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  1.  (9656.1)
    My mind is thinking about pitching something to a larger smaller press (maybe Viz itself?), a newsprint anthology with creator-owned content and I'm sniffing around to see whether people would be interested in something like this. Think something like Shonen Jump but for a North American crowd. Cheap, cheerful and with a broad exposure, trying to get it into as many places as humanly possible (magazine stores, direct market, bookstores, etc.).

    What do creators think about something like this? Would it be cool? Would it be plausible? What do you think? Would you be up to it?

    Let me know.

    mjmartinejohn@gmail.com
  2.  (9656.2)
    Large as in thick, or large as in big?

    People have been thinking about this forever. Viz, of course, did PULP, and I believe still do SHONEN JUMP, for the Anglophone market. This post is a real WEF-flashback for me.

    Do you know much about newsstand/"magazine store" distribution and bookstore distribution?
  3.  (9656.3)
    Large as in big. I think it would be great to do a monthly of about 100 pages or so, 10 different 10 page stories with different teams attached, perhaps all in the same genre, with the intention of mass marketing.

    I know nothing about bookstore distribution at all. What I do know I learned today while reading about some other anthologies, and a little of what I just read in an overview, it sounds like a horrible time waiting to happen. Getting word out about a magazine and getting the public to buy it would be insane, but I think that the traditional system of comics needs something different. I am not an expert in such matters which is why I am fostering a discussion about it.

    The online model seems like the best way to hit the public, but how do you popularize comics in such a way that the general public takes interest? My idea is that something cheaper and more accessible would appeal to a broader spectrum. There are so many rules around comic production and how they are distributed that seem to not work that great. The direct market appeals to long-time fans, particularly white male fans over the age of twenty-five, or it seems that way. There are more choices now then ever, and manga seems to be bringing a lot of people in shops, but how do you market to people that don't go into shops.

    I think a lot of people still want something to hold in their hands. This is how I became so attached to the idea of a cheap publication with great content. Draw the audience in with something spectacular that is not draining their pockets, forget glossy paper, forget all the bells and whistles, keep them there with story.

    A few color pages to draw you in (Shonen again), and there you have it, my idea for an anthology.

    Anyone think that this is an idea that merits exploration? Or will this crash and burn?
  4.  (9656.4)
    Magazine distribution seems like it is crazy. It is all about subscriptions, with the newstands basically just being used to promote you, if you can even break into that market. Having a niche magazine break into that market seems insane, unless there is major hype behind it (Shonen has a million cartoons, books, lunchpails, etc.), and that is unlikely to happen. So unless a large publisher were to get behind something like this it is unlikely it would ever happen.

    Unless there is an online model that can be built around something like this, and a large amount of hype can be introduced into the project (from creators involved I'm guessing). Perhaps there are ways of tying it into the cartoon network, or MTV, creating cool content for those aware, tying in some animated property or some such thing. There is love for the comics genre in the world, how can you use this in order to expose the general populace to a comic.

    Food for thought. Movies, television, the internet, celebrity endorsement, these are things that could possibly create a comic that would be more accessible to the majority of people. How do you get this to happen?

    Or is this all just spinning wheels?
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011
     (9656.5)
    No, I think it is an interesting idea and would love to see someone give it a try.

    My only concerns would be:


    • You might not make much of a cost saving going for cheaper paper stock, but it is worth pricing it up.

    • There might be a general resistance in the American market to both B&W and anthologies (at least going by the comments of some folks who have given 2000AD a spin and not liked it for those reasons), but I do think things like Popgun might be changing people's ideas about the latter at least. 10 pages would also give people more of a solid chunk of story to get their teeth into which might alleviate the former issue.

    • You might struggle to get someone like Viz interested, if they thought there was a big market for this then they'd already be doing it. Then again, if you can come up with the right pitch and a solid dummy issue, you might be able to hook a decent publisher.



    However, none of these should be a reason to not go for it. It is a publication route that I do think needs to be tried.

    Get it out on a regular basis, perhaps get an ISBN on each volume so you can punt it through places like Amazon too. If it takes off you could look at collecting them as you go along, perhaps offer a digest (small, cheap paper) and an album (hardcover, large pages on a better paper stock and possibly coloured), with a larger trade paperback further down the line.

    I know I'd be interested in this as a reader and I might be interesting in pitching you something depending on what you were looking for or what your target audience is. I imagine it'd be easy enough to rummage together enough interest from creators (the trick being getting enough decent artists interested, especially if it is a backend deal as it is quite a commitment from an artist. If you can swing a page rate up front then you'd greatly increase the talent pool there).
  5.  (9656.6)
    Or is this all just spinning wheels?

    Utterly. But, hey, knock yourself out.
  6.  (9656.7)
    Is there a newsprint POD service in existence?

    spin spin.
  7.  (9656.8)
    "Is there a newsprint POD service in existence?"

    No. The closest thing you get is Newspaper Club.
  8.  (9656.9)
    Or I could just pimp DHP which seems to be the closest thing to what I can imagine at the moment from major publishers.

    Now I remember someone saying that newsprint is not that much less expensive then other alternatives (my brain does not function that great sometimes), and I think that people probably consider color to be "more worth their money" that are used to buying comics, not to the people that are buying digest sized black and white products in the millions.

    Creating a mock issue would be interesting just to see the feedback that is involved from publishers. I am willing to front a ten page story that is sci-fi horror in the name of beginning a process that would facilitate some exploration into what might happen if you shopped this around, as well as doing leg work for everyone involved, finding a graphic designer to give it a look, plus the possibility of providing a cover, etc., if other people were interested. Or I could just coordinate some things if enough people were interested in thinking and trying something different.

    But I would have to research it a lot more to discover what seems viable, and get some feedback from people with more experience in the field.

    How would you appeal to a broader market then the direct market?
  9.  (9656.10)
    Why would the comics industry not try to do something different? Invest some money into something and promote it. Doesn't that seem like something that the whole community could get excited about? Or is that too crazy for people? Wouldn't a mass market magazine with exclusive online content for android, kindle, ipad and blackberry be something that people could get into? With best-selling authors, big screen actors, and other people involved, don't you think that would catch on. Hell, get Justin Bieber to write a comic book and I'm sure people would arrive in droves. Get Wu-Tang out, and Kiss, get screen directors like Darren Aronofsky involved.

    It would sell, I seriously think it would sell millions.
  10.  (9656.11)
    Oh dear.
  11.  (9656.12)
    Okay I might have gone mad, but doesn't it kind of make sense. Or am I thinking too big. Fuck it, I would rather think too big then not at all.
  12.  (9656.13)
    The ultimate comic anthology. Creators list:

    Stephen King
    Peter Straub
    Michael Chabon
    Darren Aronofsky
    Neil Gaiman
    Bieber.

    All joking aside.

    Whom else?
  13.  (9656.14)
    Now explain to me why those people would spend their time writing comics for a new anthology entering either a direct market where sales have a current ceiling of some 90K units per issue -- or, put another way, about the same number that an issue of TIME magazine sells -- or a magazine market where circulation can indeed top a million, in the US, but also where those magazines literally could not survive if they weren't selling half their pages as advertising. We're in an ad slump, of course. And you're not going to make what (say) GQ makes in advertising because you're a start-up, and the first thing advertisers do to a start-up is take their ad-rate card and cut it in half.

    Then you can tell me how you're going to pay your wishlist.
  14.  (9656.15)
    Find a way to make a production deal with film and television producers that provides money to talent for exclusive first look at rights and etcetra? This way you would have the money to pay the talent, produce the magazine and eventually make money from your advertisements.

    Would that work??
  15.  (9656.16)
    All the people you mentioned already have agents. The creators aren't going to give you the rights, so you have nothing to broker. I mean, seriously, you think you can do a better job selling Neil Gaiman's IP than Neil Gaiman and his team can?
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     (9656.17)
    All of the authors you've listed have better connections to Hollywood and television than a magazine could ever hope to facilitate.

    Any of them could write a single article for a major magazine and be paid better for that one article than a startup comics anthology could afford to pay for the script to an entire serrialized story. And they'd be able to retain rights to any options for film or television adaptation of their article without the assistance of the publication.

    Edited : Oops, scooped by the gentleman proprietor!
  16.  (9656.18)
    Something like this could be a Hollywood showcase, a visual guide to hot ideas and properties that could make the public feel as though they are getting an inside track into what is next, or the next big hot screen gem.
  17.  (9656.19)
    True. Oh well. Can't blame my brain for trying. I would like to say that people would do it for the love of the genre if you could appeal to that but dolla bills y'all dolla bills.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2011 edited
     (9656.20)
    Neither the creators, who do not need the magazine to sell stories to Big Entertainment, nor the entertainment companies, who have no incentive to publish early development material for multimillion dollar projects to such a tiny market when movie insider gossip sites reach way more readers for free, giving them exactly the perceived insider knowledge you describe, have any reasonable incentive to participate in the publication you are describing.

    There are plenty of venues for publishing work for the love of it. That is a respectable amateur pursuit. Your dream list is composed of professionals. If you have made something your profession, it is your job. You need to insist on your fair market pay. It's a cliche to say it, but would you ask an electrician to wire your building for the love of wiring?

This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.