Apologies for raising this old chestnut again but does anyone know what is happening with CI? It seemed at one point that CI was suggesting they were back on track and were also going to release a Movie and Horror special (the first of these in April), then there was another delay until issue 207 arrived (think that was the last issue or was it 208 I can't remember now ?). We are now well into June and there's been (again) no sign of CI - I did notice in the latest issue of PREVIEWS however that the CI Horror special was advertised with a release date of August (with a "Spotlight On" section so I imagine that must be on the cards) but there was no mention of CI itself being released (CI wasn't in the Previews issue before that either) - does anyone know if Mike Conroy given up on the regualr monthly CI and just doing specials like this now? I realise Mike's not been well (and of course health is more important than a fanzine) but it's apity CI was a great book that has probably llost the confidence of a lot of readers and more importantly its advertisers to get to where it once was (although I hope not).
Interesting. Well, admittedly Crikey! has a mostly older readership, but we do try to support British comics whatever the genre. And if the generally positive response to the 'adult' issue last year was anything to go by, you might get a few new readers out of it...
Sorry, I thought I 'd post this link so folk didn't think I was gloating or whatever. It was just an observation I made when I was on the Companies House site.
As for the name, you might want to be careful. Cosmic Publications could have sold it on, or Peter could have sold it to himself. I'm guessing that he paid a pretty penny for it (I never got him to say how much), and may have wanted to keep the name if not the company, but that's just me speculating.
Interesting stuff, all. Maybe CI was locked in time as a 20th century title, luckily starting just before the era of million plus US comics relaunches (Spider-Man, X-Men),birth of Image & Vertigo, etc. Heady days. We peaked at 74,000 circulation as we had three stabs at indie newstrade distribution on top of comic shops. I started it simply because I had no idea what was being published any more, where the comic shops were, when events were being held, all that kind of stuff. I never wanted to offer depth in anything, just a short & pithy overview of the lot! It worked well enough to (at its peak) provide a more-or-less full-time income for four people, which was nice. Also creating advertiser catalogues, to save dealers from rip-off print costs for only 500-1000 copies, worked blindingly well.
Mike (Conroy) felt he wanted to change things to make it his own. More of a Sunday supplement than a daily newspaper approach, being features-led because he felt news was catered for already on the Net. That, coupled with increasing the average page count by 50% and him having to do his own old news editor job as well as mine meant it could never have realistically achieved the monthly (or 13-a-year, in fact) frequency.
I wouldn't have gone that route myself, but who's to say my approach would have worked in the 21st century. But I'd done 200 issues, spent 16 years producing it come Hall or high water. As with everything else I've put out over the years, it was time to move on.
BUT I still feel that a concise news source would be welcomed. The Net is vast, full of invariably unedited press releases and hype. Print will never die, but it should embrace the Net as a marketing tool, not attempt to compete. John Morrows (of TwoMorrows Publishing) summed it up best in #200's letters column when he said he'd read the CI news and if anything interested him, once alerted by CI, he'd get the full story from the internet.
A friend asked me recently if I'd be going to the next Royal National. Showing how there is still a need to keep product in readers' faces, I have to admit I wondered why he was asking if I was going to the races. I'd totally forgotten that was the name of the venue for Rob Barrow's Comic Marts.
So it goes... BTW: For record keepers, Sez Dez has resurfaced once more, in Future's wonderful Comic Heroes. But with the cool subtitle of... THE SKINNY!
My feeling is that while features were a valuable part of CI, the news was the whole point of it. I can't help thinking Mike got his priorities wrong, there. I'd have gone for a smaller page count, a cheaper cover price and very much news led. When it seemed Crikey! was taking off, Glenn and I considered putting out a second title to fill that gap, but sadly in the current climate and with the Borders debacle having left Sequential Media seriously out of pocket, that seems to be a bit of a pipe dream now. I'm still certain CI (or something like it) could work though, if someone were willing to invest a bit of time and money in it-as you say Dez, there's always going to be a place for print. It may not be able to compete with the net for speed, but there are other areas in which it definitely has the edge.
I've long considered a CI-style mag myself, as I've previously indicated, but I just don't think I can manage a news mag at the moment. I am, however, at this very minute compiling a mag collecting some reviews celebrating classic stories (from the Coming of Galactus to 2000AD's Dan Dare), plus a few more articles. Probably a free internet mag.
If anyone fancies joining in, or has features they would like to see, please let me know.
I still think that there's a market for a product like CI, though I do think more interviews and features would bring it up to date. For time constraints, I always found it easier getting a 6-7+ page interview with big images over the same amount of pages for reviews. Kind of halfway between CI and The Comics Journal (though not as poncy as the latter).
At the end of the day though, great content doesn't matter unless you've got the advertising revenue to cover all your costs, and it's bad enough getting folk to advertise at a reasonable cost. Cash upfront, of course.
The advertising situation is the major problem for a title that might wish to try and emulate the success of CI during Dez's rein (great to see his post here btw). I know of two publishers that looked at buying CI: one was large and did not have the mechanics in place to sell or invoice for classifieds, which struck me as a large slice of CI's bread and butter income. Then, of course, the bottom fell out of the classifieds market thanks to eBay etc.
Any news magazine needs to be immediate, with plenty of the kind of short news items CI was good at: but in terms of frequency the title was beginning to often be superceded by online news sites, even before the title changed hands. That said, I do agree that CI was a good aggregator of news that you might miss online. I think Dez's addition of a 'comic strip section' was a smart move and helped enhance the title's Unique Selling Point.
One of the publishers suggested taking CI weekly but that would have put it right up against the well-established Comic Shop News.
At the other end of the scale you have the more feature-led 'coffee table' magazine Mike planned, which also has merit: the news section could have been moved to the Magazine's online presence. Unfortunately, that simply didn't happen and CI's web site was rarely updated or utilised in anything other than a way to promote subscriptions.