Every once in a while I encounter a comics company I’ve never heaters of, and that makes me curious about them and their books.
Well, at the recent Baltimore Comic-Con I came across the latest of these groups, and that was AHOY Comics.
FIRST, ABOUT THIS YEAR’S BALTIMORE COMIC-CON
I’ve been to so many of this particular con that I’ve lost count! It has grown by leaps and bounds since the first time I attended. I think it was in a hotel lobby and meeting rooms then!
As usual, I was helping Richard Rivera sell Stabbity Bunny, and this time we were also selling Scout Comics’ offerings as well. That included Once Our Land, Solar Flare, Mindbender and Long Lost, among others. And we did well at the booth!
It was quite a well-attended con, too! Saturday several of the aisles were clogged with fans. Of course, depending on the vendor, some did well on some days, others did better on other days. It was a great con overall.
I do have to fuss with how they handled the vendors, particularly dealing with how they got their wares both in and out. I imagine there was some unhappiness in previous years when the vans spent a lot of time in the street, trying to get in so they can unload and set up their booths. The bad news was, to solve congestion problems, they directed vendors to a parking lot about a mile or more away from the Baltimore Convention Center. We sat there for at least two hours waiting for our chance to return to the center and unload.
All of a sudden, the guy running that location ran into the lot and waved all of us on so we could go to the center. We all rushed to get there, and a line was formed. At least we weren’t out on the street!
Then, when leaving, we went back to the old method, and the street near the center was again full of vehicles waiting to get into the building. It took a couple of hours, sadly.
How they’ll resolve these concerns in the future is unclear at this point. But they do have next year’s event already scheduled for October 18-20.
WHO IS AHOY COMICS?
As found here in a news release posted on MajorSpoilers, Ahoy Comics is “is looking to shake up the publishing industry with bold new format: comic book magazines. The startup company is the brainchild of Publisher Hart Seely, an award-winning reporter whose humor and satire has appeared in The New York Times and on National Public Radio; two founding editors of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore; and Chief Creative Officer Frank Cammuso. The comic book magazines will feature traditional, full-length comic book stories―by Peyer (Hourman) and Moore (Deadpool the Duck) and top talents including Jamal Igle (Black), Mark Russell (Flintstones), Ann Nocenti (The Seeds) … ”
An important paragraph from that news release is the following:
“It’s time to expect more from comics,” said AHOY Comics Editor-in-Chief Tom Peyer. “AHOY Comics offers a wide breadth of contributors from the worlds of mainstream and indie comics and humor magazines. We’re publishing comic book magazines with full-length stories, backup stories, one-off gags by a bestselling New Yorker cartoonist, political poetry by a regular Poltico contributor, and prose stories by Grant Morrison, Cienna Madrid and a sundry of talent. And I don’t want it to sound too serious because these comic book magazines are both fun and funny. It really is a unique reading experience.”
Their new books are intriguing, and there are more to come this month, which I’m sure will be reviewed here at this site.
THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO GROW
The comics industry is still growing despite what are reported to be lessening profits. New companies appear every so often, which I think is good for comics. On the other hand, yes, the cost of printing, including paper and shipping, continues to rise while the cost for individual issues remains about $3.99 per issue most of the time.
So, why do people continue to develop new comics companies?
One of the main reasons why this continues to happen, I think, is a lack of happiness with a lot of the industry’s current product. I’ve often stated that Batman has to return to the place he started at the beginning of a comic so a new creative team, if needed, can pick up the franchise in the next issue. It’s much like TV of the 1980s and such. You MUST be able to change creators at any time.
That means very little substantial change can happen in today’s comics. If something does take place, it’s often not permanent. It’s kind of like death in comics. It rarely ever lasts.
I think that general discomfort with today’s industry is making new companies like Ahoy gain traction with readers. Also, Indie comics are unlike the big producers in that they can make major changes in their characters and their situations at any time because they’re not making Underoos with their characters on them.
I think it’s a healthy thing for the industry because it can challenge the more established companies to make changes in their storytelling they might not otherwise make.
What does it mean for comics in general? Again, I think any real step forward is important. I mean, I enjoyed The Wrong Earth #1. This six-issue miniseries is based on a concept many fans have asked over the years: Would Adam West’s Batman arrest Christian Bale’s Dark Knight if they ever met? It’s great to see someone tackle that one!
Tom Peyer has a history of making comics that are somewhat challenging, at least. And we can stand more of that!
So, if you haven’t checked out AHOY Comics, I recommend you give them a try. You can let your local comics shop know of your interest!
What do you think? Is AHOY Comics going where you want the industry to go? Or do we already have too many comics companies already? Whatever your opinion, be sure to share your opinion and thoughts in the space below!