22 19:21:43 CET 2007

We've been having some interesting and well-reasoned discussions about 
the possibilities of having a third prestige comic and more trade books. 
I think I missed a posting or two so I ask everyone's patience if 
someone else has already made the following remarks:

While I'd personally love to see as many Disney comics on the market as 
possible, I see some problems with a third prestige title.

First of all, a third prestige title isn't likely to increase 
readership. Instead, it's more likely to to be bought by current 
Gemstone customers--who are already (let's be frank) paying a very hefty 
per-page price for their comics. (Yes, I love those wonderful Gemstone 
production values and want to see them continue, but they are costly.)

Second, if the customers are the same fans who are already buying 
Gemstone books then a third series is likely to cause budget problem for 
some of them. So, while they may buy a third title, it's likely that 
some readers will stop buying every issue of the other two prestige 
titles. I suspect that lower sales on any of the books would be 
somewhere between very bad to disastrous for Gemstone.

Third, Gemstone has limited staff resources. If it has to choose between 
a third monthly prestige comic and doing a few trade paperbacks a 
year--I'd definitely go with the trades. The trades can go into 
bookstores--a market we definitely need to be in. Sales from comic shop 
customers have kept Disney comics alive. But we're not going to pick up 
many additional sales in comic shops (where most of the readers are 
still fixated on superheroes.)

Graphic novels (and trade paperbacks collecting comics) are the fastest 
growing section of the bookstore trade. Gemstone should grab it's share 
of that. Of course, it's critically important that only the best 
material be collected. Barks collections, Rosa collections (Van Horn 
collections) are all possibilities and might do well. But what I'd 
really like to see is top-quality material (by a variety of creators) 
all unified by some themes: Christmas, sports, wacky monsters, space 
adventures, birthdays, etc.

For example, a book of Disney comics with a sports theme might be an 
easer sell to a parent (with a child who's into sports) than a general 
Disney comics book. Likewise, a birthday-themed book might make a nice 
birthday present for a child. This sort of thing has worked for regular 
children's books. (And lots of books for adults too!) I don't see why it 
wouldn't work for Gemstone as well.

Best Wishes,
John Lustig

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