Thursday, September 07, 2006

Delays Continue (DC) for comic publisher--Should readers accept bimonthly???

We here at FanBoyWonder think we finally figured out what the “DC” in DC Comics stands for…”Deadline Challenged.” Perhaps it’s more like “Dazed and Confused,” although that would be more apt to describe the average comics fan as they are left wondering when or even if the comic book publisher will ever release the latest issue of their favorite book.

We had our revelation last week after we read an item on IGN.com (http://comics.ign.com/articles/729/729125p1.html) that reported DC’s brand new Wonder Woman series, re-launched in June and following a long delay between its debut issue and issue No. 2, is now OFFICIALLY a bimonthly publication.

On the surface, DC's announcement seems only to make official what has in fact been the case for some time now. However, it’s actually the sign of something much more disturbing. Rather than holding new WW writer Allan Heinberg and artist Terry Dodson’s collective feet to the fire to enforce some increasingly rare deadline discipline, the powers that be at DC have gone the extra mile in appeasing the candy-ass contingent of comic creators whose only concern for timeliness would appear to be when it’s time to receive their paycheck.

This move has been a long time in coming and to be fair, DC is far from the only publisher guilty of lax deadline enforcement.

Although we don't read the books, we've observed from afar the spotty at best publishing schedule of DC’s “All Star” books—All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Miller’s All Star Batman. It’s one thing when "name" talent such as Grant Morrison and Frank Miller were permitted to crank an issue out at their leisure—they are comic book “legends” or “divas” depending upon your point of view but they have a built-in following that will buy their books no matter how late they publish.

Yet now with Wonder Woman, the deadline appeasement policy has trickled down to the mainstream DC Universe to “talent’ with less-formidable track records. Make no mistake; Wonder Woman is only the beginning.

Our best guess as the next book due for an officially “relaxed” deadline is Green Lantern. As the book has yet again been pushed back…this time to a mid-September shipping date, it’s been a de-facto bimonthly book for much of this calendar year.

Speaking of Green Lantern, on-again/off-again GL artist, the perpetually postponed Ethan Van Sciver, speaking at the Toronto Fan Expo (as reported in IGN http://comics.ign.com/articles/730/730529p1.html) offered the frequent justification by deadline deadbeats—to ensure a quality product.

Van Sciver: “What if some books did come out bi-monthly? What if we said something like Wonder Woman was going to be bi-monthly? What would your reaction to that be? I'd much rather go for quality.”

Let’s examine the breathtaking arrogance of that statement. What he is really saying is that his work-product is so superior that the publisher and by extension the reader/consumer should adapt to HIS schedule…not the other way around.

But since Ethan had time to travel up to the Great White North to speak on a panel and no doubt make a few bucks at a table signing autographs and drawing commissioned artwork for fans--so that should mean that “punctual” is his new middle name when it comes to art assignments--right?

And if Ethan can’t handle a monthly deadline, he shouldn’t accept jobs on monthly books. As great an artist as Alex Ross is, he knew his limitations enough to make his 12-issue Justice maxi-series a bimonthly out of the gate.

Despite the quality of the series to date, Justice is the perfect case in point for the perils of bimonthly storytelling. The eight weeks between issues has made the story exceedingly difficult to remember or to follow.

Getting back to Wonder Woman, according to the IGN article, the series is not losing its creative team but perhaps it should. As we noted, the new Wonder Woman book was among our Dishonorably Discharged books (http://fanboywonder.blogspot.com/2006/08/dishonorably-dischargedsupergirl-green.html ). Now it will take two months to create uninspired storytelling? That seems to us a recipe for either cancellation or for a change in the line up.

Bottom line: Without a relatively consistent publication schedule, it really won’t matter how “quality” a title’s writer or artists—the more time between issues, the greater the risk of story momentum being lost, reader interest will wane and sales will drop.

Of course, like the man said, that’s just our opinion, we could be wrong.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you took me the wrong way, there.

EVS

7:30 AM, September 09, 2006  
Blogger FBW said...

EVS,
I stand by my previous statement. However, in the interest of fairness, I will offer you space on my blog to reply unedited (i.e. equal time). I promise not to turn it into an online pi**ing contest as yours would be the last word.
Realizing that I'm a pipsqueak blogger and if you respond to me, you may be wary of being obligated to respond to EVERYONE else, if you opt to respond in another forum (such as your own blog), I'll post your comments in full.
(If you do opt to reply, you may either post in the comments section or e-mail me privately fanboywonder@aol.com
Sir, I do actually very much admire your work, but I believe you are capable of better.
If I didn't make my original point clear, let me do so now: It's not enough to be a good (or even great) artist, quality AND timeliness is required.
Who am I to make such a statement? I'm the reader/consumer/the guy who pays for it.
Good luck and best wishes.
Cordially,
FBW

4:33 PM, September 10, 2006  

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