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Kids’ comics in the direct market: A publisher’s perspective

I did a lot of opinionating about whether all-ages comics are likely to do well in comics stores a while back, but Jason Burns, editor in chief of Ape Entertainment, knows a lot more about it than I do—Ape publishes a whole line of kids’ comics, including the creator-owned Scratch 9 and their own Little Green Men as well as licensed properties like Shrek and Penguins of Madagascar—and they announced at NYCC that they have just picked up the licenses for Richie Rich and Strawberry Shortcake comics as well. So I asked Jason if he would mind talking a bit about how they fare in the direct market, and he graciously acceded.

Brigid: Why did you choose to sell comics in the direct market, and how is that working out for you?

Jason: As a comic publisher, we can never truly walk away from the direct market.  While we’re trying to run a business, we’re also fans of comics, and more importantly, the industry in general.  If we don’t support it, they won’t support us. Yes, all-ages comics do not sell as well in the direct market, but it’s important for us to never lose sight of what we are, which is first and foremost, a comic publisher. We have been finding great success in both the book market and the digital market with our all-ages titles, so we will continue to explore new outlets for getting the product to consumers, but we’ll never walk away from the direct market… not while we’re still publishing comics.

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