24 November 2008

I Guess That Lady Can Have Her Trademark Back

A few weeks back, DC Comics announced it was folding its Minx imprint of graphic novels for teenage girls. Why, it seems like less than two years since DC issued the first books from this imprint--and indeed it was.

I collected a couple of responses from bloggers and other industry observers on Minx's end. Then I saw some more, and then some more, and they kept coming. Finally I found Good Comics for Kids' round-up of opinions, and decided to start by simply pointing to that.

So my first conclusion is that if the Internet is for porn, as Trekkie Monster declared in Avenue Q, and Wikipedia is for cataloging Japanese trading-card characters, then the blogosphere is for discussing comic books.

The de-Minxing reaction that struck me hardest at first came from former Borders employee Shannon Smith. While some observers said the books hadn't received enough marketing, Smith insisted that wasn't the problem.

I was an inventory manager at Borders during the time Minx was being hyped and when it rolled out and I can tell you lack of marketing was not an issue. It was the most marketed venture I saw during my 7 years with Borders other than the monthly marketing rolled out by manga publishers. (DC and Marvel don’t touch in a year the displays, shelve talkers, flyers, book marks, etc. etc. that manga publishers dump on bookstores in a week). . . .

As soon as the first boxes came in and I saw that the thin little books would be shelved in graphic novels I knew it was going to fail. The books are small YA format and are totally lost in the GN section. Plus, they just can’t compete with manga.

I tried. I created end caps for them but they were in the wrong part of the store. Could I have put them in YA? Sure. But it would have gone against the shelving code on the sticker and would have conflicted with the title look up computers so, no, not really an option.
Smith felt that the Minx titles needed to go among YA prose books, not on the comics shelf, and that Borders would have moved the books there if Random House had asked.

On the other hand, Valerie D'Orazio at Occasional Superheroine wrote:
As of two weeks ago, I saw Minx titles kept in the "teen novel" section of Barnes and Noble--some distance, perhaps a whole floor or two, away from the graphic novel section. Would there be that crossover readership from the teen novel crowd?
If that was a typical B&N, then the Minx books did get a shot in YA lit. And D'Orazio was wondering if they failed by being too far from the comics.

I guess I'd put myself in the group that suspects Minx died because of mediocre product. I liked The Re-Gifters, but wasn't bowled over by the line's flagship, The Plain Janes, and even less impressed by Clubbing--so guess which two of those titles were getting sequels? In addition, DC pulled the plug remarkably fast, which might indicate unrealistic expectations going in.

The winner in all this? I'd say Andrea Grant, who was publishing comics about a heroine she called Minx (and making appearances as that character) back when DC launched its imprint. There was a small legal contretemps. Now she's posting self-congratulatory comments, and I guess no one deserves them more.


Anonymous said...

Too bad. I was rather fond of "Good as Lily."

J. L. Bell said...

I think I've got a reading copy of Good as Lily around here. I may dig it out for old times.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teenager & I was really excited about the Minx imprint at first. I borrowed six of the books from the library, and I was very disappointed in the content itself. I think I only liked two of them (Confessions and Kimmie66), and I just finished reading the other four because they weren't very thick. I agree that there was no way that they could have compared to manga (they were shelved there in both the library and local Borders). Even though, I'm sad that the imprint is canceled.

Unknown said...

Where have I been?? I am PISSED that this girl-centric, art-positive imprint was abandoned by the publisher without much of a fight.

Compared to titles like Apocalipstix and Peach Girl, the Minx titles were funny and brainy. Maybe they should have marketed them to grownups.