Spell on Wheels, Avant Guards Move to Graphic Novels
Are we seeing the end of the comic book miniseries (at least, outside of the corporate superhero)? Two enjoyable comic series have recently had issues cancelled with the plan of releasing paperback collections instead. It makes a lot of sense to me — who needs the slippery short comics to store, when it’s a much better experience to get the whole story at once? It’s better for the publisher, as well, to avoid having to manage four or five months of separate orders and inventory. Plus, books sell to libraries and bookstores where comic issues don’t have a market.
They’ll have to give up the idea of getting two bites at the same apple, though, without being able to sell the same story twice through the direct market. And financing may be an issue, as budgets are tighter than ever and more advance funding is needed to have the greater amount of material produced before publication.
The Avant-Guards, by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes and published by Boom!, is about a women’s basketball team at an art college. There have been eight issues out, with the first collection (issues #1-4) available earlier this fall and the second book (issues #5-8) due next February. Issues #9 and 10 were cancelled by the publisher in favor of putting out a concluding graphic novel in September 2020. Said writer Carly Usdin:
“I’m so excited that Noah and I get to finish telling the story of our beloved Avant-Guards. The stakes couldn’t be higher — they’re fighting for the championship AND the future of the league. The final installment will include teamwork, romance, lots of surprises and a dunk or two!”
It’s important that publishers demonstrate a willingness to finish stories, or they poison the well for future releases. Readers want to be able to have faith that their investment will be rewarded by getting to see a conclusion.
Spell on Wheels was collected last summer. It’s by Kate Leth and Megan Levens and published by Dark Horse. I enjoyed the story of three witches reclaiming their property from one of their exes. It was fun and spooky and amusing.
The followup miniseries, Just to Get to You, was supposed to start last month, but the publisher has cancelled the three issues solicited so far in favor of putting out a graphic novel sometime next year. (Amazon says June.) In a newsletter, Leth says it was “due to low pre-orders of issue one”. She continues to say:
When it’s time for shops (or you!) to pre-order the book, we’re going to release issue 1 online for free, both to retailers and prospective readers. I’m going to promote the hell out of it and probably do some tarot readings. And then… well, then, we might just get a third (and final) volume.
Here’s hoping! The characters were great to spend reading time with.