While interest in comic books has grown in recent years, it’s mostly been in areas that the long-standing Big Boys like Marvel and DC do not cater to. Things like manga, young adult fiction, slice-of-life cartoons about being a teenage girl with braces, etc. Despite the massive popularity of superheroes in other media, it hasn’t translated to growth in the medium they originated from…because your typical modern super-comic requires a monthly devotion to 32-page floppies to comprehend their long-winding storylines. Newer readers aren’t bothering.
Go figure that Zenescope of all companies is going to be the first to break tradition. Their typical output is Disney by way of Larry Flynt — fairy tale stories where all the characters are rendered as buxom women. But they recognize the trend toward self-contained and easier-to-understand plotlines, and they’ve announced a new publishing plan to reflect that.
According to Zenescope there will be more trade-format stories published from them in the future, and they won’t require heavy knowledge of past continuity to understand. “We will continue to publish a limited number of mini-series each year, but those will be stories that fall outside of our shared universe.” said Zenescope’s President Joe Brusha “There’s been a major shift in the way all entertainment is being consumed. People want access to a full story all at once rather than having to wait five or six months to complete an arc. Most of our books will fill that need.”
“We also feel it’s important to publish books that new readers can jump into at any point without worrying too much about past storylines. We’re designing our Grimm Universe books to be new reader friendly while also appeasing the longtime fans who’ve been following our characters for years.” The exception will be Grimm Fairy Tales, which still sells well enough to continue the ongoing floppy format for now.
Is this the beginning of a larger trend, or will it remain contained to stuff like Robyn Hood? We’ll find out…