Dan Nadel’s art comix publishing company PictureBox will shut down on December 31st, he announced on his tumblr, while also announcing a 50% off sale which everyone should hop on like white on rice:
As of December 31, 2013, PictureBox will no longer release any new titles. This was not an easy decision, but the company is no longer feasible for me as a thoroughgoing venture. Change is, as the cliché goes, a good thing, and I am proud of PictureBox the idea and the company, and grateful to the many artists I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve been publishing since 2000, and without such an astounding array of loyal and talented people PictureBox would be nothing. Some of my closest friends were made while working on PictureBox projects.
I want to thank all the artists and writers I’ve worked with over the years, and I look forward to future ventures together in other areas. I also want to thank all the stores and distributors who have carried PictureBox over the years. And thank you, readers and book lovers, for your support.
PictureBox books will remain available to stores and individuals through my distributors and this web site.
But don’t be sad. Celebrate by taking 50% off everything on the PictureBox site through January 2.
PictureBox was one of the most influential publishers throughout the growth of the entire art comix movement which took hold during the last decade, spearheading the post-Fort Thunder work of Brian Chippendale and CF while also putting out challenging manga such as the S&M work of Gengorah Tagame, and supporting US cartoonists such as Frank Santoro and Anya Davidson.
In other words, while everyone knew this was coming, it’s a wounder.
Nadel gave an exit interview to The Comics Reporter, in which he explained that his decision was personal and not because it was losing money hand over fist.
What Nadel couldn’t guarantee, and which had become a major concern having recently become a father, is insulation from the ups and downs of publishing: that he could somehow always make it so that that every book would work, that he could somehow avoid one or two books that might take a heavy chunk of his personal savings when they failed to meet sales expectations. This was further complicated by the changing state of publishing as print continues to feel the effects of a growing market for digital and the impact that new methods of production and new priorities had on those devoted to print. While Nadel claimed a fantastic relationship with his book distributor and a solid one with the shows he regularly attended, including TCAF and SPX in terms of sales at those shows, his penetration into the bulk of North American comic shops was limited due to the nature of the material he published.
Nadel’s contribution to the art comix world also included his co-founding The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest (which has morphed into Comic Arts Brooklyn) as well as co-editing the online version of The Comics Journal. Nadel has taken a full time job with art book publisher/distributor D.A.P. and to be honest, that’s the kind of thing you do when you have a baby and a wife at home.
Experimental comics publishing is a game for young people or trustafarians (but see below comments). That doesn’t make it less important or less vital to support. It’s just kind of how things work in this world. As Dan himself says, don’t cry; just buy some of his amazing books.
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.