Greybird on June 03, 2008, 04:20:49 am
[...] So, please, buy this book. In fact, at the low price-point you can buy extra copies to give to friends as gifts. The paper quality is high and the binding is solid you won't be embarrassed to gift this book, I promise you.

It's not a matter of being "embarrassed." With having read it in color for which generosity, once again, I thank you I can't see how I can recommend it, or give it, to anybody who would end up missing out on that full experience. To me, it's not that far from, if this were 1808, giving them a bowdlerized volume of Shakespeare. Too much of the depth and grist of the tale is left out.

It's also a matter of the marketplace. Volumes of new B&W manga material sell in huge quantities in Japan because that comics-buying public is used to it. The only such material I've seen have any reasonable sales here is reprints of 40-to-50-year-old American comics that have already had two or three releases. New material that isn't in color doesn't sell, period.

I don't like this any more than you do, I don't see any "rational" reasons for such a matter of taste, but it's nonetheless a current reality. Nothing would delight me more than to see Big Head Press end up breaking this mold, but I'm not buying a B&W version, and I can't see that many others changing their habits to do so.

Scott on June 04, 2008, 08:23:22 pm
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It's also a matter of the marketplace. Volumes of new B&W manga material sell in huge quantities in Japan because that comics-buying public is used to it. The only such material I've seen have any reasonable sales here is reprints of 40-to-50-year-old American comics that have already had two or three releases. New material that isn't in color doesn't sell, period.

Excuse me, but you don't know what you're talking about.

Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all -- and in fact I haven't even seen any American comics from 1958-1968 reprinted in black-and-white. Can you point to a specific example?

Outside of the superhero genre, the majority of American graphic novels are printed in black-and-white. Art Spiegelman's Maus. The Hernandez Bros' Love & Rockets. Peter Bagge's Hate. Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise. Dave Sim's Cerebus. Craig Thompson's Blankets. Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison. Paul Pope's 100%. Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series. Charles Burns' Black Hole.  These are all strong-sellers and they aren't in color.

And those black-and-white Japanese manga books sell very well in the United States, especially to younger people who aren't interested in the DC Universe.

But if color comics are the only kind you'll accept, then just be patient -- in about a year you can get either a nice deluxe coffee-table book for forty bucks, or a print-on-demand trade paperback for $30, or maybe an e-book for $10.


Rocketman on June 05, 2008, 06:49:25 am
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Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all -- and in fact I haven't even seen any American comics from 1958-1968 reprinted in black-and-white. Can you point to a specific example?

Scott:
I'm not sure if you were exempting superhero comics or not in that statement you made, but I have in my posession three superhero comics printed in 2005 originally printed in the 1961-62 timeframe. Specifically they are Fantastic Four #1,2 & 3 bound together in a 6 1/2 x 5 inch mini book from Family Dollar Stores as well as Spiderman #1, 2 & 3 and Avengers #1, 2 & 3, all the same size. The price on the cover was a dollar apiece but I picked them up in the close out bin for 25 cents each approximately eight months ago.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 06:57:41 am by Rocketman »

paulr on June 05, 2008, 11:28:55 pm

Scott- have you made any progress on getting a full color version out? Like others, I am really not into B&W after seeing the gorgeous color edition of The Probability Broach. I was reaching for my wallet when I say the B&W notation. (Hey, I'm not picking on you, it's your property to market any darn way you want. :)

In any case, let me recommend looking at Baen.com; they sell unprotected e-book copies of almost everything they print, and Jim (bless his soul) never lost a dime on it. Amazing...

In any event, please do setup a mail list or some other way of announcing when you do get a color version available, either in print or as an e-book. I might just have missed seeing such a list when I scanned your site here for it; if so, sorry and point me to it please?

The serialized installments are a very cool idea, but I would far rather just buy the thing.  Migt be able to market it on iTunes even.

Come to think of it, with the cover on the book, buying it as an ebook might be safer. My partner is a very jealous lady, and shoots quite well. :)

-Paul
 

Scott on June 07, 2008, 02:59:28 am
Rocketman:  Okay, I hadn't seen the b&w Marvel reprints. The fact that you found them for a quarter of cover price in a close-out bin indicates they didn't sell particularly well.

Paulr: The black-and-white version has just gone on sale and we don't want to cannibalize sales of those by coming out with a color version, in any format, too soon. Personally I'd prefer to be able to produce a nice, quality color hardback. But if the b&w books we printed up just sit unsold in a warehouse for the better part of a year, then it's going to be an e-book. We'll announce plans on our website and I'll find a way to otherwise notify everyone who's posted on the forum.

Greybird on August 05, 2008, 05:54:04 am
After a return to the site from having seen Roswell advertised on Lew Rockwell's blog ...

Color editions aren't "the only kind I'll accept." I'm sorry if I gave that impression. It's just that they're all I feel I can justify buying for Roswell, specifically, having experienced it already in a stellar colored version.

I admit to being bemused by your saying, repeatedly, that we should "be patient." I'll certainly be that. If, though, you weren't intending to cultivate a few somewhat impatient comments and requests from those who admire and support your products, and want to encourage your expansion and success ... well, why would you have such a forum as this one? {rueful smile}

[...] Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all [...]

Erhm, "narrow" it may be esthetically, but they comprise the vast bulk of such sales. Anything that's not involving DC or Marvel superheroics, or Dark Horse works built on properties such as "Star Wars," is a tail being wagged by the nearly sole national dog, Diamond Distributors. I see that on the shelves of every comics shop.

Artistry and sales volume are hard to routinely match. Those comics shops' proprietors I talk to don't enjoy that being true, nor do I, nor, I suspect, do you. Yet as far as commercial impact is concerned, Spiegelman, Terry Moore, the Hernandez Bros., et al., share a fraction of the sales and availability of, say, even the much-earlier-reprinted DC Showcase B&W editions. (To give a current example for your other question.)

Aside from what I've been told about this by contacts in publishing, I certainly have had highly spotty experiences across the continent in finding such non-spandex works in general emporia like Borders. (Where I do insist on perusing them before going to Amazon.) Ye gads, I can't even find Neil Smith's word-only novels consistently.

The many fine titles you cite and publish carry a great deal of critical and fan cachet. Many are feeding a boom in moviemaking, always ravenous for vivid stories. Ones that, here, are pre-storyboarded, saving prep time and persuasive effort with financiers.

In terms of a national book marketplace, they aren't "strong sellers" beyond genre buyers. Still, that's a genuinely thriving niche, as I've seen reflected in such institutions as Comic-Con, which has little to do these days with classic "comics," but markets the hell out of every aspect of the related memes.

Scott on August 14, 2008, 12:28:56 am
The point being, this is not a superhero story. We're not competing for that audience with this book. We have another book coming up. LA MUSE, which has appeal to that audience and it will be printed in color and marketed more with the spandex fans in mind.

We had a choice between publishing a black-and-white book for $13 or a color book for $27. And this book has sold more in its first two months than any of our other books did in a similar period.