The Tails that Wag the Dogs: Part Three

Yesterday was MacGuffin's best Wednesday to date and the first that felt close to what we were expecting from a Wednesday with a couple of regulars coming in early and a few new customers wandering in as well. A good sign and things are at least still trending in the right direction. Now back to the countdown.

We like Drawn & Quarterly at MacGuffin, based on their willingness to publish high quality (albeit often quirky) comics. I equate most of what they publish with independent films. The sales figures may not be huge but they can be used to broaden the market and challenge the status quo. Some would say that most of Drawn & Quarterly's releases appeal to an even smaller niche than Marvel & DC and if we're comparing just the best of each, that may be true (though I remain unconvinced). We believe, however, that variety of product is far and away the most vital element of expanding comics readership and that includes providing access to that variety. I'm personally looking forward to everything they have solicited for release in May and I'm particularly interested to see how their new Petit Livres line goes. Plus, it's just good comics.

Following this theme we come to Fantagraphics. I actually met with a sales rep from W.W. Norton (which distributes Fantagraphics to bookstores) who arrived ready to show me a few sample pages from upcoming titles (I'm a huge Lost Generation nut so The Left Bank Gang by Jason looks really promising). As I told him, though, we're going to order at least a few copies of just about everything from Fantagraphics because, as with Drawn & Quarterly, the majority of what they put out is high quality material. My favorite single of the year thus far is Ganges (though some may argue it's status as a single) and who isn't a huge fan of the Complete Peanuts? Then you've got things like bringing Castle Waiting back into print in one nice big, new user friendly package.

Near the other end of the spectrum are the kings of horror, IDW. Before I go into what's good about IDW I first have to point out the bad, namely the ridiculous number of variant covers. We're just not a fan of variants in any form but particularly to the degree that IDW uses them. One thing that IDW does right, though, is the increased cover price. I know the average buyer/reader doesn't want to hear that but when the material and the package are of a high enough quality then it really makes sense for a publisher like IDW to retail at $3.99. The Angel comics do well for us (we have a growing contingent of Whedon fans who will buy just about anything even tangentially connected with him). They do a particularly nice job of publishing reliable talent, though, including Steve Niles, Ashley Wood and Brian Wood. Add the Transformers books and they've got a nice solid line with sales potential.


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