Quick Hits: BEA

A few more random thoughts about BookExpo America:

*I love the D&Q catalog, one big fold out poster featuring artwork from and descriptions of their 2006 graphic novel releases. While the format is a bit unorthodox, catalogs like this are pretty much invaluable when it comes to companies like D&Q, Fantagraphics and First Second since we don't order those through Diamond. They also give a much better idea of what to expect from the books than Previews. On top of that, they really show off the level of planning that they put into developing their lines.

*It was interesting to see a bit of role reversal for the "mainstream" comics publishers at BEA. Neither Marvel nor DC had advance copies of anything (or at least neither had any available on Sunday) and Marvel in particular seemed to be seriously outclassed by D&Q, Fantagraphics, TokyoPop, Viz, First Second and even Dark Horse. Marvel's booth was barely a presence, unmanned and relatively bare (though I've heard reports that there was much more to it on Friday and Saturday). Meanwhile DC did better, clearly shelling out some serious money for their booth and giving away a wide assortment of product, not to mention a product catalog. I don't know, I guess as a Direct Market retailer I should be upset that DC is putting so much effort into expanding their bookstore sales, but it really doesn't bother me in the slightest. It seems to me that I'm not really competing with a general bookstore because we're talking about such a niche market. Our customers know that 99% of the titles they can find at Barnes & Noble are going to be on our shelves and while the reverse is far from true. Even so, were I a general bookstore owner, I would have come away from BEA with the feeling that Marvel and to a lesser extent DC did not have much of a publishing plan.

*Most interesting freebie was a DVD promoting Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Houghton Mifflin had galleys available as well (long gone by Sunday), but the DVD featured three video clips explaining the concept and background of the book, and a particularly interesting "how to" clip wherein Bechdel explained how she acted out each scene and used reference photos when drawing the book. This is a book with the potential to be huge and Houghton-Mifflin is pushing it as the next Persepolis.


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