Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Whither the Fun?

Got hit by this one twice in the last couple days, the Comics Journal's quote of the day with Pat Boyette missing fun comics, and Jennifer De Guzman talking about a comic that perhaps should have been another Scott Pilgrim: Street Angel.

And I don't think, from her column, that Jennifer is having a lot of fun right now either.
...SLG began publishing the comic book series Street Angel by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, about a homeless twelve-year-old with extraordinary martial-arts skills that she uses to fight ninjas, pirates, rednecks—anyone that needs a butt-kicking.
Now, that sounds like a fun comic. You pull off the right balance on that story and you have a comic that can be enjoyed by a huge audience, male or female, young or old. Good ol' fashioned silliness.

I don't remember ever seeing it, but then, there are so many damn comics that it is easy for stuff to fall under the radar no matter how much it gets the press. If I have a hard time going and picking the thing up off the rack, and I do have a hard time with that since the LCS is somewhat small, then its just too damn easy to forget. I'm still missing a Rocketo trade and i LOVED that series. I'll try to get this one at WonderCon.

So that takes care of the fun comic, but more importantly are the questions that Jennifer is rhetorically asking herself about Street Angel these first days of 2010:

Why didn't hype translate into more orders and sales? Was it the quarterly schedule? A need for even more outreach to retailers? A need for outreach to a different audience? The book itself? Do retailers even look at advance hype from third sources when they place their orders? ... A project can give every indication of being wildly successful or a niche-audience sleeper and turn out to be just the opposite.

And those are great questions. Look, I feel for the publisher and retailer here: there are only so many square feet in a shop to display things, there are only so many dollars to put out there for product, and if you happen to have a few dollars left over for non-X-men/Batman product, how the hell do you decide which to order? And if you primary customer is the X-men/Batman person, do they care about Street Angel? probably not. So how do you get that customer?

I wouldn't want to have to go through the dreaded Previews catalog to decide what to order. There's just too much there. The reality is that there are a lot of good comics these days. If you were to only wander the aisles of the small press area of San diego, skipping Marvel and DC, you could walk home with an armful of fun, interesting, occassionally great little books. So I do wonder if the average comics retailers looks at 3rd party recommendations. They should, although I have to wonder. Travelling to San Diego last year I was seated directly behind an artist, and across from a retailer who said that this was likely to be her first time just walking the aisles in years. In reality, that should be a necessary function for just about all retailers to keep theirs eyes open for the next big thing, and yet the reality of manhours are that they're not likely to have that time.

I'll be looking for Street Angel. I could use some fun in my life.

And i'm working on a new project for Radical Comics. More later when I can say something....


Dan said...

Hey, congrats on the new project!

Coincidentally, I just read Street Angel on Monday. Last week I followed some random tweet to Rudd's Flickr account, then to his site, learned about the book (and also Afrodesiac, which you'll find out about when you get Street Angel), and ordered them both from Amazon. I didn't notice it in the shops back in 2004, and I shop at one of the more indie-friendly places I've ever seen. I think the book would do better outside the direct market ghetto, where it's all Marvel & DC fighting for shelf-space dominance... I wonder why SLG let it go out of print for five years? It's fantastic.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

I'm lookin for it on my next visit! Too much great stuff gets buried under all the crap. Baker Street back in the day was the model for "should have stayed in print".