Gary Groth has been tapped to play Christian Walker in Powers. Oops, wrong headline.
Today’s slam dunk interview is Alex Dueben’s chat with Fantagraphics’ publisher Gary Groth, probably just because on the internet a frank discussion with a knowledgeable comics publishing figure is about as common as a humble moment from LeBron. Throw in that he has stellar vocabulary skills, and you have a winner.
For instance, on Borders
How has the Borders bankruptcy and their problems and the closing of stores affected the book trade?
I don’t think it’s affected us. I think whenever something happens like when Borders closes, something comes and fills that gap, even if that something is only Amazon. Borders didn’t affect us at all, because Borders didn’t buy many of our books. As you probably know, the book buyer at Borders was apparently obsessed with manga and bought almost exclusively manga. Of course it would have been nice to have been sold in Borders for all those years, but we weren’t. Trying to be sold in Borders was like beating our heads against a brick wall, so when they went under, we didn’t suffer at all. Barnes and Noble is still strong. We’re strong with independents. There are a number of chain stores in the South that we sell pretty well to, like Books-A-Million. Amazon is either the first or second largest seller of our books.
Many other tidbits, including that reprints of comics strips sell beter than new GNs (“Why that is, kind of puzzles me.”) and a plan to get all of Fantagraphics books into digital format in a year’s time.
Groth also gives his take on the Relaunch in typically blunt fashion:
It seems like a pitiful attempt to con more people into buying the same old shit. I probably shouldn’t be so cynical. I’m sure that some brilliant talent could breathe some life into this stuff. Like I said, I’m not one to talk. I haven’t read this stuff, but it just seems so completely uninteresting to me, and in a way, it’s idiomatically alien to me. We get a box of comics from DC every so often and I’ll look through it. Stylistically, the work kind of repels me. It’s too frenetic and manga-influenced. I’m way too old for that stuff. I wish I could be a more cogent commentator on that stuff, but then I’d have to devote time to actually looking at it.
Some might be puzzled by Groth’s description of DC’s art style as “manga-influenced,” however.
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.