§ Prominent comics blogger Tom Spurgeon has a longish post on why Diamond’s new policy isn’t such a hot idea — we haven’t had time to read it, but a quick scan suggests this may be as close to a nut phrase as any — at any rate you should read the whole thing.

If it’s not the end of the alternative comic book, it’s certainly a vicious blow to those comics as we’ve come to know them. This is worrisome because an entire generation of excellent cartoonists came to prominence through alternative comic books — Joe Sacco, Dan Clowes, Peter Bagge, Julie Doucet, Jim Woodring, Chester Brown, Seth, Joe Matt, Adrian Tomine. Alternative comic books were not just a vehicle for those talents but played a huge role in shaping how those cartoonists developed by giving them platform that offered legitimacy without permanency, unfettered control with periodic feedback. Although there are more opportunities now and have been other opportunities all along, one can argue that none of those formats has been as useful to this expression of comics.

§ In a clarifying letter to Spurgeon, Kevin Huizenga tries to clear up some common misconceptions about why he ended OR ELSE:

I just want to avoid any kind of oversimplified storyline that might be forming about me that goes “Diamond killed Or Else.” Other cartoonists might fit that, though.

§ [email protected] interviews Barry Gregory of Ka-Blam, IndyPlanet, and ComicsMonkey, who is attempting to set up various alternative distribution methods. It seems to be a game of lessened expectations, based on this quote:

NRAMA: What will your biggest challenge be in the first sixth months?

BG: There are no shortage of challenges. We wrote the business model some time ago — it’ll change and evolve as we go, but it’s written. We’re building the site now, writing the software we’ll need to integrate comicsmonkey.com with ka-blam.com, etc. Soon, we’ll begin building the catalog and registering retailers. All that will be challenging.

But for me, I think the biggest will be managing the expectations of creator/publishers.

We’ve been thrilled by the response we’ve gotten from the independent comics community. Folks are genuinely excited about this … to the point that I worry some of them have unrealistic expectations. I believe this model will work and work well. There are many independent creators/publishers who will fare much better in our system than they have in the existing distribution system. But it’s not going to happen right out of the gate. It’s going to take time and a lot — a LOT — of work.