OKAY, so one of my favorite cartoonists right now is Sammy Harkham, who you may or may not have met at this year's HeroesCon. I met him, and might as well have been meeting Farrah Fawcett, considering how nervous I was the whole time. I LOVE HIM! But besides being a studly cartoonist, Sammy also edits the preeminent anthology KRAMER'S ERGOT, six volumes of which have come out over the last 8-10 years or so.
THIS FALL WILL SEE the release of Kramer's Ergot #7, which will be published as a 16" x 21" massive tome for $125, filled with a laundry list of great creators, including Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Seth, Kevin Huizenga, Matt Groening, Jaime Hernandez, and a bajillion others. It's crazy. While the book will only be 96 pages--I know, I know, let me FINISH--it's all material created SPECIFICALLY to see print at this size, comparable to the size of old Sundays like Gasoline Alley, etc. This has NEVER BEEN DONE in comics before, and from all accounts some of the work is breathtaking. Imagine what someone with the graphic sense and careful pacing of Dan Clowes could do with a page over 4 times larger than a standard comic page. I'm getting sweaty just thinking about it, and I'm not even that big a Clowes fan. But I AM a big fan of comics, and the thought of pushing into this kind of territory is really exciting to me.
BUT NOT to everybody. A lot of people--maybe even YOU--are put off by the high price point and relatively low page count. Which is totally fine. There are a lot of books that are too expensive to buy at ANY price for some people. But the strange thing is that a lot of people have decided that they need to COMMENT on how expensive the book is, regardless of whether they care of not about what's in the book, whether they'd have EVER bought it, etc. Boring, I know; but on the Internet people have to talk-talk-talk, especially bloggers, even when they pretend to be objective and journalisty. Imagine needing to say something EVERY DAY to an audience you can't see. You can almost forgive these guys for their digital demagoguery.
I have been more vocal in this dumb debate than I normally would be, half because I find it childish for people to complain about art--ignoring art is the best defense against art you don't like. And half because I REALLY AM excited about this book, and want to stick up for it like you would for anything you like. And my excitement was only quadrupled a few days ago when Tom Spurgeon posted this excellent interview with Sammy Harkham about the book, the creators involved, et cetera, rather than flinging opinions out all willy-nilly with little more information than the size and cost of the book. But I'm a fan of Tom Spurgeon too, so maybe I'm just playing favorites.
SO, I say all this NOT to bring this cacophonous kerfuffle into our blog. I am uninterested in hearing what everyone thinks about expensive artsy books--I like the folksy neighborly vibe we have on this blog, and would prefer not to enter into some rejoinder war with anyone. So, if you'd like to be heard, please feel free to post on any of the threads I've linked to above.
THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THIS BOOK for me is all about the retail risk. Kramer's Ergot #7 will be available for much less than $125 on Amazon, possibly as low as $80--how in the world can we compete with that? While I intend to support the book by purchasing it here, I get a fat employee discount, so it's a wash. And while I'd love to order a bajillion, just to shut up the people who say that comic shops will never order such a pricey book, I'd have to defend to Shelton why I spent so much of his money (which is never in surplus anyway) on even a few of such a pricey book.
SO LET'S SAY (pending confirmation from the publisher of what our cost will be) that we offer the book to anyone who special orders it for an even $100. That's 20% off the retail price; a little more than it costs on Amazon, but we throw in the satisfaction of supporting your locally owned and operated comic shop for no additional charge. This will ONLY apply to people who special order the book by posting here or e-mailing me directly--other copies purchased in the store will be at regular price, although stuff like your reserve discount, etc., would still apply. If I don't know you, I may ask for some sort of confirmation, just so we don't end up with a stack of these things unsold if you change your mind later. If you're from out of town and would be mail-ordering the book, it's probably better if you order it directly from the publisher (Buenaventura Press), as it's an oversized package and would add too many weird costs for us.
ANY TAKERS? I really do think this is going to be one of the most talked-about and influential books of the DECADE, a historical event in comic book publishing. I CANNOT STOP USING CAPITAL LETTERS when talking about it.