§ February 21st, 2013 § Filed under retailing, this week's comics § 12 Comments

So after one day, it’s probably too soon to tell how Justice League of America #1 is selling, though unsurprisingly it’s the California and the American flag covers that are the most in demand at our shop. Mostly I seem to be getting the incredulous “wait, they really did 53 covers on this thing?” response from customers, and who can blame them, really?

I did sell one of those complete factory packs of all 53 variants to a customer, and the retail price on those packs is like a $60 savings over buying each cover individually. In fact, when I was figuring out our wholesale costs on these things, it turns out the per-unit cost difference between buying Justice League of America #1s individually and getting them as part of that complete pack is…52 cents. DC’s really carrying that “New 52” thing to the extreme.

Okay, it’s just a coincidence, based on our particular discount levels, but that was a good way to encourage retailers to carry all the covers by offering them at such a significant discount in that complete package. In fact, it was such a discount that I triple-checked the numbers to make sure I wasn’t making some kind of terrible mistake. (Yeah, yeah, “aside from ordering Justice League of America #1,” I know, wiseguys.)

Well, we’ll see if I have any specific requests or any odd trends of demand in the sale of this comic over the next week or so. Will everyone want that New Jersey variant? Will no one please buy the lonely, lonely Rhode Island variant? …I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

One of the things I’ve been sort of half-following over the years is what kind of language is becoming more acceptable in your more-or-less general audiences comic book. Having a character exclaim “Jesus Christ!” in your Green Lantern comic, as Kyle Rayner does in Green Lantern: New Guardians #17 (explicitly as an expression of shock, and not as someone using that as a proper name specifically to refer to Jesus as He pops up during a battle with, I don’t know, Goldface, though that would be pretty shocking in its own right) is probably not the sort of thing that would have flown under the purview of even the mostly-toothless Comics Code Authority as of a few years back. This isn’t the first example of this sort of religiously-themed exclamation I’ve noticed of late, and I don’t mention it out of some sense of prudery, but rather out of interest in what language is permissible and what companies believe their perceived audiences to be.

I think the first place I noticed language a little stronger beyond the usual “hells” and “damns” in your typical superhero book was during the Giffen/DeMatteis era Justice League, in which Guy Gardner says that he’s “pissed off.” (Clark Kent also dropped a “pissed off” in Action #838 back in 2006, which I’ve noted briefly on the site in the past, and I still don’t buy it as something he’d say.)

And of course, there’s this.

(Before you bring it up…I don’t consider the thing in All-Star Batman — you know what I’m talking about — to be part of the trend, as All-Star Batman was more of a special project than an example of a typical monthly superhero comic. God knows it wasn’t monthly.)

Speaking of hells and damns:

Well, this comic straight up gives you “fucking” on page one, a word you likely won’t be seeing in the ongoing DC Universe “New 52” Constantine series that will be attempting to fill that Hellblazer-shaped hole on the stands.

It’s been a good run, Hellblazer, and I’m sorry to see you go. I bought your first issue off the rack back in the late ’80s, and I stayed with you all the way to the end. I’m still not sure how I feel about the wrap-up to your Vertigo run…I may need to go back and reread your last year or so and see how it all holds together…but I think it holds true to the character we’ve all known and followed for all these years.

Okay, enough talking directly to the comic book. It’s somewhat satisfying to have a complete set of Hellblazer, terrifying as it is to realize I read each issue, month by month, for its entire run. And I really don’t mind the existence of the DC Universe Constantine series…I’ve been enjoying the character’s involvement in the surprisingly entertaining Justice League Dark, and the announcement of Jeff Lemire joining Constantine as writer has only increased my interest. And after 300 issues of the Vertigo run and all that entails, I don’t mind a different direction for a while. It seems unlikely we’ll get 300 issues of Constantine, but I suspect I’ll enjoy it while it exists.

Also this week, we had Classic Popeye #7:

I’m sorry for all the swearing in this post, Popeye. I know you swore in your comics, too, but at least you had the class to use &@$*%! unlike poor ol’ classless me.

12 Responses to ““RARE H@T WYOMING VARIANT L@@K””

  • Bully says:

    Popeye is disgustipated wisk your lankwidge, Mike.

  • Elkhound Bob says:

    Cussin’ in Comics: I can remember being startled when Batman shouted “God!” as lightning struck a werewolf about eight feet away from him, way way waaaaay back in the ’70s (Batman #255’s “Moon of the Wolf”).

    But much more recently, some Anonymous was taken aback (“Can they talk like that?”) by Black Adam calling Felix Faust a “piss ant,” which made me bust out laughing only because it is such a STRANGE insult, yet so common one rarely considers it.

    But don’t get me started on the graphic violence, though. I can only imagine what sort of sociopathic animals we’ll be thought of by future generations.

  • caleb says:

    I could swear I remember Hal Jordan saying the “@#$hole” in a comic recently, but maybe I dreamt it, because I’m pretty sure I would scanned and posted that (Like, last week Wonder Woman called Supergirl the B-word in AME-COMI GIRLS recently and I was pretty surprised).

    I’m really curious how shops ordered that JLoA #1 book, but I imagine it varies wildly from shop to shop, huh? My LCS just had a mess of Ohio ones.

  • G23 says:

    Wow, it’s like the 90s never happened. Good God. 53 covers. We have learned NOTHING.

    Also, God-awful logo for JLA. Enough with the bizarre angles already.

  • adam barnett says:

    I take the Hemingway approach to profanity. If a character never swears and then *does* swear, it really grabs your attention. But the casual profanity I see these days (a) disappoints me in our culture and (b) makes me feel old because I’m disappointed in our culture. I’m tired of anti-heroes and I would prefer for my good guys to comport themselves appropriately, and that includes choice of language. Language is a big part of what makes us civilized, and when we casually introduce profanity as acceptable… well, how much further down are we going to drop. (steps down from soapbox)

  • swamp mark says:

    Since you didn’t mention it,I guess Swampy didn’t appear in #300.Guess they don’t want my five bucks.Seems like they should have paid tribute to the book where John got his start,though.
    BTW,kudos on supporting the boycott!

  • Rich Handley says:

    Mark: I agree that Swamp Thing should have been referenced in the finale. But I’m not surprised he wasn’t–the entire Milligan run has been pretty bad, and has been a poor fit with what came before in terms of characterization, continuity and style.

  • Bill D. says:

    I live in Rhode Island and my LCS didn’t even carry the Rhode Island cover!

  • BobH says:

    Rich, glad to hear your opinion on the Milligan HELLBLAZER. I keep reading around the ‘net how the Vertigo JC is ending on a high note, but I got one of the Milligan books from the library recently, and it was the first time I’d been unable to finish a HELLBLAZER book. I haven’t liked what I’ve read from many of the earlier writers, but Milligan seemed way worse than any of them. Except maybe Mina.

  • Boosterrific says:

    RE: Language. I’m shocked by what goes in comics these days in general. Violence and gore and look no further than DC’s solicited “WTF” month to see how language is used.

    I still don’t know why it all surprises me so. Comics are written for and consumed by adults these days (immature adults, sure, but adults), and they should reflect their audience. When I talk, I use curse words whenever an adjective is called for, so who am I to be shocked by cursing?

    I guess I’m just conditioned not to expect that sort of language in my funny books. Childhood conditioning is a hard thing to break. It’s probably why I still buy comics all these decades later.

  • Rich Handley says:

    BobH: Yeah, the Milligan run has been horribly bad. For five years, the series has been practically unrecognizable. John’s been completely out of character, the plots have wandered aimlessly, the artwork has been awful, Piffy is a pointless character, Milligan has completely mis-characterized Gemma, continuity has been shot to hell(blazer) and the final three issues were some of the series’ worst. Plus, that ending… Christ on a cookie, that sucked. I’m glad the series is over, much as I once loved it, as it’s been so badly treated ever since Diggle left.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “and not as someone using that as a proper name specifically to refer to Jesus as He pops up during a battle ”

    Super-Jesus! Wins converts in a single bound!

    “Clark Kent also dropped a “pissed off” in Action #838 back in 2006, which I’ve noted briefly on the site in the past, and I still don’t buy it as something he’d say.”

    yeah- but Batman WOULD.

    “this comic straight up gives you “fucking” on page one”

    Huh. You’d think it would have sold more copies!

    “Black Adam calling Felix Faust a “piss ant,” ”

    Heh! That’s one reason to like Black Adam- he’s old-fashioned in his swearing!