Jennifer de Guzman, editor-in-chief of Slave Labor Graphics, kicks off her new monthly column at Comic World News with a look at the recruitment of indie artists by DC Comics for its recently announced Minx imprint:
If you’re a follower of independent comics, you might have noticed some familiar names on the list of artists who are doing books for Minx: Andi Watson (lotsa stuff for SLG and Oni), Jim Rugg (Street Angel), Aaron Alexovich (Serenity Rose). There are other indie comics folks, too — Ross Campbell (Wet Moon), Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference and Other Stories) and Josh Howard (Dead@17). This is because, as Aaron put it at the bulletin board The Engine, “when [Minx editor] Shelly [Bond] was building the line, she specifically sought out people who were doing work that ALREADY appealed to girls.” The result of this savvy head-hunting is sort of a mini-migration of promising young artists out of independent comics.
This produces an unsettling feeling — in me, in any case. Independent publishers have taken the risks and done the work associated with introducing new talent, and in the end that work has amounted, in some cases, to us being a feeder for the “Big Two.” The consolation prize in all of this is something I’ve heard a few times already: If the Minx line does well, it can only mean better sales for these artists’ other work, right? Well, we certainly hope so, but we’re not counting on it. Independent artists working on DC or Marvel’s superhero comics, in my experience, almost never translates into sales for their indie work. There’s just no crossover audience there. However, the Minx line is targeted at teenage girls and in that market there is crossover appeal, just not with an audience particularly known for seeking out graphic novels that aren’t already stocked in the manga sections of big bookstores. So even if there are thousands of teenage girls who would love Serenity Rose or Wet Moon or Street Angel (and I’m sure there are), there is still the matter of reaching them.
More from de Guzman at the link. (She scores extra points for The Smiths-inspired column title.)