Thursday, September 25, 2008

End of the line for Minx

CBR broke the news yesterday that DC is killing the Minx line, and I can't say I'm surprised.

Minx, a young adult imprint geared primarily toward teenage girls, never really seemed to find its footing and failed to build up any kind of real momentum. I won't pretend to have a full understanding of all the nuances — marketing, the vagaries of book store placement or final sale numbers — but I feel comfortable saying this: From the few titles I read, and judging by the various reviews I digested, the Minx books just weren't very good.

Again, I didn't read a whole lot of the Minx books. Mostly it was because the story outlines didn't interest me (and to be fair, they weren't really done with a late-30s dude in mind) or I lost interest once I read lukewarm reviews. And the ones I did read were just ... OK. Ish.

Was it a matter of hype? Were expectations set too high? I don't think so. Any new imprint, particularly from the Big Two, is going to get a huge marketing push, with plenty of noise and glitter. Whether or not they make it, though, is primarily up to the consumer.

(That's ignoring the seemingly growing, movie industry-like tendency to cut a title if it's not an instant bestseller — but that's a whole other discussion.)

In general, Minx looked as if it had its collective head in the right place, with a range of writers and artists (some of whom already had YA credentials) and story ideas that were broad and varied. The problem often was how those ideas were executed; blandly.

I don't know where the inertia came from, but I know it was there and almost from the beginning. When the Minx line launched I was still working at a local comic book shop, and there wasn't much customer interest in it beyond the curiosity surrounding the first releases. I think we did a front-of-store display, and then the books quietly faded into the shelves of the so-called "drama" section. I don't remember any of the employees — a pretty diverse group where reading habits were concerned — being all that excited about the Minx line, even after reading a title or two. Sometimes reading that second book only cemented the initial indifference. I certainly don't remember any customers coming in after the launch and asking specifically for a Minx book.

But I think the Minx line is worth saving — in some form, at least. Some of the stories showed real potential to carry an ongoing series of books, and I'm glad DC is apparently planning to keep publishing at least a few of the Minx titles for now. What I'd like to see the publisher do is bring those books, and any other similar future titles, together under a general Young Adults line, something that will serve the oh-so-coveted group of readers that are too old for Johnny DC and perhaps not ready (or even interested) in the main DC and Vertigo lines — an "indie" line for kids who aren't necessarily children anymore.

A line geared toward girls and boys (which, honestly, I think the Minx books were anyway) who are looking for something other than spandex or the latest profanity-filled Vertigo offering would be appealing. And not just to 'tweens.

Minx was a good idea — I just don't know if it was completely thought out by DC.


Khairul H. said...

A lack of promotion was what killed the Minx line, I think. I go to the funny-book shop to pick up my trades and I don't see anything on their walls that says, "Hey, DC has a MINX line. Check it out! Aisle 2, next to the mangas." Nothing.

Apropos of nothing, I've been pretty quiet in my blog lately 'cause it's Ramadan right now and I can't be bothered to stare at the PC on an empty tummy. And next week, I'm going back to my hometown. Maybe I'll start blogging again in October.

(I don't know why I felt I had to explain that to you. Maybe because out of all the visitors to DGR, you're the only who usually leaves a comment. I guess the others are just shy. HAH!)

Maxo said...

Funny how things can affect you — I have a friend who is also observing Ramadan she's been blogging and updating more than ever! She has mentioned an empty belly more than once, though ...

Actually, I appreciate the heads-up — I always worry that you've given up on DGR! I guess I get anxious because I know how easy it is to get discouraged. Boy, do I know.

Anyhoo, back to Minx. I read somewhere that the Minx marketing was very focused on its target audience, which makes sense but also seems unnecessarily limiting. Why not cast a wider net for the chance of a wider audience?