Fantagraphics’ The Comics Journal to Get Massive Overhaul

Dirk Deppey reports on The Journal’s new direction/formats, starting with the release of issue #300…

journal300The Comics Journal’s Cup Runneth Over

OCTOBER 28, SEATTLE, WA — The Comics Journal is about to take two major steps forward in its evolution. 1) After 33 years and several incarnations, TCJ is answering everybody’s prayers and upping the Web content on TCJ.com. 2) The print publication will be consolidated around expanded semi-annual editions, each customized to fit its content.

The expanded, full-service TCJ.com will deliver everything readers love — in-depth interviews, smart columns, sharp criticism, real journalism — on a daily basis. And not only will readers get the traditional Comics Journal content faster, but they will also be able to access features beyond the reach of print magazines: videos, slide shows, audio files, original-art galleries and an army of both new and established Journal-caliber bloggers filtering the comics world through their unique perspectives. In short, it is the dawning of a Comics Journal that knows no bounds.

Focusing on what print does best, The Comics Journal magazine will be more beautiful than ever, an elegant combination of criticism, journalism and objet d’art. Uniquely sized and formatted, evocatively visual and tactile, each issue will be an event. Readers will get their first look at the direction The Comics Journal will be moving in with issue #300.

Coming in November 2009: issue #300 of The Comics Journal and a wondrous new website!

While I’m sure this is in response to the foundering market for physical magazines, even ones as pertinent, stalwart, and worthy of one’s attention as TCJ has been for three decades, I view this as a very good thing.  Why, you may ask?  Well, aside from turning to the semi-annual, objet d’art editions one will be able to purchase, there’s a fantastic caveat to the Journal going (for the most part) digital:

Everything will be free. We’ll maintain an archival copy of the current website for our online subscribers — more on that soon, I promise — but the new site will have no “subscriber area” or special features that need a password to access (with the obvious exception of the message board).

TCJ.com looks like it’s gonna be fab.  Too bad one of my favorite publications of all time is going to be printed less frequently (albeit with the promise of excellence), terrific news it’ll be available to the world, a wide audience, on the web.  Free.

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