AK Comics Goes GN Only

AK Comics, publisher of Middle Eastern superheroes, has announced that they will cease publishing monthly comics, instead releasing graphic novels. One version of the press release goes like this:

AK Comics: Publishers of Middle East Heroes, is making the transition to graphic novels!

As of October 2006, AK Comics, the publishers of Rakan, Zein, Jalila, and Aya are making the transition from 24 page monthly comics to graphic novel format. These new graphic novels are slated to contain anywhere from 100 to 132 pages of high quality art, exemplary writing, and packed with spectacular bonus material!

Slated to hit stores in spring 2007, the first two of the graphic novels to be released will feature two hard hitting characters from the AK universe: The Lone Warrior, Rakan and Aya, the Princess of Darkness.

I’m guessing they’re hoping to draw more attention by spinning their decision as a positive and gaining attention from the growing number of sites and outlets that only care about book-format comics. However, if you visit their international site, the announcement has a different tone:

Dear Readers and Clients,

AK COMICS announces that it will halt monthly publication of its comics as of October 2006.

AK COMICS will revert to publishing a quarterly, large format comic book as of the end of the year.

The Company expresses its apology for any inconvenience caused to its readers. We hope that it has presented a good and honorable service over the past three years.

(The US site news section hasn’t been updated since July 12.)

I liked the optimism demonstrated in their mission statement:

[T]hose heroes are predestined to become global ambassadors, spreading peace and good will, creating a more optimistic and positive image of the world’s most turbulent and misunderstood region: The Middle East!

But I never saw any of their books on sale, and I had no reason to seek out another superhero line, especially with the art style they were using. They’re following in the footsteps of the departed Future Comics, so I think it may be time to put them on the deathwatch.

There isn’t any reason to launch a new line of superhero comics in today’s market. The existing audience is already getting what they need from the genre from the established companies, and any new audience is interested in other types of stories.

4 Responses to “AK Comics Goes GN Only”

  1. Dwight Williams Says:

    I seem to recall seeing one or two of their products in Ottawa. Not sure if that helps their case or yours, but there it is.

  2. Ray Tate Says:

    I think the lack of exposure in a comic book shop is more of a result of the direct market and Diamond’s ordering policies. After sampling the first issues, I added most of the books to my subscription list–Aya, Jalila and Zein.

    All of these characters are interesting and the books offer straightfoward super-heroics meandering into Big Stupid Events.

    Aya and Jalila are two kick ass female super-heroes, and I appreciate their adventures more so in a time when female super-heroes are so often being poorly written or worse being forced on the chopping block of misogyny.

    AK’s move makes sense because now the books can get ISBN numbers, and they can be sold at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If anyone hears or sees AK’s press, they can readily order them and not depend upon Diamond.


  3. Willow Says:

    There isn’t any reason to launch a new line of superhero comics in today’s market. The existing audience is already getting what they need from the genre from the established companies, and any new audience is interested in other types of stories.

    I guess you’re in a position to know. But I feel like I’m re-entering the comic world and getting caught up on characters and worlds I missed out on. I’m just discovering Invincible, for example and Astro City.

    But I eagerly await Virgin Comic’s Devi coming out in TPB (mostly because I know how to treat books and have no idea what to do in my currently unsettled life with flimsy comic issues). And I’d have loved to see other heroes.

    Why do you think the market oversaturated ?

  4. Johanna Says:

    There’s a key thing about the two books you mention: they’re not LINES, they’re individual titles. They also don’t sell very well, comparatively. (Astro City’s unfortunate schedule complications haven’t helped.) Launching a line is just a way to lose more money faster.

    Astro City is structured in such a way that it works very well in book form. Invincible, when I’ve sampled it, is written for the serial form, with cliffhangers and such. Writing for one format is different than another, so switching to collected format isn’t as simple as just putting more pages on the printer.

    I think the market is oversaturated because superhero readers already have more books available to them than they can buy or keep up with. They don’t need more. And so many of them buy out of familiarity or habit that new characters don’t stand a chance.

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