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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:








 

WHITHER MINX?

There’s no excuse for it, really. You don’t give up on a major publishing initiative after only eighteen months. Not when you make such a huge deal about how much marketing muscle you’re putting behind it. You re-evaluate after eighteen months, see where it’s working and where it needs to be improved, then make it better. But you don’t just throw up your hands and give up.

So what killed MINX? Ultimately, the books weren’t selling enough, but that doesn’t explain a failure. Did the books suck? No. I’ve bought every one of them released to date, because I believe in the idea that we need teen girls reading comics in order for the medium to thrive and succeed, and I put my money where my mouth is, and while some of the books didn’t work, there were a solid number that did. They had top-notch creators (Cecil Castellucci, Brian Wood, Andi Watson, Derek Kirk Kim, etc.). The stories generally had something to offer. So that wasn’t it.

Was it a failure to have them properly placed in the bookstores as I’ve seen postulated elsewhere? Possibly. If you want your audience to find them, you need to put the books in the most obvious place for them to be seen.

WAIT. Back up. Let’s go back to that previous sentence.

If you want your audience to find them, you need to put the books in the most obvious place for them to be seen.

For the MINX line, that wasn’t the comics shops. And in many cases, it probably wasn’t the bookstores, where they could be misshelved. So where should they have been?

The idea behind MINX was to create a graphic novel series for younger women, and the protagonists all fit that demographic. They weren’t the GOSSIP GIRL types, either. The MINX characters ranged from Goths to drama kids to introverts. They had nose rings, tattoos, and alt-haircuts. They weren’t listening to Top 40 radio. But when it came time to put the books into the hands of real-life girls like them: epic fail. Because they don’t necessarily go to comic shops. Or not even Borders, for that matter.

I was IMing with CWR’s Matt Maxwell about this and he had the two words I was looking for when trying to suss out my thoughts on this: HOT TOPIC.

Why wasn’t DC selling these books in HOT TOPIC? Or, for that matter, why not coffee shops? Independent bookstores near college campuses and high schools. WHY AREN’T WE TAKING THE COMICS TO THE PEOPLE?

They aren’t going to come to us. They just aren’t.

It isn’t just MINX, mind you. For instance, DC could expand Vertigo’s reach through head shops. Hell, SANDMAN is the gothiest comic ever; you’re telling me that a display combining Death’s ankh replicas and the collections featuring the character somewhere near the register in a HOT TOPIC wouldn’t be huge? I mean, there have already been initiatives like this. Rob Vollmar’s BLUESMAN was marketed to music stores. John Kovalic built his DORK TOWER audience through gaming shops and magazines, not comic shops.

As most of the pundits have already said, it always boils down to marketing. But just leaving it at that comes up short. It’s also about placement. To truly expand the market, we have to leave the comfy marketplace we’ve built and go sell where the customers are.

Turns out for MINX, that wasn’t the comic shop or the bookstore. Let’s learn from this and do better next time.

Marc Mason

 



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