Last weekend I was in North Las Vegas at a casino called the Texas Station. It was the second annual meeting of ComicsPro, the only trade organization for direct-market comic book retailers. Vijaya and I thought a couple of days in Sin City with the top comics retailers in the country would be worth the trip. And it was. We immediately learned that most retailers were sold out of RASL #1, and had been for weeks!
During the Cartoon Books presentation I announced that RASL #1 would be going back to press. The new printing, which will sport a new color logo (and a price on the cover of the book!) will be offered through Diamond soon. Our intitial orders for #1 were 20,000 and we printed an extra 4,000 which we blew through the first weekend.
I also learned that many comic shops were ordering the new color BONE books either directly from Scholastic, or from a book distributor like Baker & Taylor, which completely changes the picture I had about where BONE sales are coming from. I had thought the color books were mostly going through schools, bookfairs, and big box stores like Barnes & Noble, but now it looks like the direct market is a bigger part than I knew!
That was especially sweet news as I reported the newest sales figures of the color BONE books to date: 2,481,500. Now that only includes the first seven BONE color books, and does not include any of the black & white comics or tradebooks like the One Volume Edition, which alone has sold over a hundred thousand copies. Thank you, comic book stores!
After my Cartoon Books presentation we had a raffle for the 2-foot prototype of our new Bone plush which was won by Comix Experience's Brian Hibbs. The life size Bone plush is available in Previews this month. You can read Brian's report on the conference in this week's Tilting at Windmills.
Earlier, before the presentations began, Larry Marder and I compared notes. If you've been following the guest blogs about the early days of the self-publishing movement, you'll understand it when I say it felt like old times. Larry was officially there helping out Graffitti Designs, but he is better known for his Beanworld comics. You can check out his account of the weekend at his Beanworld Blog.
Charles Brownstein of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund gave a pretty rousing speech that included this declaration:
"This is the Golden Age that we’ve all been working for. The Golden Age of graphic novels. The Golden Age of comics media.
Were it not for Direct Market comics retailers, comics may well
have joined vaudeville and radio drama as once great but wholly
abandoned art forms. Because of your smarts, your risks and your passion we have achieved this Golden Age."
You can read the entire speech over on The Beat.
Also, we announced that I would auction off my only store signing this year to the ComicsPro member who best supported the CBLDF, more details to come.
All in all, it felt like a very good couple of days, and time well spent.