Before folks get too excited, this isn’t anything to do with the annual. Rather it’s just something I’ve been thinking about.
The backup strip by and large has been abandoned by the industry, when it is used it’s for promotion of upcoming works or reprinting old material. I don’t know of any comics that do it well right now.
And while there’s cost in creating the pages, the printing is next to nothing in incremental cost. So it makes me wonder if bringing backup strips would be a good marketing move or not.
So if a book were to have an extra 8 pages, what would be the best use of those pages to make you pick up that book rather than you not picking up the book? Considering the artist probably can only manage 22 pages a month so it’d most likely be a different artist. There’s six things I think you could do with those new pages:
- Extend the main story by 8 extra pages.
- Reprint old material about that character.
- Tell an alternative story about the lead character in a similar style.
- Tell an alternative story about the lead character in a completely different style.
- Tell a story referring to the story of the main book, using one of the side characters.
- Tell a story with a completely different character.
So as an example, if this was Batman the options could be:
- 8 extra pages of the main Snyder/Capullo Batman story.
- Reprint of something from Batman 10 years ago.
- Tell a smaller Bats story with a similar artist to Capullo.
- Tell a smaller Bats story with Skottie Young.
- Tell a story about what Alfred got up to during the main book story.
- Have a backup strip featuring Cyborg.
Which would you like, and would this make you buy a book you normally wouldn’t buy?