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Funky Numbering = Missed Sale

I do not feel that I should HAVE TO do RESEARCH on comics that I buy. Whether about story content, or the comics themselves.

Yesterday, I went to a second comic shop for the first time in a few weeks (lately sticking with my pull list at the “main” shop I go to) and browsed their rack. Bloodstrike #1st issue….er…#26 kinda stood out to me. I physically picked it up to look closer, being struck by the blurb across the top of being a 1st issue…but then I saw the #26.

I remember the “Images of Tomorrow” thing from the 1990s where a number of books put out a #25 being where the creators planned to have their books by then, but never got around to seeing how that worked out (and I believe most of those titles never actually made it to their 20s?).

Bloodstrike was one I do remember buying the #25 for, so this struck me as curious.

This #26, a first issue in a brand new era or whatever the blurb said–did I miss 25 issues the last few years? Is this picking up the numbering of the original series?

I put it back on the shelf, as I had no interest at the time of “gambling.” Is there a “ten year gap” in-story? Other than being the first issue published in years, what incentive makes it a good jump-on issue or not? Is it even aimed at a new/casual reader or is it aimed at fans of the old issues in particular?

This is the sort of case where I truly feel that “a new #1” or “relaunch” or whatever IS appropriate. The title, the property/character(s) have been gone for years (that I’m aware of), so give me a #1 as at least some overt declaration that this is new, fresh material that is at least supposedly geared for the new reader (if, indeed, that’s the case).

Where new #1s and ‘relaunches’ are NOT justified in my eyes are one month to the next, or even an intentional several month hiatus where those involved in the “final issue” of one iteration are already gearing up for the “first issue” of the next iteration. (Such as putting out #544 one month and then in the next 4-6 weeks putting out #1 with the same ongoing continuity.)

While Bloodstrike missed my sale this week, plenty of others have missed my sale when I opt to pass on something “on principle,” such as avoiding the high-number-this-month-#1-next-month stuff. (Or not buying solely because of the $3.99 instead of $2.99-or-less on the cover, etc).

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The Rest of the Stack: Week of November 2, 2011

allofthestack

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

ANIMAL MAN #3

animalman003I liked the first issue quite a bit. I liked the sound of it even more, which is why I picked it up at all, though I did so a week or two late after hearing reviews. By now, though, with this issue…I’m just finding myself not enjoying this. The story’s good, yeah…but the art just bothers me. I know this is a horror book, it’s basically a Vertigo book under the DC banner…but the imagery just really bothers me, beyond simply being creepy. And so really, I’m getting the increasing feeling that this is not a book for me, or at least not in singles with monthly doses. I’m more a fan of Animal Man the super-hero…and this seems to be specifically moving away from that, saying that the super-hero stuff was a phase, to be there for a time in preparation for what comes now. So it’s a case of…this is not bad, in and of itself…but I’m realizing that it’s not for me. I may stick around for a couple more issues, finish out this story…but time will have to tell, on that. (6/10)

INVINCIBLE #84

invincible084I’m not terribly thrilled with this title in general. There’s something that just doesn’t exactly work for me, and I don’t find myself all that engaged with the characters. Perhaps it’s going from feeling like I only have to read this title to realizing there’s more going on–Guarding the Globe, and at least one other tie-in mini-series, and all those backups I couldn’t get into that I skipped (or read but don’t remember the content). AND YET…and yet, this title is doing something smart. I’m finding that I like this new method the character is trying: instead of just punching things, he’s trying to talk things out, figure out underlying motivations, and generally do more than just maintain some status quo. In this issue, he sees that despite putting the villain behind bars, the same exact result the villain was going for is being carried out…so maybe the villain isn’t as much in the wrong as thought. Which gives Invincible something to think about…and though the results are looking sort of familiar, the motivation seems a bit more genuine–and permanent–than just some one-off story arc for where I’ve seen this thing done before. And since the title’s still at $2.99 and I’ve dropped so many others recently…I’m gonna stick around awhile. Maybe get the Invincible Compendium and a couple trades to fill the gap, and get caught up. Might even be able to engage more. (7.5/10)

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #3

justiceleagueinternational003I’m sure I’m coming off as some sort of curmudgeon this week with the whopping 4 new comics from my pull list. I’m not exactly excited about stuff, and finding it far too easy of late to drop stuff. Reading this issue…I realized that I really don’t much CARE about these characters. Booster–the character and reason I’ve been getting this title to begin with–doesn’t have room to really be developed and shine, he’s just another character in the bunch. I can get more Guy Gardner over in GL Corps; and I’m getting Batman in his own title. But just as I’m ready to simply write this title off, yet another to wait and potentially consider via collected volumes, there’s a seemingly “key” moment. Something about August General in Iron that I did not know, and which adds something else to the character, something deeper that I’m a bit curious about. It reminds me of what I’ve read about X-Men, and the way the Wolverine character was developed out of an art mistake. And it’s stuff like that, that I miss about comics. So, maybe I’ll at least stick around for the rest of this arc…but after going from no DC to 13/14 DCs with the New 52 relaunch…my patience for 20-page issues isn’t there, and I have a feeling I’m not yet done dropping titles. (7/10)

SWAMP THING #3

swampthing003I kinda see this title going hand in hand with Animal Man in a loose sense. Swamp Thing deals with “the Green” while Animal Man deals with “the Red.” We also learn in this issue of “the Rot,” which means there’s more to be explored and developed. Of course, this title’s visuals are less disturbing than Animal Man, and I do have a bit more “history” and reading experience with Swamp Thing…so this is a bit more interesting. Abby Arcane finds Alec Holland, and brings him up to speed on stuff. She needs his help to save a boy who could end the world…and as the issue progresses, we learn how. And also–who this boy is, which ties to long-time continuity (if you know your Swamp Thing history) but is simply the current threat if you don’t. Of course, the cover blurbs do not seem to fit this as a relaunch–there has not yet been time to even delve into the character’s past…so “Once his greatest love…now his deadliest enemy?” suggests a lot more history than 3 issues. I’m interested, though…and of the 3 DCs I picked up this week, I’d say this one’s the safest from being dropped. (8/10)

A Computer Reboot Analogy

This morning, I read this piece on Geek’s Dream Girl and though talking about ongoing games in an RPG with a new rules set, it really put me in mind of DC Comics‘ recent reboot/relaunch.

I also read this piece at Grumpy Old Fan about DC still having a massive history which makes up its entire reprint library at present.

And then I realized I’d closed Windows Live Writer when I rebooted my computer last night, and the word “reboot” stuck in my head…there’s gotta be a lengthy analogy here somewhere.

I hate restarting my computer. The way I use it–constantly multitasking, with at least a half-dozen different things running at once, often a dozen or more tabs in each of often several Firefox/browser windows…it’s highly inconvenient to think of trying to shut the machine down entirely every night.

So, it’ll often be put into standby or whatever, so that the open things stay open, and it’s a matter of but a few seconds to get back to that writing project I started 2 days earlier, to continue reading the whole glob of threads from opening links off a core article, to continue editing that slideshow project, and to keep track of where I left off the ongoing “classic reviews” project that will allow this blog to have daily “new” content for the next 5 weeks minimum.

Whenever I do bring this computer up from a full shutdown, it loads the requisite minimum, the default stuff and background processes, etc. I’ll then bring other programs up specifically, and build from there. Sorta like a publisher setting up the default background stuff, then one by one (or small groups) bringing new titles out. Those build on each other, and eventually there may be a fairly large “universe” of stories (or glump of software running).

And invariably, that’s eventually gonna get outta hand–problems will come up, and it becomes necessary to exit some of those programs–naturally (hey, a series comes to an organic ending for the story) or to terminate some of those processes (cancellation of a series). But even with all that, eventually the computer gets to where it’s just got too much going, that even trying to trim back what’s running isn’t solving the problem.

And there comes a time when I just have to take the time to look at all the stuff that’s open, determine what I’m going to save for the next go-round, what I can dump…and reboot the machine.

The stuff that I saved will come back up (if not right away, then when I remember I was working on it), and the stuff that didn’t really matter…well, it’s not really a loss.

Maybe a dumb analogy, but I’m mildly entertained at it…and it’s just the way my mind works sometimes, seizing on stuff that may or may not generally fit together, but still making the analogy. Sorta like how working at a job with high turnover and realizing that you can’t even remember the name of someone who sat/worked next to you for months can be an analogy for immortality (as can the different “lives” one can live in different stages of a single lifetime).

Walt’s Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: August 22-28

August 22 – August 28

Non-Review Content:

mynew52dcupicksMy picks of the DC: The New 52 books

My weekly participation in the Booking Through Thursday meme, this week’s topic: History

Some thoughts on the TMNT as my weakness and exception to rules I set for my own comics purchasing habits

Thoughts based on the non-Wednesday purchase of several comics, and the effect of the $3.99 price vs. $2.99 for single issues

Reviews of comics released Wednesday, August 24:

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw001Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1(IDW Publishing)

Action Comics #904(DC Comics)

Brightest Day Aftermath: Search for Swamp Thing #s 1-3(DC Comics)

DC Retroactive: Superman – the 1990s(DC Comics)

X-Men #16(Marvel Comics)

X-Men Legacy #254(Marvel Comics)

Uncanny X-Force #13(Marvel Comics)

actioncomics904searchforswampthing001searchforswampthing002

searchforswampthing003dcretroactivesuperman1990sxmenlegacy254

uncannyxforce013x-men016tmntidw001leo

MORE disjointed thoughts on the DC Reboot

dcrelaunchAs I knew would happen, listening to one single podcast (a Comic Geek Speak special), I found my views on the DC announcement this week if not 100% changed, at least far more “open” with some positive thrown in. Plus, the whole thing is such a HUGE announcement with so many unknowns and waves of implications that it takes more than a few minutes to begin really processing.

Some more thoughts, questions, ideas, and musings:

Since there’s going to be day-and-date digital release…many people will acquire “issues” electronically without ever setting foot in a comic shop. BUT…what if each digital issue came with some sort of way to get ahold of a local comic shop for a print edition, or “for more information” about related material?

What if buying digital-only means any given issue is only 99 cents? BUT–if you buy the print edition, you get some kind of card or code good for a “free” copy of that issue in digital format? That way–the casual reader never going to a comic shop gets a cheap digital comic…the new generation of comic reader. But for the old generation of fans, who prefer to buy the print edition, there’s that chance to access an electronic edition, which might spur one to try buying issues that way.

The social networking thing would definitely need to be addressed. Have something where at time of purchase/download, one can send a post to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and so on. “I just got BATMAN #1, written by _______ and art by _______!” (and associate a cover image, and perhaps the equivalent of solicitation text for the issue). Perhaps even allow a user to go back in and “rate” the issue and write a short review…which could then be posted the same way. Let the things go “viral” or some such.

I wonder what the relaunch and pursuing of the digital crowd might mean for the collectability of the comics. If “anyone” can simply acquire a “copy” of the issue digitally–does that largely remove the collectability even of a first issue (at least among “the masses”)? (Surely a certain amount of people will still see value and collectability in the print editions).

I am a collector in the sense of getting the long runs, and having full stories as single issues if I haven’t simply waited for the collected edition. I’d prefer to see the things enjoyed rather than hoarded for supposed value. (I thoroughly enjoy buying 25 or 50-cent copies of various issues that were THE big sellers and “hot items” in the ’90s, now relegated to bargain bins and otherwise forgotten.)

I don’t like the idea of the renumbering, but…they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do, and I’ve made my views on renumbering and variants quite well known…and will SURELY post to address my thoughts on that front as the general announcements are made in the coming months.

That said…I hope that WITH this relaunch, they take it all the way. Yeah, events and stories (Blackest Night, for example) happened, or can be referenced such that the reader who is new doesn’t need to read the other story/event…but where it might add depth to things for the older reader that did.

Continue reading

The DC Reboot

dcrelaunchSo, DC’s apparently going to relaunch/reboot their entire superhero universe this September.

Black September II, maybe? (in 1995, Marvel/Malibu rebooted their Ultraverse superhero line in an event called Black September.)

50+ new #1 issues…in September. On twitter, I noticed that Erik (Savage Dragon) Larsen points out an interesting question: How is a store supposed to order that many #1 issues?

Another question: how is a CONSUMER supposed to afford to buy that many #1 issues?!? Even if DC “draws the line” at a $2.99 cover price (and even if they’re double-sized issues)…that’s $150+ for DC issues in September alone.

There are SO MANY facets to something on this scale that I wouldn’t even begin to be able to ‘cover’ them all in a quick blog post here. I have a knee-jerk reaction to the whole thing, but I also know that in the months to come, I may very well come to a different understanding or feeling on this.

But back in 2005, with the One Year Later thing…I used that “event” to jump off probably 2/3 the titles I was buying from DC, and that wasn’t even a reboot. This feels more like DC saying to me that I’ve had my fun, and it’s time to let a whole new generation officially jump on board to replace the likes of me.

And maybe that’s true.

SOURCE: USA Today article (and surely tons of others, just google it)

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