T.C. Ford, Publisher of United Comics, saw Ilan Strasser's comments on Kandora's launch (see 'Ilan Strasser of Fat Moose on Kandora Launch') and shares the view from the publishers' side:
As an indy comics publisher reading Ilan Strasser's comments on the launch of the new Kandora line of books, I felt that I should put my two cents' worth in.
I do agree that these are difficult times to publish new comics in. But, truth to tell, when has there ever been a good time to publish new material? You hope that your material offers something to the market that's unique, and that it finds its fans. Sometimes it works, and you're the next 'surprise hit comic' that dealers under-ordered, with back issue prices going through the roof. Sometimes it doesn't... and then it's back to the drawing board (literally).
Not having read the Kandora material yet (I have seen art samples, however), the understanding I have is that they are trying to release 'genre-specific' material. I believe that the $3.50 cover price (for 32 pages of material vs. 22 pages of Marvel/DC product) reflects the reality that the sales aren't going to top the charts, because of the resistance of certain fans and retailers to new publishers entering the market. I believe that Kandora feels that Barbarossa will be embraced by 'genre-specific' readers displaced by the demise of Crossgen. These are people who may not necessarily read the output of Marvel, DC or Image. I don't think Kandora is trying to create a 'universe.' They are creating material outside of the capes and vengeful assassins that permeate the market currently, so the price won't be a deterrent for readers only interested in the type of material they can't currently find on the rack.
As for price, I've been in comic shops where fans complained about how they couldn't afford to buy 'all these new comics,' and then purchase a statue for $149.95. If they want an item, they'll find the money to pay for it. If it's not there in the store for them to discover in the first place, then of course the comics line will fail. It may be true that Hunter/Killer was put back, even at a quarter... but how many copies of Identity Crisis did you blow through at $3.95 a pop (first, second AND third prints)?
Having talked to a number of retailers throughout the U.S. over a period of time about comics prices (I had proposed a $1.95 comics project as a response to people complaining that comic prices were too high), it was told to me that a higher comic price was more profitable... and therefore more desirable than taking up the space with a product with a lower price point. I'm still waiting to see retailers and fans rally around the cheaper comics that are intermittently produced. THAT would send a message to every publisher.