The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Crossgen is all but gone now

Yep, they've filed for Chapter 11.

Crossgen had a number of problems, and while I'm no expert, I can point to quite a few things they did right, and more that they did wrong.

I like that they hired their artists and writers and paid them a salary along with royalties. It made the books come out on time, since artists didn't have to scrounge for other work, they could get help in the office and generally nto worry about things like paychecks. I like that they geared their work toward people not being served by the comics industry currently, and if they would have followed through on aiming their work at fantasy fans and women, they could have succeeded in the outer market. Some of the work was very good, some of the writing was bad, the books always looked good. And I loved the "Forge" and "Edge" books; big, thick anthologies that reprinted about 7 or 8 comics for $10. I think if they would have packed them with ads and put them on newsstands (like Shonen Jump) they might still be around.

However, they did a LOT of things wrong, and they are things that too many other companies do wrong when they enter the market.

First, they published way too many books. There are a finite number of comics people will buy, and too many companies enter the market with 8 or more comics, making it so people who would try them can say, "I have to buy 8 books a month to keep up? Forget it." Marvel started their "universe' with one book, then added another 6 months later. It took almost 4 years for them to have all 8 of their monthly books as part of the Superhero line, meaning it was easy for people to buy all of their work and keep up.

Second, they hired great artists and a LOT of writers who were, at best, used up. Ron Marz and Chuck Dixon were writers who were typical hack writers, the ones you go to when you want it Thursday instead of good. Chuck Dixon has BRAGGED about the fact that he has a formula template on his computer. Barbara Kesel has never written ANYTHING worth reading and Mark Waid got out of there after a year.

Lastly, they trusted the book market. As a LOT of new and established publishers have discovered, just because you can get into bookstores, doesn't mean you are IN bookstores. There were hundreds of reports of the Big CrossGen displays for Barnes and Noble not even being put on the sales floor...kept in the back and then stripped for returns credit.

Still, I would be VERY scared to know how much money they ran through.


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