News From the Summit

All sorts of comic news out of Baltimore this weekend (including some fun Whedon news that I'll touch on later this week), most of which Tom Spurgeon sums up at The Comics Reporter. A few quick thoughts, though:

*A deal between Marvel and the Dabel Brothers makes much more sense than I'd like to admit. While theoretically the Dabel's lincenses tap the mainstream book audience, in reality nearly all of the properties they've obtained the rights to are in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre which has a nice chunk of crossover among comic fans. What this will likely do is increase the presence of these titles in direct market stores that barely look past the front quarter of Previews. What it will also do is allow many stores to stock these titles a bit deeper assuming they will be released under Marvel's standard discounts of 50+% rather than the Dabel Brothers previous discount which topped out at 45%. I know we've had several customers wondering what happened when these comics stopped showing up (especially the Anita Blake comic) and if these titles do ship in October as is now planned, they may very well make it into more shops than they would have previously.

*Marvel finally seems intent on diversifying which I certainly applaud, including the announcement of a slate of graphic novel adaptations of classic (public domain) novels (to my knowledge the only confirmed title thus far is Last of the Mohicans). Puffin tried this recently in conjunction with the now defunct iBooks to varying degrees of success and Sterling Publishing has their All-Action Classics line (presumably for young readers) due out by the end of the year. This isn't exactly a new strategy in the book world, as Penguin and even Barnes & Noble have been making a nice profit off of classic books in the public domain for quite some time. Still, several publishers trying this approach at the same time could lead to a quick death for all of them, but I certainly can't complain about a company as focused on superheroes as Marvel attempting to do something new (well, new for them -- well, okay, new for them this century).

*Apparently we won't be seeing League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier until 2007 (January is what I'm hearing, but I'm not going to hold my breath). Personally I was really looking forward to reading this book, but if it's not done it's not done (and somehow I don't think anyone wants to see a fill-in artist). Then again, this was originally supposed to hit shelves the week after the new Fables graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall, so some breathing room there doesn't hurt either title. Even so, this a book that would have done well during the holiday season and will now miss some of those sales.


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