Friday, February 11, 2005

More like the IN-Justice League

I really wanted to post something today, just to keep my output up, but I didn't really have anything interesting I wanted to share. Until just now. JUST under the wire. Found this link from Warren Ellis' site. Worst team-up ever.

Furthermore, I had a non-school research question today that I couldn't find the answer to, so I'm leaving it out here in the hopes that D! finds it and can answer it for me using his relatively exhaustive knowledge of the publishing industry:
I purchased a couple of comics yesterday, and the month listed on them was April 2005. But it's only February 2005. Why does that happen? I've noticed it since I was about 14 or so, but I've never really wanted to know the answer until now.


Diego said...

Dammit, Dev, I was sleeping! And it was the most beautiful dream! Why, oh why did you summon me?

Comics have several things in common with every other form of periodical on the planet: lower production values (as compared to most bound books), more often than not a subscription system, and most importantly, a set frequency of publication. Amazing Spider-Man puts out 12 issues per year, one for each month. So does Cosmo.

Comics do, however, have one thing going differently for them; a direct market. Only with comic books can you go to any number of specialty stores. Cosmo may be everywhere, but you'll likely never see stores devoted to just fashion magazines. Comics have never dropped out of general circuation, either, so ASM has the advantage of selling in both direct (Wizard's, Warp, etc.) AND general markets (Chapters, Shopper's, etc.)

The two systems don't run on the same schedule, however, or lay by the same rules. Direct markets get their product first--otherwise, what's the point? They also but these issues outright with no option for return. It's why comic shops have back issues, and is also why stores are likely to not take a gamble on titles or genres that don't sell. Your April 2005 issue might sell less when the May 2005 comes out, but you'll still have use for it.

General markets will get their comics later (and in the span of four years, I've actually seen the speed of magazine distribution get worse.) Their April 2005 might not get there until March, or--say it with me. And the unsold issues will have to be returned for credit; is it May already? Return April.

So they need to have one date for one issue, regardless of how it's distributed . . . but since comics have traditionally used issue numbers and not monthly dates, it's generally overlooked.

But once in a while, a sexy wise man such as myself will get to categorically expound on his inexhaustive supply of publishing minutae.

It's the greatest moment in your blog's history.

Jago said...

When Dev asked me this question yesterday, I replied with a MUCH shorter version of this. Thanks for backing me up, dude...

Also, mine was a lot more vague, beacuse I thought I was pulling the answer out of my ass.