First webcomics get booted off Wikipedia, now this: Diamond has rejected three webcomic-related comic books that were planned for this year’s Free Comic Book Day. Johanna Draper Carlson has the scoop at Comics Worth Reading, and she interviews Keenspot Entertainment co-owner Chris Crosby about the decision.
Keenspot has been participating in FCBD since 2002. Crosby is also affiliated with ComicGenesis.com and Blatant Comics, both of which have also participated in years past. Blatant’s planned 2008 FCBD issue would have promoted a print graphic novel scheduled to come out this spring. Keenspot planned an anthology of its print comics, and ComicGenesis, which is a webcomics hosting site, was putting together an anthology of webcomics plus a how-to guide.
But no. According to Crosby, Diamond’s FCBD committee rejected all three titles on the grounds of â€œno core title being currently published, or the current books sales not warranting the FCBD promotional support.â€
One could argue that if the point of Free Comic Books Day is to promote print comics being sold in bricks-and-mortar stores, pushing webcomics would defeat the purpose. That argument deflates pretty quickly, though, when you consider that both Keenspot and Blatant publish print comics that are sold in comics stores. And as Crosby points out, the industry as a whole benefits when new people come in the door:
Most of our 3 million+ readers do not read print comic books, not including print collections of webcomics. Not because webcomics are free and webcomic readers are cheap (the fact that so many of us are making a living from our readerships is proof of that), but because they havenâ€™t yet been exposed to a print comic that interested them enough.
At the Icarus Comics blog (may be NSFW), publisher Simon Jones, who is a keen observer of comics retailing, has this to say:
The need for standards is a given, and as a retailer-initiated promotion, itâ€™s also rather understandable that the FCBD committee would be disinclined to support webcomics with their time and dollars. Yet Keenspot *does* publish print titles for the direct market, so Iâ€™m not sure how they can be excluded on this basis. (Should Marvel and DC also be cut from FCBD now that both companies have significantly expanded their online publishing presence? I canâ€™t imagine either not heavily touting their newfangled websites in their respective freebies.)
Then again, he adds, maybe they’re dissing Keenspot et al. because they’re small, not web-oriented. Feel better?