The Tails that Wag the Dogs: Part One

For the purposes of the next several posts, we're going to consider any comic publisher besides Marvel, DC, Dark Horse & Image as small publishers. I've already talked about Marvel and DC enough and I'll probably go into some depth on Dark Horse and Image at the end of this, but for now we're moving beyond them.

Going roughly alphabetically we come to several publishers right up front that we carry with confidence, namely Aardvark-Vanaheim and Abstract Studios. Of course, these are both really self publishers with a single title and what we carry from them is primarily backlist. We stock the entire collection of both Cerebus and Strangers in Paradise. Cerebus has sold decently thus far, moving several different volumes in the past couple weeks. Strangers In Paradise has hardly sold at all, but based on my observations, it gets flipped through more than any other by those with only a peripheral interest in comics. Either way, until sales data suggest a change, both titles are firmly on our perpetual stock list. In reality, even if sales data does suggest a change, we will still carry at least a portion of each title's run because there's consistency across the length and breadth of the title. If someone reads a volume of Cerebus or Strangers in Paradise and enjoy it, odds are pretty good that they'll like any other volume, thereby leading to another sale (Bone and Usagi Yojimbo are other examples of this, as is just about every manga series).

AdHouse Books is another publisher that gets plenty of support at MacGuffin, where we currently stock My Own Little Empire, Monkey & Spoon, Mort Grim, and Pulpatoon Pilgrimage. Creates a nice little presence between M & P in our Fiction section. Add to that the fact that they are based out of Richmond and Mr. Pitzer has been kind enough to send us several freebies/cool promo items and they end up high on our list. Solid to spectacular talent (anyone else looking forward to The Art of Paul Pope?) helps, but we're talking about an all around professional publisher that has earned our faith and goodwill.

I've been a fan of Larry Young since his Savant/True Facts days and that goodwill extends to AIT/PlanetLar. As with every other publisher mentioned thus far, though, we again carry primarily backlist items from them. There are of course two main reasons for this: #1 a significant chunk of our total inventory is backlist and #2 a significant chunk of their backlist sells. See how that works? Now if a new title is comics out from AdHouse or AIT/PlanetLar, we're going to take a look at it and we're going to order a minimum of one copy but odds are, considering the talent that generally produces such titles, we're going to order more than just the one copy. We weren't open when these two first started publishing, so it's difficult to separate their current track record from my overall impression of both, but these are two companies that, at least from the stool behind the counter at MacGuffin, seem to be doing it right. Sure they may not have a significant presence in every issue of Previews, but I think that tends to be overrated. It's very easy to get lost amid the brightly colored pages of the scantily clad women. Thankfully, both these companies have found a niche that works for them and we've figured out where to find them.


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