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More than 158,200 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Friday, February 23, 2018

History saved: Comics Buyer's Guide bound and file copies, distributor publication library preserved

by John Jackson Miller

I wanted to share the news here of a successful comics history rescue operation -- though unlike some of the others I've undertaken, this one's a bit closer to home.

Krause Publications, which for years published both Comics Buyer's Guide and Comics Retailer,  is closing its Iola, Wis., office in March, moving the remaining personnel to a larger city. But as my fellow former employee Maggie Thompson learned last week, the file copies of most of the magazines were to be discarded, as well as a significant portion of the library materials.

For Comics Buyer's Guide — read my history of the magazine here — this took in a huge number of issues. More than 5,000 copies, between two and ten each of every issue from #482 in 1983 to #1699 in 2013. This amounted to 105 cases weighing more than two tons — all destined for destruction.

The company donated the materials to Maggie and me to place, but the caveat was that we only had 72 hours to find homes for them all — and while Maggie sent the CBG bound copies to Columbia University, the file copies were still a very large problem.

On that short notice, I reached out to Buddy Saunders, whose MyComicShop site has long been the only site I know of to stock individual CBG issues in any depth. Of anyone, I knew he could preserve such a large collection and get them back into circulation for those interested.

Buddy was as eager to save the copies from the recycling bin, and dispatched a truck. The next hours were a whirlwind, as the issues were palletized; it all made it onto the truck last Friday, with literally five minutes to spare. I'm informed all three pallets have this hour just reached him in Texas.

The issues will take some time to process, but eventually every Krause issue will be available from MyComicShop in some depth -- something which was never the case for anything but the most recent issues while the magazine was running. This is important for the history of the business, as no issues before 2002 were ever digitized, nor can digital versions of those issues be legally distributed. Rights issues prevent that.

MyComicShop also received many Comics Retailer magazines, while Krause additionally donated the entire distributor catalog library — running the gamut from Diamond and Capital to Andromeda, Big Picture, Friendly Franks, and Styx — to Comichron. I've already found things I can use in future reports.

Our thanks go to Buddy and his staff for helping to make this happen — and to Krause for working with us to save these materials. It's sad seeing the company leave Iola, as it brought both me and Maggie to the area — but I think it means something that the comics magazines will still be around. As I told one of the staffers, "Comics fans save magazines. That's what we do."

Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

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4 comments:

Tony Laplume said...

Thanks for helping preserve that history!

J. Richards said...

Many thanks for your efforts, I now follow you on FB.

JeffConn said...

"This is important for the history of the business, as no issues before 2002 were ever digitized, nor can they ever legally be." I call total BS on that statement. All books or magazines are legally able to be digitized. They just can't be distributed as whole issues. They can be used for research purposes. Plus, copyright laws change. These mags might be able to distributed later on, but will these individual issues be scannable by then? These mags should all be digitized as soon as possible, and the files donated to some research library, even if they can't be accessed online.

John Jackson Miller said...

I should have written (and have since revised it to) “nor can digital versions of those issues be legally distributed” — because it is correct to say that the digital rights for freelance articles before 2002 reside with the contributors. It is why F+W plans for digitizing back issues never progressed.

And good luck to anyone who tries to scan them, as they’re too large for all but industrial or archival scanners, and 75% of the material is advertising. I nearly destroyed a photocopier with a bound edition once!

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