If you haven't heard, DC Comics recently announced the cancellation of their Minx imprint. Having purchased every single one of the Minx titles, you can imagine I was a little disappointed. Yes, I know the imprint was intended for the YA demographic. No, I'm not a teenage girl, but I'm always interested in reading new stuff. Okay? If my bookshelf can contain Deathnote, Strangers In Paradise, Concrete, Scott Pilgrim, Queen & Country, Fantastic Four, Watchman, Street Angel, Hellboy, Cerebus, Walking Dead, Bone, Maus, Black Hole, From Hell, New X-Men, Blankets, Epileptic, Babysitters Club, and Buddha -- surely, there is space for Minx.
I've read numerous opinions on the fate of Minx. And as usual, Jennifer de Guzman is the smartest person in the room. (read her report)
I particularly enjoyed her wry summation of the book industry:
"Traditional publishing is a confusing mass of former small publishers (which worked rather the way independent comics publishers do now) that were encompassed by larger ones and then by larger ones until publishers were bloated, sprawling citadels and suburbs with no defining vision, populated with new CEOs who have never worked in publishing, disaffected and dread-filled editors, chummy agents, superstar and attempts-at-the-next-big-thing authors who receive mind-boggling advances, writers whose talent aren’t enough to get them book deals because all the money was used up on advances for other authors, and the very occasional author who finds success and can make it stick. And they’re all a little nervous about their futures."
"And consider this -- shelf space isn’t just a matter of the bookstore chains’ systems of categorization; prominent placement is also for sale: Kachka writes in his article, 'Publishers also pay for placement in big bookstores, which they call ‘co-op,’ under a complicated arrangement meant to cover up the fact that it’s payola (or, as some call it, extortion).' I won’t speculate about whether DC paid for prominent placement for Minx and what the potential answers to that question say about why the imprint 'failed.' (I don’t think it actually did fail; Minx was not around long enough to fail or succeed.) I am interested in this detail because it reveals that the bookstore system is much different from the one comics publishers are used to. If we offered money to comic book store owners for prominent placement, it might be called bribery. If they asked for us to pay in order to get good placement in their stores, our sense of ethics might balk."
I doubt anyone believes that Minx's untimely demise heralds the end of YA graphic novels. The market is there, and comic books are fun as hell. It's chocolate and peanut butter. The two belong together, and they will be -- just not with the Minx logo.