At Anaheim’s WonderCon comic book convention last week, creator Steve Niles a startling announcement that’s just starting to break across two industries. According to BleedingCool.com, Niles will be partnering with Epitaph Records to distribute comics across America.
It actually makes a lot of sense. Epitaph is Bad Religion’s label, a prestige brand that somehow survived the label consolidation of the late 90s with its soul in tact. And they’ve got tons of resources that should attract comic publishers: connections to retailers, merchandising experience, logistical intelligence, access to a broader audience, and a shared DIY ethos (or as much as they can maintain as a partner of EMI). And they need content to sell. It’s a savvy choice for a partnership.
Steve Niles, who created 30 Days of Night with Ben Templesmith and a bunch of other less-awesome stuff that’s not really worth your time, has the comics-equivalent of a punker’s reputation. He’s a shameless self-promoter with a bad habit of shooting his mouth off. He works primarily in the horror genre and publishes usually under the IDW brand (who also license Transformers and GI:Joe comics), which means his work is likely fodder for some of Epitaph’s artists like Alkaline Trio or Chiodos.
There’s something cooking here that the douchebags might call synergy. Comic creators need new vectors for distribution, and labels need new stuff to sell. Whether it’s an IDW tent at an Epitaph-staffed punk rock festival or a comics spinner rack next to the new Converge album in your local scummy record store, at least it’s pretty cool to see companies trying something new.