Johanna Draper Carlson caught an interview with SLG publisher Dan Vado which seemed to say that they weren’t publishing any more, but he clarified in the comments that they weren’t accepting unsolicited contributions.
There is no need to bury or praise me. I have not gone out of business. I am focusing on running APE while keeping my core good sellers in print and as I asses the changes in the marketplace that keep me from wanting to jump in and publish new projects.
Would have been nice, since I this is in your news section, to have been contacted about this before you decided to run my obituary.
APE – the Alternative Press Expo – was held the same weekend as NYCC and didn’t get much attention on this coast, but I saw some positive reports on it. SLG still sells back issues and merchandise after having been one of the most groundbreaking publishers of the 90s. But I dropped a line to Vado to see what was up and he gave a full run down:
I have been publishing things, just not stuff that gets into the direct market, mainly a couple of coloring books when that market was hotter and a couple of books that restore old artwork and reprint old stuff (vintage art is something of a hobby of mine and I got into restoring it digitally when I wanted to make a t-shirt from a piece of art that was over 100 years old).From a comics perspective I am going to be releasing a collection of the entire run of Rex Libris as a single volume which will be out some time next year. There are a couple of other things, but not anything I can really say right now. I Am getting back to writing my own stuff, which is why I started publishing in the first place and hope to have at least one of those things out next year.I am not looking at unsolicited submissions, which for most publishers is sort of not a big deal, but for SLG it is because just about everything I did, including my most successful stuff, came to me as unsolicited submissions from people who had for the most part never been published before. I helped launch a lot of people and if you rolled them all into one single banner today you might be looking at one helluva company. But for every success there were a number of things that were less so and I could not just keep taking the risks I did. I have always been the sole owner and financier for the company.I have been doing this for now 30 years (this is SLG’s 30th anniversary by the way) and I just felt a need to step back for a bit and focus on making being profitable and not take the financial risk as I did before in terms of publishing. I have developed a small service business and commercial print company, most of my clients are not comics-related.Johnny the Homicidal Maniac of course remains a great seller and there are a couple of other things (our cocktail books for example) which are perennial great sellers that I keep available to people. A couple of books I have been publishing as digital, Model A by Jef Bambas (above) and Nova Phase by Matt Ritter will hopefully be completed at some point and we will be releasing trade editions of those books.APE, which came back to me a couple of years back, is still sort of a learning/transitionary thing. I am trying to get to a more festival like thing and this year was a great step forward with that (one of our gallery partners, Anno Domini, did a show called The Art of the Zine and the San Jose Museum of Art gave APE attendees free tickets to their exhibit opening the night before APE). I feel like comics are a such a diverse medium now that spreading things out into venues that do not usually entertain or host comics related stuff is really exciting. This year’s event saw a bit of a downward turn in terms of the number of exhibitors, but what was there was all very cool.Currently I am looking to book dates at a venue in 2017 still as we ran into a non-compete issue with something called Alien-Con which is coming to San Jose next year and is denying me the first weekend in October dates I have been trying to establish.
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.