Just a reminder: if you see something that is kibblish, or bittable, please drop me a line. You know what we like around here!
§ Is Amazon Really the Devil? Calvin Reid (with some help by Rachel Deahl) dig into the answer to that question at Publishers Weekly in the wake of the Online Giant’s™battle with Hachette over pricing and so on. Get a beverage before settling in to read.
Mainstream media accounts of the dispute often make dire predictions not just for bookselling, but for the future of literature itself, if Amazon is able to secure better terms from a supplier. Bestselling author James Patterson raised the specter of the end of literature in an Amazon-ascendant marketplace, in his remarks at the recent BookExpo America. He received a standing ovation. In a recent segment on public radio, Joe Nocera, a highly regarded business journalist commenting on the dispute, seemed convinced that better terms for Amazon meant he wouldn’t be able to get big advances—or even competent editing—for his own books in the future. How’s that for disinterested journalism? In these scenarios, if Amazon gets better terms from Hachette, book publishing, Western civilization, and literature—not to mention advances, book tours, and access to professional editors—are all on the line. The truth of the matter is bit more mundane. National retailers and publishing conglomerates face off over retail terms and pricing on a regular basis.
Or as one unnamed small publisher puts it “Amazon sells books.”
§ Meanwhile, ICv2 has been doing regular pricing checks and sees that B&N has been stealthily raising discounts on Hachette GNs, which Amazon has been hiding behind a cloud of webfuscation.
Barnes & Noble is selling Hachette graphic novels from its website at effective discounts of 54% to 57% off, taking advantage of Amazon’s war with Hachette Book Group to grab market share. Most of B&N’s over 250 Yen manga volumes are listed at discounts of 35% with a buy two-get one free promotion that brings the effective discount to 57% off. And the Little Brown Tintin volumes are listed at a 30% discount with the buy two-get one free promotion, or an effective discount of 54% off. Freight is free on purchases over $25.
§ Another localish con had mixed reviews, in this case, the Niagara Falls Comic Con which had The Shat, Adam West, etc as guests. I still find it surprising that these things are billed as Comic-Cons when the advertising has nothing whatsoever to do with comics, unless you count that kid on The Walking Dead. (I hope he is saving all his money for a college education.)
Line-ups were too long. Autographs too expensive. Parking was a rip-off. Everything was disorganized. Gouging, confusion, etc. You would think no one had fun at all.
“Waste of money this year,” someone wrote on the Con’s Facebook page. “Niagara Falls Comic Con has turned into a rip off,” someone chimed in later. A woman added she “didn’t have a good experience, will not be returning to NFCC.”
This was the glowing praise I read before attending Sunday, along with several other complaints. Long line-ups to get in Saturday had people fuming, with some saying they simply turned around and went home. Bullet News was denied press credentials, prompting the reporter to write a scathing column.
Despite all this, the writer had a fine time on Sunday. I think con-attendees are getting pickier, though. And whinier. Oh and incase you’re wondering about that scathing report, it’s pretty unintentionally amusing.
Maybe it’s because I’ve only been reporting the news in the “big city” of Niagara Falls for less than a year and I’m used to the graciousness and appreciation shown to me by event organizers in Fort Erie – but I’m shocked how even a simple reply from the organizer to say media passes were limited and I wouldn’t be making the cut wasn’t even provided.
§ Whatever its failings, NFCC provide the venue for artist Mike Rooth to present his con exclusive print of Ric Flair giving William Shatner a figure four as the Gorn looks on…and for that we thank you.
§ Artist Jamal Igle was interviewed at CBR and he talks about dressing as Marlon Brando, Molly Danger and other things:
And it’s not just the story and the idea or even the execution. The format is different. I was at the Diamond retailer conference in Vegas a few weeks ago, and retailers were continually asking me if I had plans to do more of a traditional comic-size version in future editions. Which we will do eventually, but I at least want to get Book Two done before I reissue that as a trade or as single issues. That’ll be 96 pages of content at that point. But it’s different enough from what you’d typically see in a comic shop, unless your shop stocks European albums. You rarely ever see a superhero project in that scale. And I don’t necessarily consider Molly as a superhero. I think the story of Molly Danger is about a ten year-old girl who just happens to be a superhero. It’s a coming of age story.
§ Zainab Akhtar has the month’s best releases.
§ I couldn’t go to the Grand Comics Festival, in Brooklyn, but I hear it was a fine, laid back show.Robyn Chapman has a photo-filled positive report. Show runner Pat Dorian is thinking of going back to two days next year, but with different exhibitors each day. He’s also interviewed at 13th Dimension:
I started Grand Comics Festival to provide an alternative to the bigger comics shows in New York. I want the show to feel comfortable for the exhibitors and the visitors, and to create a space where cartoonists could have real conversations with people interested in their work. The vibe I’m trying to create is laid back and casual with an emphasis on the work of the exhibitors, which is often original and handmade. Small is part of the point of Grand Comics Festival. It’s not a fancy show – it’s in a community space beside the BQE, we had music playing, we ran around the corner for sandwiches and burritos, box fans kept us cool.
§ March Vol. One was one of the biggest graphic novels of last year and is still setting records, but Volume Two won’t be out until early next year, and here’s why, as artist Nate Powell explains:
Drawing MARCH is never as simple as sitting down to knock out a page. I need to cross-reference and double-check each phase in the increasingly complex journey— here’s what I dive into every single day as I’m drawing each page (including making sure people and details are consistent with what’s already been published in Book One!).
§ I was tooling around the net when I found this appreciation of the work of animator Genndy Tartakovsky by Matt Zoller Seitz, and I agree, Tartakovsky should get more credit for helping kick off the “hand made animation” world we now have with Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack and even Clone Wars.
§ Cartoonist Andrew White reviewed some classic indie GNs. I think it’s interesting when cartoonists critique cartoonists, although I can see why it is so little done.
§ David Brothers writes about that moment on life’s journey when you stop reading Marvel and DC:
When I quit, I didn’t make a plan or even think about it beyond “I should do thi—WHOOPS did it.” I still don’t know if Vertigo “counts” as DC for instance, or Icon for Marvel, since they’re both more-or-less creator-owned imprints. I didn’t even bother figuring out where comp copies (as a journalist) or freebies (as a guy who is blessed to have friends) factored in to the embargo. I eventually just decided that nobody has to follow my dumb personal rules, so if somebody gives or lends me something, I’d take it instead of throwing it back in their face with a lecture like a stereotype of a Berkeley progressive. “Why be a jerk?” was my motto, I guess. Better that than “Have you even HEARD of that time Stan Lee attempted to collude with DC Comics to keep rates for artists low?!”
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.