Story Followup LinkBlogging

Silver Bullet Comics

The Silver Bullet Comics situation continues to fester, with locals talking about a purported small claims court judgment against proprietor W. Alan Davis, while Davis firmly states he’s never been taken to court by a customer. Obviously, someone’s mistaken or lying (whether intentional or not). I’m going to try to find out more on Monday by requesting the public records.

In the meantime, I did a Better Business Bureau search for Silver Bullet Comics. The report considers the company “unsatisfactory… due to unanswered complaint(s)”.

Specifically, this company has a pattern of complaints concerning failure to provide the product ordered and pre-paid for by the customer. Customers also indicate lack of response from the company to their frequent voice mail messages and emails and forum messages.

As of October 6, 2007, there are 10 open complaints pending a response from the business that are not reflected in the complaint statistics. These complaints concern non-delivery of merchandise and no response to customer service inquiries.

That’s in addition to 16 complaints about delivery issues, 3 of which were resolved. The remaining 13 are categorized as “Company did not respond”.

Zuda Webcomics

Reaction to the Zuda Comics launch has been lukewarm at best. Expert T Campbell discusses his favorites, while Heidi MacDonald talks complaints before linking to other reactions.

The fact that Zuda looks fresh at all shows just how stylistically rigid Marvel and DC have become…. it’s a perfect example of a giant corporation jumping on a trend years after it’s already become established. … yeah it’s cool and all, except that you can’t link to it and you can’t copy it, standard for all other successful webcomic ventures.

Zuda staff say (link no longer available) “you can too link”, only to have someone point out that people want to link to particular pages, not just the different strips.

Serialization vs. Collections

After my post on Brian Hibbs’ take on collections, there was much commenting from various perspectives. Christopher Butcher weighs in with a measured response using his own retail experience. A lengthy quote because Chris puts things so well:

His observation that periodicals provide cash-flow is, while accurate, also irrelevant, because it’s far from the only method of generating cash-flow as a retailer and I don’t personally believe it’s the most effective in a market that is increasingly moving away from periodical production. It’s simply “how things are done because that’s how we’ve always done them” and if there’s one thing I’m tired of seeing in comics, it’s that. …

If the complaint is that Vertigo in particular have trained customers to wait for the trade, then developing systems to punish readers who do so is not the answer. Actually, that sounds a lot like you actually don’t like your customers very much, which… again. I’m not telling you how to run your business, we just disagree that making it harder or more annoying for people to buy things in my store serves me in the long run. Mr. Hibbs, if Vertigo can’t launch a series these days because their audience is either entirely divided or has massively switched to a different format preference, then Vertigo needs to follow the money, so to speak, and start publishing the way that their customers want….

If the readership is seriously moving towards collections on the Vertigo titles, let’s support that and get behind it sales-wise rather than trying to do anything to cripple it. Follow the money, not the past.

Lots more in his post. Former Vertigo editor Stuart Moore appears in the comments to debate sales figures, too.

Then Hibbs himself responds. I don’t have much to say further on this because Hibbs’ main point, as he clarifies, is

If you’re trying to be a periodical publisher that is amortizing your costs with a serialization, then you should support that serialized format in all rational ways.

That’s an “if” I don’t agree with and don’t have any knowledge of whether it’s really the publisher’s plan. It all comes down to how much overlap you assume there is between periodical and collection buyers. I think there’s a lot less than Hibbs does, which is why I don’t buy the argument that one can easily be converted into another. Plus, in the comments, Chris quickly points out that using the word “rational” is stacking the deck while Tom Spurgeon puts out a lengthy list of counter-examples. And finally, people begin addressing the point “maybe the strength (or lack thereof) of the material has something to do with it?”

Classic Comic Strips

Chris Pitzer takes Classic Comic Strips Month as an excuse to praise Terry & the Pirates and run a random picture of KC and me.

Similar Posts: Silver Bullet Comics Dead? § Silver Bullet Comics: The Court Files § Comic Business LinkBlogging § Zuda Invitational § Wishing the Competition Away


9 Responses to “Story Followup LinkBlogging”

  1. Jamie Coville Says:

    The real back and forth discussion over Hibbs column is happening at Hibbs site, where he posted a response. After that, Chris Butcher, Tom Spurgeon and Stuart Moore give their views. Some good reading there.

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/lazybastid/8076725184698577803/

  2. Jim Says:

    Re: Court Records.

    If someone alleges that he was taken to a federal court, that would be easy to look up (http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov, which is free to register and cheap to look at case documents).

    Because it is reportedly a small claims court case, it would more likely be in a state court system. If I remember correctly, Silver Bullet is in North Carolina, and a quick look at the N.C. court system Web site doesn’t turn up easy access to docket listings for any particular county .
    Further complicating the issue is that the alleged lawsuit was a small claims suit. Those are generally handled much less formally, so the records are less available. The easiest thing to do might be to call the Forsyth County Court at the number for the Small Claims Magistrate, and ask about getting a copy of a judgment.

    Numbers for the County Court are on this page: http://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/courtinfo.aspx

  3. Johanna Says:

    Isn’t that just what I posted, that those people were in the comments at his site?

  4. Jamie Coville Says:

    Whoops! I didn’t see the last link.

  5. Tim O'Shea Says:

    OK, I love that Gordon Lee hopping on the hood story. Here’s hoping the wheels of justice continue to roll in his favor this week.

  6. Brian Hibbs Says:

    “It all comes down to how much overlap you assume there is between periodical and collection buyers”

    All I’ll say is that, as a working retailer, I see a whole lot.

    -B

  7. Johanna Says:

    Sure, but you would… collection buyers with no interest in periodicals have a lot of other options: bookstores, online stores, and so on. It’s kind of self-selecting.

  8. Brian Hibbs Says:

    Based on what “new to comics” civilians say and do when they walk through my doors, I’d have to say that “collection buyers with no interest in periodicals” is a subset of EXISTING comics readers, not people who are coming to the form for the first time.

    As far as I can tell, “new to comics” people are open to either collection or serialization, depending on their level of interest in the work itself — where do you think those 100k+ people who are buying the current BUFFY series are coming from? (Or DARK TOWER, for that matter)

    -B

  9. Johanna Says:

    Based on my single point of example (a co-worker), those media fans aren’t interested in buying anything else. :) I hope you’ve had better luck converting some to the medium instead of just the property.

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