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The perils of comics publishing

Two articles in Publishers Weekly highlight the challenges faced by today’s comic book publishers when seeking an audience.

First, distribution giant Diamond’s new minimum wholesale order ($2,500, up from $1,500) is creating hardship for smaller independent houses. Last month, Hollywood-based Asylum Press received 1200 orders for Fearless Dawn (which PW describes as a “tongue-in-cheek adventure comic”) “ a significant number for an independent comic, but one that failed to meet Diamond’s minimum, says PW.

So… the press is offering the issue ($2.95 cover price) directly to retailers at a 60% discount ($1.18). Asylum pays for shipping and offers a 30 day payment schedule and no minimum order.

Second, in a reversal of the recent (and increasingly commonplace) practice of acquiring webcomics and turning them into print books, Hachette’s graphic novel imprint, Yen Press, plans on serializing its upcoming translation of French cartoonist David Ratte’s Toxic Planet online.

Hassler said the book was created in a comic strip style “ short full-color 4-panel comics strips that lampoon a future-society so awash in pollution that people take wearing a gas mask for granted “ and will work well as an online serial. And Hassler said that the book is perfect for the web “ a funny and unusual comics [sic] strip by an author that is being published in English for the first time.