Monday, August 02, 2004

Out to launch: Also at Ninth Art, Paul O'Brien ponders what drives the big publishers to launch so many titles "that don't have a hope in hell" of commercial success:

"It really does seem as if many of these books are dumped on the marketplace on the basis of a glassy-eyed optimism that this time things are going to be different. Many, in fact, feature existing characters with a proven track record of failure. Both major publishers have what amounts to an informal list of well-known but cancelled characters whom they feel compelled to keep bringing back despite the fact that not many people care when they do. Books like NAMOR and MARTIAN MANHUNTER keep coming back every few years, less due to public demand than because of a vague feeling that these characters somehow ought to have their own titles - whether anyone wants to read them or not.

"At least those characters tend to have a few hardcore fans, though. Completely new books don't even have that benefit. They have to rely on whatever publicity they can gather and whatever name value their creators have. Often - irrespective of the quality of the actual work - that name value is virtually nil. The result is yet another rapidly cancelled book."