Sunday, 25 August 2013

Print or Skint - part three, a penny for your thoughts, pocket edition

With the Hero Code now seemingly off it's extended "hiatus" I've been running some numbers for books through Printninja with this series in mind.

I really like the idea of making the books as low cost as possible - fun, disposable comic books with a yester-year feel.

For the series now I have the following books in various states (roughly in chronological order);

The Hero Code: Theatre of War (Prologue) - art by Agustin Calcagno. Line art is finished, needs colouring and final lettering.

interior art, by Agustin Calcagno
The Hero Code: Theatre of War (4 issue mini-series) - art by Gary Lister. Line art on issue one is 15 pages completed.

Hero Code Theatre of War issue one, art by Gary Lister
The Hero Code (ongoing - issues 1-5 arc The Menace of the Mannequin) - issue one completed (art by Jonathan Rector). Agustin is now taking over the art on following issues.

Hero Code issue one, cover art by Drew Johnson
The Hero Code (one-shot) - art by David Brame, issue completed.

Hero Code one shot, art by David Brame
That's a lot of issues, but it has always bothered me that they seem to be a series of false-starts rather than a clear narrative, something which I'm hoping I will address with a more consistent output.

I've always liked the idea of having the series go up as a web-series as well as a physical comic, perhaps with twice-weekly updates, and having the actual finished "issue" available as a digital download at the time that the pages start going up (read for free a page or two at a time, or buy a PDF to read at your own leisure, or a physical book at cons and via the online store).

But these posts are about printing endeavors, so I will stop the digressions for now.

The Hero Code Theatre of War Prologue issue was drawn at a different size than usual. I was toying with the idea of releasing it as a magazine sized one shot. I grew up in England, and am used to oversized comics and black and white reprints, so thought it might be fun to do.

The flip side of this is that I would have to either have the pages have a very large bleed, or crop them something rotten to get them to fit a standard comic book page - something I would rather not do.

Printninja does offer different sizes, which is great, so I ran the numbers of different sizes.

The artwork was done at A4 (8.3"x11.7" roughly).

I ran with the numbers with self cover, light weight gloss, 24 interior pages at 1000 and 1500.

A4 1000 - $1,598.46
A4 1500 - $1,859.84

Kind of decent prices if I do decide to go the bigger size, but I wanted to get the cover price down a lot.

A5 1000 - $958.63
A5 1500 - $1,084.80

Half the size of A4. Better, but still not too far from the cost of a standard comic book size. I decided to check some of the other smaller sizes, and had a look at 5.5"x7.75" (a kind of pocket size, and one which wouldn't need much cropping/resizing on the original art).

5.5"x7.75" 1000 - $610.87
5.5"x7.75" 1500 - $727.68

These prices are great - and would bring this book down to a fun cheap item to have at conventions (I could have a cover price of $2-$2.50 quite comfortably).

It also makes it a good add on item - perhaps a give away if people buy a certain other number of items, or a sketch cover of another book? Or even as part of a Hero Code taster pack (the one shot, the ongoing first issue, the mini-series first issue and the pocket prologue)?

It's also an all-ages book, so might be a good thing for younger readers to pick up at shows.


Dan Smif said...

Digest size is a winner!

Tyler James said...

I disagree.

Here's the thing...your core audience is going to be superhero and comic book fans.

Comic book fans (and specifically SUPER HERO comic book fans) are vary particular about their books.

Digest size signifies "lesser" and "disposable" to these types of fans.

I bet you would sell less copies of the Hero Code at a digest size for $2 than you would at full size for $4.

That said, it'll be interesting to see how Eric Larsen's "Digest sized" Savage Dragon #190 experiment works out. He released the issue simultaneously as a digest size AND as a regular sized book...although he recut all the pages for digest size, so that each full size page was spread out over about 1.5 digest pages.

Jamie Gambell said...

I'd love to hear how the SD Digest Sized issue went, too.

There is a definite sense that a lot of fans will be suspicious of something cheaper and smaller - the feeling that one creates ones own value, and lives or dies by it comes into play also.

I'm so back and forth on this, I get the impression that I may not make a final choice until the last moment.

I think I will do the prologue issue as a smaller size, and treat it as almost a give away item though.