Jack Staff Fails at Monthly Goal

Back in October, Image announced that Paul Grist’s Jack Staff series would be going monthly starting January 2008. The Jack Staff Special would appear January 16, followed by issue #14 in February.

The Special actually shipped January 23, but that’s not unusual, for comics to be off a week or so. #14 came out February 13, but #15 shipped April 2. Ok, so that’s still in the same week as a March date, let’s let that slide.

Now, it’s May, and there’s been no sight of #16, which was due in April. Image’s site currently says it’s due May 7 (still with the caption “Now Monthly!”), which puts the series about a month behind. Issue #17 was solicited for May 14, with issue #18 planned for June 18.

At the beginning of April, Paul Grist mentioned (link no longer available) that #15 was delayed a couple of weeks due to “a hold up at the printers for some reason”. Later in that same thread, he mentions #16 had been at the printer since the beginning of the same month, saying “I thought it would have been out by now.” Me too.

Update: I have been chastised by someone nicer than I am that for not contacting Image and/or Grist for their side of the story. While he’s right, that would have been courteous, that’s not my point. The fact is, Grist had a horrible track record, he and his publisher made promises that things had changed, and for whatever reason, that promise wasn’t kept. Those are the facts.

The reason behind the delay may satisfy some curiosity, and some fans may want to judge whether or not the delay was Grist’s “fault”, but I’m not one of them. At this point, I don’t care. I’m raising the subject ultimately to provide yet another piece of evidence why reading collections is more satisfying for the reader. Or this reader, anyway.

11 Responses to “Jack Staff Fails at Monthly Goal”

  1. ADD Says:

    Jack Staff is a wonderful comic, and an even more wonderful idea for a comic.

    But as a periodical, it is about as complete a failure as there can be. Its creator and publisher need to totally and honestly re-evaluate how to make it work as a graphic novel or series of graphic novels — although by now I think the vast majority of readers must have lost faith. I am as patient as hell when it comes to understanding late-shipping books of quality, but this Jack Staff situation is one too many kicks in the teeth for too damned long. In its own way, it’s as much of a joke as Rob Liefeld announcing any given book is going to be coming out.

  2. Charles RB Says:

    If he’s telling the truth about #16 having been at the printers since the start of April, clearly Image needs to have some sharp words with their printers/Diamond/whoever’s holding it up.

  3. Charles RB Says:

    Additional for clarification: if Image doesn’t, then they’re pretty much washing their hands of this whole “monthly” business or good business sense,

  4. Ray Cornwall Says:

    Does Image ship *anything* on time?

    The most delayed projects on my pre-order list are all Image or Dark Horse books.

    As for Grist, I can forgive the monthly stuff as long as we’re getting work somewhat regularly.

    Other than the superhero tentpole books, I no longer really care if a book is monthly or on-time.

  5. Johanna Says:

    I care in Grist’s case because the work is so good, and the later it gets, the more space he wastes recapping things instead of getting on with the stories. And it’s become so darn excessive, it’s amusing.

  6. John Platt Says:

    He’s got a better track record than, say, Gary Millidge on Strangehaven, or even Colleen Doran on A Distant Soil.

    Grist’s work is awesome, but come on, enough with the complaints. He’s a one-man band. He has to write, draw, and do all of the production work on every issue on his own. On the opposite extreme, Jeff Smith has his wife and an assistant helping run his company. Marvel books have whole teams working on them. Give him a break and celebrate his exceptional vision and creativity.

  7. Johanna Says:

    The issue here isn’t “creator can’t make monthly schedule” — it’s “creator can’t live up to promises about schedule”. If you can only put out a comic yearly, or not even that often, fine. (Your sales will suffer for it, but in today’s market, whose sales aren’t suffering?)

    It’s when you promise a book at a particular time and constantly break those promises that I have a problem. If you have schedule problems, complete your work before you offer it for sale. If you know you can’t make a monthly schedule, don’t do a big publicity push promising a monthly book.

  8. Johnny Bacardi Says:

    I suppose this makes me an enabler, because I’m more than happy to get Jack Staff whenever it comes out, and never take promises publishers make personally, as it appears some are doing. Frankly, I’ve been happy because at least it’s coming out a lot more often than it was before this apparent ironclad, unbreakable promise was made.

    To take this tone when someone fails to release a comic book on schedule is silly. I just don’t get it.

  9. Charles RB Says:

    If Jack Staff’s being delayed by printers or distributors, then if I was Paul Grist _I’d_ take it personally because delays harm sales & damage retailer confidence (which is going to be low because of his previous delays).

    It also harms the comic as Jack Staff is written as a serial comic and in ways where things from earlier issues cleverly link into seemingly unrelated things in later issues & there’s that unique non-linear storytelling strand.

    And yes, it IS an ironclad, unbreakable promise in a business sense and an ethical sense. Image promised “NOW MONTHLY!”, often and loudly. If Image is responsible for breaking that promise, it’s an insult to the consumers and retailers; if a printer/distributor is responsible and Image isn’t chasing them up over it, it says to me they don’t care. Either way, it’s annoying. It’s a lot more than annoying for retailers, who will now forever more (if they didn’t already) not believe the title’s schedule, and they’re the ones taking a risk by ordering the damn thing.

  10. Blog@Newsarama » Can’t Wait for Wednesday Says:

    […] After a slight delay, Paul Grist’s “monthly” series continues, with Tom Tom the Robot going up against […]

  11. Greg Giordano Says:

    I think that Mr. Grist (one of my fave indy creators) should accept this inability to maintain a standard print schedule and go the webcomics route. Sure it would take allot longer to finish stories, but personally I’d rather see JACK STAFF come out a couple pages a week- almost like reading old Prince Valiant Sundays or something, and actually get to read his awesome book than have nothing come out at all. I would definitely buy a TPB, even if it was collected years later. Sometimes a failure at one format can be a stunning success in another. Please Paul- give it a try.




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