Welcome to the next step, in a long line of steps, for Panel to Panel. Gone are the pages and pages of products and product descriptions. Gone are the discounts and the shopping carts and the checkouts. Welcome to what I like to think of as the new and improved Panel to Panel.
So why all the changes? What now? Well those are complicated questions, with complicated answers. But the short and sweet answer is, change is good. When Panel to Panel first opened it’s virtual doors on the worldwide web, comics were a very different market. It wasn’t that long ago that traditional bookstores didn’t have large sections devoted to graphic novels and manga. But now we live in a world where you can easily find comics and graphic novels almost anywhere. And with the major online retailers offering deeper discounts than many comic retailers receive from their own wholesalers, competition is fierce. So while Panel to Panel made a good long run at competing, offering things the others couldn’t such as excellent customer service and exclusive items, keeping up had become too exhausting.
But I’d learned a couple things along the way. I’d learned that the line of exclusive signed bookplates that Panel to Panel created and offered were, for the most part, a hit. The fans and readers really seemed to appreciate the time and energy that went into them, and I really enjoyed coordinating and executing them. This spoke volumes to me. I had created an item with the Panel to Panel name, and customers both reacted and responded to it. Creators were excited to be part of them, and they sold books! But all my passion, all my time and energy was going into these bookplates. I had a website to run, and a store to manage, and I was just one person; how could I possibly do it all? Well I decided I couldn’t. I decided this shortly after a customer had emailed me and suggested that I compile all the bookplate images into one single book or calendar. What a cool idea, I thought. But then I started to think, how could I make it cooler? Maybe I’d collect all of the interviews and reviews that were posted on Panel to Panel too. Before I knew it, I was dreaming up another project, another venture. But how in the world would I manage this while still trying to keep the retail end of Panel to Panel afloat? (Did I mention the fact that I have a day job, a wife and two children which come first?) Well something had to give. And since selling comics at prices that weren’t competitive, to an audience that would rather buy from their local shop than to buy online wasn’t working out, Panel to Panel as an e-commerce site would have to end.
But what about that book idea? Could something like this really work? I did have a lot of great images, and a lot of great word of mouth building. Panel to Panel may not be cheaper than amazon or Barnes & Noble, but it’s name and reputation were good. Panel to Panel could release a book of collected images, interviews and reviews, and it would sell. But would that be it? Just some rehashed text and images from the website? It needed something else…
Well needless to say it got something else. And for the last year, myself and a small group of other like-minded comic readers, have been hard at work on assembling and creating something we are all very proud of. So to finally answer the questions posed at the beginning of this rant, So why all the changes? What now? This book is why, and this book is what. Panel to Panel.Net now exists to help spread the word and promote Panel to Panel (the book).
I’ll be using this blog to discuss the evolution of the project, give some behind the scenes accounts, and share previews and outtakes. It’ll also serve as your source to purchase the book (more details to follow, of course). Before I end this first entry, let me first say a huge thanks to all of you who did support and shop at Panel to Panel over the years, and thanks in advance for supporting this new venture.
In closing I leave you with this, a listing of the books contents and credits:
PANEL TO PANEL
Edited by John Rovnak
Featuring New Interviews With…
*MARK BODE: A 21st Century Renaissance Man by John Rovnak.
*GLENN DANZIG: Damn, It’s Danzig by John Rovnak.
*JIMMY GOWNLEY: Normal Guy to the Naked Eye by Rachael M Rollson.
*ALAN MOORE: The Magical Adventures of an Extraordinary Gentlemen by Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe.
*STEVE MURPHY: Comes Out of his Shell by John Rovnak.
*DAVE SIM: The General in His Labyrinth by Jon Mathewson.
*JIM WOODRING: A Touch of Madness by Daniel Barlow.
*BY JINGO: A Personal Meditation on the Comics of Jack Kirby by Rob Walton.
*MARVEL 14: The Incredible History of France’s Censorship of Marvel Comics by Jean–Emmanuel Deluxe.
*KEEP YOUR PANTS ON! The Rock Art of James Kochalka.
*BUDDY COPS in Full-Color by Mark Martin.
*BEAT PANELS: OR; IS THERE MONEY IN POETRY COMICS? by Stephen R. Bissette featuring the graphic poetry of Peter Money and Rick Veitch.
*ORGANIZING COMICS: How Comics Created a Community in Rural New England by Daniel Barlow.
*EUROPE’S KRIMINAL HISTORY: featuring MR. KRIME by Mort Todd with Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe.
*EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Re-Imagined Interpretations of Forgotten Characters of the Public Domain.
*MY SKETCHY SUMMER, or 5 Days Hard Labor at the Center For Cartoon Studies by Philip Charles Crawford.
*CLOVER FIELDS ON FIRE: The Intellectual Architecture of Robert Crumb and the Tyranny of the Masses by Experience Kring.
*Organic Comix presents JIM SIMON’S SHIELDMASTER.
*DEFT MASTERY: The Genius of Early 1960’s Archie Comics by Philip Charles Crawford, featuring Teenage Wildlife: an interview with Craig Yoe by John Rovnak.
*MEET JOE PRIEST: A Personal Reflection on Where Faith and Comics Meet by Fr. Chris Kulig, O.Carm.
*An archive of past interviews, from paneltopanel.net, featuring DAVID MACK, LARRY MARDER, LARRY HAMA, JAIME HERNANDEZ, JAMES STURM and STAN SAKAI.
* and more….
Cover by MARK MARTIN