Friday, 2 December 2016

Cerebus In Hell? - Week 23

  CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
  CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com

20 comments:

Jeff Seiler said...

What about "it's all going to hell in a handbasket with littl pink ribbons on it"?

Jeff Seiler said...

I hate to piss in your porridge, guys, but in strip two, panel four, it should be "I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A MODERN MAJOR-GENERAL"? With qoutation marks and the full song title. From Pirates of Penzance.

Jeff Seiler said...

Er, quotation, not qoutation. Oops.

Jeff Seiler said...

Guys, I think Beelzebub is spinning in his grave.

Not to mention Sir William and Sir Arthur...

Sandeep Atwal said...

In this case, Cerebus isn't actually quoting the title of the the song itself, he's asking out loud if anyone has seen any model major-general as a thinly-veiled threat to reveal Satan's secret love of Gilbert & Sullivan. There's a sentence I never expected to write.

Sandeep Atwal said...

Shouldn't it be "little" pink ribbons?

Travis Pelkie said...

You can't expect Jeff to proof his own comments, Sandeep. He's too busy being pedantic and missing the joke! ;)

Nice group of strips again. Looking forward to the miniseries, and hopefully someday a big compilation book of ALL the CIH? strips.

A boy can dream, can't he?

Jeff Seiler said...

Sandeep--Yup. Stones and glass houses. I try to always reread my comments and fix them, but sometimes I don't. You got me!

Travis--I got the joke, overall; I just mistook it for quoting the song title. Mea culpa. And, for the record, Dave encouraged me to "proof" these strips. In case their ever reprinted.

Jeff Seiler said...

Er, "there", not "their".

Jeff Seiler said...

Ahem. "They're", not "there" or "their".

;)

Dave Sim said...

Best current thinking: stores tend to think "mini-series is done, time for the trade" so I think we're kind of obligated to "go with the flow" -- something roughly 100 pages, roughly 20 bucks. I did ask Matt on the phone, how big a book do you want? Between the mini-series and the online daily strips, we have enough for a good 300 (400?) page CEREBUS Volume 17, with 30 more a month (and we're done up to the end of February. He was going to get some feedback from other Diamond folk.

But, I do think -- every once in a while -- you really need to do things The Way They're Done. And, in the case of the comic-book field that means Finish Your Mini-Series; Do A Trade (but not until AFTER we actually GET issue 4). (Somebody actually did that. I forget who. Four issue mini-series and they shipped the trade before issue 4 came out).

Any retailers reading this, how big a gap do you want between #4 and the trade? And would you prefer a fat Volume 17 instead?

Michael A Battaglia said...

I think Jeff is making a strong argument for a Blogger "Post a Comment" editing function.

mike r said...

Hi Dave!
No lag time. Keep the Cerebus machine rolling. A big fat Cerebus trade is the way to go.


Continue doing the daily Cerebus in Hell?. When you start getting enough dailies then do another 4 issues of Cerebus in Hell? and then do another big fat Cerebus trade.

Michael Ragiel

Travis Pelkie said...

Well, not a retailer, but someone who's read a good deal about the current comics scene and marketing and such, so here's my 2 cents:

I don't think you want to do CIH? as Cerebus volume 17. For the most part, these are stand alone strips. While the intro strip from the zero issue isn't exactly the most in-depth recap of who Cerebus is and why he acts that way, I'm sure you can come up with some sort of précis of the series ("born an aardvark in a barbarian age, Cerebus thirsts for gold and grog, and has ended up in hell[?] after a series of bad decisions" or some such).

But the comics from the big 2 are coming out as waves and waves of #1s, perpetually. I think you go CIH? volume 1, not Cerebus v17.

Also, as these are comic strips, you probably want to go with titles, not necessarily volume numbers (although you can include them too). I'm thinking of the Calvin and Hobbes collections (Revenge of the Babysat, Scientific Progress Goes Boink?, etc) in particular but all the comic strips seem to collect with titles, not volume numbers. Consider that.

As to when to solicit a trade, I agree that finish your mini, go with the trade is a good idea.

I can't think of the example you're thinking of (that printed the trade before #4), but there have been several collections in recent years that bypass the final single issue or 2 in favor of a collection, as the single issues weren't profitable enough on their own. I know when collections were first being pushed by the big 2 (after you showed them it could be done, methinks), Sandman rushed the Doll's House trade to come out simultaneously with #16, from what I understand, and that led to a poor inking job from Malcolm Jones III (who got to redo it around '97, before his untimely passing).

As to when to solicit the trade (which I would say should include #0 and the mini, with perhaps a selection of other strips), you might consider taking a month off between #4 and the trade. Over where I blog, the Flippin' Through Previews feature that I co-write (new one coming soon!) has a regular commenter who looks at reviews around online and denounces those who solicit their trades before all the issues contained within are released. It's a running gag with us now that any trade that's solicited before all the issues are in stores gets flagged.

I suspect too that retailers will appreciate at least a month in between, so that they can gauge whether or not the sales are going to be there. If the singles are still sitting on their shelves, they aren't going to go for a book, but if there seems to be some buzz, or people saying they'll wait for the trade, or they sell through more than they thought, they'll be more inclined to order more. Having to decide, as a retailer, on trades of books before the single issues are out, has got to be a nightmare.

Also, I should point out, when I reviewed CIH? 0 (which, ahem, checking the google, appears to be the ONLY review of CIH? 0...), the one thing that I thought could improve was to publish in landscape rather than portrait (as in, I was turning my comic sideways, and page 2 was below page 3!). I'm hoping you guys are able to print that way without having to make expensive changes, and I think if you do that for the trade, people will dig it even more.

Man, this was a long one. Hope it'll publish in one part!

Travis Pelkie said...

Oh, yes, I'm thinking if you do go for the $20 4-5 issue trade, you eventually then do a Cerebus in Hell? phone book. Think of these trades as the "Swords of Cerebus in Hell?", if you will.

Bob said...

Definitely do not publish it as "Cerebus Volume 17". I don't know how fast v16 sells, but another comment you made suggests v5 sells about 100 copies a year through Diamond, and I assume you're hoping to do better than that, long term. A subtitle, plus an unobtrusive number on the spine or backcover. See Mignola's HELLBOY (and notice HELLBOY IN HELL is numbered apart from the original series).

Also agree that a format change could help. Either landscape, binding on the short side, like most strip reprint books, or printing two stacked on a page in a slightly larger book (european album format), keeping a standard comic page shape if not size, or moving the title, credits and tag from the left side to the bottom, keeping standard size, shape and binding with the phonebooks, so the book doesn't have to turned all the time, and it's more clear that the tag is read after the strip, not before.

Dave Sim said...

Thanks for the feedback! One of the things we're thinking about -- with an eye on how the sales drop between the issues -- is just a series of #1's. CEREBUS IN HELL? PRESENTS... and/or CEREBUS IN HELL? MEETS...with parody covers and a certain number of interior strips on that theme.

Other possibilities: doing a 3-issue mini-series through Image (if Eric Stephenson is still there and is interested). All of the retailers I talked to ordered 5 copies and when I asked them how many they would order if it had been published by Image they said 10. Image is THE home of creator-controlled titles in 2016 -- and has the advantage that you can leave and take your intellectual property with you.

Depends on 1) whether we can "hold" the ground we have 2) how quickly we have to retrench and 3) how far back we have to retrench. There are different ways to retrench, as well. Right now it's a 24-page comic for $4. We COULD cut that back to 16 pages AND put the price up just to stay in the game and hope the book catches on.

It already APPEARS to be catching on -- Diamond's been selling 100 a week of the extra 1,000 they
took. Sales on #1 of the mini-series should tell the tale. Or, at least, the next step.

Jeff Seiler said...

Dave, I'm gonna play the role of the nay-sayer, here, and advise you that a "series of #1's" is not a good idea, IMHO. I honestly think that it would look very, very cynical. I am (frankly) disgusted, and have been for years, by how the major companies keep putting out new Number Ones, with no regard for the fans who get as much enjoyment out of having, say, #563 as they do out of having, say, #5. There is much to be said for continuity--an ultimately complete run, for however long it runs.

I know and can attest to the fact that I had immense pleasure on that day in March of 2004, in holding Cerebus #300 in my hot little hands. As much pleasure as I would have in holding Cerebus #1, 2, and 3 in my hot little (sweaty) hands (except that you keep on refusing to sell them to me). Of course, I should also acknowledge that Cerebus was an anomaly, in the sense that it actually had a true beginning, middle, and END.

Having said that, I accede to the fact that younger comic book buyers (and speculators) pay out the wazoo for #1's, but not so much 2's and 3's. (Although, give me a shot at one of your Cerebus 2's or 3's, and just you see how deep into my wazoo I can go!)

So, there's my two cents' worth.

Also, as an aside, are you finished with IDW? I know they took forever to get the covers book out (and, once again, how incredible is that book!), but I think you did some great work with/through them.

And, as to Image, is Todd still there and what is the state of your relationship with him (if any), nowadays? It seemed a little fractious, back in the day (as the kids say). Especially when you tossed his baby...

So, that's me, just killing time before I start proofing the next volume...

Michael Grabowski said...

Given that CIH? is outside the canon and for the most part doesn't adhere to any kind of sequential story, "vol. 17" doesn't make much sense to me for a collected edition. I'd recommend the titled approach that Travis suggested, with maybe a number on the spine for the sake of keeping track if, God willing, there is enough interest and energy all around to keep it going for years on end.

Also, as much as I'd like to purchase CIH? on a monthly basis from my LCS for as long as Dave wants to keep it going, and would probably even buy the potential trades even if they had no new content, I hope this doesn't become a new headache and distraction from the real purpose: raising Cerebus awareness and support among retailers and readers so that the original series sees proper remastering. I wouldn't want to hear in future weekly updates that the cost of keeping CIH? trades in print is interfering with remastering Flight or something.

Dave Sim said...

We're definitely in a new situation with CIH? The worst-case scenario didn't happen: not enough orders to generate a purchase order. But we really don't know what the situation is quite yet, so we aren't making any hard and fast decisions about what we're doing with the strip and with the collected version of it until we have the actual numbers for #4 (sometime in March).

Jeff, personally, I agree with you and I think most comic book fans agree with you: they would rather read a series than a one-shot. Unfortunately, the specific dynamics of the Direct Market militate against it: in order to keep from getting swamped with comic books -- or, rather, to get LESS swamped with comic books -- the retailers have to cut dramatically from issue-to-issue. Except in the rare instance where there is demand that pushes them in the other direction. That's what happened with glamourpuss. The orders plummeted and then plummeted less sharply and then nearly levelled off but were still dropping slowly. Which is why CIH? is a four-issue mini-series with an issue #0 lead-in and two months of sales time to see if there's demand for it. The orders are still going to either plummet or drop or level off. When we see which one it is, we can make our next choices. But I learned my lesson with glamourpuss: you can't just keep putting books out on schedule and hope that will build an audience in itself.

All you're doing in that case is riding Into The Valley of Death, knowing how it ends up with the only open question being "How many issues?"

"Every issue a #1" is a possible way around that. Just doing a regular CIH? title isn't.