Friday, February 19, 2010

The Weekly Crisis vs. Solicits for May 2010

As the image in the crystal ball is made visible for the  comic solicitations for the month of May, we here at The Weekly Crisis find that we have many thoughts to share. The manner in which we share these personal thought bubbles has evolved and changed and we hope you all like the new format. We have picked out a few select morsels of interest and discuss them each after the jump. We hope to elucidate why these presented solicitations are important to us all and make you think a little about them, too.


Amazing Spider-Man #631-633

Last month I was very excited when I saw that Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo were working on Amazing Spider-Man #630. I have been very impressed by their work on the title so them working an arc together was definitely I was looking forward to reading. My only problem was that I didn't know how long their arc would be but Marvel must like me this month since they are doing a four issue arc. Bachalo is one of my favorite artists so him working on a character I like(Spider-Man), on a story about character that suits his style(the Lizard) and with on the better writers to have work on this particular title(Wells) is something I simply can't pass up.

Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #1 & 2

I've been trade waiting Batman and Robin since, well, I'm a trade waiter but also because it's being released in oversized hardcovers, which are a little on the pricey side, so I haven't been double dipping on the series, which I was very tempted to do, but this is something that I simply have to buy in singles. Aside from the fact that both Chris Sprouse and Frazer Irving are doing the art for the first two issues, and I assume similarly great artists will finish up the series, and that I have been missing Grant Morrison's Batman saga, the real reason I'm interested in this series? F$%&ing Pirate Batman. Or, in the case of these solicited issues, f$%& Caveman Batman. Superhero comics, particularly Batman comics, have been too caught up in the "real world," grim & gritty style of story telling that doesn't seem to be able to die, so this is very much a breath of fresh air, much like a lot of Morrison's other superhero works. And, I have to say, if Pirate Batman doesn't get you excited, I have no idea why you would read superhero comics in the first place.

I, Zombie #1

My main interest in this series comes from Allred's art, but the premise is intriguing all on it's own. Add in the fact that's it from Vertigo, whose output I've been very impressed with of late, and this is a must buy for me. It's only a $1 so there isn't any reason why you should pass it up either. And you can check out a seven page preview of the series here.

Superman: War of The Supermen

Although DC kind of got me hooked with the premise behind the series, I can't say I'm expecting this to be any good. The solicits for the four issues don't inspire confidence of any kind but, the premise is still keeping me slightly interested. The idea of a four issue, 100 minute long is a very good and intriguing one, especially when it's the Earth against an army of Kryptonians but the Superman books haven't produced anything of interest for me since Geoff Johns's and Gary Frank's Brainiac arc and I don't think Sterling Gates and James Robinson will be the ones to convince me otherwise. Personally, I would love for this to be written as one, 88 page story that's just divided into four comics but I suspect it's written as four 22 page issues with arbitrary cliffhangers at the end of each issue. I know haven't been very positive about this series, and I can't say that I'm eagerly anticipating it, but it does have a strong premise and May is looking like a light month for me so I may just get anyway. And who knows, I've been surprised by comics that I've though would be bad before.

A God Somewhere/Revolver

These two comics are new OGNs from DC's Wildstorm and Vertigo imprints and I wanted to mention them simply for that fact, but also they look like very good comics in their own right. A God Somewhere, from Wildstorm, is by John Arcudi, of B.P.R.D. fame, and I've always heard good things about his work so that's enough for me to check this out, even if it didn't have the endorsements of Mike Mignola and Dennis O'Neil. O'Neil also states that is a superhero story told as a classical tragedy so I'm looking forward to see how that works out since I think the two genres could work really together. Revolver is by Matt Kindt, another writer who I've heard a lot of good things about have never personally read any of his. Much like A God Somewhere though, the premise alone is enough to get me interested in the comic.


Cowboy Ninja Viking #6

Lesson One in 'How To Annoy Fans And Alienate Them': Bring out an awesome series. Get people into the story and do some great setting up while also laying on the laughs like it's diamonds on a rapper's grill. Get everyone oiled up to the right temperature; then, announce the trade, last month, of the first arc that will feature all sorts of cool extras like a pin up gallery and an index, not to mention more. That'll really show those fools that support you in and out of every month in your formative issues. They'll have to double handle your title to get that good stuff or simply miss out. Then you can start the next arc, because your series was so successfully ordered by those monthly fools that it's now an ongoing instead of a mini, and you can set the price up to $3.99. If you do this right anyone that was a fan will find they are taking a long hot minute to reconsider the relationship and how valued they feel. Postscript: this is an awesome title. It's probably the funniest thing I pick up currently, but I'm not laughing at being screwed out of an awesome trade and then being made to pay more for the next arc when I assume it'll be cheaper in trade and I'll just get more goodies with that format as well. Let's hope the title survives with one less monthly reader.

Daredevil: Cage Match One-Shot

I know, who would have known it possible? I'm keen for a Daredevil comic. Though it saddens me that there is no main DD solicit for May, I am happy to take this one-shot as a fill-in while I wait calmly and sensibly. Antony Johnston (who is also co-writing the current DD arc, The Left Hand Path) has scripted this tale of Daredevil and Luke Cage's past. It teases of some brutal shared experience that has created a respect that may be shattered by the upcoming Shadowland, whatever that be; mini-event, arc title, hotel for H.A.M.M.E.R. P.O.W.s, or B&B from the D&D? I have been interested to see what Johnston will bring to the DD title and that he's keen enough to also create a nice little tale from back in the day makes me trust him even more. It should also go without saying that Marko Djurdjevic always does a brilliant DD cover. I love the composition on this one, and Luke Cage looks perfect. I'd love to see any photo reference he had of someone with sideburns in a tiara, ha.

Daytripper #6

I hope this series isn't released in a fancy trade or HC with sketches, pin ups, essays, and everything the monthly fan would most want but will never get. I am in love with this series. Some of the smartest written comics around from the Brazillian duo of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. It's literate, well plotted, gorgeous, and most certainly something different. When this is trade collected I wonder how it will go; there's 10 issues, so will they lump them all together or put 5 and 5 over two trades? Each issue stands alone, though each strand of the story that we get, generally over one day in the life for main character Bras, weaves together to create a tapestry that is masterfully presenting itself and impressing me greatly. This cover is just a beautiful example of art within comics. It's not all about clouding out the feet and tracing from money shots. Sometimes it's about composition and emotion. Sometimes a comic should hit you in the heart, not the notoriously fickle fanboy gland.

Gødland Celestial Edition 2

I honestly worried that I would never see the day. I bought the Gødland Celestial Edition many moons ago and I loved it. I really didn't want to finish off the series with paltry trades shelved next to the majestic Celestial HC that I loved so much. So, I've waited and I've pined. I've complained and I'd given up. And now I've been insanely surprised. I'll have a matching piece of the puzzle soon enough in 2010. Godland is Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's answer to what's missing now that Jack Kirby isn't riding the four colour melt anymore. They set up their cosmic hero, Adam Archer, well but it's the supporting cast around him that makes the world rich and the ideas and concepts presented that create a denseness that will have you reading a Celestial Edition for hours on end. The Cosmic Fetus Collective. Maxim, the alien super dog. Friedrich Nickelhead. But most importantly, I am looking forward to catching up with my old friend, Basil Cronus. He's one of the funniest characters created, ever; a skull floating in a head-jar of fluids on a mission to find the ultimate high. This is going to be one wicked read.

Spider-Woman Hardcover w/ Motion Comic DVD

I hate to add more rage but this might be the second lesson from the previously mentioned curriculum. I have supported this title from the start, and from sales it looks like not a grand amount of others have, and yet what is my reward? The HC collection will feature a DVD of the Motion Comic series, and this tale is made all the more bitten by the fact that down here in Australia this series was not available through iTunes. I watched the first one, or maybe it was two, on YouTube when Marvel made them available for a short time only, and I honestly would have bought them all just to support Alex Maleev and see if the format was any good. But now I get my chance to buy them and I'm not going to because I already have all of the single issues, and they've been paced slower than a snail's nap anyway. I'm saddened to see that those of us who toil in the weekly LCS trenches really are just cannon fodder for the big sales of trades.


Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #1

It should not surprise anyone that I am excited about this book, since I have stated my love for Jason Aaron, and his work with Wolverine, many times. Add Andy Kubert to the mix, and this book is bound to be incredibly engaging. The only downside? This book is going to be a $3.99-for-22-pages series, just like Wolverine: Weapon X. This clearly doesn't affect my excitement over this book, but I can see many, many people not checking out this series because of the price. The high price is probably the only reason why Aaron's run on Wolverine is not selling better, as it stars an incredibly popular character and is critically acclaimed by just about everyone that reads it.

Age of Heroes #1

A new anthology book from Marvel, and they had me at "MI-13". I loved that series, and I have been eagerly awaiting the characters to make appearances in other books. Not only are they joining and becoming more involved with the rest of the universe, this story is by the original creative team of Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk. As if all this wasn't enough, the rest of the book has an impressive pedigree, a mix of "superstar" talent like Kurt Busiek and Marco Djurdjevic, with many of the up and coming talents that Marvel has been grooming in the last couple of years, like Rick Remender and Chris Samnee. This is how an anthology should be done.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1

Well, I guess it is confirmed that Hercules is indeed going to die, but it doesn't look too permanent. In the mean time, we get a mini series starring Amadeus Cho as the new Prince of Power. It is the same creative team as Incredible Hercules, and it is basically going to be a continuation of the stories going on in that series. We have already seen that Cho's adventures can be just as entertaining when he is alone, so I am not worried about a drop in quality of entertainment. Hopefully the "Heroic Age" banner and title will add some extra readers to this series, as Incredible Hercules was doing dangerously low in the sales chart before.

Green Lantern Corps #48

Talk about change, this issue marks not only a change in creative team, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are leaving, but it also seems to show a change in focus of the book. Tony Bedard and Ardian Syaf are jumping on to the series and it will center around Jon Stewart, which seems to be is the least popular of the four main Green Lanterns, and Ganthet. I can see many readers jumping ship, especially considering that Tomasi is going to be doing Brightest Day instead. I'm going to stick with this title's new status quo for at least an arc, to test the waters and see how the new creative team works.

Sam and Twitch: The Writer #1 & 2

Now this is a strange and bold move by Image. The creators, all of them literal unknown factors, hail from Italy, and they are given the reins to the same book that Brian Michael Bendis wrote many years ago when he was still just an indie comics creator. Is Todd McFarlane hoping to hit gold twice, or will this crash and burn? I don't know, but I'll certainly be on the lookout to see what kind of waves this book makes with the critics, as I doubt it'll set the charts on fire. Anyway, I am glad more international writers are joining the American industry, and I hope they act as a breath of fresh air.

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brandon said...

@Ryan - count that two monthly readers lost on CNV. Damn shame too.

Radlum said...

So...was Spider-Woman any good? I like how Bendis and Maleev work together so I'm interested in that HC (thankfully I didn't buy the single issues).
I'm willing to give Prince of Power two arcs and GLC one arc before deciding whether or not I stick to those books

Parallax207 said...

@Matt, Somewhere I heard that Tomasi was doing a third Green Lantern title... I may have misread.

James said...

Yes, Tomasi will be launchinga third GL book entitled "GL: Emerald Warriors" and which will focus on Guy.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Brandon - yeah, and what a shame because I really like the title, almost love it, but I'll still definitely support in trade but I won't be their $3.99 stooge, nor will I miss out on all the awesome extras that come then too.

@Radlum - Spider-Woman has just moved really slowly. Each issue maybe one or two things really happen, this last issue was just one big chase, and the voice over seemed a little overly/smugly written. I like a character that thinsk but not one that always talks to their audience. They shouldn't be halfway through the fourth wall with each caption. In saying that, it's had a few quality moments, it'll probably be a decent trade, a very pretty one, and I loved Bendis and Maleev on DD so maybe I'll give them one more arc. If something else comes along though it's bye bye birdie.

Flip The Page said...

I've been thinking on the Wells/Bachalo Lizard arc, and it might ACTUALLY BE LONGER. I mean it doesn't say the story is concluding in 633 (though it does say the Grim Hunt finally begins or whatnot) so us hopeful people lookign forward to it might be in for an even bigger treat.

Zdenko said...

Which italian creators are doing Sam and Twitch?

Matt Ampersand said...

@Paralax / James: Yeah, good call on Tomasi doing the Guy solo series, I had completely forgotten. I didn't see it on the previews either, so I'm guessing it starts in June?

@Zdenko: From the Image solicits:
"A top-notch creative team from Italy spins a hard-boiled crime fiction tale from the boroughs of NYC!"

Eric Rupe said...

Extras have always been part of collections. Comics like Criminal and Phonogram are exceptions and it seems that putting single issue only extras in them didn't increase sales so I'm guessing that Criminal, now that Phonogram is over, will be one of the few comics to continue the practice. In fact, extras in trades have been getting fewer and fewer as well so the fact the CNV includes so many is also an exception.

And it's the same with movies and TV shows as well, you only get extras with the DVDs. It's not the best comparison but the principle is still the same.

Flip - I can't imagine Bachalo doing more than four issues in a row since no other artist on the series, aside from JRJR, has. Plus, the solicit does make it sound like the next issue is the start of a new arc.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty much excited about thanos: imperative one-shot..only one solicit that had me salivating...

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Eric - I almost like your tv/movie comparison but in the end it doesn't cross the line for me. Creators constantly tell fans to support the monthly so that the title lives on. Without good monthly sales the title can very likely die, and this has been shown a lot in recent times with titles dropping off due to poor showings. I'd say the analogy should be closer to how a movie released on DVD and then a few months later rereleases with a 'collector's edition' that includes all of the extras we have come to expect from dvd's. Some movies even go further to include a definitive edition, or an extended edition. I know Gladiator had about 4 different versions, and the Lord of the Rings got a fair few as well. It's insulting to those fans who support you on their initial release.

I am hoping that with Casanova coming back it'll continue the old trend of having little essays from the creators at the end of each issue. It's not certain, but I liked those pieces of process thrown in and I hope they survive.

Eric Rupe said...

"I'd say the analogy should be closer to how a movie released on DVD and then a few months later rereleases with a 'collector's edition' that includes all of the extras we have come to expect from dvds."

The problem with that analogy is that extras haven't traditionally been apart of single issues, as I already mentioned. The problem with adding extra's to single issues is that it bumps up the price. For example Criminal got a $.50 price increase when the second series added extra content. Adding a page long essay isn't going to effect the price but anything more than that is probably going to.

Taking a look a CNV, the trade is adding about 30 to 40 pages worth of extras, almost two issues worth of material and the trade costs $18, the same cost as six $3 issues. Image prices their single issues based on how many copies they well. So their $3 comics sell more than their $3.50 comics which sell more than their $4 comics. The first five issues of CNV cost $3.50 and the price rose to $4 with issue #6. Adding any significant amount of extras would further raise the price and cut into its readership numbers.

CNV never had a high potential audience and I haven't really seen any evidence that adding extra material to single issues attracts new readers. In fact, odds are the increased price of doing so turns them away. Trades, on the other hand, seem have a lower cost for adding extras, $.50 in the case of CNV, which is probably why that is their natural home in the comics industry.

The only benefit that singles seem to able to keep over trades is their speed of release but even that seems to going away now. For example, the trade collecting the first five issue so Haunt and the sixth issue of the series are being released in the same month. Possibly the same day.

Kirk Warren said...

A lot of trades add pages simply to meet stocking page total quotas and print related discounts. This leads many to include filler pages with either random art or sketches or even additional material (some trades include older content just to up the page counts). Stripping of ads from the single issues also dramatically decreases page counts, further requiring many to add content to a trade to meet certain requirements.

Personally, I haven't seen anything, short of an Absolute-level additions, added to a trade that made me regret reading a book monthly. Want sketches? Artist blog has more than enough. Want interviews or random discussions? Blogs or forums or interviews on CBR and what not have more than enough of that. Unless they are adding new endings or epilogues or some form of new content that actually affects the comic in question, I can't see any reason to complain about filler added to the trade that you wouldn't otherwise care about. If you think the trade prices wont increase with the price of the periodical prices, you are living in a dream world too. Marvel upped all of their trade prices to coincide with $3.99 prices and CNV will likely do the same for future issues. I can see being upset with the decision, but whats added to a trade shouldnt really affect you in the least since you readt eh series, enjoyed it and have no problems with it other than not getting some filler content in trade 8 months after the fact.

brandon said...

For me, the CNV issue is simple -

I was mad when I saw the trade had so many more extras. It made me feel dumb for buying the monthly. Then I saw the price hike for May. Makes it easy to drop the monthly NOW (not picking up this week's issue) and CONSIDER supporting the book's trade.

I like the story a lot but I feel jerked around on this one. Justified or not I see no reason to support the monthly.

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