Monthly Subscription to Comics Planned (UPDATE)

News Free Comics
News Free Comics Cover. Used by Permission

A new publication called “News Free Comics” is being launched with the hopes of gathering 2,0000 subscribers for a monthly mailing of comics strips. The proprietor, Randall Vanfossen, says that he started News Free Comics last year for local distribution and is hoping to take the idea nationally. So far the comics selection will include several independent strips as well as:

  • Michael Jantze’s The Norm
  • Dave Kellett’s Sheldon
  • Vic Lee’s Pardon My Planet
  • Jef Mallett’s Frazz
  • Norm Feuti’s Retail
  • Mark Leiknes’ Cow & Boy
  • Tony Carrillo’s F-Minus
  • Brooke McEldowney’s 9 Chickweed Lane
  • Jim Meddick’s Monty
  • Brian Anderson’s Dog Eat Doug
  • & Thoughts by Porter Mason

He says the monthly paperback will be about 20 pages (with hopes to grow to 24 or more), and that each edition will contain a week’s worth of each feature (but those strips won’t be currently run comics to agreements with syndicates).

From an email he sent me:

I will probably only run a few each of the unsyndicated or lesser known strips. I’m trying to make it look different than the average newspaper comics section, which are usually the epitome of blandness. I’ve been known to take a single daily strip and blow it up to the full width of the page, just because. I also like to occasionally throw two or three dailies together to make one long strip, also just because.

Randall needs 2000 subscribers to get going. If you’re interested visit his web site for pricing and more information.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement. I have no connection to this endeavor.

Update: Just got an email from Randall who wanted to clarify that the publication is printed on standard newsprint paper. He says, “I wanted it to have the look and feel of a newspaper comics section, except with a more interesting layout.”

19 thoughts on “Monthly Subscription to Comics Planned (UPDATE)

  1. I don’t see this working without serial strips to keep people coming back. And what size is the publication? Are the strips printed in a larger size than the tiny strips I get in my local paper?

  2. I was thinking of that too, Jeff. In fact, I was hoping to push the titles I work on, (Little Orphan) Annie and my own webcomic Jazz Age.

    But then I noticed that the article states that the publication will be monthly, and that “each edition will contain a weekâ??s worth of each feature…” Was that a typo?

    If not, this may pose a problem. Most people who love comic strips enough to subscribe to this, I’d think, would want entire runs of their favorite comics. They’ll want to collect these issues and know that they have the whole collection — not just of the serial story strips, but of all the strips.

    But I still wish ’em well! go Vanfossen!

  3. I wish them well, too, but in this era of free comics online, will people really elect to pay for comics? Or, at least enough people to sustain a business like this? I wish them well, too.

  4. Interesting idea in concept, but only a *week* of each comic each *month*? I don’t get it. Running a month’s worth a month behind would be a better plan; maybe feasibility is an issue.

    But at least they’re trying to do something different than the status quo, so more power to them.

  5. Well, that depends on how many titles this subscription runs, and how big the pages are.

  6. Years ago I subscribed to two publications: Strips and its companion Storyline Strips. It was published/distributed twice a month by American Publishing Corp. in McLean, VA. Each ran two weeks’ worth of 31 strips of for a total of 62 different strips. It went belly-up years ago, but it should be interesting to see what comes of this new venture.

  7. I’m not sure how the logistics of handling serial strips and strips with extended story lines will play out with an idea like this. However, It’s always nice to see any endeavors that give comic creators more options in getting their work out there.

  8. I can’t subscribe from NZ, otherwise I would support it, despite its shortcomings. Specifically, I would still want ALL the serial comics to be in there (consistency is important for this kind of venture), not 1 in 4 and why not use decent paper stock to better showcase some of the quality art that gets muddied in the newspapers?

  9. I was entertaining the idea of doing something similar, but making it a Sunday insert with strips similar to the golden age.

    Comic artist would have the freedom to create full page works of art in glorious color. Bill Watterson inspired the idea over a decade ago.

    I would only sign new artist that love that era of the funny pages. Imagine artist such as Bill Watterson creating wonderful full-page “Calvin and Hobbes”.

    I can barely get through my sunday pages. They are nothing but colorized dailies and it’s a shame. There is nothing worth reading or looking at.

  10. It’s funny you bring that up, it’s a disturbing trend I’ve noticed in the sunday pages over the last 10 years or so. There are many of the sunday strips that do not take advantage of the larger space to extend their writing into a more developed idea. Instead, it just seems like many are larger colorized 4 panel strips with ideas that are more suited for weekday dailies. It quite honestly seems a little lazy to me.

  11. Very lazy. The Sundays have taken a HUGE step backwards. Another disturbing trend is everything looks like it was created on a computer. My biggest petpeave is computerized lettering. Can’t stand it.

  12. Whatever you may think of the politics of
    “Edison Lee”, you can’t criticize the Sunday

    For folks who like their sunday strips complex and colorful, this strip delivers. The creator’s
    fine art and illustration background really shows. It is also obviously hand drawn and inked. A great example is the debut strip of 11-12-06 which is on the Edison Lee website.

  13. Jeff, I have mixed feelings about the whole computer issue. I can understand using the computer for the lettering of a strip because of the deadline demands in producing a daily strip. However, like with most tools and technology, what you gain also makes you loose something as well. Lettering in a strip is just as important as the illustration. It can extend the style of the artwork and help create the form and composition of the strip to create a balanced look over all. I think alot of that is lost when lettering via the computer.

  14. I’m not against using computers. I use them myself, but only to color. If someone creates their own font from their handwriting, I can let that slide. Some of the stuff I see looks just plain lazy.

  15. What a bummer, guess we’ll have to just enjoy Mort Walker’s Best of Times. Best off It’s Free. This is what probably burst this News Free Comics endeavor bubble. Comic lovers see a project like this that’s free and figure why should I pay for that when there are free versions of similar models.

  16. Sadly, it looks like this idea never took off.

    A clipping from his website:
    I knew a subscription drive was a long shot, but when I made the decision to go that route it seemed like the best option to raise the necessary capital to make it through the first year. I have enough money in my personal savings that I could cashflow the first few years of publishing myself, an option that I had considered, but the subscription drive also served the purpose of guaging fan interest in this idea. Fan interest was very low. Alas.

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