Fell and Cheaper Comics
Ian Brill interviews Warren Ellis on Fell‘s format for Publishers Weekly. The book is unusual, 16 pages of single-issue comic story + 8 pages of supporting material for $2 US. It’s something of a breakthrough in giving fans what they’ve said for years they wanted — a cheaper, satisfying read — and more Image comics will be following its model in the coming year.
Retailers should also be pleased that this format is real competition for those “waiting for the trade”. Instead of costing almost a third of a $10 collection, it’s a fifth the price. Issues can be read in almost any order, and each provides a complete story… although there’s a bigger mystery to the setting and characters that rewards continued purchases. It’s so cheap that it makes sense as an impulse purchase.
Steven Grant’s latest column, however, points out that some retailers are arguing, at a time of mostly declining sales, for more expensive comics. I don’t think that’s really what they want. Grant doesn’t follow the point through, but I find it interesting that he also reviews Fantagraphics’ 32-page-for-$8! offerings in the same column, books that will never be seen in most stores. I think those retailers arguing for higher cover prices want to make more profit on what they’re already selling, which in many stores means DC and Marvel.