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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Comics needs the diversity of smaller publishers


We know comics media are basically mouth-pieces for DC and Marvel. Just look online for DC or Marvel news -page after page after page -you could spend months just looking at the pages.

Look for Image or Dark Horse.  Lot of pages but they are definitely not the ones comics media want to push unless it is going to make them look hip or cool...or there is something else in it for them.

Google Independent Comic publishers.  Not a lot. Some out of date listings. Still managing to get DC, Marvel, Dark Horse and Image in as "Comics Big 4" and...uh...I crop up a lot.  Not good.

Really you have to know the name of a small comic publisher before you can Google them.  Now, you could try Previews from Diamond but why give them money?  You see, Diamond has always had the policy of including as many companies as it can in Previews but don't carry their books.  It is space filling to look like the source.  Maybe if you can get an old copy off someone you can get company names then but I will guarantee you many companies are not listed.

This means that, DC and Marvel news dominates the internet.  Image and Dark Horse can fit in there somehow.  But if you are not one of those four companies -screw you.  Who cares?

Every month there are Independent publishers sending out press releases.  They never get a mention. Many just give up but if you don't attract attention that desperate grin on your face from behind a table at a comics event will scare people off.  Oh, and if your book is not full colour why should the potential customer even look?

Every month another small publisher goes out of business. Can you name just one?

You work in comics you hear about them.  To the people involved they were businesses they put a lot into. Invested in heavily.  Nothing wrong with their products but if you are not full colour and you don't have your name shoved down 'fans' throats on a constant basis...who cares?  You want "diversity"?  You need diversity in publishers.

But in a small way the small publishers have to take some blame. They complain that no one will publicise or promote them. Comic Bits Online. Going in one form or another since 1997.  Thousands of views per day and a world wide audience -the majority in the United States. You send your book and how people can buy it, which shows you are going to, etc., and there you go. Even a blog roll link (so long as you give CBO a link on your site).

Two people now out of publishing told me they had thought about CBO but would the effort be worth it?  Seriously? Sending a book for review and details....I wasn't in a good mood so just responded "Well, there are never any guarantees but you never took the chance and now you'll never know" If you are serious about your publishing you take every opportunity to promote it.

About ten years ago I wrote that if people did not support smaller publishers but kept on buying Marvel and DC and their "You are OUR piggy bank" attitude we would be left with just DC and Marvel and Dark Horse and Image in the background.  Basically, the industry would be near dead. We reached that point last year.

And to prove a point: Black Tower comic and book posts on CBO tend to get the highest daily views. Since January I have not sold a single book.

Comics needs the diversity of smaller publishers but it seems the bubble heads go by the "Big 4" hype.  By 2018 the comics industry will be in intensive care on life support.

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