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Alterna Comics Printing on Newspaper Stock

Hi All,

Alterna comics are going to start printing on newspaper stock to give their comics a classic feel but also make them cheaper.

I think this is a great idea as it would allow indies to print more regular pulpy titles. I tried looking into something like this myself a little while ago. However when I spoke to my printers in the UK about printing on newspaper stock they said it’s more expensive as their equipment is set-up for digital printing.

Anyone have any experience of printing this way?

Cheers,
Stuart

Yes it’s a bit strange, I saw on Twitter a conversation with Justin Jordan and some other comics pros that when they asked about printing on cheaper paper in the US there were no savings to be found (or negligable ones).

I’d assume though that Alterna have done their sums and found a printer who can provide it.

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It must be something to do with volume. If they print enough titles at the same time they hit the threshold where it becomes affordable. But those volumes tend to be in the 1000s. Maybe they bought shares in a printer?

I think it must be. I mean if you look at UK newspapers they are sold at 50p or less in colour and make money at that but of course sell in the millions or hundreds of thousands.

I still think $1 looks like a loss leading promotional price. Marvel and DC were charging that much while still using newsprint 30 years ago.

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I had an idea a while ago I was scoping out which was to replicate the free paper model of the Metro but make a comic anthology instead. It would be funded by advertising and the free comic itself would be a test bed for new characters where the popular ones could then graduate to their own series or be used in other media. Obviously this would be a costly endeavour so I never pursued it.

EDIT: The other benefit of this was that as it would be released on a regular basis and need content it would be a proving ground for upcoming talent.

Yeah it could possibly work but the initial outlay would be huge, to get the ad revenue to be worthwhile you’d need to print loads of them.

Distribution is an underestimated area I think and many think if you just get on Diamond all is good, even though their comics in the lower places sell really few copies. A while back I read Chris Donald’s book on the rise of Viz comic and they were one of hundreds of fanzines (Alan Moore even reviewed one of their issues in a Marvel UK feature). What they did was go to every record shop in the north east, this being the 80s there were a lot more of them, and asked them to put a dozen copies on the counter at sale or return terms. That built up a solid sales base and then they got national distribution and within 10 years they were selling 1.5m copies.

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Yeah, I agree. That’s why I dropped the idea.

I’ll have to get a copy of this book. It sounds like it’d be an interesting read. It’s a shame that fanzines are less of a thing these days. Guess the internet killed them off and the prospect of being sued for using a companies characters.

This is the part I’ve not gotten right yet with my Impossible Tales Anthology. Aside from Orbital Comics I’ve not gotten it stocked anywhere else. I am scared to start approaching stores outside London without having something else in production.

Cheers,

Stuart

That has actually reduced since those times. Last year the UK introduced a parody clause into copyright/trademark law which matches the US one.

I suggested to the 2000ad Twitter droid that this would be a great opportunity to reprint the Burger Wars stories in Judge Dredd, to which he replied it was irrelevant. Then about 6 months later announced they would be reprinting it due solely to the new laws on parody. :smile:

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It’s really good.

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I saw that. It’s great that people now have the freedom to parody works. I was more referring to fanzines that tell out of canon stories with a companies characters. Like Zarjaz does for 2000ad. I’d love to put together a Star Wars fanzine (based within Legends continuity) with collaborators on here but think Disney would have my soul for it. Think Lucas tolerated it until people started writing slash fiction.

Good shout. It was frustrating that this story was omitted from the Case Files. Guess even Tharg needs to obey the law.

Thanks for the book link. I know what I’m spending my Xmas Amazon vouchers on now!

Ah okay, I get you now. I can see the temptation but I think fan-fic is a bit of a creative dead end anyway so it may be a blessing in disguise.

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Yeah. I’ll have to save those stories for the Write Off’s on here instead ;-).

On the distribution element did you know the legendary UK boys comic The Eagle was given away free to every young lad in the UK? My dad remembered when he got his (he was born in 1939 so would have been 11) and today the second issue is valued much higher as the print run was much lower.

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Wow that’s some marketing stunt! Bet it cost a fortune.

I’ve been reading Action, Battle and Starlord recently (bought digital copies from eBay) to get some inspiration and was surprised at the maturity of those stories aimed at children. We are missing those pulpy kind of books. Apart from 2000ad the newstands are devoid of anything apart from reprints of American comics and trashy brightly coloured stuff aimed at kids with free bits of plastic attached to the front. Most of which are also American reprints or ‘comics’ made by screen grabbing the shows the comics are based on (I’m looking at you Thunderbirds are go).

I guess kids get that fix by playing Call of Duty Black Ops these days and the writers / artists those kinds of titles might have surfaced now need to make their own indie titles to get noticed.