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Krause Cancels ‘Comic Buyer’s Guide’ After 42 Years

Sad news for comics fandom today, as Krause Publications announces the cancellation of long-running trade paper Comic Buyer’s Guide with the March 2013 issue, after almost forty-two years of continuous publication.The news was announced by Krause earlier today, with low sales and the downturn in print advertising being given as reasons behind the decision, as well as the competition the publication faces from the Internet. Krause President David Blansfield was quoted as saying that the company “continuously evaluate[s] our portfolio and analyze our content strategy to determine how well we are meeting consumer and Company goals, [taking] into consideration the marketplace we serve and the opportunities available for each of our magazine titles,” but that the decision to cancel CBG was made “after much analysis and deliberation.”

Comic Buyer’s Guide was launched in 1971 by Alan Light as The Buyer’s Guide to Comics Fandom, a monthly newspaper that was successful enough to go twice-monthly the following year, and then weekly in 1975. The newspaper was purchased by Krause Publications in 1983, and with the installation of Don and Maggie Thompson as editors, the publication gained the title (and reputation) that it has since become known for.

Following Don Thompson’s untimely death in 1994, Maggie became the newspaper’s sole editor until 1998, when John Jackson Miller and Brent Frankenhoff were hired as managing editor and projects editor, respectively; in 2006 – two years after the title had changed format to return to its roots as a monthly publication – Frankenhoff took over as editor with Thompson becoming the senior editor, roles they remain in today.

On her personal website, Thompson wrote about the magazine’s end:

It’s been a delight to have had the opportunity for the last three decades – plus a prior decade with the magazine’s creator, Alan Light – to communicate so wonderfully with comics collectors, comics fans, and comics professionals. Over the years, we were able to reach out in a variety of ways, including coming up with the term “Done in One” (to identify stories told completely in one issue, announced in CBG for April 5, 1996). We also helped create a trade journal that was the inciting force behind the Free Comic Book Day outreach project that Diamond Comic Distributors implemented and that continues every May. Don and I were excited by Krause Publications’ challenge of revamping an advertising newspaper into a full-fledged information resource. It has been an energizing challenge to adapt to the changes of the field, as it grew from a niche interest to something popular enough to command the covers of national pop-culture magazines.

Over at the Comichron, former managing editor John Jackson Miller shared a fuller history of CBG, writing that although he had “expected such an announcement sooner… I am deeply saddened to see it come to pass, both for the history of comics and for the friends and neighbors who worked there.”

As someone who eagerly read each issue of the newspaper in the 1990s – even as they reached the UK out of order and weeks late, at times – I am similarly sad to see it go. Without Comic Buyer’s Guide, fandom today wouldn’t be the same, and likely be a lesser thing.

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