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  1.  (8142.1)
    Paul Pope's been itchy about serialisation lately. He's working on this huge graphic novel called BATTLING BOY, and very few people have seen any of it. And he's itchy because, I think, it just takes a seemingly vast amount of time from conception to publication. It's the long haul of novel production, rather than the fast fiction of serialisation.

    I was talking to someone about 2000AD the other day, and how I'd love to be published weekly , and in Britain, and on newsagent shelves: but, of course, 2000AD doesn't offer creator ownership (except in one or two very rare cases), and, frankly, it's not like 2000AD does so much with its IP that there would be any financial gain in giving them the rights to new material.

    One of the joys of FREAKANGELS is that I can publish weekly and pretend I'm in a weekly British sf comic, after all...!

    We're all going to have to adjust, sooner or later, to the long production haul to getting a complete object out. Paul's making his peace with it. It's the adjustment that a sector of the audience has already made -- going from early-adopters to waiting-for-the-trade, getting the complete work. It's tricky, because the comics shops are largely in favour of serials instead of books, and will publicly declaim that comics are for habitual periodical entertainment while asking what place there is for them in a graphic novel market where bookstores can sell exactly the same product line.

    (The argument being that if comics stores DID sell the shit out of that line, no-one would have looked for complementary or alternative markets in the first place. Ten years ago, no comic store would touch manga and publishers like Viz were struggling. So they went to the bookstores instead, and from there manga ate the Anglophone market alive, creating a whole new audience that, to this day, rarely steps inside a comics shop.)

    Serialisation needs to be studied, as much as graphic novel production does. Maybe they can even learn from each other. I'm loathe to take lessons from television, considering the state it's in: but imagine if "seasons" were six or twelve weekly instalments, like high-end tv shows (or the British model). Difficult to be ordered by most comics stores, because of the monthly model they're locked into -- they'd have to order most of a twelve-issue weekly season blind, having no idea what they'd sold on issue 1 before they have to order issues 9 to 12 and therefore no way to adjust for its reception. Like WEDNESDAY COMICS, it'd probably have to be done first by a major company with deep pockets using its most popular company-owned assets. And the pros of bringing people into comics shops on a weekly basis for their habitual periodical entertainments would be overshouted by the cons of releasing new weekly material into a market now apparently best geared for the distribution of plastic rings with comics attached.

    (not that British comics people have anything to say about free gifts on their comics!)
    • CommentAuthorRaid71
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    I've never had a loyalty for comic shops as I live in an area where the nearest one was 40 mins away so that was a bimonthly day out.
    I aslo grow up on 2000ad and the addictive quality of weekly serials, those where stocked by local newsagents and eventually WHSmiths.

    I still enjoy the weekly kick, 2000AD, Freakangels provides that and Box 13 (using the an iphone app) offers a similar experience (although a little intermittent)
    I must say I'm hoping that the iPad (and follow on devices) are gonna shake the media market a little (newspapers and comics) maybe then a market will develop as with newspapers where people are willing to pay for a weekly/monthly subscription (price would be key for this)
    • CommentAuthorJohnnyW
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    Difficult to be ordered by most comics stores, because of the monthly model they're locked into -- they'd have to order most of a twelve-issue weekly season blind, having no idea what they'd sold on issue 1 before they have to order issues 9 to 12 and therefore no way to adjust for its reception

    Taking another lesson from television. Could this not be got around by offering stores a 'pilot' issue, released a month or two before the actual series? That way they'd indicator of what reception it might receive.
    • CommentAuthorIsaacSher
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010 edited
    @JohnnyW -- From what I've been reading, the Japanese manga industry does do "pilot" issues. If a story submitted to an anthology mag shows promise but they're not 100% sure about it yet, they'll publish it as a one-shot, which is usually a bit longer than the usual 18-page weekly chapter. If the one-shot does well, the editors have the mangaka retool the story as a serial, perhaps with some changes here and there -- just like a TV Pilot. Shueisha (the folks who do Shonen Jump) will also sometimes do a collection of nothing BUT these one-shot pilots, called "Akamaru Jump", published several times a year, and it's very common for titles that performed well in Akamaru to graduate to a weekly shot in the flagship Shonen Jump anthology.
  2.  (8142.5)
    I wonder if something like Battling Boy or Blankets or Asterious Polyp would finish if it was developed as a serial. If they did finish, how much would have been built up fro the original plan and how much of would be organic growth? Black Hole is an interesting case study.

    Two problematic things about the 'waterfall' development of a graphic novel:
    1. Fighting down the urge to do something smaller and more instant if only for the feedback
    2. Keeping production on pace when there is only one, distant deadline.
  3.  (8142.6)
    I wish, deep in my heart, that the cheap, big comics anthology periodical could get an audience in the US.

    I love Shonen Jump because of that - and, thankfully for me, most of the manga in it now I like well enough. But I like it mostly because for $5 (less if you have a sub), I can get 300-400 pages of comics and some articles. And if I like the comics in it enough, I can buy the collections in the not-too-distant future. And the magazine's cheap enough, that when I'm done, I pitch it into the recycling bin without a second thought.

    I wish there was an audience to make something like it viable for the rest of the US market. Imagine the regular Vertigo serials in one big monthly magazine for just a few bucks. I'd love it and buy it every month.
    • CommentAuthorOwen
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    @JohnnyW - Top Cow have been doing Pilot Season for the last few years, where they put out 5/6 #1's then readers vote on what they liked best (truth be told though I haven't seen any of the winners titles appear in longer format yet). This time they've changed it so Kirkman is doing five one-offs of his own with the reader picking the best, which seems more likely, as Warren suggested about needing big names, to get an end product. Also the #0 is a similar idea and a good one I think, Black Summer and Crossed as off-the-top-of-my-head examples, but that seems to have become rare again. Truthfully though I don't know what the cost/gain stats are on an #0.

    Is it possible to put the actual first issue or two in retailers hands weeks/months prior to a 'season' launching so they know in advance exactly what they're getting into? Some kind of ftp site that registered retailers can log into and see what's what or is that a logistical nightmare as regards deadlines etc?
    • CommentAuthorIsaacSher
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    "Imagine the regular Vertigo serials in one big monthly magazine for just a few bucks. I'd love it and buy it every month. "


    Vertigo's always got one or two Flagship titles going at any one time, like Sandman or Preacher in their heyday, and all sorts of other things going on as well, some short, some very long, and even some grand old perennials like Hellblazer. An anthology format would nicely elevate the fringe titles, and give room for experimental one-shot pilots to see the public light of day. The question is paper quality and price point. One of the reason we can get 3-400 pages of Shonen Jump content for five bucks is because it's rat-ass cheap paper in B&W. How much would a color anthology cost, even if it was on modest quality paper? Would the fans stay away if the paper quality went down, or would the cheaper price make it a positive selling point instead?

    More to the point, would the Vertigo editors even be willing to TRY something like this? Start up a whole new stable of titles, maybe with one established hit moved in as an anchor? Or if no one's willing to move an established title over, maybe commission a Big Name (Morrison, Gaiman, Ellis, Vaughn, etc.) to produce a new work, using that Big Name's status as an initial selling point.
  4.  (8142.9)
    More to the point, would the Vertigo editors even be willing to TRY something like this?

    As explained MANY times: the US newsstand is antithetical to comics in general, comics companies are terrified of returnable sales, and comics stores don't want anthologies.
    • CommentAuthorIsaacSher
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010 edited
    Sorry, it was meant as a rhetorical question. "It would be GREAT if this could be done, pity it can't", for exactly the reasons you've stated before. My apologies for being unclear.
  5.  (8142.11)
    This topic was floated by Erik Larsen a couple of months ago...

    Why does paper quality matter? I don't think it should as long as the stories are decent and the book is fun. The old Conan books used to be some of my faves to read as a kid and they were shit newsprint in B & W. As a kid I could pick one up for a couple bucks and be reading that for an hour or two. This is part of the reason comics are losing their audience, they are losing the new generation that has shit for expendable income and wants something cool to read. Shonen Jump does well with kids because they get a jillion pages for cheap.

    Hell, if there was a cool serial comic that was a jillion pages and cheap I sure wouldn't say no, especially if someone like Warren was writing it. Have you ever spoken to Avatar about something like this??

    Start it up as something to package old comics in with one new storyline and then expand the better it sells. It would also be a great way to expose new talent to a broader audience too.

    I would love to see Battling Boy serialized like Bone was, but Jeff was incredibly lucky with his comic.
    • CommentAuthorAllen
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    @mjmartinejohn I don't know why paper quality matters when it's singles either, but look at all the complaints people gave when Wednesday Comics came out, more people bitched that it was on newspaper print and it folded then anything else. And that was probably the best series that came out last year using DCU characters.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
    I vaguely seem to remember that there *was* a Vertigo anthology type thing in UK newsagents many years ago.

    Or am I just thinking of Preacher appearing in one of the 2000AD offshoots? No, I'm sure Sandman was in something too. Bigger format. Pretty much the 'traditional' British comic size.

    Or am I a mental? If I'm not, it was probably Paninni, yeah? Anyone help out with this? If it did exist, does the fact that no one else remembers it mean it died on its arse?
  6.  (8142.14)
    This is pertinent to me because I'm working with someone on a project and we have a fundamental disagreement about it. My bud wants to release it as five or six issues and I want to release it as a completed work. I fell out of love with chasing monthlies years ago but my pal still goes up every week to collect his new issues. I think that releasing something as a graphic novel gives you a wider market base since bookshops are more likely to sell it than they are comics, where as comic shops seem to me (my local ones anyway) increasingly niche having to bolster their sales by flooding their stores full of toys and it is likely your stuff if it is even picked up by them is going to be drowned under the weight of the big two.

    Besides that the trade paperbacks always appeal to me more because I have a pathological hatred of being constantly advertised at and do seem to be cheaper, meaning your paying more to be advertised at. Bonus!

    @Oddcult. I recall a vertigo anthology as well, it had stories from Doom Patrol Kid Eternity and The invisibles if I remember correctly.
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010 edited
    Maybe this is what you are all thinking?
    Vertigo: First Offenses
    Vertigo: First Cut
    Vertigo: First Taste
    5$ anthologies with loads of #1
    • CommentAuthorDrew_badly
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2010
    @Oddcult - Are you thinking of Revolver? Another talent stacked anthol that died. Isn't Millar planning a UK anthology with his media buddies.

    BTW I have a pallet of 2000ADs in my garage, dunno what to do with them.
    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2010
    Read them!
    • CommentAuthorDrew_badly
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2010 edited
    @Jivekitty - I've read them - maybe 'll burn them
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2010
    Nope. Not Revolver. Or Deadline or anything like that. Or the actual Vertigo issued ones. I'm almost certain it was licensed.
    • CommentAuthorDrew_badly
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2010
    @Oddcult - Not Revolver. Preacher was reprinted for a while in the Judge Dredd Megazine