If you missed the news, the new comic book company Bad Idea released the first press release identifying how they intend to release their comics. I’ll put a link to the Graphic Policy article here that’ll give you more detail if you haven’t read it, but effectively what we’re looking at is a company who intend to ignore the current distribution method in comics, so Diamond, and instead self-distribute to twenty hand-picked stores (with intention to increase that to fifty by the end of the year). There will be no digital comics, there will be no trade paperbacks. There will also be no variant covers, with each comic being limited to one per customer.
This news has been met with anger, disappointment, optimism, excitement and every other reaction you’re thinking right now that’s going to come from comic fans shocked that they probably won’t be able to get the comics at their regular stop with some stating that it’s a bad idea to go this route. I’ll admit to being disappointed by the news in the press release until I read this interview on Multiveristy Comics with Dinesh Shamdasani, Warren Simons and Hunter Gorinson. The three are all former Valiant employees who were forced out or left after the investment firm DMG purchased the company. After the quality of the Valiant books under their watch, I was intrigued and excited by what they may have up their sleeves with Bad Idea
The above interview with the three reminded me of one of the most exciting things in comics – the hunt for a certain issue. It isn’t a coincidence that I have been slowly building various runs of comics without using online retailers; because hunting in bins has an appeal for me that I can’t quantify.
Dinesh hinted during the interview that the comics will be available online, though perhaps not officially, and he danced around the sad truth that people pirate comics and unfortunately that is a reality these days. It shouldn’t be, but that’s a rant for another day.
By selecting just twenty shops (to start) to sell their comics, Bad Idea is encouraging those of us (yes us, because I know damn well I’ll be one of them) to find ways to get the issues. The list of shops won’t be a secret, which implies the shops must be willing to ship the comics to those outside of reasonable driving distance, which will, in turn, drive the business of certain shops. If Bad Idea becomes a phenomenon then this could, in turn, drive people into comic shops that otherwise wouldn’t step into our world.
I understand the anger and disappointment people are feeling, though. I understand that you want to be able to order these books as you would your normal pull list. But being free of Diamond’s rigid distribution system means the creative teams are free to tell a story in 27 pages or 33. It means they can be late if the book isn’t ready without rushing out a subpar issue that won’t satisfy the fans. It means more money in the pockets of the people putting out the books.
By circumventing the traditional methods of distribution Bad Idea has gotten themselves a lot of people talking about a company who has barely revealed a full page of comics. They’re a company with some of the very best writers and artists who have been given the freedom to create what I’m sure will be some of the best comics we’ll ever read. You may or may not agree – but I have faith in Dinesh Shamdasani, Warren Simons, Hunter Gorinson and the amazing talent that they have accrued around them. I will find a way to get these books because I have faith in the people putting them out, and I want to support them – and at the very least the fact I have to work to get them is strangely exciting for me.
If you just want to read the books, you’ll find a way. But if you want to be a part of what could be the next step in comics… it may just take a Bad Idea for the future to be bright in comics.
Also posted on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan