The webcomics blog about webcomics

Almost The Last Time I’ll Mention It

I’ve been on quite a tear about Jim Zub lately, because he’s an example of what this page concerns itself with — a creator that is focused on good work, and owning as much of it as possible. He’s also incredibly generous with the hard-won knowledge that he’s accumulated from a decade or more of struggling upwards to the point where he can seem like an overnight success. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a damn fine writer (and underutilized artist), and so when he’s got a project coming out, I am more than happy to pimp the crap out of it.

I’ve mentioned his upcoming creator-owned series, Wayward, and how it’s very, very good, and how it will arrive in about a month’s time. The last part is most important because — due to a detail in how comics are distributed — a key milestone will occur on Monday. Pretty much every comic is distributed through one company, Diamond¹, and they have something called final order cutoff whereby retails can adjust their orders 20 days before shipping; for Wayward, FOC is on Monday.

What this means is, if you are interested in Zub’s work, if you want to give Wayward a shot, you should tell your local comic shop this weekend, so they can adjust their order by Monday’s deadline. Publishers that subscribe to FOC will adjust their print runs based on these numbers, meaning an under-anticipated title may be difficult to find, and may even not make sufficient sales to be continued despite demand.

Off the top of my head, Lumberjanes, Midas Flesh, and Figment — all from the past year, and all with webcomicker-heavy creative teams– were under-ordered and people had difficulty finding them when they launched; fortunately, they seem to have rallied and went back to press as necessary². For Wayward, first issue sales (and the drop — or hopefully rise — between first and second issue sales) will be critical in determining if it continues or maybe just gets one story arc before wrapping up.

So it’s be-counted time; if you like creators being able to make their own stuff — and ten minutes discussion with any creator will reveal that it’s the stories and characters they create for (and own!) themselves that they value over any work-for-hire gigs, no matter how high-profile and prestigious — you can help perpetuate that by not just resolving to buy a comic, but by letting a retailer know that you want to buy a comic.

That one action will help to keep Zub’s creator-owned work viable, which in turn will make creator-owned work from other creators look like a good risk to the publishers, retailers, and market in general. It’s a small thing, but it’s got a multiplicative effect.

Spam of the day:

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Man, don’t even. Geordi never said any damn thing about it. Quit putting words in his mouth.

¹ The wisdom of having an entire industry of independent shops dependent on just one company is a topic best left for another time but damn, there needs to be competition in this business again. Case in point: there’s an alternate distributor out there that pretty much handles self-published books only, which means my local shop is now offering a number of books by Brad Guigar, and is starting to pick up the Evil, Inc collections. However, it’s a small minority of shops that work with these alternate channels.

² As it turns out, they are all also limited series, so it wasn’t as likely they would be canceled due to low initial sales; however, an underprinted issue is the same as leaving money on the table, for both publisher and creative team.

Spam of the day:

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