Previews is still better than the internet.">

Robot 6

The Middle Ground #72 | Internet fail, apparently

I’ve written before about my frustration with Previews, the monthly catalog that’s roughly the size of what we used to call “a phone book” — just think, one day phone books won’t exist, and yet we’ll still say that things are “like a phone book,” because that’s how language works — but this weekend, I realized: Previews is still better than the Internet.

What prompted my realization was looking at’s selection of future solicitations, and realizing that there were so few solicitations for publishers under the size of, say, Dynamite Entertainment. There’d be the occasional solicits listing for NBM, and Archie — a company I am slowly becoming convinced is secretly the most important publisher in the industry that isn’t Marvel or DC, seriously — but that would be it. No Fantagraphics, or Oni, or Top Shelf, or Drawn & Quarterly, never mind even smaller publishers. But it’s not that ComicList was maliciously ignoring them, or holding some kind of boycott of particular publishers’ information. It seems to be surprisingly difficult to get at this information online; you have to really look for it, and even then, in some cases, you still won’t find it.

To say that this seems weirdly counterintuitive is an understatement; with Diamond rules being what they are, you’d think that solicitation information would be something that all publishers would push as much as possible, and to as many places as possible. Considering that comics news sites (a) already have mechanisms set up to deal with publisher solicitations and (b) always have a need for more content, I genuinely don’t understand why there isn’t at least a recurring monthly feature on most sites summarizing the new releases and/or big projects that the “smaller” publishers are soliciting that month, if only because they’re very often some of the most interesting material that’s being solicited by any publisher.

As horrible as I find Previews at times, at least it makes the information available, if not in the greatest format. There’s something depressing about the amount of great material that not enough people are aware of, because they rely on the internet for solicit information, and it’s just not really out there for them to find easily. There’s so many comics that people just don’t know about. Short of just putting all of Previews online, what’s the solution?



Comixology has Previews listings for the publishers you list above, plus a good selection of t-shirts / toys / figures, etc. that are listed in Previews, and they sort them by week expected. I find it more useful than ComicList.

i prefer previews over the internet any time, i ‘ve ordering it by mail for almost 20 years.

Comic companies still seem bewildered by the internet at times. I can think of several small to mid-sized publishers who hardly ever update their websites, much less provide solid release dates or product info for anybody like me who might go to their website looking for more info to make a purchasing decision with.

Previews is great if you have the time to just sit down and pour through it each month. I always find at least 1 or 2 things I would not have otherwise ordered (or even known about) without having seen it in some small corner of the “phone book,” sandwiched between sales charts and ads…

Previews not being available online as a pdf is the most stupid thing one can imagine… I don’t get it. If Diamond doesn’t want to do it (and only they know why that would be a good thing) than the publishers should FORCE them to do it. What are they afraid of? Exposing their product tot a wider audience? Selling more books? Really, this is stupid…

Here’s a thought: why not just put them in a weekly catalog shipped in the mail? And it’d just focus on the comics only, no statues, no toys, just the books.

I’ve been reading the text version of Previews on Diamond’s website for years. It’s a bit hard on the eyes to scroll through hundreds of lines of text to find the publishers I like, and it’s very easy to miss things, but it’s still the best (free) option. Also, it’s always available a few days before Previews hits the shelf.

A full PDF of Previews every month would be fantastic.

I think you’re giving way too much credence to some kind of system that news sites have in place to put these up, as from my experience that system is “Stephen Gerding gets really freaking tired putting the few solicits we have on the site as part of an extremely tiring and often last-minute process.” But beyond that, I think Previews is fine. I can find a lot of this info in the recesses of Diamond’s site, but prefer the clean readability of the print catalogue. If I had to “flip” through all that material on a screen each month, I’d go nuts.

I completely agree with Frank. The comic store I got I used up until recently didn’t have a shop copy of Previews, and there is no way I’m paying $5 or whatever for a catalog, so what do I do instead? Not order books that I might be really interested in because I don’t know they exist. Way to suck, Diamond.

I pre-order everything online from DCBS… as far as I know, they have a full listing for every publisher…

I’ve been waiting for years forDiamond to put the complete Previews online. I stopped buying the catalogue ages ago (because of size and price), and now read through their order form PDF. Fine for the big publishers, but without any info beyond title and price, it’s become harder to find indy books that I might like.

(Here’s a thought: Put the Previews on Comixology!)

Phone books are great. I use them to kill spiders.

As Smackt says above, has the list up every month:

What is this “Previews”? Is it on the internet?

Regarding why small publishers dont get as much attention on sites, including solicit info, is quite simple.

A lot of folks just aren’t looking for them ie viewing them.
It’s enough pain in the arse getting the Marvel and DC solicits up without having to do all the small publishers stuff.

To be honest, why waste time on something ten people look at when something can be put up that 1000 people will view.

The same goes for Indie reviews, too. It’s just common sense that more people will read a review of something that sells 50,000 compared to 3,000.

Sadly one has to depend on Diamond to get comics and they are woefully uncaring of mistakes they make. They dropped the ball and didn’t send any Flash #1 to my comic store. Their response to the owner when he asked if they could send the missing comics was “You should have ordered them 3 months ago”. When he proved he had ordered them they didn’t care, just told him he’d “Need to apologize to your customers for not getting them”, not that they had faulted on him, that he was unable to get the comics.
He ends up going to other stores and even ebay to make sure his customers got the comics they ordered, taking the hit as he gives a discount to all box customers.

I love getting Previews. Seeing what the industry is doing every month. My closet has stacks of them going back several years. I hope they keep the “phone books” going.

As the person behind, I can tell you the solution: Publishers need to harvest every email address they can of every comic book website they can find, and send every bit of solicitation information they can to all of them. But, they don’t. Some publishers do a great job of getting the word out, like DC, Marvel, IDW. Other publishers don’t seem willing to make the effort. Why, I do not know.

Another thing to consider: a publisher like Dynamite will release much more detailed information about variant covers to CBR or Newsarama than what is published in Previews. A publisher like Boom knows ahead of time who is drawing the “A” and “B” covers, but they don’t reveal that information until the weekend before the comics are released. It’s very perplexing how difficult it is to get the complete and accurate solicitation information from publishers when getting that information out can only help them.

I’ve written a small article about publishers’ websites, majors & indies, ( in order to know what’s what on Previews. Well, some publishers haven’t even a small website to show their books. Sometimes, it’s the announced series that already has some coverage. But all in all, I’m sure I’m missing some things while making my pull-list two months in advance.

Previews online is the solution. No doubt that I would buy a lot more stuff from my local comic shop if I had online access to reading the catalogue. I browse through at warp speed in the store but usually just the DC, Dark Horse and toy section. I already use their list online with code and page number for my local shop. The Previews NEEDS to be available for online viewing for free.

I love the Previews catalog, it’s the highlight of the month. I enjoy flipping thru it, earmarking the pages that have items on it I want to order and filling out the order form. It’s a part of my monthly ritual and I’ll continue to do it until they stop publishing it. I’ve NEVER missed out on anything that I wanted because I don’t mind taking the time to preorder.

I can’t afford to spend $20 or $30 a week on all the comics I find interesting at the shops. But I can afford to spend $5 a month of the latest Previews catalog and find out about all the various titles, apparel, toys and statues. Looking at items online is fine, and I do that too, but I still like flipping pages in a magazine. What can I say? I’m old school.

I think that Diamond’s reluctance to have a better, stronger online presence, may in the end be their undoing. Sure, many rely on them now, but even in niche markets, competition is a that can tip the scales. Its clear that Diamond have the monopoly on the market, but nothing will ever change, if fans and traders don’t raise their voices.

News media resisted the internet for too long, and look at them all scrambling to try and make the net work for them. They were warned early but ignored it. Diamond are in a lucky position, but should look to build a decent website, for fans to process their orders, from the iphones on the move, or PC at home. Cutting back the paper catalogue would surely save them money and trees, and with a dedicated team, a website could be kept up to date on a regular basis.

Makes you wonder if they are really interested in growing the market, like someone said an iPod/Android ap would be an awesome way to go. Imagine the reach of such an ap, and the extra customers it could attract globally? It would surely be a better path for comics. Until then, DCBS is a good alternative, going where perhaps Diamond fear to tread.

The full contents of Previews can be seen on, complete with the handy ability to order anything.

I used to LOVE previews… my local comic book store used to give it out free, but they forced their members to preorder b/c they didn’t want to have stuff on the shelves that they couldn’t unload. And I didn’t care for that, ultimately, because I like to flip through the occasional book on the shelf and discover something I like that way and say.. hey, that looks cool. I’ll buy it. But I DID love my free Previews. Would I pay for that… no. But occasionally, I did find myself ordering the odd items that I would never have known existed without it. It IS better than the internet, always some weird stuff to be found in Previews, it was like entering a different world, there was always weird little strange $%&* that people were publishing in the back of previews that I was fascinated by. I never ordered it, mind you, but I was fascinated anyway. But sometimes, there would be a trade or something that I DID order, soley because of Previews. The internet doesn’t come close. But I WON’T pay for it. Do something DIAMOND. You’ll make money. MY money. Because I’m weird that way.

I only bought Previews once and ended up buying way too much stuff as a result. Maybe I’m better off not knowing about some of these things as it gets really expensive.

Really previews should be free. It’s a catalog designed to sell things. The selling of those things should be what pays for previews. If it was free, I would get it each month and probably be on a second mortgage.

PREVIEWS is the best monthly Toilet Reader ever!

i live in a country where comic shops is only 2 , one in capital of this country and other in a town that difficult to reach , and i’m in another town that has no comic shops at all , so every month i wait for my comic shop to mail me the PDF of previews , i don’t know where they get it , but it is perfectly scanned , even if my monthly order just around the big 3 , it’s always interesting to find an image and a description of some comics that i want to buy but i did’t know it if i just read the .xls or .txt they provided in the previews homepage

previews should give us a FREE official PDF every month , because they got a load of money by comics , figures etc that they put in their catalog each month , not by their catalog sales

i don’t mind if they sold it for , example , $1 in iOS , ( hey there is newsstand apps coming :) ! ) or we subscribe it for $12 per year and they send it by email monthly

You’re absolutely right. Previews still has its place. If the small companies were as smart about their marketing as Marvel and DC are about theirs, then we’d be able to find all the Previews-style info on the web. Today we cannot. Perhaps at some date in the near future we will be.

You’re also right about Archie being the most important comic book company not named DC or Marvel (‘tho Marvel isn’t really a comic book company any more, strictly speaking). But Archie are slowly heading down the wrong path — trying to follow the example set by Marvel — and are in danger of alienating their audience. Hopefully they’ll pull back and remember who and what they are. My fingers are crossed.

You know who still buys Archie comics? My mom. Which is exactly why they shouldn’t follow anyones path. They are better off maintaining the course they’ve lead for so many years. There’s a lot to be said for consistency. She loves the Digests especially.

“Diamond has squandered their opportunities so many time over the years. By embracing a “status quo” position, they have allowed themselves to fall behind the consumers appetite at an exponential pace. Diamond should have been building a complete online catalog 15 years ago! There was demand for that long before the digital dawn. But they rested on their laurels. Relaxing in a comfortable position far ahead of all their competition. Diamond needed to be far more forward-looking. Instead they continued distributing the print catalog, raising the price on it at a cost to retailers. Diamond makes it’s money off comics. Making the catalog FREE and accessable through the web and EVERY social media avenue possible would have built the customer base ten fold before the digital comics were being developed. This is a major failing by the biggest distributor. The artery that the direct market depends on. Diamond’s marketing of the product they provide is and has always been stagnant. Relying on exclusivity for profits and never reinvesting portions on said profit towards it’s own growth.”

From a similar discussion over at Comics Worth Reading

I wish people would wake up. Diamond don’t give a shit about comics. The’re a niche market were the real money is behind the scenes where the merchandising dwells. It’s the only place they know they can make money and if there’s a comic to advertise it they advertise the comic. I guarantee that behind every ‘pick of the month’ there’s a statue or action figure or some other thing they want to shift units of.

I go online for my comics, I enjoy hunting them down I use Comicslist and ‘oligy and FP as well as just looking at the news sites and podcasts. Never needed Previews.

As I’m switching more and more towards digital comics, the whole notion of Previews and pre-ordering 2 months in advance just feels wrong. I love being able to just wait until Wednesday to find out what Image and DC (and some other) comics I want, and buying them and reading them right then and there.

I just love Previews, and have been ordering from it for over 15 years. When the new Previews arrives, I wait until the kids are in bed and the wife is busy doing her wife-thingies, and then curl up on the couch to scan through it for about an hour or two. Although I only order under 10 comics per month, the arrival of the catalog is something special: I like to read the solicitation copies of many copies, and love to see what is coming out in a few months (comics, toys, magazines, books). So I hope Previews will continue for many years to come.

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives