During the Radical Publishing panel at the 2009 New York Comic Con, Radical Publishing president Barry Levine made two interesting, and quite possibly two smart moves for the small-ish publisher.
While the announcements of the new creators Radical has been able to bring on board is pretty big (Jim Steranko, Arthur Suydam, Steve Niles, Rick Remender, Warren Ellis, and so on), these pale in comparison to the big announcements made late in the panel.
The first announcement is that Radical Publishing isn’t going to publish 22-page single issues.Â For a very long time now, companies have been writing six-issue arcs that can be collected easily into trade paperbacks.Â While many people are waiting for the trade, those trades can’t be made if a series goes in the toilet.Â Because of smaller runs, small publishers are forced to raise prices above and beyond the $3.99 price tag comic book readers are now being faced with.
Levine presented a very interesting solution that still tells a complete story in 192 pages.Â Instead of six 22-page issues, Radical will take its titles and convert them into three 48-page issues, while keeping the price at $4.99.
I really believe this is a smart move by the small publisher.Â Today, I just finished reading another publisher’s first issue that has a cover price of $3.50.Â I’m so taken by the first issue, that I will seek out the next to see what happens, but that is going to set me back $7.00 for the two.Â Radical Publishing’s move now means I save $2.00 for the first two chapters of a story.Â By the end of the arcs run, I’ve saved at least $6.00, which is more than enough to buy the next two chapters in the series.Â More money in my pocket at the end of the day, means I’ve got more money to spend on comics, which in the long run can only help publishers in a time of increased minimum orders from Diamond and dwindling demand.Â I’m hopeful other publishers take a look at what Radical is doing and adopt a similar structure.
For those who have been following Radical news on the Major Spoilers site, you know Radical is spinning many of its titles into motion pictures.Â Instead of teaming with other studios, Levine also announced the company has built up enough of a discretionary fund that is will now commission its own writers to adapt their works into film.
This is another move that makes complete sense.Â Instead of hiring someone who isn’t as familiar with the source material, Radical is giving its writers a chance.Â I wonder if things might have turned out different for film and comics had Alan Moore been given this opportunity years ago?
Steering a battleship is a slow process, by the time the iceberg is seen, it could be too late.Â Keep and eye on the small publishers; they’re steering through the waters like a small speed boat, and are able to make a course change more easily than the big guys, and the direction Radical Publishing is taking is sure to have an impact in the way other companies deal with the current economic and comic crisis.