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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

 
Beyond the Galaxy 090809 -- Updated because Christopher Butcher has upset the apple cart of comics discussion with an amazing and enlightening post on comics distribution and retailing.

* Here's the most important comics-related post you'll read this week: Christopher Butcher goes into deep detail to explain how Diamond broke the back of the Direct Market, turning it from what it was in the early 1980s (a spectacular array of new and different wonders in every comic shop from coast to coast) into what it is now (too depressing to even describe). As I said in the comments to Chris's post, the 1980s DM was "a beneficent byproduct of multiple distributors all vying to be the most relevant and the best at what they were doing. That’s the model that allowed Cerebus, Love and Rockets and (yep) Bone to find their audience despite the fact that initial orders on all of them were virtually non-existent. It’s heartbreaking to think the next Jaime or Gilbert could be out there right now making nascent miracles of comics in their bedrooms that we’ll never know about thanks to Diamond’s shortsightedness and eye-poppingly poor stewardship of their role in the current scheme of things." The Beguiling (where Butcher works) and the very few stores like it should be the model for any retailer who wants to still be selling comics in five years. Be active, look forward, find ways around Diamond's self-destructive policies before they kill your comic shop. I hope every single person reading this post will click over and see what he has to say, and do comics a favour and pass the link along.

* I doubt anyone browsing their comics blogs stops here before they stop at Tom Spurgeon's The Comics Reporter, but in case you did and you took the US Labor Day holiday off, check out Ng Suat Tong's piece on Writing, Collaboration and Superheroes; then read Jamie S. Rich's response.

* Chris Allen's Humbug review won me over with the amazing observation that "We've lived long enough that Frank Miller embarrasses Jim Lee with his effort."

* Matt Brady previews this week's new releases (available in most shops on Thursday this week instead of Wednesday, if you care).

* Oh, I posted my own graphic novel shelf porn over the weekend. Have a look, if you missed it.

* Uncomics: How to Speed Up Your Computer. I'm more than a little leery of PC tweaks after screwing up my machine so badly a few weeks ago, but these maintenance tips seem pretty basic and sensible.

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