Thursday, 17 November 2016

Return of the Prodigal Anthology

Meanwhile... #5 cover art by Yuko Rabbit
New format Meanwhile... officially announced for January 2017
“If Cinema Purgatorio is the new Warrior Magazine, then Meanwhile… is the new Escape.” – Bleeding Cool

Following the recent specifics-bereft tease that Meanwhile... was being relaunched in January 2017, publisher Soaring Penguin Press has issued an official press release providing further details of the new format.

Meanwhile... #5 will be the first in its new incarnation, a quarterly 96-page full colour softcover graphic novel format featuring both the continuing strips of my own Strangehaven and David Hine and Mark Stafford’s splendid The Bad, Bad Place. It also features the start of a new series by the über talented Sarah Gordon, the final instalment of Yuko Rabbit’s 10 Minutes and in addition the fine Ms. Rabbit provides the drop-dead gorgeous cover art for this issue.

As for Strangehaven: Destiny Part Five, this episode includes two significant plot reveals, both of which have been waiting to drop since the very first issue, as well as a terrible but well worthwhile pun for those who have been paying close attention.

Publisher John Anderson painstakingly explains the recent absence of Meanwhile... and its subsequent format change in his full press release (that you can read here: Relaunching Meanwhile) but essentially, sales were less than what were required to make the previous format financially viable.

The retail cover price for the new improved format may come as a slight shock to some – £17.95 in the UK and $23.95 stateside - but Anderson explains that he is offering substantial discounts to readers who purchase subscriptions directly from the Soaring Penguin Press website.
“The prices on the Soaring Penguin Press website will be about half that. And it’ll be even more economical if you order a subscription. Generally, it’ll be about 100 pages of comic for about a tenner. Ten pence a page. And no ads.”
Obviously this may not be a popular strategy with retailers, but I’m sure John has considered the various options and has concluded that this is the best route to ensure the book’s long-term survival.

Preview art from Strangehaven: Destiny episode 5 - Gary Spencer Millidge
Whether or not you consider the new price and format to be a worthwhile investment I imagine depends on how much of the other Meanwhile... content you enjoy, as I understand for a single episode of Strangehaven alone, the cost will be relatively steep. Fortunately, many of the other strips in Meanwhile... have been of exceptional quality so far, and with the promise of a new Sara Gordon series, this state of affairs promises to continue.

As John remarks in his press release, the current incarnation of Meanwhile... was at least in part created in order to help me complete Strangehaven, and I’ll be forever in his debt for that.
Rather generously, existing subscriptions will be honoured.

You can pre-order issue 5 here: Order Meanwhile...#5
Or you can jump in with both feet and subscribe here: Meanwhile... subscription

Meanwhile… will also continue to be available in digital format on SEQUENTIAL, Comixology and other platforms.

And of course, it will be available via the usual distributors, and will be available via your local comic retailer if you prefer to buy that way. Meanwhile... #5 will be solicited in the December 2016 Diamond Previews with the order code DEC161883.

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