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Monday, November 28, 2005

Does No One Care About Claypool? -- That seems to be the general scuttlebutt, as typified by Warren Ellis's comments:

"We've established the level at which no-one gives a shit about a comics company going under..."

Ellis himself admits that might be a bit harsh, and certainly I think most sane humans sympathize with the people who will be economically impacted if Claypool has to close up shop due to Diamond's policies.

That said, my only experience with their comics was a photocopied review copy of an issue of Elvira they sent me a few years back. Having no interest in the character at all (at all, I must stress), I did manage to read through it because it was inked by Terry Austin, and I am always interested in seeing his inkwork in just about any context.

The comic itself was awful, and the covers I've seen posted since Claypool issued their cry for help a few days ago make it look like the line is one of the ugliest in the history of the industry. Further, not one of their titles engages my curiousity as a comics reader -- a point driven home by Christopher Butcher's comments on the situation.

No, when Fantagraphics and Top Shelf asked for help, it was after years of high-profile, quality comics and graphic novels that are beautifully designed and visually attractive to new readers. Claypool, from all available evidence, has absolutely no marketing plan beyond making some pretty mediocre-looking comics that have failed to gain traction with even a bare minimum of readers.

So again, all my condolences to those affected by the likely end of this company -- but it's hard to see any compelling reason why they should continue if they aren't able to make a go of it using the strategies they've stumbled along with up until now, or even better, are willing to concede that those strategies have failed and try to find new ways to keep their company alive.



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