Thursday, June 14, 2007

Why Don't They Just Put ME In Charge?

Matt Idelson takes over the back page of every DC comic this week to ask the million dollar question, "what should an editor do when he runs into production delays?" He doesn't give the answer, of course, he just gives three options—delay the book, call-in a "guest" writer/artist, or drop in an inventory story—and leaves it up to "You, the Reader" to say what you'd prefer. Which feels A LOT like a post I did last September on the exact same topic.

While the response was hardly unanimous, there was a general consensus that fill-in issues were fine, as long as they happened between arcs, and a guest writer/penciler/inker was preferable to no comic at all. But the real problem was a lack of transparency, that fans would be better able to handle delays if they could just be told the why's and wherefore's of the delay.

Idelson, for the sake of context, is the editor on Wonder Woman, Superman and Action Comics, all of which were plagued with production delays for the past year. Based on the response I got, if I were in his shoes, I would have said that as beautiful as Carlos Pacheco's art is, people would rather not wait for it, and better to bring in a penciler who can hit deadlines than wow the crowd.

Which is the decision editor Peter Tomasi made on Detective Comics, where "regular penciler" J.H. Williams was off the book after one issue and Don Kramer's been knocking issues out month after month. And the sales numbers seem to back that up, where Detective has lost only 9% of its sales from the OYL boost, whereas Superman has lost 25%.

(Wonder Woman, which was even MORE delayed, has lost over 50% of its initial sales. There, the problem was apparently the writer, not the artist, which suggests Allen Heinberg should have been dropped sooner and another writer brought in to finish the arc. But, it should be pointed out, Wonder Woman is still selling twice as much now as it averaged during the Greg Rucka run.)

Meanwhile, across town, remember that that shocking revelation that will rock the Marvel Universe to its core?" Turns out it's Skrulls.

Yup, Marvel's shape changing alien conquerors are back, and if this is supposed to be as important as the hype tells us it is, then it means Skrulls are behind superhero on superhero violence of Civil War, and probably World War Hulk as well, which, as I said it would be, is neither shocking nor new: just another Psycho Changer being used to explain why Iron Man is suddenly such a dick.

So, instead of evolving Marvel comics, changing what their superheroes stories are or could be, they are apparently just going down the same road they always have, in which all the bad things in the world are the result of evil alien interference. Good job!

(Ironically, had they not HYPED the last page as a shocker, or said it was important, the fact that "Elektra" turns out to be a Skrull honestly would have been surprising and might, MIGHT have led to speculation that it had import outside of the New Avengers. But Marvel can't seem to let their surprises actually be surprises.)


Anonymous said...

So Tony gets the 'Don't Hate Me I Was Swapped With A Skrull' pass?

Yep, that'd be what I'd class as pretty weak.

Stacy Dooks

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about Marvel's over-excited hype about that page. I read it, flipping through it quickly hoping to find some stunning, earth-shattering revelation, and when I got to the last page I was... just sort of confused.

I read Bendis' post on Newsarama, and I think he's got some really cool ideas in the pipe, but now I feel like to understand that last page they're expecting you to read Newsarama to stay up-to-date on their revealing interviews.

SallyP said...

I can't even begin to tell you how sick I am of Skrulls already.


Jeremy Rizza said...

Yeah, the Matt Idleson thing cracked me up. To paraphrase Pam from "The Office," I have an old vacuum cleaner that doesn't work. Maybe it could edit DC Comics.