Ilan Strasser of Fat Moose Comics and Games in Whippany, New Jersey saw the news on the launch of new publisher Kandora's first titles (see 'Kandora Publishing Announces First Titles') and shares his opinion on the pricing of the new line and comic publisher launches in general:


I haven't written in a while, but the announcement of a new publisher has me thinking about why new comics publishers set themselves up for failure, often before releasing their first title.  Kandora Publishing has announced that its first book, Barbarrosa and the Lost Corsairs, will retail for $3.50.  I will not be ordering this book -- quality is not an issue.


The lost and lamented books of CrossGen were terrific for the most part and didn't sell well overall, even with hyperactive publisher marketing and in-store retailer support.  CrossGen made a multitude of mistakes.  Among them were (1) the publication of too many titles, especially after an initial promise that the company would not over-expand, (2) the break up and diversification of what was promised to be a cohesive universe, and (3) most importantly, a cover price for new books of $2.95 in an already glutted marketplace.


It did not help CrossGen that they were trying to compete against Marvel and DC.  Perhaps CrossGen lasted as long as they did, all their other mistakes aside, because the Big Two only started seriously bloating their title output about a year ago, a time by which CrossGen already had enough other problems that the company's demise was beginning to come into focus.


Kandora Publishing is now attempting to enter the comics market at a time when Marvel and DC are constantly introducing new series (if not new characters) in an effort to maintain their stranglehold on market share.  Yesterday was new comics day (December 1st).  On Wednesday, I had 10 people give back the 25 cent issue of Hunter Killer.  A new book with both a popular writer and a popular artist on board, yet 10 people didn't want to try the book even for one measly quarter.  What chance does a publisher have when it offers four new books at a price of $3.50 each?


The economic realities of the times, coupled with self-serving publisher policy, a mixture of customer apathy and frugality, and retailer concerns about the dichotomy between increasing cover prices and decreasing customer bases will make it impossible for anyone new to survive.


The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial staff of