However, it should be noted that Neil Gaiman spent a great deal of time on the road to establish that brand. Same approach that brought James Ellroy to prominence - tour, tour tour, handsell, handsell, handsell. Now, I don't live in America, and can't just piss off for a day or two to hit a few comics shops. And, bluntly, I'm not prepared to do the kind of eight-week American signing tours Neil's done.
It should also be noted that Neil built himself an audience that came in large part from outside the already extant readership base. He brought new people into comics shops to look for work with the Neil Gaiman mark. In many ways, he is the absolute epitome of what comics creators should be doing if they want a career. And yet, just a few years after the conclusion of the SANDMAN serial, barely a year on from his DREAM CATCHERS illustrated novella as published by DC Vertigo, he exists in the ongoing conversation of the comics culture not at all.
And while he might reasonably be expected to not feature constantly in the ebb and flow of information and idea exchange, since he's given up the form, I think it's odd that the single most successful writer of the Nineties is almost hushed up. Is almost made not to exist. Is almost an… embarrassment.
-- and yet the entirety of their energies has been directed at talking to the already-extant comicshop-centric audience. In short, the people who already read WIZARD and PREVIEWS and go into comics stores regularly.
If you're going to chuck money at advertising - and WIZARD ain't cheap, you are chucking money - then why the hell aren't you hiring a good PR firm to design you some intelligent and dazzling entry-level ads for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY?
I mean, if you're a smart person (and there are few genuinely stupid self-made rich people) and serious about growing the market and you're a multimillionaire, why not just do the job properly?
I can be contacted by email about this column at email@example.com. My terribly beautiful website, recently updated with a new front-page essay and now containing an online store (carrying most things listed in INSTRUCTIONS) and a 24-hour rolling news service, is http://www.warrenellis.com.
BAD WORLD, a new series of occasional articles by myself, is at http://www.themestream.com/
INSTRUCTIONS: Read WILD TALENTS by Charles Fort (1932, republished 1998 by John Brown Books), listen to TAXIDERMY by Queen Adreena (Blanco Y Negro, 2000), and hit Brian Michael Bendis' website at http://www.jinxworld.com.
Today's recommended graphic novel is REINVENTING COMICS by Scott McCloud (DC Paradox).