Bill Cunningham -- the mad pulp bastard -- and his crew over at Pulp 2.0 are releasing a string of exciting products over the next few months. This week, they announced the release (digitally and physically) of THE MIRACLE SQUAD, a comic series that was originally published by Fantagraphics in 1987.
This is the first time that THE MIRACLE SQUAD has been sold in a collected edition, and the book provides a nice glimpse into the halcyon age of independent comic books. During the 1980s, direct comic book stores were on the rise and so were quality independent titles.
It was an exciting time to be a fan of comics, a time when the medium itself was in transition as it adapted to new business models (the "death" of newstand and the birth of "direct sales" which allowed greater access to customers and greater interaction with customers) and new technologies (more sophisticated printing techniques, better paper).
In many ways, it was a period like today. The market is once again becoming more consumer driven as creators become less dependent on retail stores to give them direct access to consumers, just as the direct market allowed companies to target a market more accurately than convenience stores, supermarkets, and newstands. Bill, and the folks at Pulp 2.0, understand this market change isn't "coming," it's here. There upcoming line of books seeks to demonstrate that not only is the new market capable of allowing companies to profit with new offerings, but that it allows a unique opportunity to make sure that no product ever goes out of print again. Let me say that one more time.
The new publishing market provides a unique opportunity to make sure that no product ever goes out of print again!
This means that publishers big and small, and creators have opportunities to generate revenue that were before unimaginable.
Enough about the market, how exciting it is, and how smart Bill is about this topic. Let's get to the real issue being discussed here, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes.
This December, Pulp 2.0 will be releasing a 25th anniversary collected edition of SCARLET IN GASLIGHT by Martin Powell and Seppo Makinen. The series collected in the 25th anniversary edition has been praised in the Washington Post -- of all places -- and is a highly entertaining read. Rumor has it that Bill has licensed additional books in the series as well. SCARLET IN GASLIGHT was published by the now defunct Eclipse Comics (publishers of MIRACLEMAN, THE ROCKETEER, and SCOUT) presents a confrontation between two of the most iconic figures in literature, Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula. In 2011, this is a pretty common mashup idea, but Powell and Makinen execute the idea very successfully.
I cannot wait to see how the Pulp 2.0 crew have packaged this edition. I'm sure to buy it in print and digitally!