CrossGen announces new product line: The Compendia Series

In an industry forever interested in looking at new ways to bring in readers, and then keep them, CrossGen Comics thinks they may have come up with a strategy that could work.

Today the publisher announced a new product line that addresses the high cost of collecting single issues making it impossible for some to continue collecting. CrossGen is launching two titles, "Forge" and "Edge," as part of their Compendia series which will be compilations of 200 plus pages each in full color that will reprint previously published CrossGen material. While this format is relatively new in the United States, it's been used to great affect in the European and Japanese markets.

CrossGen indicated in their released that the books will contain the same production values found in CrossGen's monthly comics that fans have come to expect. These first two volumes will cost $9.95 while subsequent volumes will see their page count increase to near 300 pages and a price increase of no more than two dollars per issue. The content of each volume are planned to be at least 90 to 120 days behind CrossGen's monthly comics. For the first year each issue of "Forge" and "Edge" will contain at least eight stories from five different series, increasing to six series by the end of the year.

"Forge #1" will go on sale April 10 and "Edge #1" will go on sale April 24 with future issues shipping the second and fourth or fifth weeks of every month. The Compendia series differs from trade paperbacks which reprint stories from individual titles in series. "Forge #1" will contain: "Crux #1-#3," "Meridian #15," "Negation Prequel," "Sojourn Prequel" and #1, and a preview of "The Path." "Edge #1" will contain: "The First #8-#10," "Mystic #15" and #16, "Ruse #1," "Scion #15," and"Sigil #15." Each volume begins with the first issue following the second trade paperback collection and both "Forge" and "Edge" will contain a detailed "Story So Far" description for new readers.

"CrossGen was founded around a very simple idea," Mark Alessi,CrossGen's Publisher said in a release. "We set out to make comics relevant again to amainstream audience. Part of doing that was telling stories that map tomainstream genres and tastes. Genres like science fiction, fantasy, mystery,etc. -- the kind of stories that make up a large percentage of the fictioncategories of the major booksellers. However, this was only part of theoverall concept. We also needed to put those comics into a package thatmakes price performance sense to this mainstream audience. People buy books,so we've serialized our stories in a book format. People expect value fortheir dollar, so we've put together a package that can be sold at a verycompetitive price. We call this new product Compendia, and the first two,more specifically -- 'Forge' and 'Edge.'"

CrossGen noted that this is the "first stage of a planned mass-market initiative setto attract a great many new readers to the comic book industry." More announcements are expected in the next month. As an aside, publisher Mark Alessi will be contributing to CBR's weekly column The Hot Seat this coming Monday and is expected to discuss these items further.

"It's not about how many comics can we sell, but how many new readers can webring into the comics industry," said CrossGen Vice President BusinessDevelopment, Tony Panaccio in the release. "This mass-market initiative is huge, greaterthan any thing that's ever been tried in this business. When those newreaders come to comic stores looking for a product they understand and canafford, FORGE and EDGE will be there waiting. And they'll be waiting forthem twice a month, every month, when they return again and again."

With the addition of the Compendia line CrossGen now offers product in three different formats to the public: single-issue comics, trade paperbacks and now the Compendia series.

"We've been using this analogy around the office when explaining the typesof choices we're offering readers," said Ian M. Feller, Director ofCorporate Communications for CrossGen in the release. "Consider your favorite soft drink,say cola. That cola is offered in many different forms for purchase. There'sthe 12 ounce can, 16 ounce bottle, 20 ounce bottle, 32 ounce bottle, 1 literbottle, 64 ounce bottle, or it is available from a soda fountain, all atdifferent prices. But in the end, it's all the same product. We are takingthat formula and applying it to comics. And if you want something other thancola, you can choose one of our different genres the way you would adifferent soft drink flavor."

"We have a large percentage of readers that have been reading more than justone of our titles because of the overarching backstory," CrossGen's Directorof Marketing and Sales, Chris Oarr said in the release. "With 'Forge' and 'Edge', those readerscan now pick up additional titles at what breaks down to be very littleadditional money. For example, if they currently buy three of our books forabout nine dollars, they can try five titles for just a dollar or two more.And if they currently read five titles and are spending about $15, they cannow read the entire line for about five dollars more."

More about the Compendia series of products can be found at the publisher's Web site at www.crossgen.com/compendia.

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