Where are the graphic albums?

With age comes a certain burden of knowledge that is difficult to relate to those who haven’t experienced it in person. Also allow me to clarify that I am some decades away from qualifying for Social Security (mainly because they will push the retirement age further and further)

The 70’s gave us Warren with the plethora of amazing Spanish artists giving us a different take on art. Also the revival of Will Eisner’s Spirit.Cover of Will Eisner's The Spirit, as published by Warren Publishing

 

And Heavy Metal.

Then in the 80’s we had a chance of growing up when Moore and Lloyd introduced us to V for Vendetta , and later we saw the publishing of the Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen , both in 1986.

The main thing I remember about the 90’s was giving up on comics. Among bad business decisions, there were some redeeming books to be picked up, although some serious gems can get lost among the rubble, and we should recover them.

You have Maus coming into being.

DC Published Preacher and also Death: High cost of living 

Kurt Busiek’s Astro City gave us an amazing fulfilling look at superheroes in a “realistic” settings

And The Authority finally asked the question “Why are these heroes not fixing real world problems?”

And 10 more years passed and we saw a pleasant growth on what they become called “independent” publishers, that in my humble opinion, were just alternatives to the Big Two.

But the market trends still show a great love and market share for the staples of superheroes. Granted, all of this promulgated by amazing licensing in the 90’s and 2000’s, and more recently some great movie deals for Marvel characters, but where are the amazing sales figures for Torpedo, by Sanchez and Abuli, published by IDW???
Where are the blockbuster sales for Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido by Dark Horse??

I haven’t checked but I were to look at sales and discover that something like “Scott Pilgrim” had better sales than the two mentioned above, I would then know that the audience and the market is still going through some growing pains.

Ah… screw it! I KNOW “Scott Pilgrim” had better sales than the other two masterpieces because the work by O’Malley had a movie made. That creates momentum and expands audience reach.

So here I am, working on a personal project that’s been put on hold too many years, and I find myself liking the script (to a degree) but wondering if the narrative and the theme is not right for the average American comic book reader.

Brings to mind a recent interview Kevin Smith did with Neal Adams in his (very recommendable) podcast Fatman on Batman where Neal Adams tells of meeting with an European publisher who is ranting about not being able to afford the great Neal Adams, and where Neal asks how much they are paying per page in Europe is told about $300.00… while he ends up confessing that he is getting $50.00 in the US, and the editor doesn’t believe him.

Where are the demands for direct to Album releases? Heck, forget albums, direct to graphic novel!

The majority of our comic production seems to be disposable products, floppies at $3.99 (or so) that some kids treasure and bag n’ card, while some others do not mind leaving behind in the bus after reading.
Heck, I have a hard time seeing a hardcover album of Lieutenant Blueberry left behind in a bus by sheer forgetfulness, and even if that happens, the owner not spending the rest of the month crying for the loss…

Some attempts are being made, I know.

The good people of A Wave Blue World did publish American Terrorist ATcover_smalland if memory serves, it went directly to Graphic Novel.

And a few others went to collected volume, graphic novel format or so, but too few.

 

And Kickstarter does some very good projects direct to Graphic Novels. But where are the bets coming from the publishers?
Are the publishers still the problem after all these year, constricted and bound by market forces they barely understand and to which they react to late?

Is there any thrust behind this demand for Direct-To-Album, or is just wishful thinking on my part?

 

Well, my next entry will likely focus on reviewing some Kickstart projects.
Stay tuned!

 

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