Thursday, November 17, 2005

Interesting Marketing Decisions

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usYears ago, in 1986, there was a comic book. Technically it was an underground, I suppose: Today it would be called "independent". It was as poor a fit next to Robert Crumb as it would have been next to Jack Kirby. Then, as now, there was really nothing quite like it.

It was called Omaha the Cat Dancer. It was published first by Kitchen Sink, later by Fantagraphics, written by Kate Worley and drawn by Reed Waller. I was never able to find it regularly, and the story was far too involved to follow intermittently, so I never found out what happened. In fact, nobody has ever found out, since the comic ceased publication with its creators' divorce. In recent years, there was some talk of actually completing the story, but Worley died of cancer in 2004. Now, Worley's second husband, together with Waller, are planning to finally complete the story.

NBM has released "The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer, Volume 1", and plans to issue subsequent volumes quarterly.

(I'm prepared to overlook my pet peeve that a book called the "Complete" anything ought to be complete. "The Complete [something] Volume One" is a title begging for a punch line. In this case, the more appropriate title would have been "The COLLECTED Omaha".)

One has to ask, though, where they expect to sell the book. The cover can't be displayed openly in most retail stores. (C'mon, Publix even hides Cosmopolitan.) Comic book shops are struggling to convince parents that they are not dens of iniquity, but safe and acceptable places to allow children to shop and play Yu-Gi-Oh on Saturday mornings.

Admittedly, the content is adult, being full of hot, furry, anthropomorphic sex, and it says "Adults Only" on the cover. But never in its years of "underground" newsstand life did Omaha appear stark full-frontal naked on the cover, as she does on The Complete Omaha, Volume 1 (and will on Volume 2). This book should have been shelved next to "Maus" and "American Splendor", and instead it's going to be put under the counter next to "Xxxenophile". And only those lucky people who know to ask for it are going to see it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because it's more important to show your peers how cutting-edge and 'adult' you are than to -- y'know -- reach an audience?

Where have I heard this before?

Recently? :)