Beasts is a collection of fantastical creatures in the cryptozoological tradition. Edited/Art Directed by Jacob Covey, it’s a portfolio of today’s hottest alt/indie artists from Jeff Soto to Souther Salazar to K. Kikuo Johnson. This piece in New City Chicago has pointed out that it has also sold very briskly, and has gone into a second printing. In fact, we were researching something else and were surprised to see Beasts continuously hovering in the #5,000-#10,000 spot on Amazon, a sign of steady sales. We asked Fantagraphics Marketing Czar Eric Reynolds about the book’s success and he said, “The book sold out almost immediately. We had to hold back copies for the last two signings we did in NYC and Chicago. We frankly could have sold a lot more at this point. We’re going back to press and Jacob’s tweaking some of it just for fun and we’ll have them this summer. It’s a classic example of no one anticipating just how gorgeous it was going to be. Once I saw it, I immediately told Jacob I knew we printed too few.”
It is, indeed, a handsome volume, with an antique look, cloth binding, gold-tipped pages and an embossed cover.
While we’re as surprised at Beasts sales success as anyone, maybe we shouldn’t have been because its aimed squarely at the alternative retail market emerging at a few trend-setting shops in hipster towns. It could be called the Designer Toy/Giant Robot/Juxtapoz Axis, for want of a better term. It strikes us as being sort of a West Coast-born thing, because they have more room for paintings and toys than we do in New York, but it’s also a Tokyo Thing. And it’s certainly a crossover market for publishers like Buenaventura, PictureBox, Fantagraphics, D&Q and other “beautiful object” publishers. It seems like many of the artists also have comics cross-over connections. It isn’t anything new, but it has definitely been gathering momentum in the last few years with the ascendence of Nerd Culture thanks to the internet. We expect to see even more comics-based crossovers in the future, as well.