New format for Palookaville?

It looks like Seth’s Palookaville is changing formats.

He tells Guelph Mercury that the changing habits of comic buyers is prompting him to switch from floppy to trade.

“The traditional comic book just doesn’t sell any longer. Cartoonists have begun to change over to little hardcovers instead,” he said. “I’m still serializing my work. It’s just that instead of it being in a 24-page pamphlet, it will be in an 80-page book. “

“People know that the individual comic books eventually get collected up into graphic novels and so they simply wait for the inevitable collection. They want the nicer packaging. The new hardcover format is a way to trick them into buying the serialized version. There’s stuff in the little hardcovers which will never be collected into the big graphic novel. It’s an old trick.”

An 80-page book. Sweet!

I’ve believed for some time now that the traditional comic book format is coming to an end. Most people want bigger books. There are lots of vocal people who think otherwise, but their numbers are shrinking. The trick becomes how to keep up the regular foot traffic in comic shops should the industry move exclusively to the trade format.

That said, some books are still suited to the 24-page format especially titles for which their healthy sales rely on the “soap opera” narrative techniques like the X-books, Superman, Spider-Man.

I was interested to find out recently Marvel was putting some poor-selling but highly acclaimed titles, such as Ghost Rider, on hold rather than cancelling them outright. A good move, frankly. I’ve always felt that if there isn’t a good story to tell simply hold off publishing the book rather than produce filler stories. Except the comic business model is established around fairly fixed monthly revenues, so I’m not sure how the publishers would deal with a more scattered publishing schedule where regular sales aren’t guaranteed.

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