Friday, April 6, 2007

I'm being told to wrap this up

-I'm disappointed that no one is talking about the upcoming "Doubtful Guest" film adaptation. Is this old news? Or do comics bloggers not care about Edward Gorey? I remember the comics cognoscenti claiming Gorey as one of our own back in my younger days. Has that been abandoned now? Do people no longer feel the need to draft Gorey into the ranks of cartoonists now that there's so much high quality work being released on a weekly basis? Really, think about that. 10 years ago we were lucky to get a few decent pamphlets every month. Now there are at least 2-3 decent GNs every week. When Darcy Sullivan wrote in The Comics Journal* about "desperately" searching the comics store for something to buy, I knew what he was talking about. These days, there's a long list of things I intend to buy one of these days: Buddha, Late Bloomer, Terr'ble Thompson, Klezmer....

But I'd still take Gorey over all those talented cartoonists, even Tezuka. So why aren't you people upset that there's going to be a muppet-ized version of "The Doubtful Guest?"

*In the same issue there's also a long article by Heidi Mickey D which I haven't read in forever. I should do that later today.

-Ominous musings on DC's upcoming World War III event. It's been pretty quiet on the fanboy outrage front for a few weeks, but there seems to be potential here. I can't help but view this in the light of the recent news about DC's waning sales or maybe this anecdote. Sadly, though, I think that the real reason for declining sales at DC isn't revulsion to violence or extreme continuity, but the lack of Big Events at DC over the past few months. Mainstream comic sales appear to be a zero sum game. Marvel's increased sales, driven by a Big Event, came at DC's expense. Now DC is about to pull out its own Big Event, which will apparently be stretched out over the course of a year via Countdown. Marvel's got a few Modest Events planned, but I think the lure of DC's Extreme Multiverse Continuity Wars will beat out Marvel's Hulk Smash Everything and Where Have All the X-Children Gone.

-While on this subject, I noticed this comment from self-professed "comics historian" Alan Kistler:

"I think what DC should really do is get in gear about A, having everyone agree on what is now in and out of continuity and B, when they publish TPBs, don’t be afraid to maybe do the smallest amoung of editing to keep a story in continuity.What do I mean by that? Simple. In INFINITE CRISIS #7, Wildcat mentioned remembering Superman of Earth-2. Then DC decided they weren’t gonna have the JSA remember their Earth-2 lives. So when the hardcover trade for INFINITE CRISIS came out, they just rewrote Wildcat’s line so that he was just mentioning how this older guy looked a lot like Superman. Did it chance the story? Not at all. It just took away a remark that no longer made sense in continuity.

That’s all you have to do. Start publishing trades of older stories that are still in continuity and if you need to do some minor editing here and there, just put a 'REDUX' label on the cover so that continuity purists will know what they’re getting into. Also, that way it’d be easier for more casual readers who wanted to get deeped into the mythology to know which trades are in continuity or not when they go to BORDERS and want to add to their bookshelves.

Holy fuck, is that the worst idea I've ever heard. DC and Marvel are already competing for the same 300,000 or so readers. Like I said the other day, I suspect the poor bookstore sales of Spider-Man relative to Naruto is the baffling array of choices on bookstore shelves. This would make things even worse, limiting growth to those predisposed to liking stupid continuity drivel. I figure that the continuity fiends make up, at best, about 20% of Marvel/DC's current readership. Catering to these lunatics will drive away big chunks of the remaining 80%. There's a reason why Dazzler c. 1980 sold more than Civil War c. now.


T Hodler said...

So why aren't you people upset that there's going to be a muppet-ized version of "The Doubtful Guest?"

Maybe because it's really easy to avoid watching a movie you don't want to see? And because the actual book will still exist?

That's why I'm not upset, anyway.

Dick Hyacinth said...

Yeah, but there's already a lot of (probably justified) fretting over the Watchmen movie, and this sounds just as bad, potentially. Maybe it's a fanboy type reaction which Gorey fans don't experience, I don't know.

Also, I guess I'm more shocked by the lack of any type of reaction, which is what led me to wonder whether or not Gorey is still considered "comics." Probably should have phrased it that way, but the Jim Henson thing looms large for me.

Dan Coyle said...

Wait, World War III takes place during the One Year Gap. Who gives a shit about someone who's been killed a year ago in comics time?

I think WW3 will work because Champagne and Ostrander aren't insane.

jgodsey said...

hey - i posted it as soon as the story broke. i'm excited - and if you think all jim henson co makes are muppets you have another think coming. the creatures from Farscape are hell and gone away from muppets. there is no one else i'd have creat the doubtful guest. cgi'd creatures are annoyin.

Jeff Rients said...

I'd buy a book called Hulk Smash Everything.

Just sayin'.

Steve Flanagan said...

Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are full of contradictory continuity. The James Bond movies don't all fit together seamlessly. Doctor Who has had at least three different falls of Atlantis.

They seem to be popular enough.

On the other hand, I'm already unhappy with the fiddling about DC does with its reprints now. It's disrespectful to the original creators.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I'd noticed this trend in DC's trade collections as well. At one time they were very fond of blacking out the credits, as if they were tattoos of spurned lovers.

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