Over at the soon-to-close Engine (and reaction to the announcement over there is surprisingly muted so far, but it has been less than an hour… Me, I’ll be sad to see it go, because it could be a great place to learn), Warren Ellis suggests an interesting experiment:
Every month, Diamond releases its much-read, much-discussed, much-loathed Top 300 chart, a deeply flawed piece of business that purports to list the real sales of the 300 most-ordered comics of the month.
This chart, naturally enough, has its top third dominated by Marvel and DC, with Image and Dark Horse getting a look in. Due to this, indie and/or non-superhero stuff tends not to get discussed, except in a “oh shit it’s all not selling” kind of way.
To dig out one of last year’s memes: imagine a “New Mainstream” Top 100. For no other reason than to make the point and change the frame of the discussion a little, in full knowledge of all the idea’s flaws.
Strip out everything from Marvel except the Icon label, maybe. Strip out everything from DC except maybe Vertigo and maybe Wildstorm Signature. Strip out everything from Image except Image Central. (Yeah, superhero books will therefore fall into the mix, but fuckit.)
And once you’ve got the top 100 in order, strip out the sales numbers, just for the hell of it.
Maybe someone will get the time to do a few of those, just to see what they look like. JUst to see what the Direct Market end of the medium looks like if you strip out the dominating companies and material.
Dennis Culver does that very thing, and the results are interesting. Dark Horse rules the roost, with Dynamite not far behind – Licensed books being what the market wants when it doesn’t want superheroes, apparently. Later in the thread, Alex Cox posts the Rocketship Top 50 for June, and it’s an insight into one of the more high-profile “diverse” comic book stores…