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 ComicList.com’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?