Hey guys! Renae Geerlings here introducing our new weekly series, Darby Pops Off, a space where comic creators and retailers can discuss different aspects of the industry or anything else fun that comes to mind. In the coming weeks, you can expect to read opinions from members of the Darby Pop staff and we hope to expand out our guests to include other members of the industry. This week’s topic comes from Darby Pop Publishing founder and INDESTRUCTIBLE creator Jeff Kline as he discusses retailers and asks the question of why more aren’t entering the publishing game?
Until Next Time,
Hey All –
Every so often, I find myself pondering something about the comic book industry – its history, standard operating procedures, whatever. But, rather than pepper the usual suspects this time around, I thought I’d throw my query out to all of you.
As some of you might know, and many of you don’t care, the television business has changed dramatically in the past 25+ years. To over-simplify: for years, the broadcast networks were allowed to own only a small percentage of the programming they aired. Hence, an entire industry of “independent” content producers was born and thrived. Today, however, ABC (via its parent company Disney and their many “sister” studios and pods) owns the bulk of the series they program. The same, of course, is true of CBS (Viacom/Paramount), NBC (Comcast/Universal), CW (CBS/Warner Bros.), and FBC (20th).
Given the speed with which vertical integration has become the norm across many industries, and the apparent “success” of the concept for media conglomerates (including Amazon), I’m wondering why more of the largest comic book retailers haven’t formed their own publishing arms.
I remember when my local comic book store, Fantaco in Albany, NY, self-published a few titles in the ‘80s. And I’m sure there are many other examples of same. But, why haven’t the 5 biggest stores… or the 50 biggest… published and pushed substantially more of their own product individually or collectively in the recent past? In other words, if a retailer in a major market knows that he/she has a substantial customer base, and controls the shelf space, why not invest in (and own) more of the books sold vs. (or in addition to) selling product wholly owned by others?
Aren’t comic book retailers — of all shapes and sizes — often the “tastemakers via ordering patterns, staff recommendations, etc. etc.? And aren’t stores often owned and/or staffed by individuals who are crazy-passionate about the form?
I’ll stop there. Curious to hear from retailers… creators… fans… anyone and everyone.
Thanks for pondering – even if temporarily — along with me…
Founder – Darby Pop Publishing