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Sunday, May 05, 2019 

The industry and specialty stores lose a distributor

It's not just specialty stores that became a casualty of disastrous conduct in the comics business. Even the closure of Baker & Taylor's distribution to the same is another serious blow to the medium:
Book distribution giant Baker & Taylor is shuttering its retail distribution business, which includes the distribution of graphic novels to comic shops and bookstores.

In a memo sent out by company president David Cully, Baker & Taylor intends to concentrate strictly on the library and educational markets. [...]

In addition to individual publishers who distribute through Baker & Taylor, Diamond Comic Distributors' book division also distributed to bookstores extensively through Baker & Taylor. Diamond also has deals with Bookazine, Ingram, and others.
No doubt, this is bad for business. But it's just what happens by extension when business is conducted so badly, and story quality is thrown away for the sake of political agendas and such. And now, just like comics stores are closing, even some distributors are exiting the business. If B&T is no longer going to work for the medium, it'll be no surprise if other distribution specialists could follow.

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i am not sure how you come to the conclusion that baker and taylor's closure of its retail distribution service is down to politically driven comics or by bad business (by i assume the major comic publsihers) in the comic market when they are closing their entire retail operation in order to concentrate on their library and schools distribution (oh which graphic novels will play a part).

also dubious is the further claim that comic shops are closing for the same reason - without at least also adding in factors such as: the general decline of retail, the increasing of rents, the aging of owners, lack of growth of the buying base, the emmergence of digital comic access, the move to buying trades.

i get thhat there is a dislike of the perceived 'political agenda' in current comics (even though it is nothing new and part of it is driven not by ideology but attempts to find new markets), however to criticise that "political agenda" by wiillfully misrepresenting a news item just reeks of your own "political agenda"

"i get thhat there is a dislike of the perceived 'political agenda' in current comics (even though it is nothing new and part of it is driven not by ideology but attempts to find new markets), "


All of it is driven by political ideology. A lot of these woke initiatives result in alienating a larger customer base in order to gain a much smaller, and more affluent customer base--or, int the case of the often politically charged content aimed at academia--get guaranteed sales by getting governments or non-profits to purchase comics that preach a progressive message. To characterize a criticism of all this as "misrepresenting" and " a political agenda" makes you appear to be someone who loves this politicization of what was once non-partisan entertainment.

You are not approving that comic companies are chasing new markets, you are approving that the companies and the "comics journalists" demonize their current customers for being too male, too straight, etc. *




p.s. you're a lousy liar


and an even lousier p.o.s. ;)



*here's recent commentary made by a comics journal reviewer who can't hide his contempt for the current audience of comic books.http://www.tcj.com/reviews/ascender-1/
"Like Caucasians, reptiles seem to fare best in fantasy worlds."

Don't be so shy mike, why not tell us what you really think!

Some comics are aimed at mejjimicated people, but the ones with an eye on an academic audience are the ones that claim the label of graphic novel; I can't think of any superhero stories aimed at academia, certainly not any of the comics published by marvel or DC.

I don't think comics were ever nonpartisan. But A lot of what you think of as politically charged content is just basic why can't we all get along kind of stories; the only people alienated by this are a small minority, largely outnumbered by the people who agree with it. Marvel publishes about 80 comics a month; they can't target them all to the same audience because nobody can read that many on a regular basis.

Pat's message was stating facts, not approving or disapproving. He was making the obvious point that if the distributor was cancelling a large operation of which comix were a minuscule part, the decision was not caused by a political message in the comic books.

Grant Morrison and Tom King's superhero stuff is definitely marketed to academia as well as all the diversity stuff from Marvel and DC. Only someone with an academic background would appreciate what the term intersectional means, feminist lingo, and grips about gentrification. Often, it's people with academic degrees moving into lower income neighborhoods, who are causing the gentrification. Comics haven't been aimed at working class or poor people in decades. Starting with Stan Lee in the 1970s, the comics industry has been perusing an audience of people who are educated or are in college despite appearances otherwise. Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns were very well received by academia in addition to non-superhero stuff like Maus so much that it spawned periodic works in the same vein. The deconstruction of superheroes is something that appeals to academia. Tom King's Heroes in Crisis is practically asking librarians to order it and for college professors to require it as reading material.

One of the last EICs at Marvel was held a Sociology degree and pushed many intersectional stories at Marvel.

There is a deliberate attempt to drive all the cis males out of comics, across the board, in comics in a similar way Gillette tried to alienate its male customers in order to attract more female customers.


The lost business, partially due to deliberate attempts to alienate the main customers in the Direct Market definitely contributed to baker and taylor's decision to get out of the Direct Market.

They are focusing on the library and educational markets, which are dominated by progressive women who are passionate about social justice.

It's not about "can't we get along" It's more like "the future is female" and "boys don't read"


" Marvel publishes about 80 comics a month; they can't target them all to the same audience Marvel is probably trying to destroy the Direct Market so they can say, "see, men don't want to read comics, anymore, let's focus on women". This is bigger than comics, Marvel Entertainment's corporate strategy is heading in a similar direction.



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Academia usually means people who teach or study in universities. If you define it as anyone who has gone to college, you are talking about a big market; two fifths of Americans have college degrees, another fifth have some college but no degree. Younger people are more likely to have degrees. Many of those people are also poor; university lecturers don't get paid much unless they are tenure track and there aren't many jobs for PhDs see days. Watchmen and dark knight were thirty years ago; I don't see any of Morrison or king's work appealing to an academic, especially not when there is so much more creative and innovative stuff coming from outside the legacy publishers. Morrison and King are just basic fanboy pandering. There is no comparison to Maus; Maus has substance, watchmen and dark knight are about the nature of Superhero mythology.

I don't think the Mouse tried to alienate direct market customers; they saw the direct market audience was shrinking as it aged and comics were becoming more and more insular and self-referential, and they have tried to break out of that and appeal more to kids. Most of what marvel published in the late 90s was unreadable, and when they tried back then appeal to a female audience, like with their Barbie titles, they never developed a good distribution system. Marvel had a lot more girl comics in the forties and fifties, and those were very successful.

The 1970 s were when you first had a significant portion of writers with college degrees. Before that 'academics' like Gar Fox and W Marston were the exceptions.

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