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Asshattery, and so forth: Hibbs burbles some

Brian Hibbs

Like Jeff said, you being active in some way really DOES matter — whether it is giving us a buck, or even just posting to the comments threads, it keeps us going knowing that people ARE interested.

So, since like 25% of the people posting in the shipping list thread asked, let’s talk about Asshats.

I like that word, because it’s really only sort of a swear — it sounds dirtier than it really is, I think, because for me it really is more about idiocy than anything else. After all, who needs a hat for one’s ass? It would quickly fall off!

(Mechanical) things are the way that they are in the DM for what are usually actually very very sound reasons. That’s not to suggest or imply that the DM is perfect, or that there aren’t 47 different things that go wrong in the execution, but when you look at the underlying principles behind, say, the solicitation process, they evolved into what they are because they work for the participants of the DM.

There’s a reason, for example, that books generally ship monthly — much slower than that, and the audience is much more prone to drift; much less than that, and the audience gets confused whether they’ve bought an issue or not.

Honestly! *one* of the (many) reasons we put in a POS system was that we get asked “did I buy this already?” quite a bit. MOST comics readers don’t come in weekly. MOST don’t have a pull list. MOST don’t read the news sites. MOST aren’t totally-organized in their collecting, making themselves lists or whatever.

So, for me, screwing with how-the-customer-buys is just an idiotic thing to do. And that makes you an Asshat.

There’s no way I’m going to do this every week — because there’s weeks where no one was especially egregious, or there’s nothing meaningful to say, or there’s some really valid other reason. But sometimes you get some pretty obvious boners, and it’s worth handing out the Award for Auspicious Asshattery.

There’s even TWO this week!

AAA #1 goes to LOCAL #10. Holy, frickin’ cow, this book was supposed to ship in NOVEMBER 2006. Nine months late? Are you insane? And you have the AUDACITY to not resolicit? I deeply deeply love much of what Oni puts out, but they have some of the sloppiest shipping schedules in the business. Listen: freakin’ AVATAR is a more-likely-to-hit-their-shipdates publisher these days (Avatar has, to their credit, seemed to have mostly solved their shipping problems)

AAA #2 goes to an old friend of Asshattery: Robert Kirkman and WALKING DEAD #41. Dude, #40 came out LAST FUCKING WEEK. Double-you-tee-eff? Man, am I going to be swimming in “did I buy this?” questions for the next few weeks! I repeat: MOST comics customers don’t come in weekly. Don’t undercut your own sales. What’s funny is that I believe that if WALKING DEAD shipped on an old-school schedule, like how I know that some of you could remember the days when you could set your clocks by comics — BATMAN came out the second week of the month without fail, or whatever — anyway, if I could tell people, “yeah, WD comes out the last week of the month, guaranteed”, we’d be selling 30% more copies just like that. WD would be a top *50* comic, y’know? And the ironic thing is that I tend to suspect that with the freakish exception of MARVEL ZOMBIES, as a creator-owned book under the Image deal, Kirkman pretty much has to be making more money off of WD than any of his page-rate Marvel work.

What really makes this harder for me is that I GENUINELY like WALKING DEAD. There may be sequences I hate (like the rape stuff), but over all this is pretty much certainly Image’s strongest and most consistent book. If I had written reviews last week (ah, sorry, sorry, it was order form week with a new computer system, and new hybrid method of taking orders!), I would have given #40 an “Excellent”, full of wonderful and vivid characterization.

Which brings me to a special Award for Auspicious Asshattery: Diamond comics for shorting me 2/3rds of my order of WALKING DEAD #41, so I can’t even fill subs, let alone have copies for the rack. Though, actually, this sorta works in my favor, because now it will look to most of my customers as though there were two weeks between issues. Hmmmmm…..

(Robert Kirkman is now allowed to make the “…and such small portions!” joke in the comment section, if he feels like it; and I will be obligated to say something self-deprecating in return)


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