Rumour: Black Crown Comics
So Bleeding Cool have reported that IDW’s imprint, Black Crown, has cancelled current titles and will be closing. I find BC a difficult site to look at thanks to all the adverts. There was not much solid info other than a quote from Shelley Bond saying something along the lines of 'Black Crown will continue but not necessarily in the single issue market'.
If BC are correct, what happened?
IDW entered the comic market, and a number of other media markets, as IDW Entertainment and looked like they had plenty of cash to splash. They don’t seem to have given Black Crown much of a run. Then again, unlike their other imprint with EA Games, for example, Black Crown does not represent a multi-media opportunity. Nor is it a collaboration with another big powerful company like Disney or Cartoon Network, which is something IDW seem to be good at.
There is nothing new about comics publishers setting up new imprints to hit a broader readership and then closing them very quickly again. DC have done it numerous times in the years that I have been reading comics and are experimenting with imprints right now. They also had the longest running imprint sucess story with Vertigo. Many people assumed that IDW Black Crown and Dark Horse Bergers Books would be filling a gap that Vertigo was leaving. That was probably a bit naive.
Vertigo was established in the 1990s when Marvel and DC had a powerful hold over the US format comics market but were still locked somewhat into their respective established universe superhero storytelling. They didn’t have age-ratings on most comics but it was assumed that kids could read most comics (and the CCA had already fizzled away). There were also some impressive print-run and sales figures happening. Karen Berger wisely saw a chance to bring mature reader horror comics to an untapped market.
These days Marvel and DC slap T+ ratings (probably over-cautiously) on most of their superhero books. All ages and young adult comics are more often found within imprints. Across all publishers large and small every possible genre and audience seems to be covered. There really aren’t any gaps. At the same time print-runs and sales figures on a lot of titles are incredibly low…on single issues that is. If Shelley Bond is looking at other ways to produce more Black Crown comics, that is understandable. Straight up original graphic novels are a possiblity but she might also be thinking of digital and then crowdfunding for limited print books. I am sure she has a plan.