HSMP why we fight
Why We Fight!
The Back to Basics approach rides again!
Aloha! Lets face it, the industry is facing some mighty tough times; advertising down, marketing, production and transport/shipping all up. Right now, virtual editions and print on demand are the way to go for a lot of smaller publishers, and even larger ones are recycling material as traditional sales venues come under pressure. We're launching Lime Media Hawaii Presents with ebook and print on demand versions because we want to get back to old school basic comics that were fun to read and put a sense of wonder back into readers hearts.
For too long now there have been a mature readers streak running through comics that alienates would be readers with foul language, violence and sexualized depictions or content. Older characters are unrecognizable, and their heart and wonder are trampled under poor story telling and a lack of appreciation for iconic characters. We're going back to basics with a solid general audience book that emphasizes story telling, and limits violence and other offensive material without sacrificing quality and the wonder a good tale brings.
Comic formats can also be adjusted to make it easier for readers to find and cheaper to buy titles. for example, our original concept for our old flagship title was to be very different from todays version, and there were important reasons for this.
Lime Media Hawaii was to launch a "new" type of product to give readers a helping hand in this bad economy, a newsprint tabloid comic that was to be simple & inexpensive to make, and it would be priced VERY reasonably! These super cheap comics that could go for as little as 75 cents an issue and support many worthy local creators! Examples of similar titles are:
The Spirit Section (1940-1952 Monthly US Newspaper Comic Book Insert Supplement, created to allow newspapers compete with the late 30's comic book boom caused by Superman/ Batman etc) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_(comics)
2000 AD( Weekly English (UK) Newspaper Tabloid Comic, begun in 1977, 32+ yrs and over 1600+ issues : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_AD_(comics)
Shonen Jump (Weekly Japanese Newsprint Anthology Comic 20+ years, and now a Monthly US Comic Magazine): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shonen_Jump_(magazine)
We got a very strong consumer response for HSMP's prototype at the Kawaii Kon Anime con and the Hawaii Entertainment Expo here in town. (It helped we can keep costs down to as little as 75 cents a book, less than a can of Coke)
Dirt cheap comic books like these we feel will revitalize the comic industry, and draw new regular readers to our hobby... every bit as much as print on demand and digital ebook versions do now. We want to move comics out of their collectible bind and make easy to find good cheap fun comic books for readers young and old again, no matter what format they're in!!!
So...What happened to "regular" comics?
Gimmicks and disasters aside, they niched themselves out of a LOT of potential readers. Due to a new "fast money" marketing model, which the industry adopted due to a near collapse from falling sales, increased production costs and reduced distribution, traditional comics started losing the mainstream in the late 70's: DC & Marvel began using a "direct sales" distribution model that substantially cut production costs as they knew in advance how many comic books to print, and that the issues were also to be paid for in advance! (The old "Standard" wholesale/consignment distribution model was blind ship X number of issues, and find out 3 months later how many sold and how many were "unsold & destroyed" by retailers to get credit back from the shops distributor.)
The "direct sales" distribution method greatly speeded up cash flow, lowered some production and shipping costs, and improved publisher's response time to regional sales fluctuations. The drawback to this new policy, which helped give rise to "comics specialty retailers" as a byproduct (most small retailers declined to pay up front for books as the old model was way easier on the wallet), also gave consumers the perception that "newsstand" copies were inferior to their gimmicky "direct sale" cousins. (Identical content notwithstanding)
This lack of willingness to pay upfront for once "free" books, and the newsstand "inferiority complex" was the icing on the cake for the industry's distribution woes. This change eliminated the once common "spinner racks" of comics at many general retailers kids went to (like drug stores, supermarkets, candy stores, discount stores etc), which helped, in an unexpected twist, to put the industry in it's current bind.
Soon the vast majority of orders came from comics specialty retailers, primarily collectible dealers. The number of comic distributors imploded when "comic specialty shops" and collectible comic dealers contracted sharply in the late 80's - mid 90's from over 10,000 to approx 3000-2500, the industry got a wake up call.
They hit "snooze" and rolled over again. Comic's have niched themselves as a COLLECTIBLE over those last 3 decades. hiding in dwindling specialty shops, not out there easily found by kids and older folks as broad based good cheap fun. Consumers for 3+ generations have been conditioned to see comics in this light. While their print quality has NEVER been higher, the typical comic now runs $4.00 & up, and this keeps many good titles from readers hands. The current economic downturn does not bode well, especially for smaller distributors, and small press comic publishers, and will almost surely result in further erosion of the number of comics retailers and expansion of cheaper online venues.
New ideas, (or redoing old ones) are called for. Innovation is a necessity at a time like this, and it's time we make Comics good cheap fun again!!
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