Friday, May 15, 2009

The world needs tiki space pirates

This is old news to those of you who follow the comics industry, but since I just mentioned "the current climate" and Diamond's reservation about carrying risky titles, I figure this is as good a time as any to lament another, higher profile casualty of Diamond's current policy.

I gave Warlord of Io five out of five tiki pirates on Robot 6. By sheer coincidence, the very next day publisher SLG announced:
If you are one of the many people who love the work of Rex Libris creator James Turner, then you were probably waiting anxiously for his newest creation Warlords of IO and Other Stories.

While that comic has been released to great reviews from both readers and online critics, the sales to comic shops were, well, less than spectacular. As a result our comics distributor has declined to carry the follow-up mini-series Warlords of IO, which continues the story from last month's one-shot.

But, do not despair, Turner is continuing to work on new IO material and we will be releasing the comics as downloadable PDFs. The first issue of the IO mini-series, which was scheduled for August, is available at the SLG store for a mere 99 cents. We have also uploaded the one shot for your digital purchasing pleasure for a lousy $1.49!

Lipstick on a pig? We prefer to think of it as another step in the eventual path of comics publishing.
Since then, SLG's Editor-in-Chief Jennifer de Guzman and President Dan Vado have both talked further about the situation and seem resigned to the idea that this is just the current way that doing business in the Direct Market (ie, comics specialty shops) goes. They're rolling with the punch and figuring out other ways to get the comic out. Which is good for them and for me the reader, but it sucks that I won't also get to support my local comics shop in the process.

Warlord of Io's creator James Turner also hasn't been quiet about all this. Unfortunately, what he has to say isn't good news at all:
I hope to finish the current storyline. I had hoped to do additional material after the end of the first arc, but that's really up in the air now.

I'm not sure if I'll try any new projects after finishing Warlord. I had Rex Libris cancelled and now Warlord has been axed before it really even started. Maybe it's time to stop and reconsider things.
It sounds like he's not made up his mind yet, so there's reason to hope. And I certainly am. I just hate that such a talented cartoonist has reached the point that he feels there's no market for his work. Time to go buy me a PDF.

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