HEY YOU, READ THIS!
With the release of 40+ titles coming this fall from All-New All Different Marvel, and another Image Expo spotlighting new works before older Image Expo announced titles are even solicited, Canadian retailer Christopher Butcher of Comics212 and Director of TCAF looks at the dangers of announcing comic projects months in advance. He gives his thoughts on what led up to this current marketing method, on how it can adversely affect retailer/reader relations, and what it does to the promotional aspect and critical conversation of titles once they are released.
Thinking of Christopher’s article in relation to yesterday’s podcast, there’s another aspect to advance previews that comes to mind; the never-ending scrutiny by those readers (and vocal non-readers) trying to catch publisher missteps no matter how big or small, earned or unearned. One of the criticisms against the recent DCYou announcement of 8 new minis coming out in 2016 was the lack of artists named. While I can understand those criticisms in terms of making sure the entire creative team is given proper billing, and readers wanting to know the creative team before they make a decision of whether to buy or not, DC is often caught in a damned-if-they-do/damned-if-they-don’t cycle whenever they make a move to try and rectify previous “grievances”. In this particular case, the #poisonivyleague Twitter group has been vocal about wanting the character to receive her own book. Knowing how demanding some readers can be at convention QnA’s (and the negative publicity they often get from such confrontations), DC probably felt they were doing a solid by letting that group know a Poison Ivy book is coming. It should be a win and something to be excited about. But that hasn’t been the focus. Yesterday’s podcast touches on one criticism, but to the other, about lack of artists mentioned, do we really know if these creative teams are locked into place just yet so far in advance? If announcing just a writer is bad form, why is it okay to announce only the writer and artist? What about inker? Color artist? Letterer? How far down the assembly line do we go – and do they even have these creators in place just yet? When a publisher is trying to do right, the dog-piling by readers/non-readers has to be frustrating. Not only for publishers, but for those other readers who are genuinely excited about a project. I’ve certainly been vocal about certain advance announcements – but I don’t think there’s an easy answer all the time, especially in this most recent DCYou case. And that navigation between wanting to do right and wanting to build excitement (and wanting to be excited as a reader), these days, is a minefield.
Back to Christopher’s blogpost and his pov, it’s a good read from someone who has to navigate these previews and announcements in order to service his customers. It’s one thing for readers to feel as if these announcements are overwhelming or lacking in information for their own buying habits, but imagine having to base your bottom line on orders from customer requests on projects that may or may not materialize. And when books are solicited ready for preorder – and once they are on the stands ready for purchase – will the next round of announcements drown out what is happening right here, right now.
You can read the full post here:
Christopher Butcher’s New. Now. Next.