Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mouse Guard Publisher Being Bought Out ... Next Move for the Filthy, Dirty Disease Carriers?

Many folks have been talking about how Archaia Studios Press is being bought out, leaving their current titles in semi-limbo. But until now, everyone has failed to mention that Archaia is the publisher of the runaway hit, Mouse Guard, which seems to be the only title from their roster that anyone even knows about. Christopher Butcher at comics212 rectifies that oversight—with prejudice!

I don’t know why everyone keeps going on about this “Archaia Studios Press” being bought out… I had thought it was the publisher of Publisher of Mouse Guard being bought out… Or at the least, The Publisher of Mouse Guard and they’ve got some good French licenses as well. I mean sure, The Publisher of Mouse Guard is publishing other books, and they’re all produced by nice-enough folks and there’s a general level of quality to the line which speaks well of managing editor Mark Smylie. But The Publisher of Mouse Guard publishes Mouse Guard, which is a phenomenally successful indy publishing story, possibly the best-selling indy comic of the past few years.
He also points out that the Mouse Guard collections (the big fat comics with spines) were printed by Random House's Villard imprint, and that everyone is going on and on about how great Archaia's contracts were for creators and the buyout publisher's contracts are probably only "industry standard" (read: serfdom).

The big question he has, is, isn't the world pretty much David Petersen's (the author of Mouse Guard) oyster at this point? Couldn't he go anywhere?

MY question, as someone who has only published on the book side, and not on the periodical side, is "Why not just go straight to graphic novels, and ignore all that weekly/monthly/whatever saddle-stitched world?" Is the money that good? ’Cause all reports about money for creators in the comic-book biz say the opposite.

If there are any traditional comic-book insiders out there (you DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, SLG types), I'd love to know if you think it's really worth it for an established creator to work inside the monthly direct market machine, rather than go straight to the 100+ page graphic novel stage.

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