- Posted by Johanna on May 3, 2006 at 9:43 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel News
Did you see where Publishers Weekly covered the upcoming Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie? Nice article. (Disclaimer: I write graphic novel reviews for the magazine.)
Douglas Wolk doesn’t shy away from the book’s focus on sex scenes, referring to it bluntly as pornography, apparently in accordance with Moore’s wishes. That may be problematic for sales — libraries (an ever-growing graphic novel market) may not order it, Borders apparently won’t carry it, and conservative comic stores are shying away.
Although Moore proudly terms it porn, it’s interesting to note that Top Shelf’s current catalog listing doesn’t use the word, instead preferring terms like “sexual awakening and fulfillment… intimate revelations of desire… the rich heritage of erotica… erotic fiction at its finest.”
Another mismatched message: PW quotes one retailer as saying “Every store owner has to be careful to make sure that they’re making it available to the intended audience, and not to people thinking that it’s a perfect follow-up to Watchmen or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” while Top Shelf’s listing describes the format as “similar to DC’s Absolute editions of Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen“. Given the approach and some of the incidents in LEG, I’m not sure it’s a bad comparison.
Since it uses other people’s characters — Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan‘s Wendy, The Wizard of Oz‘s Dorothy — in ways that the authors likely never intended, I wonder if its publication is going to raise again the questions of ever-expanding intellectual property protection and what exactly differentiates fanfiction from corporate comic creation. However, the book’s success isn’t important only on a cultural or philosophical level, but financially.
[T]he book has the potential to elevate [Top Shelf] to a whole new level–or financially cripple it. “This is the single most expensive publishing project Top Shelf has ever done by a factor of almost 10,” says co-publisher Chris Staros. “We’re putting the whole company on the line, but it’s the book I personally want to be remembered for as a publisher. It’s one of those books that’s going to challenge our system to live up to itself.”
The three-volume slipcased hardcover is set to debut at this year’s San Diego Con, priced at $75. I hope it does well, because I enjoy Top Shelf’s publications and want to see them continue to flourish.
Update: There’s also a web exclusive, a signed and numbered edition of only 500 copies at twice the price, $150. But how else are you going to get an Alan Moore signature?