Monday, June 18, 2007

Rip Van Winkle wakes up

-I am hopelessly behind on my blog reading; if your blog starts with a letter from the second half of the alphabet, chances are I haven't even looked at it in over a week. So please, dear readers, send along anything which might be grist for this mill. I would greatly appreciate it.

-Public service announcement: Delphine #2 is out this week. Assuming you don't live someplace with a really shitty store, you should definitely buy it instead of Flash, Justice League, Hulk, and/or Amazing Spider-Man this week. If you do live someplace with a shitty store, you should consider moving so you can buy comics like Delphine every week (or, failing that, there's always mailorder).

-This weekend, while I wasn't paying attention, DC finally entered the 21st century. Consider the following:

  • There's a new webcomics initiative in the offing, and it's apparently pretty ambitious in scope.
  • DC has invested in a new Japanese publisher, Flex Comics, which will distribute in both traditional and digital formats.
  • The above is tied into an effort to establish an office located in Japan.
  • Dwayne McDuffie, whose version of JLA is the definitive one for an entire generation of teens and tweens, will be succeeding Brad Meltzer (whose version of JLA was written exclusively for people over the age of 30, and younger folk who have made an effort to be well versed in DC history) on Justice League.

This is all very encouraging stuff, and gives one some hope of DC moving beyond its current "caregiving institution for assorted intellectual properties" status. DC has always been better than Marvel at keeping non-superhero titles alive. Let's hope they embrace the spirit of diversity when they're considering which titles to include in their new digital publishing plans.

-As for Marvel, I'm not sure yet whether the weekly Amazing Spider-Man format is a good or bad idea. It's not a new idea; most of us probably remember when the Superman titles were doing basically the same thing. I have to say, that sort of thing probably discouraged me from ever picking up one of these comics, even though I was kind of fond of Jon Bogdanove's art on Man of Steel. Maybe Marvel has something a bit more like DC's 52 in mind. Still too early to tell, especially with no word on the creative teams (my money's on Dan Slott, Peter David, Matt Fraction, and Terry Moore writing, with JRJr, Mike Wieringo, Mark Bagely, and someone else on art).

Marvel Comics Presents, however, might be an interesting experiment. The old MCP, for those of you who wisely avoided it, could have been called Assistant Editor Showcase, Also Featuring Don McGregor on Occasion. It wasn't always so--the first issue had a pretty impressive lineup of creators, including Claremont/Buscema, Gerber/Sutton, and Moench/Grindberg. And there was the occasional surprise contributor, like Steve Ditko or Bruce Jones. But get a few months in, and suddenly you start seeing Bobbie Chase, Dwight Jon Zimmerman, and Glenn Herdling in the credits. Hopefully this won't happen with the new version--I'd like to see a mix of popular "mainstream" creators with people more along the line of Bendis and Brubaker, c. 10 years ago. Don't know if that's realistic, but it's probably worth keeping an eye on.

-ADD argues (not specifically) against a point I made whenever it was I last posted; Mr. Doane says that Marvel/DC fans, jonesing for a Johns/Millar speedball, would find comics wherever they were shelved in the store. Probably true, but I don't think it's good policy--the superhero fans would be tripping all over each other, fiendishly tearing into anything standing between them and the latest issue of whatever the fuck it is they're buying that week. I think there is a case to be made that retailers could better display comics that would appeal to a truly mainstream audience (Persepolis, Fun Home, etc.), but those superhero comics better be easy to find and navigate, or we'll all suffer in the end.

Another point that bears repeating: voting with your wallet isn't an option when there's only one store in town (as is the case when I visit my parents). That money's either going to the one shop in town or to, I don't know, Barnes & Noble. Or else I wait until I'm back home to buy my comics. But I actually like the store in my parents' town. (It definitely passes the Tom Spurgeon "would I send my mother there?" test; she's been, and has only nice things to say about the staff. Also, I was able to buy volumes of Dragon Head there after getting hooked on that series.)


Dan Coyle said...

Well, one of the first things that Joe Q instituted at Marvel was some sort of no-freelancing rule for editors. Stuart Moore, Mike Raicht, Marc Sumerak, et al. all left editorial before writing for Marvel.

The guys they got listed so far are, well, people I've NEVER HEARD OF. And Dee Snider's kid. I'm serious. Dee Snider's kid is writing a Deadpool story.

Spot 1980 said...

MCP was where I was first introduced to Sam Keith, so it wasn't all dreck.