In his October 4th article, ‘Indie Comic Book Publishers Make Moves Toward TV and Film’, in the New York Times, Gregory Schmidt interviewed Ted Adams, the chief executive and publisher of IDW Publishing, and Mike Richardson, the chief executive and publisher of Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment. Both publishers categorized in the comic book industry as ‘indie’. The article discusses how IDW, Dark Horse and similar independent publishers are following in the footsteps of Marvel and DC by reimagining themselves as entertainment companies.
When Steven Spielberg (arguably the most successful film maker of all time) refers movies based on comic books as the new westerns (one of the most recognisable genres ever) who can blame them? And, at first glance, with the increased variety and competition, I can only see this as a good thing.
At the core of independent publisher’s challenge is that they don’t have a stable of comic book characters, superheroes [foot note 1] and supervillains etcetera, which are ingrained in pop culture. Nor, in my assessment, do they have an apparent desire to take the time to develop them to be so. Instead, they are attempting to mimic Marvel and DC and build up a portfolio of comic book characters. While Mike Richardson concedes that “We have to be a little lighter on our feet...” Dark Horse and other indie publishers fail to take advantage of the very manoeuvrability that being light on their feet affords them. Simply, find a niche, move into it and own it.
Instead of taking the time to nurture a property for other media they follow the same quick profit business model used by Marvel and DC and throw stuff against the wall until something finally sticks on the first go-around. “The Mask” yes, but “Barb Wire” not so much. This is an expensive tactic when parading unknown properties. The pockets of indie publishers aren’t nearly as deep as the big two. Rather than the shot gun approach they should become something more akin to snipers.
The Alexandra Forever project is doing just that. We are taking our time and staying focused. What distinguishes the project is that it is long term and there will only be a single story told across all forms of media. This is the nurturing process.
At a time of rebooted canon, this adherence to a single mythology, regardless of how the narrative is relayed, makes the project completely unique. An ambitious goal to be sure and, as you might imagine, one that requires a tale of epic proportions.
In its infancy, there’s not much that I can guarantee except that there will only ever be one coven, one Alexandra, one demon and one destiny.
Foot Note 1
Marvel and DC jointly hold a registered trademark for the word superhero and are very protective of it.
(FAQ article on the topic from Comic Book Resources.com)