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Events in mah brain!

Brian Hibbs

It is April, and we’re starting this year’s cycle of event storytelling. I’m fairly unconvinced this is what the audience actually and truly wants — at best I tend to think that the market supports them because its been sooooo long since we sold comics purely on the strength of the comics that we’ve forgotten anything BUT events, but I guess we’ll see what shakes out.

 

Clearly the market is reeling right now — January and February were abysmal, and March not really that much better — and there’s a sense to me, at least, that this year’s are “make or break” for the Marvel and DC universes in some fashion or another.

 

Not like comics will go away, of course, my big happy thought from WonderCon was that Larry Marder is still doing Beanworld, and getting paid to do so, and as long as THAT still happens, comics are just fine, thanks very much!

 

But that’s something more to develop in a TILTING (which, huh, I should get to writing, shouldn’t I?) — this is to talk about the comics themselves.

 

 

FEAR ITSELF #1: In many many many ways, I think that the success of failure of an event can often be determined by looking at its “log line” or “elevator pitch” — the one sentence summation of what the book is about. I’m not all that terrific at perfectly encapsulating them, for example I’m sure someone can come up with something more precise or sexy for CIVIL WAR than “Superheroes fight among themselves over liberty versus security”, but that was pretty much what I used in ’06, and it worked a charm, selling a bucketload of comics for me.

 

In the same way, DC’s biggest recent hit, BLACKEST NIGHT, can be reduced to “Dead superheroes come back from the grave as murderous zombies” — that the kind of thing people often say “Wow, cool!” to. The CLEARER the pitch, the more direct and large the sales.

 

FEAR ITSELF is a weird “event” comic — I’ll say straight up that I liked it pretty well. I have problems with bits of it (when don’t I?): I thought the Avengers pro-Stark shilling was a bit…. strange, given the libertarian nature of some of the characters; I thought that the interactions between Thor and Odin were kind of heavy-handed; and I thought the lettering was oddly large, but all in all I liked the issue as I was reading it, and I’ll even skip to the chase and say I thought it was pretty GOOD.

 

But I still can’t log line it! Even after reading it! That’s not a great situation.

 

I mean, I could say “An older pantheon of gods returns to kick the Asgardian’s asses”, I guess? But I don’t think that’s all there is to it, and, anyway, that sounds way too insider baseball for fan-off-the-street. Very very few people ACTUALLY care about “the Asgardians” as an abstract group, we have decades of sales information to clearly show that. And, clearly, Marvel is struggling with it as well, because THEY’VE yet to log line it themselves — their marketing is all over the map, and not defining things in terms of story really. Even the title doesn’t suggest what the story might be about.

 

Our first week sales were “fine” — just a smidge above AVENGERS… but I have a hard time considering an event book a hit unless it does, say, twice, three times that. That’s kind of the problem with Direct Market 2011 in a nutshell, in fact — the bottom- and middle- sellers are no worse than flat, and even substantially up in a lot of cases, but the top-selling books have cratered to less than half of what they were 2-3 years ago. That’s an ugly prospect.

 

I’m cool with the stock I have on hand — worst case we’ll sell out sometime right around the last issue shipping, but I *want* to have to go back for more, say, before issue #3 arrives in store.

 

Anyway, log-lines, yeah. That’s the problem here. The comic is pretty GOOD, but I can’t find the words to SELL it.

 

 

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #622: Kieron Gillen’s first issue, and also the first crossover tie-in to FEAR ITSELF, and I really REALLY liked it.  If you had said “Neil Gaiman wrote this” I might have believed you. Gillen’s always been strong on plotting, but this brings his prose up to a new level, and I’m anxious to see how long he can sustain this questing story with Loki as a lead. I hope it’s a real long time.  VERY GOOD.

 

FLASH #10: This is the second “prelude” issue to the upcoming Big DC event FLASHPOINT, and every problem I have with FEAR ITSELF is magnified widely for FLASHPOINT — what the hell is it about? Well, I’ve figured out that the best thing to say is maybe “It’s ‘Age of Apocalypse’ for the DC Universe”, but if you don’t already read comics (and lots of them), then I have to explain what AoA is, right? I guess you could also say “It’s an ‘Elseworlds’ as an event”, but same problem, right?

 

Comics ABOUT comics are kind of a hard sell.

 

The problem is compounded by the fact that FLASH has really been a dull book, to date. I *still* don’t know what compelling narrative reason there was to bringing Saint Barry back in the first place, and I *like* DC’s Silver Age.

 

What I *did* like about this issue was the *idea* of “Hot Pursuit” as being from Earth-47 (or whatever), and I’m intrigued about the rest of the heroes on what could potentially be a “no non-tech superpowers” world, but since I’m sort of expecting HP to *be* the bad-guy here, I suspect that is going to go nowhere? I also hope very very much I’m wrong, because isn’t that more or less the plot of the first FLASH arc anyway?

 

Bottom line: There’s nothing here that interests me, or, more importantly, creates more interest for FLASHPOINT, and a lot of what DC is doing this year would seem to depend on one or the other of those conditions being met? FLASH #10 was essentially EH.

 

 

BRIGHTEST DAY #23: I know that there’s one more to go, and I should probably hold off until then just to see if they tie the loose ends well…. but I can’t see how they can?

 

I guess I’m just flabbergasted that the POINT of an entire year of a series, not to mention the end of BLACKEST NIGHT seems to have been to return Swamp Thing to the DCU universe? Really? Realllllllly?

 

Then there’s the “And what the FUCK did that have to do with a WHITE LANTERN?!?!” I mean the whole “lantern” concept seems sort of inherently more than about parochial Terran concerns, no? Or how about how this ties in with some of the other returnees most specifically Max Lord? Or how about, how do you return the Terran Earth elemental with a cat from Mars, and another one from frickin’ thanagar?

 

Plus, Alec Holland’s body? Meatless.

 

Plus plus, how are you returning SWAMP Thing to what’s clearly meant to be a Northwestern city (like Portland or Seattle)? Meh.

 

I also think the cosmology, as already established in the DCU is kind of off — Firestorm ALREADY was the Fire Elemental, and there was mm, whatsname, Niaid is it? as the Water one. I mean, those are DC comics, not Vertigo ones!

 

I don’t know.

 

But, at the end of the day, I can’t believe all that was leading to the return of Swamp Thing, because I’m a retailer and I know that no Swamp Thing comic NOT written by Alan Moore is going to be commercially successful within a year. So why waste all of the effort to reintroducing what, at very very very best will be a supporting character?

 

I thought this was pretty AWFUL.

 

 

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #157 and ULTIMATE AVENGERS VS NEW ULTIMATES #3: OK, now I *think* I see what they’re going to do here, and it seems like they are going to kill “Spider-Man”, presumably by completely crippling Peter Parker. Maybe they’ll then turn Peter into the new Reed Richards of the Ultimate U, or, like “Professor P.” running a team from his wheelchair or something. I guess there’s some slight story potential there.

 

The thing is…. the thing is, as a marketing concept, they sold this entirely the wrong way. We had the postcards proclaiming “THE DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN!” on our counter for several weeks, and MANY people asked about it. “Yeah,” says I, “It’s in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN”. “Oh,” says them, “so not the ‘real’ one”. I’d then try to convince them that USM is actually spiffy, indeed, but you can see the eyes glaze over.

 

So, yeah, by marketing it like this, especially with the 3 “prequel” issues, boldly bannered and all that, they’re setting up some false expectations, at best. I guess that I feel that if they had just DID it, without trying to make it a marketing “event”, that it would have caught everyone by surprise, and sales could have built up from the sheer buzz and audacity of it. But, by doing it “top down” like this, I think you’re not going to get the kind of audience response that the Ultimate line desperately desperately needs right now.

 

I quite liked the Spidey portion of these two issues (GOOD), but thought the Avengers portion was overblown, and undercooked (EH)

 

 

 

 

Yeah, that’s enough out of me. What did YOU think?

 

-B

30 Responses to “ Events in mah brain! ”

  1. Many thoughts here….

    First – Comics the art form is never going away. I’m firmly convinced guys like Chris Ware and Kevin Huizenga *need* to make comics and there will always be people like that.

    I’ve also come around to thinking DM stores, even the superhero (Marvel/DC) only ones, are good for the comics industry and no one will be well served if they die off. While I realize this isn’t quite the enthusiastic thumbs up Mr. Hibbs can give…I’ve come a long way from actively hating them thanks to reading this site and ICV2. ^_^

    But yeah, comic sales this year have been depressing to me, because even if I don’t like Marvel/DC, I *love* comics and want them to do well.

    Second – As a guy who doesn’t keep up with Marvel or DC…generally speaking I at least have an idea of what’s going on in the stories. Like, Civil War – simple idea and it actually hooked me into reading it. Secret Invasion – I passed on reading it, but I at least understood what it was about. Siege – passed, but I kinda understood what it was about.

    Fear Itself…I have no idea what it’s about. Like, none. I was hoping it was simply because I’m not following closely enough, but if even you, who makes a living selling the books, doesn’t know, then what hope does this thing have?

    Complete tangent – I was at B&N this weekend and I found a trade of the first 10 issues of the Busiek/ Perez run and I read a few to kill time…and it was good! The stories themselves seemed important, like there was this big threat and Captain America *needed* everyone to come together. It wasn’t an event, just a regular comic story. I ended up buying the trade and it’s been a fun read this week.

    Third – Barry Allen is my all time favorite comic character, so I figured what the Hell and bought the collection of the first story…and I don’t get it. It’s kinda boring. So, I dunno, I’m not really excited about Flashpoint, but once again, I marked that up to my general lack of enthusiasm about superheroes. I’ll probably buy the next Flash collection…but Flashpoint seems like the point that would be perfect to stop.

  2. I was shocked–shocked, I say!–to discover Star City was actually in Massachusetts, according to JLoA #163, as I too always assumed it was in the Northwest of the U.S.

    Of course, one of those reality-shifting crossover events coulda moved it since then. In any case, that character and/or that parliament and/or that body showing up there doesn’t really jibe with what I remember about ‘em…

  3. brian-i enjoy your thoughts on retailing but i usually refrain from the commenting.
    But I just had to chime in on this one.

    Civil War itself was the lead-line. The very title makes the entire concept of the book clear. In case anyone thought it was a 1860’s period piece any picture of Cap and Tony fighting reinforced the logic of it. that thing flew of the shelves. I’m not a Marvel guy, but I bought Civil War and loved it. It’s so beautiful in the simplicity of it’s core idea. = Civil War.

    I’m a huge DC guy, but I”m stopping ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ for the duration of the cross over- I’ll hop back on when it’s done. Nothing but splash pages or double page spreads, and I read this exact same story last year, but it had zombies in it. Zombies are cool. Formless unexciting BS is not.

    @Caleb- Wait what? You mean JLA #163 from Pre-Crisis time?
    Was Mike Grell’s Green Arrow run post crisis? I’m 99% positive that run mentions Star City as being in the NorthWest. To the internets!!!!

  4. Sorry one more thing-
    As I said I”m a DC guy. But get this, I was born in 1982.
    Whoa! Hold your horses!

    I love DC, from 1938. It’s ability to make legacy characters is my favorite aspect of DC. I own the Archives, I own the Showcases, I love the Golden Age and I love the Silver Age, I f***ing love DC Comics.

    But, given that, I do NOT understand why Barry Allen was brought back. I’ve read about Wally West all my life, and learned from those comics that Barry was actually more useful story wise as a dead character. That vague ideal to live up to. That weird uncle that could show up for a few minutes any second as a time traveler (which he did sometimes)

    But I was more interested in Wally, and recently Wally’s kids. I’d be more comfortable with a legit Flash Family – Barry, Wally, and the kids having adventures (like Batman Inc.) – but jettisoning a much more interesting character for a lame and uninteresting character? Why? I do not understand it at all.

    I will buy some of Flashpoint (though not all- I can’t afford it) but I’m buying based on cool sounding creative teams or concepts, following whatever bizarre boring storyline Barry is involved in is not the reason.
    You’re right it’s DC’s version of AoA. And I loved AoA. It’s a crappy lead-line but it’s good enough for me.

  5. I don’t think Peter Parker would be of any use crippled on the crime-fighting front. He’s a genius in the sense that when he applies to college, he’ll be able to write his own ticket to the best college program in America; he’s not a genius in the sense that he could get into the same program at age 12, like Reed Richards.

    Can’t say I have a better idea about what they can do instead, though, which (along with Bendis & Bagley reunited on what is for my money the series on which both men have done their best work) is why I returned to the series with the first part of this story. I didn’t pick up the prequels, but that thankfully turned out to be unnecessary.

    What’s the deal here? Will they have him die and then come back to life after some sort of near-death/post-death experience? Boo.

    Cripple him and then give him the power to be Spider-Man again via the symbiote or some other means? Well, OK, but still… doesn’t quite live up to the title of the story.

    Is it at all possible they’ll end the series? Do we have solicitations for issues of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN after the Death storyline? Nevermind, don’t tell me; I don’t want to know. It’s the first time I’m not 100% (fairly sure, but not 100%) sure that the protagonist of a Marvel comic is going to survive a storyline. This is a sensation to be savored.

  6. Has anyone done a ‘Professor Xavier is a Jerk’ with Tony Stark instead?

    The spousal unit hasn’t read any comics featuring said wanker, but from movies and the new cartoon is quite sure this is the case.

    That would be a fun one for those ‘bunch of sketches with a theme’ post.

    Asgardian Civil War – have Shield and Homeland Security kill all the gods and take over as they are a national security risk?

  7. A friend of mine tweeted the other day that it seems the premise of Fear itself is this:

    Oprah tells MU powerhouses to look under their chairs: “And YOU get a hammer! And YOU get a hammer! Everyone GETS A HAMMER!”

  8. Re: the logline on Fear Itself, isn’t it just an alternate universe story? I felt like those have become pretty common in regular media, and so easy to explain, but I’m not sure why I think that. I mean, there are the obvious ones– It’s a Wonderful Life or Mirror Mirror. “The history of every superhero is rewritten and they’re now trapped in a dark new alternate universe where their shit is all crazy.”

    (I can see how it’d be hard for casual fans, but … boy, there sure have been a lot of those stories– Age of Apocalypse, House of M, Days of Future Past, any X-Men comic after Days of Future Past, Deathmate, Deathmate 2 (later renamed Spent by Joe Matt), etc., such that I’d think even a casual fan would have some familiarity with the concept by now…? But maybe not…)

    I think on Fear Itself, I think the logline is “Captain America’s greatest enemy (well, his daughter) and Thor’s greatest enemy (well, that he’s never seen before) team up to destroy the Marvel Universe. With hammers.” I think you’re supposed to leave out the parentheses but…

    For Love & Rockets “Browntown”, I think the logline is “When a family moves from the big city to a small town, they’re like fish out of water, and crazy hijinks ensue. It’s like Funny Farm meets The Goonies.” Okay, that one’s not very good actually…

  9. Ack– on the first one, I meant Flashpoint obviously…

  10. I’m gonna take a fer realz shot at this

    Fear Itself “The new Red Skull and the God of Fear team up to terrorize the world and get revenge on Captain America and Thor.”

    Flashpoint “The Flash wakes up in an alternate reality and has to solve the mystery of what happened to fix it.”

    The Death of Spider-Man…I got nothing. Your best shot at selling this is when they totally relaunch it for the cartoon.

  11. Brian Jacoby – hahaha!

  12. yeah, I kinda see Flashpoint as House of M. With requisite spin-off miniseries where the alternate world bulges for a month or so… and then back to normal but with a couple key changes. And DC crossing their fingers that Cyborg really catches on?

    Fear Itself strikes me as Matt Fraction at bat on the latest Marvel Event.

  13. On a related note, I looked at the DC solicitations for July that came out this week and grew so depressed…
    Is it me, or does that company really seem to be in a creative slump compared to prior years?
    We’ve got a bazillion Flashpoint tie-ins, and that’s basically your standard “let’s create odd versions of your favorite heroes and put them in a topsy-turvy world” story that any comics’ fan has read umpteenth times already as part of a regular series or of other events.
    We’ve got James Robinson writing the teenage Justice League.
    We’ve got the JMS Superman and Wonder Woman storylines still coming out, even though technically JMS bailed months ago and left the actual writing to others.
    We’ve got yet ANOTHER war going on among all the different Green Lantern books.
    Plus DC cancelled several low sellers in recent months, so the actual output seems dominated by the big names with very few quirky titles in the mix besides Jonah Hex, Xombi and Secret Six.
    Anyone else feel like, despite DC’s insistence their universe is more exciting and boom/pow!!! than ever, that they’ve really hit some sort of low? Anyone long for the days when Waid was on Flash, Morrison on JLA, Robinson and Gerry Ordway writing personal projects like Starman and Power of Shazam?

  14. “Or how about how this ties in with some of the other returnees most specifically Max Lord?”

    Did you miss that throwaway line?
    Apparently, he was needed back so he could set about the events that led to Captain America killing Magog, as Magog would have gotten in the way of the White Lanterns plans.
    Somehow.

    “But, at the end of the day, I can’t believe all that was leading to the return of Swamp Thing, because I’m a retailer and I know that no Swamp Thing comic NOT written by Alan Moore is going to be commercially successful within a year.”

    What makes me sadder is that they shit-canned China Melville’s Swamp Thing run for it, and there’s a chance he could have given us a Swamp Thing people would read.

    “The problem is compounded by the fact that FLASH has really been a dull book, to date. I *still* don’t know what compelling narrative reason there was to bringing Saint Barry back in the first place, and I *like* DC’s Silver Age.”

    I’ve no idea why they felt the need to bring him back, but I thought Flash has been a pretty fun book to date, with this and the Captain Boomerang being the only off issues.

  15. Brian, I agree about DC.

    Before they OYL fubared it I thought DC was really good.

    I’d certainly like those Waids etc. back.

    I even have a Flash xmas tree ornament, and I have no interest in Flashpoint. Unless free or maybe as dirt cheap backissues in a year or two.

    And no Question or Batwoman? Or maybe even better, a double feature title. 47 different Batgirls and can’t do one of those is bizarre.

    Don’t know if I’d swap them for new Legion titles though. How long do you think those can last?

    Fear Itself – ‘Hulk Smash Norse Nazis to stop them lynching The Black Panther’?

    Oprah : ‘It’s HammertTime’

    The Guardians certainly seem to need some management classes, that is for sure. The 31st Century is better off without ‘em, it would seem.

    So if these two not-very-interesting events flatline in event terms as you suspect, what happens? Lots more chopping?

  16. FEAR ITSELF
    “He’s the God of Thunder! He’s the Spirit of The Nation! He’s chalk! He’s cheese! He wipes with his left! He wipes with his right! Together they’re going to have to learn to love each other harder than ever if they want to beat…Fear – Itself!”

    FLASHPOINT
    “Where the derivative and the desperate intersect – that’s the FLASHPOINT!”
    (Optional – Retailer breaks into song: “Pictures come alive! You can dance right through your life – What A Feeling!!! FLASHPOINT!!!!”)

    ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN
    “Wash your hands in Spider-Man’s guts!!! Get your face right down in there if you want!!!”

    Log lines aside these things will sell just fine won’t they? I mean what we have here is an instance of Too Big To Fail, right? (Real world relevance? I can do that too! Eat your heart out Marvel U vs. The Recession!) Retailers will have already ordered healthy numbers because they can’t be caught on the hop and (probably) based orders on previous Events (which sold okay?). The majority of DC/Marvel’s audience are used to (even I dislike the term ‘trained’) buying these things as a matter of course and then there’s those extra readers, most of whom will say ‘okay’ to anything a Retailer holds up and points at (I know I do unless it’s by someone on my “!No!” list. (Yes, it’s a big list.))

    Obviously a clear log line (that phrase gets uglier with repetition. I like that.) helps to increase buzz which increases sales etc. etc. But I don’t think it’s essential. All that’s necessary is that these things show up. They are pre-ordered. They are pre-sold (as far as Marvel and DC are concerned.). For them it’s about as risky as opening a hot dog stand at a ball game.

    Also I think there’s a real sense of people waiting for these things to fail and there’s a danger in this; every time they don’t fail (See above. Or don’t.) it gives Marvel and DC justification for doing it again. And again. And again. I realise the sales rewards are diminishing on these things but sales are diminishing as a whole anyway. So they look even better in comparison to regular sales despite actually selling less than their predecessors. Eventually these stunts *will* fail but by the time that happens a whole lot else will have failed and by the time “Seasonal Affective Disorder – Itself!” rolls around and sells like poop cakes its poor performance will probably be the least of the mainstream industry’s worries.

    So, yeah, I’m not worried about the performance of any of these. In fact I don’t really care about any of them in any way shape or form except how their preordained “success” apparently works to prevent any robust and innovative alternative publishing strategies being developed to ensure a healthy and expanding mainstream industry that will again nurture and reward imagination and innovation.

  17. “Our first week sales were “fine” — just a smidge above AVENGERS… but I have a hard time considering an event book a hit unless it does, say, twice, three times that.”

    While there may be broader reasons for that, isn’t it likely that folks aren’t flocking to event books because they almost uniformly end badly? I mean, BLACKEST NIGHT at least tried to make a big production out of its conclusion, but how many times has a recent Marvel event ended in an even vaguely satisfactory manner?

    Mike

  18. Long time lurker, first time poster.
    People have been saying for years that if you don’t like something, don’t buy it!
    Comic sales have been declining precipitously these past few months/years.
    Put these two pieces together.
    At what point do we say that people aren’t liking what’s being published? Or do we just point to the numbers that ARE good and say it is that which proves what people “want?”

  19. Danny: I think it’s the latter, unfortunately. Fans tend to buy comics that are “important” to the canon even if they don’t enjoy them. It’s like panic time if they’re not in the know about… I don’t know, whatever is going on in Bendis’ Avengers books? This leaves Marvel with no choice but to continue publishing this stuff because the #s are there. I remember when Chuck Austen was on X-Men and it was getting slammed in the reviews but Marvel’s inarguable stance was that “it’s still a top seller.”

    I weaned myself off bullshit “important comics” after Civil War. I’m getting too old for this.

  20. I think it’s pretty clear that’s what the declining numbers mean.
    The problem is, it’s not clear what people DO want.

    …although, come to think of it, I think one of the big obstacles for Marvel/DC comics right now is that the overall readership isn’t a monolithic entity that wants one particular thing, but at the same time it’s not big enough to actually divide into smaller audiences that can be better targeted. Event vs. self-contained, new creators vs. old(er) ones, new characters vs. “icons” — people want different things, and trying to serve them all with the same books satisfies nobody.

  21. I want Spider-Man and Wolverine in every comic and if I can’t get that I want Moon Knight to have one arm of Spider-Man’s and one arm of Wolverine’s. and Bendis.

    I’m voting for that next comic elections.

  22. The first comic book I ever bought on my very own cost 12 cents off the spinner rack at the 7-11. I haven’t bought a mainstream DC or Marvel comic book in about three years.

    The reason? If I want to buy a comic book, I want to buy a comic book. Not 24 different comic books that try to tell one story and do it poorly, and really only serve to set up the next 24 comic books I am expected to buy.

    The rape and dismemberment and women in fridges and such didn’t help either.

    Don’t get me wrong. Garth Ennis is my favorite comic book writer ever. Thing is, in his books you know what you’re going to get going in. But if I’m reading a comic starring Ted Grant or Jay Garrick or Clark Kent, I really don’t want to see dead babies and severed limbs and serial killers portrayed as heroes.

    Yes, comic books are a media, not a genre, and can tell any story they wish to. But I think mainstream DC and Marvel comics have a responsibility to honor the decades of stories they’ve told before.

    I really don’t need to turn on Mister Rogers and see him anally rape Lady Aberlin with her own arm.

  23. So, why aren’t back issues a bigger seller in comic shops? If the current crop of releases are mostly/only re-hashed, uncreative messes, filled with rape/murder but the books from “the past” are the exact opposite of this, therefore being what people would rather see, why isn’t the back issue market stronger? Why do all of these golden oldy gems languish in dollar bins? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m just wondering. I would find it hard to believe that people have “read all the good stuff” from “back then”.

    And I understand that, as Marvel say, the portion of fandom who visits websites like this and voice their opinion do not represent the majority of comic book buyers. However, we must represent a certain not-insignificant demographic. If we suddenly switched our buying habits to back issues solely, I can’t believe it wouldn’t have some sort of noticeable and debilitating effect on Marvel and DC (but hopefully not on retailers).

    Not that I’m advocating this. I still buy a few DC books, typically Flash, GL, Superman, Batman Inc. and occasionally JLA, and while they aren’t masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination, they give me $3 worth of entertainment. Which is all I’m looking for. I think that’s the major problem with fans these days. What do you expect from a comic? Do you expect Kirby’s New Gods (or whatever you consider the comics apex) out of every book? Sometimes cheap fun is just cheap fun, and if you’re not getting what you want from something, maybe you should stop buying it and spend your money elsewhere. Vote with your dollars as I am fond of saying.

  24. Hi, Anthony Casaldi, if I may: I think back issues are big sellers in comic shops, but in the form of TPBs of reprints. Would you rather spend 30 quid on a NEW GODS #1 that looks like a dog’s used it as a hat or buy a nice hardback of umptyump issues of NG for the same price? I think that’s where the back issue dollar is going.

    Now (and I have no evidence to support this other than the continued proliferation of such volumes) it seems that in this format back issues form a very important form of revenue for both publishers and retailers.

    Also, cheap fun ceases to be such when it isn’t cheap anymore. Personally I’m a tightwad and I don’t think comics are cheap anymore and the fact that they aren’t does affect the amount of VFM I expect to get. But I guess the cost:satisfaction ratio is going to vary wildly for each individual.

    That’s good advice about voting with your money; advice I’m happy to follow and support. But maybe more people are actually doing that anyway – hence the falling sales?

    More generally, isn’t it a bit early for the “Tit’s ‘n’ Innards” ((c) Alan Moore) Debate? No one’s been graphically fed to pigs in a two page spread in these aforementioned series. Yet.

  25. The Flash doesn’t seem very important, never has, and it’s a silly way to try to change that, running “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the continuity that no one cares about but people with an irrational attachment to the character.

    I’d compare it to the real world reality: DC could probably mothball the Flash for a decade or so, pretend the character never existed for a while, with little to no actual consequences to its readership or line.

  26. “Neil Gaiman wrote this” I might have believed you….

    What, it’s that bad?

  27. “I guess I’m just flabbergasted that the POINT of an entire year of a series, not to mention the end of BLACKEST NIGHT seems to have been to return Swamp Thing to the DCU universe? Really? Realllllllly?”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt at about the same point during Blackest Night. The last couple of DC events have just sputtered to a halt, instead of ending with a satisfactory catharsis the way stories are supposed to. They’re just checking off items on an editorial list and moving around characters so the DCU is ready for the *next* big event.

  28. How about this for a “Fear Itself” logline: “Ancient fear-feeding evil warriors exploit contemporary anxieties to threaten Earth?”

  29. All of the logline suggestions are very good and do a good job summarizing what Fear Itself sounds like it’s about. However, none of them really make me want to read this series. Which I’ll assume is a problem with me and not the series itself since it seems to be selling briskly at my local comic shop. (?)

  30. “Which I’ll assume is a problem with me and not the series itself since it seems to be selling briskly at my local comic shop.”

    You’re not the problem. According to the sales figures at icv2.com, FEAR ITSELF: BOOK OF THE SKULL #1 clocked in at #10 with 62,714 issues. That’s pretty gosh darn horrible for the kick-off of a major event series.

    Mike

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