Despite shattering box office records across the globe, comic book properties are struggling to survive in print. It’s the best time for comic book movies, but smaller, independent publishers especially worry about future viability. That’s why A Wave Blue World plans to introduce the Premier #1 Program. This innovative sales and distribution model aims to fix some of the problems faced by indie publishers. Whether or not it will be successful is the question, but it is the type of fresh approach to selling comics in the digital age that looks to turn the “bugs” in indie publishing into features.
Boutique Series and Characters
One problem with comic books is that fans are conditioned to expect ongoing stories that both show development yet don’t change too much. Fans sometimes want to be able to put a title down for a few months, only to pick it up again later without being “lost.” This is easy to do when you have a whole company of artists and writers, but indie publishers struggle to keep the pace. Indie publishers often suffer from inconsistent placement in stores, usually because of delayed production schedules. Faithful readers looking to pick up a title each month look for a comic that may not even be published yet. So, that’s why A Wave Blue World wants to create the Premier #1 Program to fix those problems.
The Premier #1 Program will launch in October with two titles to choose from. The first is Mezo, an epic fantasy of primitive weapons, invading empires, and other Game of Thrones-style elements. Though this story isn’t set in a vague approximation of medieval Europe but rather a Mesoamerican setting. The second series is Dead Legends, which tells the story of a brutal martial arts competition where the fights get very personal. Both of these series will be available in the first two weeks of October. How you choose to experience the series, however, depends on you.
Premier #1 Program Details
Set to go live in October with two titles, readers have options about how to read the publisher’s titles. Upon the release of the first issue, readers have two options. They can choose to read the story in a serial format, with each subsequent issue released digitally on a biweekly schedule. Readers can also choose to simply wait until the series is complete for a trade paperback edition of it. This model is similar to TKO Studios’ model, and both seem inspired by the way online streaming services disrupted the traditional television and film distribution models.
For example, both of these indie publishers allow readers to get one of their titles all at once. TKO Studios even calls their trade paperbacks the “binge-release” format. It also promises discrete stories told by creators without the storytelling limits of a perennial ongoing series. It also means that, like with network television series, they can avoid the on-the-fly production method. So often comic books are delayed because an artist or writer is unable to meet their deadlines. With this new model, the creative team completes the story before the first issue goes to print.
Will New Models Like This Save Comics Publishing?
An initiative like the Premier #1 Program aims to change the comics business, but is it really changing anything other than how the storytellers work? Part of the success of the trade paperback market over the years is that comic readers prefer a longer, more complete read than serial stories. If one title is very successful, the series can continue but with the kind of “hiatus” more common in television than print media.
What do you think? Do you prefer serial storytelling or do you want it all at once? Tell us in the comments below. Also, remember to share the article on social media so your friends can get in on the discussion.
Image courtesy of a A Wave Blue World, via Facebook
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.