Monday, September 10, 2007

New from IDW

I braved the CBD yesterday, despite APEC; the call of two fresh Star Trek comics, that had arrived late on Friday, was just toooo much. The new Klingon title was finishing up the "Blood Will Tell" mini-series, and the other one was issue #2 of "Year 4" (TOS).

The comics have a new IDW Publishing editor, whose first work will start to influence the line at the end of the year. There's an interview with Andrew Steven Harris right here.

Some fans are getting uppity about potential clashes with the Pocket novels, but the main reason that WildStorm had so many crossovers with Pocket Books was that the same known ST writers sought out projects with both publishers. IDW sounds like it already has its own pool of trusted comic writers. If a Pocket author wants to pitch to IDW I'm sure they be most welcome, but they'd be competing for spots like all the IDW teams.

The IDW policy of "multiple versions of cover art" concept is still causing me some grief, though. When the shops don't order double the copies they anticipate selling, not every customer will get the cover of their choice. It's driving me crazy! (I hope it is planned for all cover art to appear in the eventual graphic novel-style reprint volumes?)

I fully understand the "multiple versions" cover decision from a marketing standpoint but, living in Australia, where we work from a much smaller pool of collectors, here's the problem:

I used to collect "Xena: Warrior Princess" comics for a friend and he liked art covers, since the photo covers used well-known stills he already had in various magazines, video covers, collector cards, etc. I used to be able to specify "art cover" on my standing order. It made me glad I rarely had to worry about Star Trek comics doing the same marketing trick, although when Malibu did a few alternate covers. for its "Deep Space Nine" title, I treated myself to both versions!

But with IDW this year, I decided to use the same principle as my Xena friend: "Star Trek" art as my choice over photo covers, since the colour stills are quite common publicity shots.

Unfortunately, my comics dealer no longer guarantees I can have a choice of cover! There's no space on their new computer ordering system to specify alternate covers! Diamond Distribution catalogues say that the IDW Trek titles come in a 1:1 ratio, plus a few shop exclusives - which is very fair - but if the shop has over-ordered on one issue, they usually decrease the next few months of orders. When sales rise, the shop is caught short - and fewer collectors get to reject one (and buy the other) when they arrive to collect the order. If the shelf copies are already sold out before I arrive to collect my standing order, I'm right out of luck. And shop reorders also cannot specify art or photo choice.

The alternate, rare art covers from IDW are amazing! And what a waste that so few people get to see "Blood Will Tell" rare #1! A magnificent work of art so strictly limited in numbers! I did the happy dance on a recent trip to Brisbane, finding the rare Wesley art cover for "The Space Between" #5 - on special - to replace the Wesley photo cover I had to buy as a placeholder. It was very frustrating to own six comics where only one had the photo cover. (I wish I had room to buy all three/four covers of every issue!)

Luckily my Sydney comic shop refunded me on the Wesley photo cover this week, because two attempts to get art cover backorders had failed. Mind you, I'm probably buying all cover versions of the "Andorian Spotlight" special!

I'll review the new issues tomorrow.

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