Quick Hits 4/23

*It finally seems to be sinking in that the best advertising is word of mouth advertising and the best way to create that is by giving away free stuff. First, there's Free Comic Book Day. As great as the whole event is, by far the best element of it is the chance for retailers to get promotional product at a low cost that they can then afford to give away to create word of mouth about both themselves and the material. Now we have the movement towards making decent sized chunks (at least 10-15 pages) of comics available for free on the internet. I've mentioned Larry Young's decision to post Continuity at the AIT/PlanetLar site and the Isotope Lounge running their Legal Download Fest a few weeks back. Image has first issues of several titles (generally the best to offer a preview of) up in their entirety on their site, plus previews of a few more. Meanwhile Marvel offers a wide sampling of new and old in their entirety, including such useful issues as Runaways #1. Is offering free looks at these going to create a wave of sales nationwide? Probably not, but every little bit helps.

*Then there's the flip side of that coin, when Image and Newsarama decided to publish Godland #8 in its entirety on the web. A good idea until you realize that the preview hit the internet exactly 12 days after the comic was released in shops. It's not the competition that's the main problem since there are plenty of people who buy the book but would never see the preview on Newsarama. The problem is how much it annoyed those people who did buy the comic without knowing that less than two weeks later is was going to be available for free online. It would have made much more sense to release a preview of issue #7 which was over a month old or wait a bit longer. Then there's the terminally late Expatriate. It's an interesting series with some nice art but the last issue shipped -- well before we were a store so I'm really not sure. The books artist, Jason Latour, is serializing those issues that have already been released at his livejournal I assume in an effort to drum up interest in the final two issues which we will theoretically see in the next few months. Which is great and all, but it would make much more sense to provide these previews when a firm (by which I mean once the books are completed and printed) release date is known for the final two issues. As is whatever attention and desire for the books that he generates will most likely evaporate again before those issues hit shelves.

*And finally, because the First Second parade never ends: Tom Spurgeon interviews Mark Spiegel about where the line is and where they plan to take it. Fate of the Artist, which feels to me like the lynchpin of the launch, was a toss-in huh? Then there's the fact that they're looking to be successful both inside and outside of the direct market. Maybe it's just lip service (and the rather meager Diamond discount would back up that assessment) but there does seem to be a committment to see the line succeed in the Direct Market as an element of much larger success. Things like Chris Butcher getting seriously advance copies of their books is at least encouraging. Interesting (at least from a business perspective) stuff and just further convinces me that these books have the potential to make huge waves (hopefully in both the direct and bookstore markets).


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