Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Where We ARE

Dave Sim:

I'm pleased to announce that, for the first time since 2009, ALL of the CEREBUS trade paperbacks are in stock and available for retailers from Diamond Comic Distributors now that READS has officially shipped.

That might not be true by later this week because Diamond has only a "skeleton quantity" of volume 13 GOING HOME -- the 17 copies that we had in stock.  For some reason GOING HOME got dropped from the Star System without Diamond or myself noticing some time back.  I just inferred that they weren't selling very many and didn't need any.  And inventory shell-shock is SOP around here.  The amount of dodging and weaving and scrambling for short yardage that was required to get CEREBUS, HIGH SOCIETY and CHURCH & STATE I and READS back in print in a little over a year meant that I spent most of my time just hoping that those were the only problems we were facing.  When the GOING HOME situation presented itself in the middle of the READS printing, it meant more dodging and weaving and scrambling for short yardage.  Instead of CEREBUS V1 being the next book printed and JAKA'S STORY the next book to be remastered GOING HOME became the next book in both categories.

Diamond and A-V are trying to keep everything as simple as possible, so the basic program is: if it's CEREBUS or HIGH SOCIETY, they'll take a 3,000 or 3,500 copy print run at a time and I give them extended payment terms.  If it's any other book, they'll take 2,000 copies on the same terms.  The situation we're in right now is that GOING HOME is the next book, but only if they don't run out of CEREBUS V1 first.  It's like the bases loaded in baseball.  Whatever happens your first option is the throw to home.  So, we're watching the V1 quantities like hawks and Tim L. and I will have the GO/ NO GO discussion early in August.  I'm guessing CEREBUS will hold and GOING HOME is GO.  But a lot can happen in a month.

We're BOTH relieved that we're at or near the point where all the trades are available.  Obviously, if you don't have volume 13, your odds of selling volume 14, 15 and 16 are greatly diminished.

Where We ARE part II is that I'm writing the commentaries for the CAN5 Kickstarter right now: Who was Jaka based on? As thoroughly as possible.  It's going to be a bare bones campaign now that Sandeep has taken over for John Funk.  What we want to figure out is

a) how many CAN5 portfolios we sell without the EXTREMELY time-consuming labour intensive Bonus Prints

b) what revenue that generates

c) how many Kickstarters we can do in a year before we hit maximum capacity with our Pledge Partners

c) has been impossible to determine because of the AVERAGE six-month lag between the end of the campaign and delivery of the Pledge items.  Sandeep is a "down to business" guy.  Told him Monday that we needed all of the GOING HOME negatives cut off of the flats and by Tuesday he was most of the way through.  He -- and I -- have pretty much no idea what he's going to be doing on any day that he comes in.  But the focus is always on: what's going to generate revenue in the near term as opposed to "pie in the sky" plans.  We HAVE "pie in the sky" plans but mostly we have to keep money coming in to continue to finance the restoration work, the printing bills and basic overhead (including Sandeep's starvation wages and my non-existent wages: I haven't paid myself since the beginning of May because the money just isn't there).  It's definitely Mission: Impossible but, so far,  it IS working.  Sandeep's next thing is producing the DIA (Diamond edition) of CAN4 and then posting the CAN5 Kickstarter, both of which are (God willing) going to generate revenues 30-to-45 days from now.

I say all this as preamble to "Unlikely the Hardcover" in the hopes that all of you will understand that we are operating on a small to non-existent margin between the restoration work and getting/keeping the trade paperbacks in print and keeping up with CEREBUS IN HELL?  (Thanks to all six people who have volunteered to "try out"! That's a HUGE help, poentially).  In order to keep going, everything needs to run like a well-oiled machine.  A CEREBUS Volume One hardcover is definitely in the "pie in the sky" category until I see actual numbers (and see how many question marks there are where we need solid numbers) and DEFINITELY depends on how Diamond looks at it since Diamond is basically financing the restoration work and getting and keeping the books in print.

"Unlikely the Hardcover" just looks like an invitation for me to blindside Diamond while giving all or most of the money to printers, bookbinders, Canada Post, an unnamed packaging outfit (ARE there packaging outfits who did single orders as a matter of course?) and an unnamed box manufacturer.

Feel free to discuss this amongst yourselves.  I need to get back to work on CAN5.



Jason Penney said...

I'm OK with there being no Bonus Prints with CAN5. I mean, I like them, and I even have some of them framed and hanging up, but I'm still going to support the project without them.

With the switch from John to Sandeep will we still be able to keep our reserved numbers?

Also, I do still have a credit from when I pledged for a CAN3 head sketch. I had been only using it for add-ons so as to not impact any calculations Dave had done around X portfolios = Y dollars coming in. For my part, if it's a hassle to continue to track it, I'm happy to just let it go, but I'm not sure if I'm the only one in this situation or not.

crazyyears said...

I like the bonus prints and was under the possibly incorrect assumtion that the revenue provided by them was considersble. However I'll still pledge for a bare bones portfolio. I'm glad for the opportunity to help fund the restoration progress.
--- Michael Hunt

Scott Laz said...

I'm happy to continue purchasing the portfolios three or four times a year (I think that was the pace originally proposed), or possibly a little faster to make up for the bonus print reduction. The bonus prints were nice, but also a bit of a hassle to figure out and order. (Nothing compared to what it must have taken to print, stamp, sign, and sort them, of course.)

And as far as the remastered books go, I can't see spending much extra for a hardcover. A durable softcover binding is fine; what matters to me is getting access to the remastered books as quickly as possible!

d james said...

Personally I would like to see Cerebus in a hardcover format.
I work with one of the best printers in Asia which specializes in art books.
I have several books in the works including a museum catalog.
One book as an example is 4 color, 144 pages, heavy coated art paper, hardcover with cloth and printed dust jacket. For 2,500 copies it's 5.84 per book including freight from Hong Kong.
Cerebus would be 1 color, thinner paper and a higher print run which would bring the unit cost down a great deal. The higher page count might not add that much per unit.

An alternative might be to break down the series into more volumes, perhaps 10 issues and some bonus material per book. A 30 volume "Cerebus Library" isn't a bad idea. You get more readers into the series with a lower retail price in a higher quality collection.

Didn't Will Eisner do something similar with the Spirit Archives?

d james said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Moment Of Cerebus said...

"I'm pleased to announce that, for the first time since 2009, ALL of the CEREBUS trade paperbacks are in stock and available for retailers from Diamond Comic Distributors now that READS has officially shipped."

If that's true, why is Page 45 listing 8 volumes as being unavailable right now? Based on what Stephen has said in the past, that's probably due to patchy distribution by Diamond in the UK. If so, that's very frustrating... and must led to lost sales. :-(

Sandeep Atwal said...

Yeah, I talked to Page 45...still Diamond but a completely different system. Frustrating since Diamond in the US has 490 copies of Vol. 8. But if it falls off Diamond's system in the UK, you can't even put in a re-order. And, if Page 45 can't get it, pretty much nobody in the UK or ROTW can get it since he's a bit of a global distributor. Annoying to say the least.

Travis Pelkie said..., is Reads going to be featured in the next issue of Previews? When Sean talked about Going Home being the next volume to be remastered, I misunderstood and thought Reads was being put on hold. I didn't realize it was printed.

If it is in the next Previews, I'll be putting in an order for it.

Paul Slade said...

Presumably those of us in the UK and ROTW could get round the Diamond UK problem by ordering copies of the missing books from a US or Canadian comics shop with a good mail-order operation? If so, a listing here of the shops willing to handle such orders might be worth considering.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

One minor thought: If Dave "hasn't paid himself since May", who's been buying his groceries? His corporation? He's asking for an audit.

-- Damian

al roney said...

I LOVE the bonus prints and would be sad to see them go.

In fact, I rarely frame and hang the basic page prints, but my walls are covered with the bonus prints (and a bunch of Gerhard's stuff too).

That said, I'm still in for CAN 5, 6, 7 and so on Bonus prints or not.

Jeff Seiler said...

Paul, to answer your question, "Yes!".

I highly recommend Menachem Luchin, in New York (although I'm blanking on the store name just now). When I ordered a remastered volume from him, it arrived damaged by the postal service. I called his store, he answered, I told him about it and said I could send the book back. He said, no, no need for that, and told me he would personally package a replacement copy and expedite it, at no charge.

Somebody wanna post the name of the store? You know, for good old Paul and the ROTW?

Jeff Seiler said...

Damian--Just because Dave hasn't paid himself his usual $1,200 Canadian for a month or two, that doesn't mean he doesn't have reserves in his personal account, with which to buy groceries. Plus, nearly all of June and most of the first week of July was taken up by Ramadan, during which Dave fasted, as usual. And, he probably still fasts nine out of every ten days, as he has done for some time--years. So, I think it's safe to say that his daily meals of a can of tuna, jalapeno cole slaw, and canned pineapple (all consumed after sunset and before sunrise) are not exactly breaking the bank.

Don't stir up trouble where there is none.

Jimmy Gownley said...

Menachem's store is Escape Pod Comics. He hosted me for a Free Comic Book Day signing two years back. Great store. Great guy. HUGE Cerebus fan.