Will the future belong to the pamphlet peepers or the book buyers? The debate continues at Matt Maxwell’s blog:
So, just jump in and do pamphlets and not worry about the trade, since it’s all a sunk cost. Well, that’s great, only in this marketplace, monthlies tend to shed sales pretty regularly (assuming you’re an indie, and even if you’re one of the big guys.) Of course, you still have to come up with a way to pay for the initial content that you want to print up. Which leads us right back to the issue of paying creators enough so that they can keep the bounty of ramen and head cheese flowing (or tofu if you’re vegan…or hate head cheese, like myself). I suppose there’s a potential solution in creators simply being offered advances, but the publishers would have to make enough money to actually do that (and really, most of them can’t afford even the most basic advertising, he said, looking over Diamond’s rate sheets for pages in PREVIEWS.)
But we can’t grow the market until we have some money to spend to grow the market. Man, my head’s beginning to spin here.
Yes, this could be done online, but the ability of webcomics to gain a following by sticking to fairly traditional formulas seems to have enticed all but a few artists to do nothing pump out the same old stuff, perhaps with a “fuck” or two thrown in for good measure. That word makes their comics 26% better, after all. I don’t think I’ve seen a single full page layout on the web that was anything more than a mind-numbing extension of the already mind-numbing 3 panel talking head strips. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to see more artists really taking advantage of the infinite canvas. The only other direct “problem” with pamphlets posed in the article, is that “no one seems to want to try it” in the United States. This obviously is not a compelling reason why no one should try it. The problem is that the comic industry has always been enslaved to tradition. That’s why webcomics are still not nearly as big as they could be.