Welcome to Essex County

May 14th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

I get bombarded with Marvel‘s press releases on a daily basis. They vary from on-sale announcements (once a week), interview pimping (a few times a week), and sell-out notices (five in the past seven days). Generally, it’s three or four emails a day. Constant information updates, hype, and pimpery.

Some of it is interesting, I’ll admit– it’s nice to see links to interviews on Marvel.com, since I don’t usually check the main site. However, most of it? The sell-out notices for books that are made on something close to a print-to-order basis? I don’t care. It’s stupid. It isn’t news, because it isn’t even a retailer sell out. It’s at the distribution level, and whoops here comes a second printing next week. It’s a total smoke screen.

I work with a lot of PR in my day job, and I’d like to think that I’ve picked up some things over the past few years. Successful PR campaigns tend to be focused, rather than spread out. There’s a target and you have to hit that target the first time. A constant flood of information only serves to dilute your message and turn your news into anything but.

I got something very interesting in the mail today. Top Shelf Comix is re-releasing Jeff Lemire’s (excellent) Essex County trilogy in softcover and hardcover editions in August. Leigh at Top Shelf sent over a pre-release pamphlet, for lack of a better word. The back cover says that it’s a chapbook that was designed by Carlos Hernandez Fisher. So, chapbook it is.

A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

It’s a small booklet, about as tall as my hand, with a brown cover. The book is titled “A Reader’s Introduction to Essex County,” and the interiors are just that. There’s an introduction by Leigh Walton that introduces the trilogy, announces the Complete Essex County volumes, and explains the purpose of the booklet.

What follows are preview pages from each book in the trilogy, with praise from critics and creators alike scattered throughout. The previews give you a brief taste of each volume, just enough to give you an idea of the story and the art, but not enough to blow any reveals. It’s a teaser. After the previews are a couple pages of the extra bonus material from the collected edition. A brief bio of Lemire rounds out the book, with the inside back cover being dedicated to a picture by Lemire that says “Now Leaving Essex County.”

A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

This, to me, is successful PR. It doesn’t get lost in an avalanche of info of varying relevancy and quality. It’s focused on doing one specific thing: reminding you that Jeff Lemire’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed trilogy of Essex County books are getting a deluxe re-issue in three months. It provides order options, details on the format (6.5″x9″, 512 pages, hardcover and softcover), reiterates those details on the back cover, and pulls it all into a neat mini-comic style design.
A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

It’s attractive, memorable, and different. It’s the sort of thing that helps to build interest in a book, as well as delivering a good amount of info in a tiny package. Even better– I got to the page of one of the books just by clicking one link on the home page from a drop down box. No navigating to Universe/Series/Franchise. Easy.
A Reader's Introduction to Essex CountyA Reader's Introduction to Essex County

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

Comments are closed.