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So a while back on the Twitterers I complained that a joke I had planned for an End of Civilization post was undone by the fact the publisher actually didn’t mess up something I thought they had messed up. I’ve been meaning to get around to telling the one or two of you who might remember that and still care just what I was talking about. And what I was talking about was the Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes hardcover volume one, as solicited in the March 2017 Diamond Previews:
That’s the image they’re using to solicit the collection, but obviously not the actual, final cover since that’s a pic of the Legion treasury edition the book will be including.
Anyway, my assumption is that there were going to be some issues skipped between the last of the DC Archives reprintings of the Legion of Super-Heroes and this volume, which picks up in the 1970s. However, to my surprise, this new book picks up exactly where the Archive editions left off, so for those of us depending on DC’s reprint program to gather up all those classic Legion stories in chronological order, like I know I was, that’s good news. Of course, this new format won’t have as many stories per volume, but also it won’t be $75 like that Archives generally were near the end there, so at least there’s that.
Like I mentioned, the treasury edition, featuring the wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad (hey, stop snickering, this is a big deal) is in this book, and I was greatly anticipating its appearance in the never-forthcoming Legion Archives Volume 14. At some point, around, I don’t know, 2008, I even passed up on a copy of the treasury because I figured I would eventually get that story in the archive series. Well, took a little longer than expected, but it’s finally on its way. Hopefully. Assuming it isn’t cancelled or postponed.
Now if we can get DC to pick up reprinting Sugar and Spike where that last archive edition left off….
• • •
And now, for a brief commercial message…as mentioned just the other day, plans are continuing apace for the Swamp Thing-a-Thon, my attempt at reviewing every Swamp Thing comic, that will be an exclusive, at least for a time, for Patreon supporters. I finally updated my Patreon page to include that reward tier in the sidebar.
Since I have the reward tier set at the lowest level (I mean, I don’t think you can contribute less than a dollar a month, can you?), anyone who supports my Patreon at any level will get access to the Swamp Thing-a-Thon posts. If you’re already a supporter, you’ll get access. If you click the “Become a Patreon” button and donate that generous $150 a month I know you want to, you’ll get access. You don’t have to click on that $1 Reward button to get access, that just makes it easier for you to chip in. If you’re contributing at all, you’re in.
Like I’ve said…the content there will make it over to this site eventually, but not for a while. If you can provide support, that’s great, but if you can’t or don’t want to, that’s perfectly okay too, and you’ll get to see that stuff anyway, if you don’t mind waiting a bit.
Thanks to you folks out there who still read this “comics” “blog” after all this time. I appreciate all the support and readership you’ve given me for so many years.
[Some minor SPOILERS for Batman #21 ahead.]
The lentincular covers are back on the shelves this week, thanks to DC’s first installment in the “We’re Finally Getting Around to That Whole Watchmen Thing” storyline running through Batman and Flash for the next few issues. Ah, the long-missed “zzzzzip-zzzzzip” sounds of those covers sliding against each other as customers pull their copies off the rack. Actually, I’m surprised it took DC this long to get back to doing these fancy movin’ picture covers, since they certainly grab attention (even if they’re hard to stack on the rack in any sizable quantity if you don’t have anything at the front of the shelf to keep them from toppling over and falling off, since they don’t exactly lay flat). I mean, I can understand why they don’t, given the extra lead time it takes to get these printed after taking in orders, so saving them for special occasions like this, where it’s worth the extra hassle, makes sense.
However, I will note that I’m getting lots of requests for the non-lenticular variants on this issue, as compared to the newsstand editions of the lenticular covers the last time we did this which mostly just kinda sat there and stared back at me from the rack with their sad little eyes.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with the actual content, which is the first storyline to actually revolve around the connection between the DC Universe and the Watchmen since that DC Universe Rebirth special from last year. Yes, there have been references here and there to “something bigger” going on behind the various reality-changing shenanigans going on, most notably in the recent “Superman Reborn” series of comics, as well as the occasional mention in Flash and either Titans or Teen Titans or maybe both…I’m specifically thinking of whatever one had the old Flash villain Abra Kadabra. The whole “Dr. Oz” thing that’s been in the Superman books had been assumed by some folks to be Ozymandias from Watchmen, though that seems a little too on-the-nose and obvious (which doesn’t rule it out, I do realize). He is involved somehow in the whole Watchmen event, but I feel like there’ll be a different reveal than “Gasp! It’s Ozymandias!” Maybe it’s Bubastis. Or an in-his-fightin’-trim Seymour.
Anyway, we don’t get a whole lot regarding any actual Watchmen characters yet, aside from what we can assume is an off-screen Dr. Manhattan doing away with the villain. There’s also a bit of business where the Comedian’s button reacts to the Psycho Pirate’s mask…a reference to (and likely a plot point based on) the conclusion of the now-30-year-old Crisis on Infinite Earths, which left Psycho Pirate as the one character who remembered the pre-Crisis multiverse…well, aside from everyone else who remembered it. (That situation was more-or-less twisted back into its original intent later in Animal Man.) And on top of all that, the comic is laid out in the 9-panel-grid in which Watchmen was largely presented.
I’m not 100% convinced we’re going to see any Watchmen characters in this particular story, honestly, beyond maybe a fleeting glimpse…I mean, we’ll find out within the next three weeks, of course. There’s more to come, too…the Batman issue I just placed orders for is already following up on the events in this storyline, so my guess is whatever big reveal we’re getting now is going to be “huh, there’s a multiverse and this button is from another universe and someone from said universe is futzing around with us.” Okay, I think the characters knew most of that already, but my point is that the full-on “Naked Blue Man Versus the DC Universe” is waiting for a Big Event Crossover Thingie down the line, and not happening in this Batman/Flash crossover that’s running now. Like I said, we’ll find out how right or wrong I am soon enough.
Okay, it’s the third post regarding this particular publishing plan of DC’s from waaaay back in the ancient times of the 1980s. If you’re just joining us, you can read just exactly what the hardcover/softcover thing is in these two posts. If you’ve been here for the whole exciting saga, you’ll be glad to know that, as promised, I did ask my old boss Ralph about sales on the New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes comics during that period.
As it turns out, sales in Ralph’s shop were pretty much as you’d expect. The new printing-on-fancy-Baxter-paper direct sales only series sold great, and their newsstand counterparts still sold quite well as long as they continued presenting new stories. Once the newsstand versions started to reprint the stories from the new direct-sales series, sales on the newsstand series plummeted. They did still sell a handful of copies, so either someone was still following the series in the cheaper format, or just completing the run, or it was simply random, non-consistent purchases from walk-ins not necessarily following the comics but just wanted something to read.
Ralph didn’t recall if there were any holdouts who didn’t want to spring for the extra cost of the newer series, but instead waited for those stories to be reprinted in the less-expensive partner series. However, some readers left comments saying they did just that, based on wanting to get the maximum comics bang for their bucks with the limited amount of financial resources at hand. So, you know, I would guess that this particular buying strategy was a tad more common than I assumed.
I also asked Ralph if there was any grumbling from his regulars about now having to buy two series of, say, New Teen Titans a month, instead of the normal one. He didn’t really recall any, as it seemed to him at the time customers were excited about the new higher-quality Baxter-format comics, even at the higher price. Plus, DC picked a couple of series with strong enough fanbases that the prospect of more material available each month was generally welcome. …Man, that was a long time ago.
Personally, I dutifully bought both versions of New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes, up until the newsstand books went into reprints (except for the initial Titans one, since that reprinted the first appearance, which I didn’t have at the time, and a story from a DC digest which I did already have, but didn’t mind having in the full-sized format). I suspect, for readers who had the scratch and were within hopping, skipping and/or jumping distance of a devoted funnybook store, that was usually, but not always, the case.
Reader Michael likened this to Marvel’s 1990s experiment with direct sales/newsstand editions of some of their books, like X-Men and Wolverine. However, the wait time between releases was only a couple of weeks or so, and the pricier, fancier version came out first, with the less expensive version on the less fancy paper coming afterwards. As I recall, the plan was to see which format would sell better in the direct market, and, as Michael notes, of course the fancier one sold better because people didn’t want to wait even that short of a time to keep up with these particular titles. My main memory of these was, when restocking the back issue bins, having to keep track which issue numbers of which titles had the two different formats, and making sure both were represented in the old comics boxes.
…This all seems so quaint, compared to the modern practice of “here’s a new number #1 for a character/franchise that’s already had multiple new #1s in recent memory, some of which are still going.” I often thought at the time that future price guides and collectors would have a hard time puzzling out the different permutations Titans, Legion and Outsiders went through trying to satisfy two different retail markets. Little did I know what was coming.
Speaking of the Metal Men comics I received at my shop recently, I noticed something on them that I don’t think I’d paid much attention to before:
I hadn’t noticed signatures on DC’s Silver Age books before with an affixed “ART:” or “ART BY” credit. These particular examples are from Metal Men #2 (1963) and #11 (1964/5), telling one and all that these swell cartoon robots were delineated by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Just seemed a little odd to me, though perhaps inspired by the increased realization of the marketability of specific creators as the Silver Age progressed, particularly with Marvel’s “we’re all your pals here!” editorial emphasis and cutesy nicknames, making sure you knew which comics were by “King” Kirby and “Jazzy” John Romita.
Anyway, whatever the reason, these sure look neat blown up nice an’ big like that.
In other Metal Men news, I continue this current semi-obsession in asking a related question of the War Rocket Ajax fellas, at around the 1 hour 22 minute mark, more or less.
So when I’m not answering your questions, foolin’ around on Twitter, or allowing comic creators to vent in my comments, I’m running a comic shop, and of late I’ve been worrying about sales on the whole DC Rebirth thing.
My initial thought was that, like Marvel’s multiple reboots/restarts on their titles, the number of sales I can expect to receive on yet another round of first issues was not necessarily going to be very much. This wasn’t going to be like the New 52 relaunch from five years ago, where it was a month full of new #1s in a newly-formed (and, frankly, not quite done cooking) continuity all thrown at us at once, and the sheer novelty of it translated to big sales, even for the titles that traditionally didn’t do very well. Of course, sales atrophied on the New 52 eventually, with Batman and Justice League still doing respectable numbers, but everything else mostly just slowly fading.
DC’s “Rebirth,” by contrast, was going to be spread out over several months, with most titles effectively getting two first issues (a “Rebirth” one-shot, to sort of reestablish the characters vis-à-vis where they left off prior to the start of the “Rebirth” event, and an actual #1 to kick off the new thread of adventures, presumably). Add to the fact that most people weren’t 100% clear on what “Rebirth” was actually going to be (most of my customers seemed to assume it was another full-on reboot)…well, I had a hard time figuring how this was going to sell.
To DC’s credit, they probably assumed everyone was going to feel that way, so the early issues are returnable, which eases the burden on poor ol’ retailers like me a bit. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I’m going to order a thousand of everything to make darned sure I have enough to go around…I still have a budget, I still have other comics to order, and I don’t really want to tie up that much money in product for, likely, months while I wait for the go-ahead to send ’em back. So I ordered about what I estimated what I thought I could sell, plus a little more for good measure, and hoped for the best.
And then the DC Universe: Rebirth came out a couple of weeks ago.
Now, on that book, the 80-page, bargain priced one shot that was kicking off the whole thing, I ordered a ton. I ordered numbers on that book specifically so that I’d have it around for the next couple of months, as all the new “Rebirth”-branded relaunched books came out and people asked “so what’s this all about, hah?” I could hand them a copy of the 80-pagers and tell them “all the answers you seek are in here, my son.”
It, of course, sold out by the weekend.
Now, a second printing and a third printing have been announced, with the 2nd print due in stores next week (and at the more reasonable-for-the-publisher price of $5.99). That part didn’t worry me…I figured another printing would be rushed out. What did worry me was how many of those I sold, and how quickly. The first wave of new Rebirth comics were coming next week, Mike of Last Week thought, and judging by demand for that one-shot, does that mean I’m going to have crazy demand for all the Rebirth comics? Maybe I ordered too low! Can I get reorders in on time? Am I panicking? IS THIS THE END OF MIKE?
I worried mostly for naught, because for the four Rebirth titles that launched this week, I appear to have ordered more or less correctly. I probably could have used more Batman, but that wasn’t entirely my fault, as a portion of the order arrived damaged, with replacements hopefully arriving next Wednesday (and more copies heading my way, thanks to an early reorder). But even still, I appear to have had enough to meet demand. This wasn’t a New 52-scale epic rush on the stands to grab handfuls of books, but what I sold was certainly far above what I’d been selling on these titles…even Batman, which had been a strong seller prior to this Rebirth hoohar. Now that I have an idea of how Rebirth will be received, that helps me judge orders for future weeks, and it’s certainly a load off my mind after worrying about how these were going to do.
One question I’ve been getting since last week’s DC Universe Rebirth one-shot came out was “where are the plot threads introduced in that book going to play out?” I think everyone was expecting “BATMAN VS. [REDACTED]” in his first issue, or that there would be some central “Rebirth” mini-series where that stuff would be addressed. From what I understand, we’ll be seeing elements from that one-shot in the DC books over the next couple of years, but if it doesn’t culminate in a series of “DC Character Versus [REDACTED] Character” one-shots, followed by a big DC Universe Rebirth: Omega giant-size special to wrap it all up, I’ll be terribly disappointed.
“What do you think about the three-month rollout of new titles? I would guess that’s a better system than dumping all 32 new titles, with Rebirth special issues, on the market all at once like they did with the New52. Could that make the ordering a little easier? Or could June be like those Secret Wars months when people are missing their regular books? (Assuming, maybe erroneously, that everything DCU not ‘Rebirth’ is ending in May.)”
The thing about the New 52’s month-long onslaught of new first issues is that it felt like a Big Event, nearly unprecedented in the comics industry. DC didn’t even restart everything after Crisis on Infinite Earths, when it would have been totally justified. The excitement over this weeks-long parade of #1s just kind of fueled itself, and I think I remember mentioning at the time that, when we opened the doors each Wednesday for new comics day, people literally rushed to the funnybook wall to get their hands on the latest DC debuts. People I’d never seen before, people who told me “I heard about all these new first issues on the news and wanted to see what was goin’ on” – the immediacy of all these new comics appearing on the stands more or less at the same time got people in the doors.
Of course, keeping them coming back was the real trick, which, um, didn’t work out so well, as New 52 sales eventually dwindled down to pretty much where things were before. And then Marvel attempted their own rollout of new #1 relaunches, but spreading them out over several months, with some titles ending in the midst of others starting and not having a clearly specified line of “everything before this point is old, everything after this point is new” like DC did with the new Justice League #1…well, that didn’t quite build the same kind of buzz.
And in the meantime we’ve had more relaunches and new #1s from both Marvel and DC and it’s all just business as usual, so I don’t imagine we’re going to have anything close to the same sort of excitement with this new batch of DCs. Which isn’t what you’re asking, Adam, I realize, but it’s just something I’m pondering as I think about what I may do in regards to ordering. Yes, rolling ’em out over a few months instead of dumping them all at once is probably the better strategy this time ’round, especially since this is aimed at growing readership out of a market that already exists, rather than trying to attract new readers from outside the market via a big splashy “TONS OF NEW TITLES, JOIN IN ON THE FUN” New 52-esque carnival. I mean, yes, obviously DC would love to get those new readers into the marketplace, but the concern right now is having a solid base of reasonably-selling periodicals in the direct market as it exists, and hoping to attract new readers with other projects and their trade program and what have you.
I don’t think we’re going to have a Convergence (or Secret Wars) style dearth of sales, where folks just kinda skip over these side mini-series while they’re waiting for the regular titles to return. These are the “in-continuity” books, so Superman readers will likely continue getting Superman, etc., assuming people don’t use these as “jumping-off” points (which some readers invariably do). Now, I have no idea what the actual directions/content of these new line of DC books will entail, and whatever is actually in the books will naturally affect that transition of readers from the old series to the new ones.
I probably should look a little more closely at what the actual plans are, but it’s my understanding that 1) the old series end, and then 2) the one-shots and new series come out over the next couple of months. But during this time, DC will surely still be releasing their Vertigo books, they’ve got those relaunched Hanna-Barbera books, they’ve got Dark Knight III (speaking of comics bringing in non-traditional comic readers!) and their other minis, so they’ll still have plenty of books on the shelves for their customers.
So ultimately, Adam, ordering is still going to be a real bear, but I’m not expecting any wild fluctuations in sales numbers. Unless there’s some mind-blowing stuff going on in these new launches, it’ll probably just keep on keeping on, with a slight improvement in profit coming from DC paring down their line to titles that are more or less proven sellers (with one or two titles in the new line-up that just feel like they’re doomed from the start, but we’ll see).
In conclusion: there’s still no new Swamp Thing series listed, so phooey.
Brad asked, in response to my Archie comments in yesterday’s post:
“Why do kids buy Archie Digests but avoid the same material in pamphlet or trade form?”
My guess is perceived value…digests may cost more, but contain a lot more content, and are closer to books than to periodicals in format. Just a matter of preferred packaging, I suppose.
“What DO kids buy these days anyway? The Disney titles from IDW? My Little Pony? Transformers? Manga? Captain Underpants?”
Yes to most of the above, as well as Sonic the Hedgehog (which is an Archie publication, so there’s that), Simpsons, Avatar the Last Airbender, Star Wars, Mad Magazine, Deadpool if the parents say “yes” — there’s a wide variety of comics to choose from, and kids’ tastes run the gamut.
Speaking of comics, as I usually do here making that a fairly redundant transition, DC Comics announced yesterday just what they were gettin’ at with that image they’d been posting in social media here and there for the last few weeks. As it turns out, it is another linewide relaunch, rejiggering the DC superhero line-up to snap the company out of the publishing doldrums it’d fallen into after the massive New 52 debut sales back in 2011 had since faded away into a distant memory. Marvel’s had line-relaunches for their own books since then, initially goaded on by DC’s success, and have had scattered relaunches of several of their titles before their most recent sorta-post Secret Wars first-issue fest which we are still in the midst of. Basically what I’m saying is that this was a swell time to open a new shop, where I have to make some wild guesses as to how a bunch of new #1s are going to sell.
You can see the list of what DC’s planning to unleash right here, and on one hand, yes, good, they’re standardizing cover prices at $2.99, kinda of like a few years back when they were promising to “hold the line at $2.99” until stuff got pushed up to $3.99 anyway, and well, what can you do. It’d be nice if maybe that would pressure Marvel to follow suit, but it’s more likely the DCs will creep back up to $3.99 before Marvel does any extensive price-drops.
On the other hand, about half those titles are planned to be biweekly, so instead of spending a pocketbook-punching $3.99 on a new issue of Action Comics every month, you’ll be spending the incredibly low price of $5.98 each month for two issues of Action, so, um. But on the other other hand, instead of 52 monthly titles, there will be only 32, and it’s not likely you were going to buy Every Single Title DC was going to publish anyway, so maybe it’ll be at least a wash, or perhaps even a small savings for you. Costwise, $6 a month for 40 pages is a better deal than $4 for 20 pages, if you want to look at it that way. And that’s assuming the format will still include 20 pages of story.
I suspect the schedules are not set in stone…if there’s enough resistance to these selected titles double-dipping each month, DC can scale things back. I’m also concerned about maintaining that cover price…DC cut a couple of pages from the books during that original “hold the line at $2.99” push, so I’m wondering if more page cuts are possible. I would certainly hope not…I would prefer a price increase to that, and hopefully DC will remember that “$3.50” is a possible price point as well.
On the whole though, I do like that the number of titles have been scaled back to a reasonable amount, so that even if readers do decide to follow the double-shipping series, it won’t be as much of an impact at it would appear at first glance. For example, looking at what I’m likely to continue reading after “Rebirth,” it amounts to four biweekly titles, one monthly title, and maybe two or three other of the new monthly titles, depending on just what the actual contents are since all I’m going by is the name (like whatever The Super-Man is). That works about to about 9 to 12 comics a month, which isn’t too bad.
Of course, this is just the main DC Superhero Universe line of ongoing books. This doesn’t count mini-series and special event books and all those Hanna-Barbera relaunches and Vertigo and whatever else.
I saw a lot of comments online about how we should wait and see the creative teams/contents before giving the People’s Eyebrow to DC’s latest publishing endeavor, but I don’t think that’s entirely necessary. The idea of making half your line biweekly is a challenging one, particularly in this marketplace where consumers are looking to spend less money. And, especially after Marvel’s oddball scheduling issues over the last few years (ranging from “every two or three weeks or whatever” to “maybe we’ll see another issue again someday”), the last thing anyone wants is to feel like Lucy and Ethyl staring down that conveyor belt feeding them more candies than they could ever hope to wrap. I mean, yes, maybe the teams on these books will be so amazing that we’ll wish they were weekly, but I don’t think we should judge if someone finds, just from purely physical/economic response, the new DC plans to be a tad intimidating.
For me, the hapless retailer, the trick is figuring the numbers to order. Now, when DC did their linewide New 52 relaunch, that was fairly unprecedented, and received a lot of attention, and sales, not just from the initiated but from non-traditional consumers as well, driven to comic shops for the very first time to check out what was going on. As noted, there have been several attempts at relaunches/reboots from both companies since then, with diminishing returns, so the crowds that turned out for the New 52 aren’t likely to rematerialize. But if this stokes the excitement of the folks already coming to shops, well, that wouldn’t hurt. I expect a small bump in sales, and if the books are any good, and hopefully they are, maybe we can get some medium-to-strong-ish consistent sales on the ones that survive. That alone would be a welcome improvement.
The most unexpected announcement was that Detective and Action would revert back to their old pre-New 52 numbering. Good…I despaired of ever seeing an Action Comics #1000, and it looks like my weird prayers have been answered.
So Roel asked, regarding my link to last week’s Question over at Trouble with Comics, just why that particular Alan Brennert Christmas story with Supergirl and Deadman was referred to as “infamous.”
To be honest, I didn’t think much about that particular description…I just figured it had something to do with the pre-Crisis Supergirl appearing in the post-Crisis universe and someone somewhere, either a pro or a fan, got bent out of shape over it or something. And, it appears, after being pointed in the direction of this article by my fellow Troublemakers, that there more hoohar swirling about this particular comic than I realized.
The article itself focuses on the (basically confirmed) idea that folks in charge of the Superman comics weren’t terribly enthused about the pre-Crisis, totally-wiped-from-continuity Supergirl all of the sudden being brought back for a Very Special Story that was not under the purview of the Super-editorial offices. And if one were to look to the comments on said article, rumors aplenty are to be had about what may or may not have happened in regards to the release of this particular story…rumors that I’ll thank my kind readers not to reproduce in my comments section here, please. But anyway, there’s the “infamous” bit of business about it, I suppose.
I also saw elsewhere (in a post on a comic news site that has since been deleted, it seems) some commentary inspired by the Trouble with Comics Question column, wondering just why this specific Supergirl/Deadman story is held in such high regard. I personally think it’s a good, strong story (in a comic filled with some top-notch funnybookin’), in which Deadman learns a Very Important Lesson that just because no one knows about the effort and sacrifice one makes to do the right thing, doesn’t mean that doing the right thing isn’t important or unappreciated. For Deadman, who is literally an invisible spirit that the living world can’t know about, it’s an idea he needs to learn to accept, that he isn’t any less a hero just because his heroism is unrecognized.
For the reader, who is presumably aware that this is the Supergirl who was written out of the DC Universe due to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, we are reminded that just because the characters don’t “exist” in “current continuity” anymore doesn’t mean those stories suddenly stopped meaning anything to us, now. It’s hard not to read a sort of implied criticism in this story about how stories and characters “count” or “don’t count” in terms of where they fall vis-à-vis universe-wide continuity-changing events. This comic is copyrighted 1988 (with a cover date of 1989), so this was only a year or two past DC’s kinda/sorta linewide reboot in Crisis, which would make Supergirl’s appearance here one of, if not the, earliest return of a pre-Crisis character that specifically references the pre-Crisis universe. Kind of a surprise kick in the pants to folks still getting used to the New DC of the “there’s-no-stopping-us-now” variety.
I don’t know that really explains why this is as highly regarded as it is, beyond it being a well-written comic with great art by Dick Giordano. It could be seen the sort of fan-targeted deeply-referenced insular story that isn’t good for the long-term health of the medium, with a punchline that only makes sense if you were there for Crisis and can understand just who that blond gal is talking to Deadman. But it is a nice Christmas gift to those fans, a quiet metatextual reminder after the bombast of the crossover event, that those characters and stories may be in the past, but they’re not forgotten.
Plus, who doesn’t love a good Deadman story? C’mon, let’s get serious here.
The cancellation of a few DC titles was just announced, and, well, it was a mix of surprising/not totally surprising.
Gotham by Midnight was the most surprising to me, as, while not a huge seller, my sales on what was essentially a Batman horror series was slowly creeping upward. But I guess it was doing so too slowly, so that’s that.
Justice League United was another semi-shock, but of late getting a Justice League book going that isn’t the main series is bit of an uphill battle. It’s no comment on the quality — and in fact the recent new direction of the series has been fun — but more a comment on just how many different Justice League comics people really want to buy. Even the newest iteration of Justice League of America has shown a dip in sales from the first issue, but we’re only three issues in so who knows if this is a trend or just settling in at a particular sales level.
The Omega Men title was a little surprising, too, if only because of the good buzz it was getting. Alas, good buzz doesn’t always equal sales, and though it was beginning to get something of a following at the shop, it was too little, too late. Were people put off by the title, remembering that there was an old series by that name and thinking this was a continuation? Was there not enough Batman in it?
Now Lobo…the traditional problem with Lobo wasn’t his character design, but his overuse. We saw an awful lot of the character in the ’80s and ’90s, and I think most of us are still kind of burnt out on him. The solution probably wasn’t this New 52 redesign, which took our biker-tough ruffian Lobo and turned him into this sleek, sophisticated assassin with style. But, I guess, they had to try something, and if it didn’t work…well, that’s okay. I expect Lobo will return with a back-to-basics (well, not too far back) approach soon enough.
Doomed, according to the article linked about, simply doesn’t have an entry in the new solicitations, so the assumption is that it’s cancelled. Who knows if it’s gone or not. Wouldn’t surprise me, since the first issue barely sold for me, and the later issues don’t sell at all. I mean, literally…I get one copy for the shelf, and then a month later I back issue it and put one copy of the next issue on the rack. Funny, I sell a lot of comics here….
Now, the problem with this series is the problem we’ve seen lately with follow-up series/mini-series to Big Events: by the time the Big Event is over, everyone’s pretty much done with it and don’t necessarily want to revisit it right away. Like, after Fear Itself was finished, out came Fear Itself: The Fearless and that was mostly given a hearty “no thank you” by the market. Same with this…we just endured approximately 1,000 “Doomsday” crossover event issues in the New 52’s Superman line of books, and then here comes yet another Doomsday-themed comic, and not even starring the Man of Steel.
I mean, I guess DC likes that Doomsday money, but aside from 1) having Doomsday turn up in the Superman books every month or three, or 2) having a series starring the actual Doomsday (which would be crazy and I’d absolutely read that) I don’t know how else they’d continue that specific subset of the franchise.
I’m glad at least DC is trying some new stuff and revisiting some old properties, though, like I’ve lamented before, I wish DC would just try some of these things out as mini-series first, since “the mini-series has reached its conclusion” sounds a lot better than “more books got canned.” I hope this doesn’t put the kibosh on that Sugar-and-Spike-as-adults mini. I am so looking forward to that.
So the other day I sold a copy of the Superman: Krypton Returns trade paperback, and as I flipped it over to get the price, I noticed the following pullquote on the back cover:
“Superman is still super.”
And, well…yes, I know it’s a play on words meaning “Superman comics are great!” but it’s hard not to look at that and immediately parse it as “Superman still retains super abilities, hence the name ‘Superman.'” But that got me to thinking.
I’ve been quoted by publishers in the past, once or twice. I know I had a quote on the back of an AiT/Planet Lar trade, and I was quoted in this Previews ad for a Rick Veitch book. But boy, I think it’d be pretty neat to get quoted on the back of a DC graphic novel.
And thus…DC Comics or representatives thereof, if you’re reading this, hear me out. Now, you guys ‘n’ gals publish, what, four or five dozen Batman graphic novels and trade paperbacks a month? I might be rounding up a bit, but it’s a whole lot. You’ve got plenty of space to fill on the backs of all those books with pullquotes from, like, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal or Modern Bride or whatever. Now, my little site here, Progressive Ruin Super Adventure Hour and Family Recipes dot com, may only have approximately three quarters of the prestige of any of those fine publications/organizations, but surely there’s room for just a few words from your pal Mike.
You can use this quote for any Batman book you’d like. I would be perfectly okay endorsing any Bat-title with the following words:
“Batman is still batty.”
–Mike Sterling, progressiveruin.com
Perfect for every Batman story, I’m sure you’d agree. If you want to save it for the eventual print collection of Dark Knight III
, feel free. If you want to use it on every
Bat-collection over the next year, well, who could blame you? Anyway, I look forward to your usage of this pullquote, DC Comics.
• • •
All seriousness aside: just as there is the Best Batman
, there was also the Best Batgirl, Yvonne Craig, who sadly passed away
this week. Mark Evanier has a pretty good story about her
that you should read.
So long, Yvonne.
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