The British media has a lot to do with this, in order for a graphic novel to really make an impact with the non-comic buying public it needs exposure. Spirit has been largely ignored by the mainstream press, the little exposure it has been given was in The Guardian, Bizarre and Comic Heroes. The BBC did manage to consign the story to the Scottish edition of their website but presumably couldn't find the energy to filter in into the national news.
For some reason the majority of the mainstream press just can’t see the beauty and skill that goes into strip art. They still have a fascination with comic books being a medium for children when in fact it is for everyone, young and old, male and female. It can be a powerful way to tell a story, or a subtle way to call for social change. Comics can give us slapstick humour or dark satire, they can stimulate the mind in ways the movies can only do with expensive special effects.
Spirit of Hope suffered in the same way other titles suffer because the mainstream press is blinded by its own short-sightedness. In Japan however the book has featured in the press, with the Japan Times running stories online and in their print edition (see the it here).
The other reason the book has failed to register in the UK comes down to retailers, upon release it was widely expected to be available through Waterstones and Amazon in conjunction with the comic book stores. Some Forbidden Planet stores did carry a limited stock, the Travelling Man chain were a major supporter with all of their outlets carrying good numbers. The Ace stores have also carried limited numbers, whilst a handful of smaller retailers took just enough copies to sell out and have yet to reorder.
Waterstones and Amazon have been major disappointments, many people thought SOH would an ideal way to show the range comic books can cover and highlight the stunning work that went into the book meant it should have been picked up by the major retailers. Despite the CBA selling the book through Amazon as an external trader the company shows SOH as being out of stock in their warehouse when in fact they have never ordered any copies. Several Waterstones stores did offer to order copies in for their customers but soon cancelled them, in Leeds staff told one customer ‘It is out of stock and out of print.’, at other stores they simply gave no reason.
In the meantime the CBA has been quick to try and deal with the problem, offering free p&p in the UK and subsidised postage to the rest of the world. They have attended conventions and shows, and everywhere they go the response from the public is positive and encouraging.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Show your support, go into your local comic book store and give them the Diamond order code for either the Jimmy Broxton Cover (JUN117900) or the Mike Allred ltd edition (JUN117901). You can go even better by ordering direct from the CBA website – www.comicbookalliance.co.uk, at least that way you are guaranteed the book and more money goes to help two worthy causes.
Read our original article: SPIRIT OF HOPE UNLEASHED