Interview: Simeti Unleashes Affordable Titles From ALTERNA COMICS

“When I was young there was a time when you could take $10.00 and get more than just two comics books!”

Have you heard a comic collector recall the days of affordable comic books? Maybe you fondly remember those days yourself as you spend a small fortune each week to empty your pull box.

There is some relief coming if you love owner created comic books. Alterna Comics, a publisher out of New Hampshire, is launching creator owned titles this Wednesday printed on newsprint and with a cover prices of $1.99 or less. I briefly chatted with publisher Peter Simeti about this launch to find out why affordable comic books are so important.

Chris Campbell: Why is it important to offer comics at lower prices?

Peter Simeti: The reason should be obvious, right? People only have so much disposable income to spend and there’s a plethora of things to spend it on nowadays. Publishers and creators have to realize that we’re not just competing with other comics, we’re competing with all various forms of entertainment media. There’s more comics on the shelves than ever before and they’re also, for the most part, more expensive than ever before. Hopefully people love the stories we’re putting out and the fact that they can buy 4 of our comics and have room left over to maybe try out one or two other creator-owned titles as well.

CC: When you decided to get into publishing did you set out to print affordable comics or did that come later?

PS: I think as a publisher you always try to put out an affordable and competitive product. It’s easier said than done of course, but with the newsprint comics, we’re passing on the savings to readers because these print runs are costing us about a third of the cost of a standard run.

CC: Is there anything that is being sacrificed by selling at a lower cover price?

PS: Nothing much really. We need to sell a higher volume than we normally would, but that hasn’t been a problem so far. We’ve also secured a newsstand distribution deal that will start in July and should hopefully provide an additional revenue source. Newsstand editions will come out two months after their comic shop counterparts.

CC: What has the retailer response been like?

PS: It’s been overwhelmingly positive. Retailers have been loving the newsprint initiative and we’ve received almost two hundred messages at this point from various retailers across the world about it. To put that in perspective, we received about 2 or 3 messages a month before in regards to one of our books. People are excited and it’s been great to see.

CC: What comic books do you remember reading in the past that were being sold for the price you are putting on Alterna Comics titles now?

PS: Some of my favorite comics were priced between $1 to $1.50 – generally Marvel and DC titles because indie/creator-owned comics weren’t as booming as they are now. I was a big X-Men fan and I loved Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman.

CC: What does the comic book medium mean to you?

PS: There’s nothing like a comic book. It’s the perfect marriage of text and visual and when combined with bold art and exciting, thought-provoking stories, comic books can – and have – changed lives and the world as we know it. It’s an honor to be a part of the comic industry and I’m humbled to have worked with so many extremely talented people over the years.

Alterna Comics will be releasing four titles this Wednesday, May 3rd: Croak written by Cody Andrew Souse and art by Francesco Iaquinta, Adam Wreck by Michael S. Bracco, Amazing Age written by Matthew D. Smith and art by Jeremy Massie, and Lilith Dark by Charles C. Dowd.

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