Over at CBR, Andy Khouri reports that DC has canceled the Minx line, the much-talked-about line of GNs aimed at the female YA market, launched with much fanfare last year. Khouri’s story doesn’t go into detail on which books will be released, but it appears some will still come out, only not under the Minx imprint. Other books, including one already in the can, will not be published, but reversion to creators is under discussion.
We can’t say we’re entirely surprised, but the move seems to come down to the old problem of finding an audience, and the conclusions reached by those close to the situation are grim ones:
Developed over several years and backed with the full financial support of DC Comics parent Warner Bros., the MINX line and its many titles are generally well reviewed, and the imprint’s ambitious goal was met with optimism and support from direct market retailers. Nevertheless, CBR News was told that Random House, DC’s book trade distributor, has not been able to successfully place MINX titles in the coveted young adult sections of bookstores like Barnes & Noble.
Multiple sources close to the situation agree Bond and DC aren’t to blame for MINX’s cancellation, and that this development should be seen as a depressing indication that a market for alternative young adult comics does not exist in the capacity to support an initiative of this kind, if at all.
We keep hearing that Random House has a huge influence over DC’s plans in the bookstore market…it seems the Minx line has been the first victim of some pruning.
We’ll be weighing in with more thoughts later, but Valerie D’Orazio keys in on the marketing problems as well:
Were the Minx books “comics” or “books?” Where were they to be racked at the comic shop, and where were they to be racked in the book store? As of two weeks ago, I saw Minx titles kept in the “teen novel” section of Barnes and Noble — some distance, perhaps a whole floor or two, away from the graphic novel section. Would there be that crossover readership from the teen novel crowd? Would they open up that copy of Re-Gifters and be like “hey, cool” or would they be turned off?
UPDATE: We knew Dirk would have a field day with this, http://tcj.com/journalista/“>and he doen’t let us down.
DC seems to have gambled everything on the notion that the manga model of bookstore success could be duplicated: That if you threw Stuart Levy levels of money into a new market, you stood a good chance of grabbing Tokyopop’s magic. Unfortunately, Tokyopop’s “magic” amounted to the possession of the Sailor Moon line of books, which played on a groundswell of young television viewers who remembered the animated series fondly and were hungry for more, backed up by titles like CLAMP’s Cardcaptor Sakura to feed the demand for similar works. Minx simply didn’t have anything like that initial spark in their inventory, and thus the enormous amount of money thrown at the line became a millstone around its neck. Success needed to come quickly in order to justify the initial cash outlay, and Minx just couldn’t meet such ridiculously high expectations. This race required a tortoise, not a hare, but DC Comics foolishly bet everything on the hare. The result is yet another tombstone for the graveyard.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.