Wednesday, February 1, 2012
.....I've been amending the post on the Flex Mentallo trade solicited last year because the Diamond distributor's website has been posting changes to the announced release date(s). Noting that the first attempt to bring this mini-series into collected form is sometimes memorialized on some web-sites by giving it an April Fools' Day release date, I wondered if there was any significance to the fact that the recently announced shipping changes for this current attempt are edging closer to that date. It might be a coincidence. April Fools' Day doesn't fall on a Wednesday this year, so it can't be exactly the same. And it does make a good graduation gift. So I breathed a sigh of relief when the distributor's cancellation announcements for February last week did not include it. I was encouraged again this week when it did not appear among the shipping changes posted Tuesday. Then something occurred to me.
.....The market gravitation towards trade formats means increasing audiences turn to other information sources besides those tailored to the direct market. I started to investigate this by going to dccomics.com and found this:.....
.....Still a $23 hardcover (and still in color; thank goodness for small blessings these days), but on the company website it's being released on March 28th, not the 21st, which is the most recent date for the direct market. Amazon is expecting it April 3rd, the following Tuesday. That is in keeping with the standard practice with the past decade in which the non-direct (i.e. returnable) market waits for non-returnable copies to sell in the first wave. The really curious part? Amazon acknowledges the title as being under the Vertigo imprint, something that may have little or no meaning for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, etc. But DC's own website? DC maintains separate lists on separate pages for Vertigo and DCU titles. The new Flex Mentallo trade is listed under DCU. Why? Barnes & Noble also gives the April 3rd date and same ISBN as Amazon but only identifies the publisher by the parent company, DC Comics. (This is a common practice of B&N and many other booksellers not specializing in comics; the same is true of Sandman, Hellblazer, and Preacher titles they carry.) Even so, B&N does mention Vertigo in the product description, identical to the one for Amazon. So, unless one of the two highest profile booksellers in North America is cribbing copy from the other, I'm guessing that their product descriptions of yet-unpublished works were provided by DC themselves. "The Fact Is..." until the book is actually published we may never know if this is a clerical goof or if DC is planning on using Flex in their new, shaky continuity.