In which I talk too much about Wednesday Comics.

§ July 9th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on In which I talk too much about Wednesday Comics.

The big release that’s got folks’ attention this week is, of course, Wednesday Comics, the Sunday Funnies-esque comics tabloid we’ve been waiting for. It’s beautifully done, with a variety of styles showcasing a good sampling of DC’s adventure/super hero characters. I was going to note a couple of favorites, but I can’t really narrow it down. All the entries grabbed my interest, and I certainly look forward to future installments. (But I have to note that Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez’s Metal Men looks just as fantastic as I was hoping, even with the characters appearing (with one exception) in their human costumes. So, so good.)

In addition to the copy I picked up for myself, I grabbed one for the girlfriend’s nieces and nephews to share and read, and as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one picking up extra copies for other people. We had several instances of multiple copy sales for Wednesday Comics for, we were told, the express purpose of passing them around.

I’m a bit skeptical the idea of “breakout” comics — those titles that allegedly will be the ones that’ll finally get the general public popping into the comic shops every week to pick up all the latest issues. At best, what we get are “fad” or “fluke” sales to the general public, such as the death of Captain America: high sales on just the one hyped issue to clientele outside the regular customer base, who do not return for any follow-ups. Or there are situations like Stephen King’s Dark Tower or Anita Blake or, to a lesser extent, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, where sales to the general public were high on initial issues, until that section of the customer base decided that popping into the funnybook store once a month was too much trouble (or, depending on the store, too unappealing a prospect) and opted to buy the eventual hardcover or trade collections on Amazon for 40% off cover price instead.

If these sales to the general public, temporary as they may be, do anything for the comics industry, at the very least it’s keeping comics in the public eye. It reminds folks that hey, comics still exist, we’re still an entertainment option, you know, if you’ve got nothing else to spend money on at the moment.

(I realize this is ignoring things like Naruto and Dragonball and other popular manga, that seem to have “broken out” just fine, but when people talk about the magical “breakout comic,” it seems like they’re talking which title from the Big Two is going to finally turn Mr. Chad T. Accountant into an X-Men fan.)

Anyway, the reason I laid all that out on you was to suggest that Wednesday Comics has the small potential of, if not being a “breakout comic,” at least being a bit more appealing to the average non-weekly-comic-shop-visiting person. Primarily it’s the packaging: most people are pretty familiar with the Sunday funnies format, which may make the content more attractive than the standard stigmatized comic book format. Plus, I think people by and large do like comics…if you can get comics in front of people’s faces, in a format they’ll accept, they’ll likely read them. Someone who won’t want to read a 32-page story in your standard booklet may be more amenable to one page installments on a weekly basis. And, to tie it back into what I was saying earlier, there seems to be some understanding, or hope, among our regulars (and, apparently, myself) that this is the case, judging by the multiple-copy sales.

I realize that’s all pretty thin. Wednesday Comics is nearly all superheroes, after all, and even in this familiar format, that the comics aren’t Cathy or Garfield or other gag strips may be a turn-off. And those people may not want to come into a shop week after week for each issue (as noted above), not to mention that at $3.99, it’s a bit pricier than your standard Sunday paper. But overall, it’s not a bad try at grabbing some new readers. I saw a few new faces in the shop on Wednesday who came in specifically for this item, so it’s getting somebody.

At the very least, this series will make a nice, attractive novelty for those of us already among the converted.

On a related note, if there’s a delay during this series’ run, and new comics arrive on Thursday, I’m warning you know that if you come into the store and joke about how this should be instead called Thursday Comics, I will hit you.

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