Sunday, November 16, 2008

Piss and Hades

Title = favorite saying of mine. That's the way it goes. Typically doesn't mean a good thing.
So this is my DC rant.
Initially I was ticked with the Robin/Nightwing/Birds of Prey cancellations until I stopped and thought about it. And then it all (almost) made sense. Batman R.I.P. It has been close to the vest at this point and they are attempting to position readers to believe someone else will be wearing the cowl. The obvious choices are of course Dick and TIm. So what better way to build the likelihood of one of those individuals taking over than to cancel their own titles. Makes perfect sense. Birds of Prey doesn't exactly factor into it, but since they are cancelling those other major Batman titles, why not drop that one in as well since sales have fallen to possibly unacceptable levels (due to DC not knowing how to properly market and sell titles).
So while I wanted to be angry about those cancellations, there was really no reason to be. It is all part of the game.
That doesn't stop me from being angry at DC's overall ineptitude.
Let me count the ways.
First, DC has the best Wonder Woman writer they have had in YEARS (outside of Greg Rucka --- who had a great understanding of the character) in Gail Simone. And yet somehow sales are less than what they had with Allan Heinberg. And that makes NO sense to me. His credits as writer for The O.C., Grey's Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Party of Five, and Sex in the City (and Yong Avengers) shouldn't have that much of a factor over Gail Simone's resume. I say that because if one is a comic reader, then one is a COMIC reader. And a fan of Wonder Woman should most likely have checked out Birds of Prey at some point. And if someone checked out Birds of Prey when Gail was at the helm, then they continued to check it out and discovered what a great writer she is. So when she was named as the writer of Wonder Woman, they should have immediatetly checked that title out as well.
I can't imagine that Heinberg's name brought in that many readers. I honestly don't. Maybe it brought in more retailers' orders. But I don't think it necessairly brought in more readers. At least not regular readers.
I can't understand why Wonder Woman took such a major sales drop between Heinberg and Simone. Yes, I realize Jodi Picoult followed Allan Heinberg and then there were a couple of fill-in issues after that--- but for those who were actually following all the goings-on, it should have been clear that everything was going to be stabilized once Gail came onboard. All those numbers tell me is that retailers are still foolish speculators. They bank that a supposedly 'known' TV writer is going to uplift a title moreso than a quality established comic writer (and in this case a writer who even has a littel better gender association as well).
I think the ball was actually dropped when DC's 'brain-trust' pulled Jodi Picoult into the mix. Not because she couldn't do a good job, but because they brought her in right in the middle of a major event where Wonder Woman's activities were already defined and Jodi had to build her stories around those events (meaning she couldn't really bring an original take on the character). Hence, it really wasn't so much Jodie writing Wonder Woman as much as it was editorial telling her what the story was going to be and Jodi having to spin it as best she could.
So when Gail came onboard, she didn't have the full marketing push that Allan had, and she was following an 'event' that had been lackluster in terms of fan reception and sales. And though DC had a fantastic opportunity as far as one of the most appreciated female comic writers taking the reins of one of the most recognized female comic characters, they didn't press it the way they should have. They should have been beating us all over the head so much so that I would be complained about it. But they didn't get anywhere near that. And so the audience that should have been there from day one didn't develop.
But that is just item one of their failings.
DC right now has one of the best imprints in comics. Vertigo. No other publisher has anything approaching what they have with Vertigo. DC's biggest competitor, Marvel, doesn't have anything like Vertigo at all. DC should be kicking Marvel's ass up and down the street strictly with Vertigo alone. Their Vertigo line is something that should appeal to audiences outside the regular comic reader. DC (Warner Brothers) should be pushing the hell out of these titles (in trade form) as they can. They should be dragging Marvel's carcass through the streets in terms of sales on those trades. DC should be pulling non-comics readers into the comic world via Vertigo. There is no excuse for DC's failings in this area. It is INEPT management. Pure and simple. I can't believe that someone in Warner Brothers upper line doesn't recognize this. It is inexcuseable that DC hasn't created new sales lines through those books and left Marvel in their dust. UNBELIEVABLE to me.
I have so much more to say in regards to this. But frankly I'm so disgusted with DC right now in regards to their handling of Family Dynamic (I'm just so angry with the overall oversight/management of this title yhat I literally want to smack someone in the head) and the Vertigo line over all that I just don't want to get myself started. I'm just going to say three things. Room full of monkeys. DC management/marketing. Same f'n results.
Major thumbs down to you, Dan Didio. How have you been in charge for so long and not be driving Marvel into the ground with Vertigo alone. How can you not see how much of an advantage you have with this line of titles. Superheroes are so limited in terms of overall audience versus everything you can do (and have done) in Vertigo. I am just astounded by the lack of recognition and sales focus in this area.
Seriously. What the hell are you people doing? How are you missing on this???

Monday, November 10, 2008

Who says chix can't do comix?

I had the good fortune of picking up a couple of projects this week from two of my favorite female comic creators.
The first was Magic Trixie Sleeps Over from Jill Thompson. The back cover gives an age range for the story of 8-12. I am decidely out of that particular range (by a good couple of decades plus), but I very much enjoyed it nonetheless.
First I have to say that I love the watercolor artwork. Dare I say it was magical? Jill Thompson is a phenomenal artist who probably doesn't get near the attention and recognition she deserves. Second, it was a great story. Yes, it is definitely aimed at a younger crowd (it is your basic 'be careful what you wish for because you just might get it' type of story) but I found it entertaining and thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend this VERY MUCH for people who have children in or around that age (and even those who don't let age 'boundaries' stop them from enjoying high quality work).
The second was Terra no. 1 (DC) with art from Amanda Conner. I really can't put my finger on it, but I really like Amanda's art. Pretty much any comic I see with her name on it is a must buy. I don't really care who or what the characters are, if she illustrates it, then I want to read it. Fortunately in this particular case, it is a title written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, a team whose other collective works I've enjoyed in many other instances (I'm still hoping at some point 21 Down will be resurrected). Terra is just the latest incarnation of the DC earth-moving character. We don't get a whole lot here about just where this new Terra came from and who exactly she is, but we do get to see that she is clearly the definition of a hero. She works tirelessly without regard for accolades to do the right thing. And of course Amanda's art is fantastic.
I highly recommend both of these projects. If you've never sampled work from either of these outstanding creators, then now is definitely a good time to give them a look.