Creating new sales opportunities for direct market retailers and broadening its reach into the bookstore market, school systems and librarians, CrossGen Comics is reformatting upcoming volumes ofits Compendia Series starting with Forge #9 and Edge #9. Going forward, all Compendia will be printed at 5 3/8" x 8 3/16", will contain approximately 192 pages, and will be priced at $7.95. This smaller trim size and lower price compares favorably to a standard paperback, provides significantly more value than a standard graphic novel and is a comfortable purchase for mainstream readers.
At approximately 192 pages for only $7.95, both Forge and Edge are still the best value in comics, enabling regular readers to get the equivalent of seven to eight single issues for the price of less than three from the single issue format. The new smaller size makes carrying, transporting, and displaying both Forge and Edge easier, and is still more durable than single-issue comics.
And like most directional shifts in CrossGen history, the decision to switchformats began in a very unique place - Italy.
"Since the first days of CrossGen, there has always been the desire totinker with different formats, and the idea to try something in a smaller trim size has always been floating out there, but we always resisted," said Mark Alessi, CEO of CrossGen Entertainment and Publisher of CrossGeneration Comics. "We originally felt that switching to a smaller size would compromise the art and production quality that we always staked our reputation on. And then we got a package from Lexy Productions, our Italian licensee, which publishes our entire line in Italy. It was amazing. They had shifted some of their compilations of our comics to this size that was a little over 5"X 8", and the quality astounded us. We couldn't believe that printing and paper technology had progressed to the point where you could take art files as complex as ours and print them at this size while still retaining the detail and color to such an extent. At that point, we knew we had to investigate this."
The results of that investigation proved that a smaller Compendia could be published at such a reduced cost that significant savings could be passed on to readers without sacrificing the quality CrossGen has always hung its hat on.
"We've always stressed that we are aiming our comics at readers - notcollectors - and readers want quality, but they also want priceperformance," Alessi added. "This format allows us to deliver thelowest-priced comics in the business, period, and at a level of quality not usually associated to a product of this trim size. As revolutionary as the concept of Compendia was to begin with, this takes it to a whole new level. Regular readers of CrossGen's comics now have the lowest priced comics choice in the industry, while we still print full-sized single issues and full-sized trade paperbacks for fans and purists who prefer the more traditional formats at the highest of quality levels."
The new format, with its combined high quality and low price point, is the perfect vehicle for existing comics fans who have yet to try the CrossGen Universe, and provides the perfect option for direct market retailers to getbrand new comics readers into the hobby with a low-cost, high reward entry level comics format. These new readers, whether they enter through the direct market retail setting or the book trade setting, symbolize the driving force behind the creation of Compendia in the first place.
"The whole point of Compendia is to package our comics in a new way for new readers, including those who aren't wed to what fans might consider a 'full sized' format," said Chris Oarr, newly promoted VP of Sales and Marketing for CrossGen Comics. "If anything, comic-sized trade collections can put off non-fans, because it's an odd size for a paperback. Our book trade partners - who have done an amazing job with our existing line - have convinced us that value and convenience are more important for this kind of entry-level product, and Compendia's new format delivers both."
As one of the primary purposes of Compendia was to expand the reach ofcomics to non-comics readers, CrossGen was lobbied very hard by its book trade partners to further evolve the already-innovative format by creating something that could be shelved in more non-traditional places while still maintaining a strong presence on bookstore shelves where Manga paperbacks are sold at the same trim size. The high quality of this new format made that shift possible.
"The good news for long-time fans is that CrossGen will continue delivering the best-produced comics in the business every single month, and the production values on our single-issue comics and graphic novels remain second to none," said Oarr. "With the new Compendia format and Comics on the Web, no other publisher provides readers the options CrossGen does, and no other publisher is as poised to bring comics to more non-traditional venues and retail locations."
The first new format issue of Forge is on sale December 4, and Edge is on sale December 27. Both will continue to ship monthly.