The end of Claypool as a paper publishing company drew some reaction on the web.

Peter David, writer of SOULSEARCHERS & CO.

Personally, I think this should send a serious chill through the industry. For the first time that I can think of, an entire publishing line has been canceled, not by the publisher, but by the distributor. The distributor should theoretically be the middle man. In this instance, however–again, for the first time that I can think of–the middle man has taken the lead position and shut down the publisher.

Mark Evanier

There are many possible ways to look at what this means for comics. It could mean that the readership (or perhaps just the retailer community that orders what its thinks will serve that readership) favors short-term stunts over long-term consistency…or maybe that it favors Big Names, period. All comic publishers who aren’t DC or Marvel have had to contend to some degree with a mindset out there that holds that if it ain’t from the Top Two, its worth is suspect. There are also the views — and I don’t suggest that either is invalid — that the market is simply glutted and that it’s in sorry need of a second major distributor.


  1. Not that I’m unsympathetic to those points of view, but there’s one curiously missing from a lot of the coverage about Claypool:

    Maybe the reason mass quantities of people aren’t reading their books is just that the books aren’t that good.

  2. I think it has long been the case that an independent comic has to be twice as good as the _average_ Big Two comic, in order to have a chance of surviving. Let’s face it: independent comics tend to cost 35-40 percent more than Big Two comics, owing to the steep scale of marginal printing costs; and Diamond’s catalogue structure clearly favors the Big Two and Second Two over “all dose udder bums out dere.”

    Independent publishers need to re-think their relationship with “The Diamond Market.”

    Personally, I think the collapse of Claypool is just one of the more painful aspects of a major transformation the graphic-stories industry is undergoing. There will probably be more pain to come, but I’m hopeful that we’ll come out of this stronger and better.

  3. I’d have to side along with Augie on this one. While I do believe another major distributor is needed…I’ve seen Claypool’s books on shelves as well as online and well…as someone who buys about 60 books a month? They didn’t ever make me wanna buy them.

  4. That serious chill that Peter David is talking about is called growing up. Distributors cycle through publishers who don’t have a sustainable cash flow all the time. I knew one book trade distributor who would end relationships with approximately 30 publishers EVERY YEAR.

    Publishing is a very hard business, and no one is entitled to it.

  5. I don’t know if these comics were good or not because I’ve never saw or heard about any of their titles on any of the online comic newssites untill Claypool started pleading a couple of months ago.
    since then, there still hadn’t been any news stories or follow up stories that I’ve noticed.
    There’s your problem: in this internet-age, small publishers need to be as visible as they can on the internet. Clearly Claypool were completely incompetent in promoting their product via the internet. Their loss

  6. good or not, the comics had been published for what, decades and were profitable, I suppose. otherwise why would keep Claypool in the game?

    all the other publishers who are not Marvel or DC have been able to profit from the Direct Market doing smaller business than the top 10, 20, even 100.

    yeah, what happened to Claypool shows how the evolution works and Diamond is a necessary evil. but it can’t be the ONLY evil in town. when it changes its needs corpses are left behind.

    Claypool’s comics seemed to have a very faithful following; they could try a lst effort to putting out collections in more expensive soft and hardcover editions, I don’t know.

  7. Wasn’t Claypool just a vanity press for Ed Via and his pals ‘n’ gals? Seriously, did it EVER make money? Just askin’….

  8. As I said before: Hobbies have a cashflow – away from your bank account.

    I hope that their move to the web will get their team to seriously look at what went wrong so they don’t repeat their problems…


    I have to call into question their plan to publish a “Best of” book. Why not start at the beginning with a trade that collects the old issues (along with some new material) and proceed from there? It worked for Elfquest back in the day…

  9. This is the only series of responses I’ve read where Diamond hasn’t been vilified for Claypool’s “demise”. It is refreshing to see some objective viewpoints.

    When I got back into comics about 4 years ago (took a break in 1992 and never found a reason to come back until ten years later), the Slings and Arrows Guide 2nd Ed was my path to rediscovering the stuff I missed. It did recommend some issues of Soulsearchers and Elvira(!) but I rarely came across any back issues anywhere. When I took into account the length of the run of these books, I just decided not to bother since there are many other books to read and collect, and frankly from what I saw in the issues I did find, they didn’t seem very interesting.

    Have you seen the Claypool website? Have you ever seen any PR/promo/marketing from these folks? I think Augie is right.