Yup. Just got off the phone with Diamond and it’s official. They’re going to be carrying STRANGEWAYS: THE THIRSTY and re-offering STRANGEWAYS: MURDER MOON to a hungry public.
There’s the official cover. Had to change a few things, like black outlining on that text on the bottom to split it out from the background. Art, of course, by the inimitable Alex Sheikman, who’s also going to be doing a story for the next STRANGEWAYS book, THE LAND WILL KNOW.
Now if it seems as if I’m surprised, I have to admit that I am, just a little. Not because I think that the work isn’t worthy. Far from it. THE THIRSTY is, in many ways, a significant step up from MURDER MOON, at least on the writing end of things. The art is still great, though different, given the team of Gervasio and Jok. But the truth of it is, comics aren’t the same as when I offered MURDER MOON for distribution back in 2007 (though it didn’t come out until 2008). Belts are tighter all around. The PREVIEWS catalog is thinner, more people are launching off of webcomics and not single issues (which is a move that makes sense for a lot of reasons, though still, it’s hard to sell a digital comic at a show.) Threshold minimums are up and in general the landscape is that much drier and unforgiving, to use a westernish metaphor.
So it wouldn’t have surprised me in the slightest had Diamond decided to take a pass on it now. Still, I printed it up with a SKU/barcode on the chance that they’d eventually come to their senses. And honestly, I was ready to just sell the book at shows and hand sell to retailers and other backchannel operations. I’ve sold as many copies of MURDER MOON at shows as I have through Diamond. This is not a knock on them, but a reflection of the realities of the Direct Market and not being with a brokered publisher. Would it be nice to be up in the front of the catalog? Sure it would. But I’d be working just as hard to get the book into people’s hands as I’m going to be now. Like I said, realities.
Needless to say, there’s going to be more self-promotion ’round here for the foreseeable future. I’ll try to be a knowing guide and not a carny barker, but since I’m a natural introvert, it’ll likely be neither.
I’ll be working on a full press release once I get an actual date and code to point at. Unfortunately, even though it’s slated for November 2011 solicitation and January 2012 street date, I can’t get you the Diamond order code until just before that November PREVIEWS drops. In the meantime, it’s ashcan printing time. Need to figure out how much to show to retailers and how much to keep as a surprise. Gotta shake the hand and make the deal, as my friend Stan would say.