Alterna Comics: “We’re #BringingBackNewsprint”
Alterna Comics is trying to draw in new readers with one of the oldest business tactics, lowering cost. I’m not mentioning prices, because that is a different issue. Alterna is lowering their costs by using cheaper paper, specifically newsprint. This has the dual effect of sparking nostalgia for those of us that get a kick out of the smell of newsprint. Newsprint also has a unique look that modern paper just doesn’t have. However, due to this reduced printing cost, Alterna’s cover prices are very noticeable for how low they are. Is it a good strategy? It is if the books are good.
Of course, if a book is good, it doesn’t matter how much it costs. I’ll buy a five dollar comic if the story is good, and the art matches its quality and the two mesh. If I drop $1.50 and the book is terrible and/or amateurish, then I won’t come back, no matter how low the price is. It really is that simple for me, and I imagine, to a great many people. A low cover price can also make it harder to pay the bills that have nothing to do with publishing a comic, such as promoting your books at shows, buying ad space in Previews, paying staff, and just keeping the lights on. Some of these can be fudged by things like working from a home office, but others just can’t. Do I think that going to newsprint can save 50% on production costs? It could, but it would seem very odd to me that if such savings were available, more small publishers wouldn’t avail themselves of it.
I’m intrigued and would love to hear more.
For right now, here is the press release from Alterna Comics. It should be noted, that we don’t even receive review copies of their books, so we get zero compensation from this article.
Alterna Comics is #BringingBackNewsprint
Debuting on May 3rd with issues priced at $1.50
Readers aren’t the only ones excited about our upcoming newsprint line — there’s a whole generation of comic creators that are thrilled to see their books looking just like the ones they grew up with. Alterna creators had this to say:
“For me, this is coming full circle. When I started doing my own comics we were in the era of the graphic novel so this format was going out of fashion. When I was growing up, all the comics I read were on newsprint and they looked, felt and even smelled a certain way, so this format will appeal to people like me! Big nostalgia factor! For others this line’s price point is pretty appealing too. I can’t wait to see my book printed like this.”
– JEREMY MASSIE (AMAZING AGE, ALL MY GHOSTS, THE DEADBEAT, BEE STING)
“When I first started collecting comics, they were printed on newsprint, and I fell in love with them. ‘Lilith Dark’ is largely a love letter to all the stuff I loved as a kid. Monster movies, He-Man cartoons, and comics. Now the book itself will embody that era. The thought of some kid picking up ‘Lilith Dark #1’ and falling in love with comics just like I did, is pretty cool!”
– CHARLES DOWD (LILITH DARK)
“I started reading comics as a kid when they were still common sights in supermarkets and gas stations. The selection wasn’t exactly expansive, but it was enough to start. This was after the days of newsprint, but the cover prices then were all around $1.25 and I’m thankful for that, since I wouldn’t have been able to explore enough to find the wheat among the chaff if they were any more expensive. I think it’s important for the industry to bring in new blood, and a big part of that is making sure there are affordable, quality starting points. I’m excited that new readers might be getting their first taste of comics with the Alterna newsprint line and that I can offer TRESPASSER for a price I wouldn’t think twice about paying.”
– JUSTIN M. RYAN (TRESPASSER)
“I got into comics later than most, so I never got to experience newsprint comics on the new release wall. My mom used to tell me stories about how my uncle would go to his local comic shop and pick up as many books as he could. This newsprint line allows reader to give books a chance. To go out of their way to experience an old school theme with new creators for a low price. As a fan of comics -–independent, mainstream, or whatever — it’s something I’m 100% behind and I wish was around when I started reading.”
– CODY ANDREW SOUSA (CROAK)
“For me the Alterna Newsprint line combines some very exciting possibilities. Firstly, I think the inexpensive cover price will find a lot of readers giving Alterna’s line up a shot. As a creator, that’s all I can ask. If I’ve done my job, the readership will follow and Peter has come up with a great way to make that a reality. Secondly, as a long time comic book reader I love the idea of picking up comics that feel like the books that first got me into comics. I find it very hard to pass up a comic with a $1-2 price. Hopefully I’m not the only one. Finally, I’m very proud of all the FUBAR PRESS graphic novels that we’ve published in partnership with Alterna over the years, but I’m thrilled to see MOTHER RUSSIA run on good old newsprint as a mini-series. I conceived the story as a pulpy WWII zombie book and now it will be so, not just thematically, but in the look and feel of the series. In my opinion nothing grows a readership or generates buzz like the comic book. I think both retailers and readers will really enjoy Alterna’s new line of pulp comics.”
– JEFF McCOMSEY (FUBAR, MOTHER RUSSIA)
“This newsprint line is just what the comic world needs right now. The nostalgic aspect will appeal to older fans and the low price point will bring in newer readers. It’s a win-win. We knew this was a perfect fit for “Amazing Age” since our book centers around a classic comic feel, while being accessible for anyone, age 6 to 106. We hope that old school silver age comic fans will find the fun in our book, printed on that good smelling newsprint, while the younger readers, who are gaining interest in comics thanks to all the movies and shows, will enjoy the retro feel to a fresh take on superheroes.”
– MATTHEW SMITH (AMAZING AGE, BEE STING)
“It’s so exciting that we can make comics like this again, comics that kids can also afford, enjoy, and follow. I’m excited for that to come back for my daughter’s generation. The fact that my book is a part of that is really special! There is nothing better than the smell of newsprint with comics all over it. I hope that more affordable, newsprint comics open people up to trying a larger variety of comics that experiment with styles, genres, and characters that we don’t get to see enough of in mainstream comics.”
– MICHAEL S. BRACCO (ADAM WRECK, NOVO, THE CREATORS)
MARCH PREVIEWS LINEUP
ADAM WRECK #1 of 3 – MAR171248
AMAZING AGE #1 of 5 – MAR171249
CROAK #1 of 3 – MAR171250
LILITH DARK #1 of 4 – MAR171251