- Posted by Johanna on December 16, 2006 at 8:34 am
- Category: Comic News
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez has more information on how Image is treating its “Slimline” format (aka Fell/Casanova format, 24 pages for $1.99) — badly.
Shadowline, Image co-founder Jim Valentino’s personal imprint, has recently latched on to the format with their mini-series Sam Noir: Samurai Detective, but has taken a rather odd approach with it by…well, let Shadowline editor Kris Simon explain it:
Sam Noir is done in that format, as well as an upcoming March title called After the Cape. However, the $1.99 price tag won’t be implemented. Why, you ask? Because our creators won’t bring in numbers like Fell does, and we like them to actually make some money off their book! Plus, if a fan really wants to read a book, I don’t think a dollar will prevent them from doing so. We price them at $2.99, whereas the rest of our books are $3.50.
I’m not sure which part of this is more wrongheaded, the less for more approach, or the wishful thinking of “if a fan really wants to read a book…”
In an industry littered with failed attempts from the Big Two and self-publishers alike, the “if a fan…” approach is absolutely mind-boggling coming from someone not working off of venture capital, a trust fund or a long-term business plan. It’s not like Shadowline has a track record for launching successful titles, or standing by struggling ones, with several flaming out well before their time — ie: Blacklight, The Intimidators, Emissary — and by Brown’s own admission, they’re not expecting their creators to move enough copies to make a $1.99 cover price viable.
Further down the thread, she adds this little tidbit: “…all of our black and white titles are/will be 24 pages, for $2.99. Color books that are 32 pages are $3.50.” Why taint the fledgling Slimline format like this?
I second Guy’s thoughts. In my opinion, the format works because of the combination of factors: short page count with a dense story for a smaller price. I know retailers have complained that people would have bought the comics at “regular” price, but I’m not sure that applies to non-Warren Ellis books. Shadowline, in particular, seems to be, um, less than successful, with titles appearing and disappearing frequently and no one other than the creators who work on them talking about them that I’ve seen.
(Emissary looked very interesting, another take on the Icon concept of “how would Superman have been treated differently if he were black?”, but I didn’t bother because I suspected it would go quickly. If it had been a graphic novel I would have tried it.)
Saying “oh, we’re using the format… but we’re raising the price” means that you’re NOT using the format, and you’re only seizing at a current popular name to try and bring some heat to your ignorable line of comics. It also looks like they’re trying to camouflage bad news, that they’re having to cut page counts and remove color on their books because *they don’t sell*.
I hope that Image decides to maintain the Slimline brand by refusing to allow Shadowline to use the name, since they’re not following the guidelines, but since it belongs to one of the founders, I doubt that will happen.
(Odd bit of trivia: if you google Shadowline and Slimline, after you get a few comic-related posts, you wind up looking at links to women’s underwear.)