In which I admire Marvel’s restraint.

§ February 18th, 2016 § Filed under this week's comics § 5 Comments


The transition from self-contained gag-oriented issues to ongoing occasionally humorous soap opera seems to have been generally a successful one as far as sales go, at least at my shop. However, the comic now sells almost exclusively to adults, whereas the classic version…well, also sold almost exclusively to adults, just in lesser numbers. One thing I’ve noticed over the decades is, despite having dedicated sections of children’s comics with plenty of younger clientele in two different stores, the regular monthly (or so) Archie comics have gradually become harder sells to actual kids. That’s not to say I never had any younger customers for Archie, but they were few and far between. I think I first realized there was a problem during one of my regular bulk comic sales to a local library, when my contact person at said library requested I send them no Archie comics. “They just don’t circulate,” she lamented. Quite the change from my long-ago librarian days, when we had subscriptions to multiple Archie titles.

None of this applies to the Archie digests, which I can still sell to kids just fine. And I certainly don’t mean to criticize these New Look Archie comics, which I think are pretty good. Just…well, like Marvel and DC, Archie had to age with its audience in order to keep up their sales. It’s a tough market, and with decades-old characters as your primary product, you’ve got to do what you can to keep them viable.


I know the writer on this comic takes a lot grief and inspires some significant eye-rolling, usually for good reason, and I can’t say there wasn’t any of that going on in just this series alone. But, there were some interesting takes on Young Clark Kent here and there that you certainly wouldn’t find in the classic Silver Age Superboy stories, and I think this functions just fine as an alternate version of Superman’s younger years. No idea if this is intended as “canon” or not, which hardly matters nowadays since superhero canon lifespans are generally measured in the months between reboots/relaunches.

This particular issue has Journalism Student Clark meeting several future friends and enemies in the context of “exclusive interviews,” showing Clark different takes on growing into a hero, as well as what he will face when he finally does become one himself…leading into a final confrontation that, while in hindsight certainly should have seen coming, genuinely caught me off guard with its intensity. That’s hard to do to a guy who’s read about a million Superman comics. And it’s all beautifully illustrated with Jae Lee’s strong but delicate linework…boy, Lee’s work just continues to impress me. This issue was probably the best of the run so far.


The Star Wars line continues to do well, even as the new movie nears the end of its theatrical run. It’s nice that there hasn’t been an oversaturation just yet…three ongoing series and a rotating fourth spot for minis seems to be working out just fine. Given their sales, I’m honestly surprised Marvel hasn’t canned its lower-selling superhero titles and filled their slots with Ugnaught Adventures and Lobot, P.I. and another dozen-or-so titles any of which I would happily write, but I am glad that Marvel…Marvel…for once let the goose live to continue laying golden eggs. …Okay, none of this specifically addresses the book pictured above, which kicks off a new storyline based around a Rebel prison, which at least gives us a new location in the Star Warsian universe, unlike some sequels I could name. Leinil Yu joins up as penciller, continuing the current tradition of swell artists on this series. It all looks and feels like good old fashioned Star Wars adventure, which may not be cutting edge groundbreaking comics, but it’s entertaining all the same.


C’mon, it’s a new Love and Rockets. You don’t need me to sell you on this. Just get it already. (And yeah, it’s not technically “this week’s comics,” since it came out last week. It’s my site, I’ll do what I want.)

5 Responses to “In which I admire Marvel’s restraint.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Ugnaught Adventures and Lobot, P.I.

    For about the 1000th time on this site, your joke titles are ones I would pick up in a second. Especially if Lobot, P.I. drove the SW-equivalent of a Ferrari, was set on a Hawaii-like planet, and had a butler. But, but…wouldn’t Lobot be the butler?

  • Former Employee Nathan says:

    Okay but I really want to read Lobot, P.I. now.

  • caleb says:

    I’m reasonably sure that AMERICAN ALIEN is NOT meant to be canon, at least based on last month’s issue, where Sue Dibny’s maiden name was Dibny and Batman trained under Ra’s al Ghul like in BATMAN BEGINS…also, if this WAS canon, then it showed, like, the third “first meeting” of Batman and Superman in the New 52-iverse.

    But yeah, I too was surprised by the quality of this issue, and the generally insightful takes on the various characters (Although Luthor’s mention of everyone wearing an S on their chest miiiiiiiight have been a little too much).

  • Brad says:

    Why do kids buy Archie Digests but avoid the same material in pamphlet or trade form?

    What DO kids buy these days anyway? The Disney titles from IDW? My Little Pony? Transformers? Manga? Captain Underpants?

  • Snark Shark says:

    “the Archie digests”

    Those are a better deal, price-to-page-count!