The Hermes Press reprints of the 1970's Avon Books The Phantom novels are a truly beautiful product - but are you buying them? If you don't, is there a chance that Hermes will not complete the 15 book series??
Reading between the lines of the latest YouTube promotion, uploaded just before Christmas from Dan Herman, Publisher at Hermes Press, it would seem that sales of the books to date have not quite been what they would have hoped. (You can view the video at the bottom of this page).
Volume 1 of the novels has been available for purchase for over 12 months now, but Dan opens the video with the introduction "today I'm going to tell you about our new Avon Phantom reprints".
What follows is a genuine and compelling advertisement from the largest current US publisher of The Phantom, as Dan spends the first two minutes or so of the six minute clip outlining the history of the Avon novels and their place in the Phantom world.
Part of the exposition mentions the physical failings of the original products, including paper quality, binding and typographical errors.
Continuing his promotion, Dan highlights the many ways that Hermes have improved on the original.
"We decided to create a 6 x 8 inch reprint of these marvellous Phantom stories in a much higher quality format, using a better acid-free paper, using a much better binding that won't crack, preserving the cover (making it much larger though).
"The other thing is that these books have been meticulously proofread and do not contain typographical errors. The people who have been buying these books have been commenting 'Gee you can read these books and there are no typos!' Everything has been corrected in these books and they are as perfect as you can get."
Volume 2 was published in 2016, and issues 3 and 4 have been available internationally since September. Hermes' license agreement with King Features Syndicate is for an international license, so phans can legitimately purchase these locally wherever they are in the world from their local suppliers.
[As a case in point, I personally purchased issues 1 & 2 at Sydney Supanova, then 3 & 4 through my Local Comic Store, where I now have a standing order for the series. If purchasing locally or through online mega-bookstores is not for you, Volumes 1-4 are currently on sale on Hermes website - in fact you can pick up the set of all four for only $US50. Issues 5-8 are available for pre-order, and are currently marked down from the regular RRP. Check out the Hermes shop here.]
In the video, Dan goes on to tell us that "issues 5 & 6 are going to the printer in a couple of weeks", and will be available to purchase early in 2018. These will be "followed in quick succession by volumes 7 & 8".
However, it was the following statements that pricked our ears ...
"Let me implore you, if you want us to continue doing all 15 volumes, you have to support this effort and buy these books... We need you to buy these books so we can continue to do all 15 of them."
This sounds more than a little ominous to us - could Hermes be about to pull the pin on the series??
The international license must be a costly affair for Hermes. Perhaps the return from book sales is just not justifying that outlay...
Let us know!
Are you buying the books?
Do you read them, or are they gathering dust on your collecting shelf?
Would you like to see Hermes complete the series?