Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How soon is too soon?

Ah.......Graphic novels/collected editions, how we love them, don't we? But how soon is too soon for a graphic novel to come out after a story or mini-series has wrapped? Let's take a look at that. The Deadpool/Thunderbolts tpb that is shipping tomorrow wrapped up, in comic book form on April 29th 2009. The Final Crisis Hardcover that comes in tomorrow collects issues of the much talked about mini-series that wrapped up Jan. 28th 2009. This is pretty typical of how things have been going as of late. Marvel waits approximately 2 months after an issue hits the stands to release the collected form, be it hardcover or paperback. DC tends to wait a little longer, especially when it is a big release, like Final Crisis. I tend to agree with DC more than Marvel as far as collected editions go. Marvel just pumps them out so quickly after a story wraps, there is very little incentive for readers to buy the floppies. I would like to see about a 4 month delay put in place for graphic novel reprints. That gives the retailers enough time to sell through their stock of individual issues. Here at Amazing Fantasy we tend to keep new comics on the shelf for 4 months, depending on space available. Some shops I know only leave comics on the shelf for one month before yanking them. As soon as the retailer takes the comic down and places it in the back issue bin (if said retailer even has back issues in the store) sales will drop. It's proven. People like to flip through their possible purchases before making a decision to buy or not. As soon as a comic is placed in a bag and board folks are less likely to look through it, because it takes effort to get the bag and board open. This is one of the advantages that I think will always keep folks returning to the brick and mortar shops, to be able to physically look at the item you are thinking of purchasing. Yes, yes, I realize that the younger generation do not feel this need nearly as much as those of us in the 25+ category. Marvel feels the need to collect everything right away, which as a retailer isn't very helpful. On the other hand DC tends to wait a little too long to publish a collected edition of a big event, such as Final Crisis. On top of collecting current story lines, which is what the bulk of graphic novels that are released from the big two, there are the various older stories that have the possibility of reprint. I especially look forward to older stories being collected, therefore exposing a classic story to a new batch of potential readers. Take for example when Camelot 3000 was recently re-released in Hardcover. Oh, glorious day indeed! This is one of my all time old favorites, and it was in desperate need of being collected in a fancy new deluxe edition. Camelot 3000 collects the 12 "maxi-series" as it used to be called, into one hardcover on lovely paper. Written by Mike Barr with breath-taking Brian Bolland art, it's a classic. One of the only King Arthur related comics that I truly enjoyed. (For those that are unaware, I am a huge Arthurian freak, lol). So, coming from me, this is high praise indeed.

Marvel and DC sometimes shoot themselves in the foot with graphic novels. Marvel especially lets misc. volumes of certain titles go out of print. It is hard for the retailer to sell a series of graphic novels if one volume or more is unavailable. Oh, speaking of good and bad ideas as far as collected editions go, Marvel did do something recently that I truly applaud and wish DC would dot the same. Marvel recently printed up a free pamphlet entitled "Marvel: Reading Chronology 2009." This is a free pamphlet that contains an alphabetical listing of all the graphic novels by character that were printed and the order they should be read. This is a genius idea! There is one tiny problem with this great freebie, it contains various volumes of graphic novels that are currently out of print. Marvel really should have included a note next to these volumes stating "currently unavailable" or something like that, because the average fan doesn't realize that not all books are in print at the same time. I hope Marvel makes a new edition of this booklet every year. I've handed out an awful lot of these and if DC did the same thing it would be VERY helpful for the retailers and consumers alike.

So yay and nay to collected editions. I love them, but sometimes they drive me nuts. And don't forget, if you are ever looking for any graphic novel and you don't see it on the shelves of your local Amazing Fantasy, don't hesitate to ask. If it's still in print, we will happily order it for you! Back in the day, we used to stock every tpb in print. Now, due to the sheer number of tpb's that are available, that just is not feasible. We do carry at least 80% of everything in print, and some of our locations carry even more. You will find NO larger selection of graphic novels anywhere within a three state area! We are graphic novel crazy around here.

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