Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by the Closing of an Imprint

It’s the week before NYCC, which maybe makes this the calm before the storm. Or maybe this is the storm and NYCC will just be quiet. To be determined, I suppose. Either way, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s dig into the week that was via Comics Disassembled, my column where I look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by an imprint closing its doors.

1. Black Crown, Saying Goodnight

A fond farewell to Black Crown, the IDW imprint run by former Vertigo editor Shelly Bond. After a couple year run, this imprint has now been closed presumably because it didn’t make enough of a dent to keep going. I haven’t read anything they published – which is likely part of their problem – but I appreciated what they were trying to do: making weird and interesting comics in a time where many of their peers were trying to unlock intellectual property. Doing something original and new that gave interesting creators like Tini Howard and Nick Robles an opportunity is certainly worth celebrating.

Unfortunately, there is a million, billion comic publishers and imprint these days. The volume of releases creates a crunch, and it’s one that might be hard to survive for more houses than just Black Crown and more titles than the publisher’s most beloved books. It’s an interesting time, and one that’s only likely to get more so, for better or worse. But shouts to Bond, Black Crown and their whole crew. You made comics that spoke to people, and there’s value in that.

2. New York Times, Listing Again

Big ups to the New York Times crew, who amended a previous mistake this week by bringing comics back to their vaunted Best Sellers list. This time, it’s going to be a combined list that merges fiction, nonfiction, children’s, adults, and manga all into one super list, which, if I’m being honest, makes a whole lot of sense. If you’re going to feature “graphic books” (as they’re calling them) on a best of list, merging them all makes more sense than the alternative, which is cutting the individual lists because there are too many of them.

This does a ton for comics, as the New York Times best seller lists are obviously the cream of the crop when it comes to legitimizing any type of book based storytelling. An appearance on these lists is an incredible foot in the door for any comic with librarians, bookstores, teachers, etc., implicitly telling them “this is worth paying attention to, and maybe even carrying!” That’s huge for comics, and big for those looking to better understand what comics they should be buying for their respective houses (both personally and professionally).

I do have to say, though, this makes it far more interesting to me personally as well. My guess is this list will be completely dominated by the children’s and manga sectors, but hey, who knows? Just because that’s the way Bookscan suggests things would go, maybe every adult graphic book has massive first weeks and disappears while all of the non Raina, non Pilkey children’s graphic novels are tortoises instead of hares. I don’t think that’s the case, but I’m intrigued. Regardless of how it all shakes out, huzzah to this! Glad to see it, and I’m excited to see these lists coming out again.

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