Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

July 4, 2007

Thought Of The Day…

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 4:33 pm

From Dave Sim Collected Letters 2:

Excerpt from a letter to Mr. Renshaw, 11 June 04 (page 52).

There is an awful-seeming impenetrability to the comic-book field from the small press end of things that seems pretty well permanent. Even after twenty-six years and three hundred issues – most of them at or darned near to on schedule – Cerebus is still no closer to the core of the field than it was when it began. A major stumbling block is the sheer cacophony of voices – hundreds of self-publishing hatchlings all squawking for their little bit of earthworm. This, it seems to me, is no small problem. The squawking in itself is a major direct market irritant. “If you don’t support my book I’ll keep running my fingernails down this chalkboard” is not the most persuasive form of marketing known to man. It seems to me that one of the blessings from the retail standpoint with companies from the size of Drawn & Quarterly to the size of DC is that the squawking is kept in-house. No one actually hears the hatchlings. It’s the company’s job to feed them. The tip of the iceberg is the work itself and no one has to see any other part of it.

The small press tends to be too much like the homeless. You know you should help but there’s so darned many of them. Who knows where to begin and, once begun, who knows where to stop? I try to remind my own readers waiting in line for autographs at SPACE that there are few places on the face of the earth where you can do more good with a twenty-dollar bill than the small press area of a con or a Small Press Event itself. Likewise with a letter. The average business type, just with the length of e-mail he would ordinarily send about a pedestrian matter can get a small presser to make it that next painstaking quarter mile through the hatchling wasteland.

I think this is an astute observation, which has me thinking; if homelessness is an accurate analogy to the small press, then perhaps the way one who is homeless could work their way off the street is conceptually the same way a small press artist should work their way out of artist alley into the mainstream.

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