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Curse Words…for Curse Words: Dropped Due to Variants

If you’ve been reading this blog for ANY length of time, you know that I–as a general rule–loathe variant covers. Primarily "ratioed" variants, but with very FEW exceptions, variants in general, their very existence.

And this week just REALLY reminded me WHY.

And though I COULD blame the comic shop, I personally place the blame squarely on the publisher, FOR doing a variant. Or allowing a variant. Or WHATEVER the case is.

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After actually rather enjoying the first issue, and looking forward to the second issue, the day finally came: Curse Words #2 was on "the list" as out on February 22nd.

Having been "burned" by a "surprise" variant on Moonshine #2 (which, by the way, immediately prompted me to NOT pick it up ,and thus lost me on singles on that series), I was "re-aware" of even Image doing variants on stuff (something I’d be more inclined to attribute to DC, Marvel, IDW, Boom, and Dynamite!).

So, when I saw two different covers, neither of which was visually "familiar" to me, and I was already expecting there to be a "new" or "unfamiliar" (because I ONLY bought one cover of #1!) issue, I figured fine, they did a second issue with variants, I had not really seen any "marketing" or such for the issue so was not (for once) pre-disposed to preferring one specific cover…so I grabbed the more appealing (to me) cover of the two or so I saw.

Got it home, even included the thing in my photos for my "Weekly Haul" post, none the wiser of anything.

But then I went to READ the thing.

And I saw that the word "Second" was NOT followed by "Issue" after all, on the cover.

Nope…it was followed by "Printing."

I managed to grab a second printing of #1, the issue that I already owned, that I bought and read weeks ago.

And of course, much as with most publishers, comics are not some "returnable" thing, so it’s not even like I can take the thing back to the shop for a refund or such. I’m stuck with a second copy of the first issue now, and no copies of the second.

Frankly, to say that I’m "annoyed" is an understatement.

On principle, I’m done with this book as single issues. I might snag the collected volume(s), but I will NOT support it any further as single issues.

Should I have noticed that it was not actually the second issue? Maybe. BUT when I know the second issue’s due out, with a cover that’s not mimicking the first, and I’m grabbing my comics in a hurry and just want to get stuff and get out after a long day at work, I’m not gonna examine every stupid facet of a cover. I buy comics because I want to read the story, not for stupid covers!

Maybe the shop should have put something with the issue to indicate 2nd printing. Maybe they should’ve shelved it with last month’s books instead of right next to the brand-new 2nd issue (but probably more sales having them together, so someone can immediately see and pick up BOTH issues if they’re looking for them/curious!).

So, I hold Image responsible…with no idea if the "idea" or "push" came from a creator or not. Just use the same darned cover, and mark it as a second printing! IF I wanted more "art" from something, I’d buy a darned print or something!

And on top of this…folks wonder why I tend to gravitate toward collected volumes for new issues. At least THERE, I’m FAR LESS LIKELY to wind up getting some 2nd print of something I already have, with just a cover in quick passing to go on.

More Grumpiness Toward Variants: An Archie Edition

This morning, I was checking out stories at The Beat, and came across a preview for the latest issue of Jughead.

jughead_preview_trigger_variantsSomething about the image used in the header here drew me in–I’ve seen a couple things recently about Sabrina guest-starring or such, and I have a bit of a renewed interest there lately after seeing Melissa Joan Hart in God’s Not Dead 2 and a couple other things that cropped up in my Facebook newsfeed with her…like it being 20 years since the tv show!

I’ve never really considered Jughead to be a character who was interested in romance, so seeing this image of him with Sabrina, it’s a charming image, and got my curiosity.

But upon getting into the article/preview itself, I was "treated" to the first three images being three different covers for the issue.

Instant turn-off!

I hate that Archie got into the "variants game!" I’m sure they had been doing some here and there, but it was never so noticeable as it’s been the last year-plus with the "relaunch" of the various series. And aside from my usual complaints about variants, the very real anecdote from my own experience is having 1. been "interested in" checking out the new series (Archie #1) and 2. finding over 20 copies of the issue…and not one cover was the same. It was impossible to determine a "main" or "regular" or "standard" cover, because there were just simply too many covers, PERIOD.

Then there was the fact that they upped their pricing, jumping from being pretty much the "best value" to having nothing stand-out. It seemed that where Marvel and DC and the other "major publishers" were dealing in $2.99s and $3.99s and in-between… Archie was maintaining at $2.25 or $2.50. Any given issue would be better than DC/Marvel‘s best price, and thus a prime issue for impulse buying (and this is without even getting into the value of the digests!)

But at $3.99, a standard-size, standard-paper comic is NOT an "impulse" or "casual" buy for me, in general. There are the occasional exceptions, but those are quite rare!

And while it’s a matter for another post, in brief, I’ve held to my refusal to utilize Comixology directly for any digital comics purchases (even apparently avoiding a popular buy-1-get-1-free sale for Cyber Monday yesterday). (31 months now, I was NOT just mouthing off with an empty threat of quitting buying through them over dropping in-app purchasing on Apple devices!) But partially due to ill-will I hold toward Comixology, I’m wary of most digital comics purchasing, period. I’ve softened somewhat in that I’ll use the DC app (powered by/interacts with Comixology but allows in-app purchasing) and the IDW/TMNT one (does the same), but I’m not interested in umpteen different apps for buying digital comics, and I’m not going to buy digital comics on a website and then hassle with "translating" that into some sort of e-reader.

Additionally, while it’s great to have the option of locating a key back-issue or such through a publisher directly, it’s not feasible to me to buy individual issues from a publisher directly, unless they would offer free shipping. If I pay $3.99 for a comic and have to pay $3.99+ shipping and/or handling, you’ve DOUBLED the price of THAT ISSUE ALONE. I don’t like paying $4/issue, making it functionally an $8 issue does not begin to improve anything in my eyes. Even if the issue would be "free" the shipping cost still means I’m better off getting the issue(s) at a comic shop…assuming the shop has the issues stocked to begin with.


Perhaps I seem hypocritical in this, as I know that DC and Marvel and virtually every other publisher trades in ridiculous quantities of variants. In this case today, with the Jughead issue, what (I think) particularly set me off was the THREE covers. I can–will–do–mostly turn a blind eye to the existence of variants when there are "only 2" covers. I’ve been beaten into submission on those, and at least can often (yet NOT as often as I’d LIKE) tell which is the "main" cover and which is the variant and can flat-out IGNORE the variant.

But when there are 3 or more covers…it becomes that much MORE likely that I will be unable to get the cover that I actually want! If a shop orders 3-4 shelf copies and there are 2 covers, there’s a better chance there’ll be at least 1 copy of the cover that I am interested in over the others. 3 or more covers further dilutes this and makes it more likely that if I’m not THE first person getting a copy, there’ll be 2 or more copies of the issue, but NOT the cover that I actually want.

And that turns me off and fully discourages buying into the series or continuing with the series at all.

Given the easier availability of stuff from "the big two" and their content being what I’m primarily after, I also have to compromise more. When the smaller publishers or indie publishers pull those same "stunts," it’s a lot easier for me to be harsher and more pointed in my displeasure and avoid them entirely.

I have a nearly-30-year-history with Superman comics and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with Batman virtually on-par with both of those. Batman I’ve been very choosy on over the years, and even walked away from the Superman titles for over 3 years.

People love variants? Variants are essential to sales, to the continuation of a title? There’s no option to NOT deal in variants? They’re fun? They’re "bonus," or any other spin?

Fine–good on the publisher.

But I am an actual real-life example (particularly when calling stuff out in posts like this or comments on Twitter) of someone who is NOT happy with variants, does NOT enjoy them, for whom the chase and ‘game’ of variants is NOT fun, and who WILL flat-out drop a series…and has "dropped" ENTIRE PUBLISHERS over "variants" shenanigans (Valiant and Boom! Studios).

I get that many will complain but buy anyway. I get that I myself will make rare, occasional one-time/case-by-case exceptions. But as a general rule, I’m quick to drop or continue to just not buy stuff over seemingly insignificant things like variants.

Hey, the publisher is selling or banking on selling multiple copies of an issue to people.

SURELY one of those makes up for not selling any copy to me at all.

On NOT Going to Local Comic Shop Day

I admit it–I did not participate in (attending) Local Comic Shop Day today.

doctor_strange_the_oath_lcsd_hardcover_solicit

My primary interest–which I recognize comes largely from a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch in costume as Doctor Strange holding a copy of this book combined with over-hypeage from Bleeding Cool–would have been Doctor Strange: The Oath.

Thing is, virtually no one had a PRICE listed.

See, I don’t have the kind of money to just not care what the price is on an item. The price itself helps determine my interest…as it’s a huge part of how realistic it is for me to even consider purchasing the item.

Then I did find a price for it–$39.99! $40 for a 5-issue hardcover…functionally $8 per issue!

Nope, no thank you, nuh-uh, I don’t think so.


Then there’s this other question: isn’t every Wednesday ‘Local Comic Shop Day’?!? Where, weekly, on Wednesdays minimum, sometimes additional days, I visit some local comic shop and usually wind up buying SOMETHING. I’m not into records and such and don’t visit places like The Exchange or Buybacks or even Best Buy on any regular shedule, and not even necessarily weekly or monthly. But I do visit a comic shop virtually every single week.

So I can see where, perhaps, a Record Store Day or such might get more people in…but when it becomes (whether record store or comic shop) about high-end, premium, ultra-limited-edition high-priced "exclusive" items…that’s NOT EVEN doing anyone any good except rooking the customers.

I might have been interested in the Serenity issue, but that would’ve been more of a "guilt" purchase once I was at a shop, if I felt like I "had to" buy something after spending too long "just browsing" or such.

I don’t like variants generally-speaking, and all the more I don’t like relatively prominent alternate logos or variants so prevalent they get their own logo.

So having a prominent Local Comic Shop Day/LCSD logo on something would just make it stand out (negatively, for me) as "not the ‘real’ thing" and as something faux-special. Worse, the other main thing I might’ve been interested in would be the DC Universe: Rebirth deluxe hardcover…but the LCSD edition is just an inferior, unfinished cover! (aka "sketch" cover or whatever the called it)

Worse, this came less than a week before "Black Friday," in the midst of all sorts of "early" or "pre" Black Friday "sales" and such the world over (ok, slight exaggeration), with the ACTUAL Black Friday looming, followed by "Small Business Saturday" (aren’t virtually all comic shops "Small Businesses"?!?) and even "Cyber Monday" (at least in terms of online sales, for ordering stuff via online methods).


Am I just that discouraged lately, that grumpy and cynical and such?

Perhaps all the better that I didn’t go to a shop.

But with something like the Doctor Strange hardcover, or any of the other "LCSD exxxxclusivvvvveeee!!!!!!" things…if it were REALLY about getting people into the shops and aware of them and such…don’t short the shops or force THEM to pre-order everything. Make stuff available FOR ORDER, even if it’s a one-day-only ORDERING.

Get me into a shop, "sell" me on an item–having a copy of it in-person to show me–but if you don’t have enough at the moment, be able to order one for me, because it IS LCSD and it’s a special FOR that day.

Meanwhile, Wednesday I’ll be making my hour-or-so drive to my "usual" LCS to buy my pull list stuff, some things on order, and likely raid the bargain bins. Because it’ll be Wednesday.

And for me, EVERY Wednesday is Local Comic Shop Day.

According to Valiant, the Comics Industry Isn’t Built for Comics to Have Only 1 Cover Per Issue

I’m rather dismayed at information I was given–by an industry professional–over the weekend.

I rail against variant covers, as probably any reader of this blog knows. But now I have it from a major figure of a fairly major publisher that apparently, the industry is NOT BUILT FOR NON VARIANTS.

Saturday, I read an article on Bleeding Cool about Valiant‘s latest stunt–a game of collect-and-clip-coupons-to-mail-away-for-a-super-special-limited-edition isue–and I tweeted a comment referencing the Valiant language of the stunt being a "tribute" to the 1990s coupon promotions:

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Not long after, to my surprise, I received a response:

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I followed up, as that answer does not sit well with me AT ALL:

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I continued:

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And I received these followups:

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I am not, myself a publisher; I am not involved in that part of comics. All I know is as a fan, a customer, someone who BUYS comics, and has been REPEATEDLY "burned" by the use of variants and stunts involving the intentional screwing-over of longtime fans in interest of a short burst.

I think it’s a bunch of crap that the industry "is not set up for that" [doing only 1 cover per issue].

THAT ALONE shows me the short-sightedness and HUGE PROBLEM with the comics industry. For a publisher to feel that they CANNOT POSSIBLY go with ONLY ONE COVER for a SINGLE iSSUE of a serialized comic book?!?

Does that mean that the material is NOT QUALITY, and can ONLY sell well enough to BE published by forcing people to buy MULTIPLE COPIES of an issue? (Why not just double or TRIPLE the price, and insert an extra full-page image and 3 more ads in the back?)

"Trying 1 cover with Mirage" suggests (to me) a lack of commitment. It’s not like that’s a top-tier primary character from the publisher…so it’s not going to sell as well ANYWAY as, say, a more recognized property like X-O Manowar. So it’s tried with one issue (or 4 or 5, the entire mini-series?) of one series. That’s hardly lengthy enough to get the idea out there that quality stands on itself instead of just not selling as many copies as a bigger title that IS using variants.

IF variants were truly limited solely to A/B 50/50 1:1 individually-orderable status, I still don’t like them, but those sorts I can sort of overlook. But it’s the ratioed variants that cause me the most frustration; the 1:10 and 1:25 and 1:50, with the worst offenses getting up into 1:100, 1:500, 1:1000 levels, to list a few (and without getting into specific Marvel numbers/hoops I’ve seen referenced, say, by Brian Hibbs in his Tilting at Windmills columns)

But both Valiant and Boom! have earned my ire (and specific avoidance + loss of existing purchasing in protest) over the variants and ratio-based shenanigans.

I just have a really hard time getting my head around the notion that the industry is so ****ed up that supposedly it can’t support comics being published and standing as themselves, without Every. Single. ISSUE. having at least one variant!

I guess I’ll be "interested" to "see" what "initiative" is being done for X-O Manowar, though at this point, it being Valiant, the publisher that is going back to making people clip coupons out of an issue and pay to mail those and shipping expenses to receive some "special edition" issue, and the publisher that sought to force longtime, loyal customers into being Valiant salespeople if they wanted to keep up with the "full story" of the comics universe…I can’t say I’m expecting all that much.

Given I’ve seen numerous comic shops with multiple longboxes full of nothing but "variants"–an ENTIRE IN-STORE CATEGORY–obviously (to me, experientially) that means it’s NOT LIKE they’re ALL SELLING. SOME people MAY "like them," but not enough people to buy them all!

And *I* think that if publishers would just give the darned things A REST and STOP IT for several months, take the "hit" of "lower profits" for the short-term, it might avoid as much likelihood of a bomb-out like the ’90s.

That the entire viability of a publisher is predicated on variants, as if it’s an unconscionable loss to not use variants on every issue, makes me an official subscriber to the notion of the industry being in trouble.

But hey, that must mean that I am just old. That I am not the target audience. Comics are no longer for me if I’m not willing to change and embrace the trend(s), right?

Well, dear publishers (not just Valiant), where IS the mythical "new audience," the huge influx of "new readers" and such? When comics are among the worst value in entertainment, frustrating the people who overlook that week in and week out is (to me) not the best of plans.

harbinger_renegades_coupon

Old-School Variance: Superman #75

I’ve often referenced it, but rarely had actual "live" photographic example to illustrate the point.

I do not consider 1990s "Collector’s Edition" and "Newsstand Edition" comics to be variants. Technically, I’ll give you that they are variants–one issue with two (or more) different covers.

Perhaps it’s that typically there would be two covers, and two covers "only" in such cases. There was also the notion of the selling channel–one version was intended for the "direct market" (comic shops) and the other for standard newsstand distribution. Also the fact that they were equally orderable by a shop–no "regularity" of 1:10 or other worse "ratios" on ordering and the other ridiculousness seen today. (special cases such as "platinum" or "gold" editions could be an exception, but those tended to seem truly "special" compared to 2016 1:50 or 1:100 or 1:500 or 1:1000 ratios!)

Back in 1992, there was the cover image. This is what people were looking for. They’d seen the image on tv, in the newspapers, in magazines, etc…so this is what they were looking for; and it was the content of the issue, the "event" of the story that was key, not which of fifty dozen alternative covers you had.

superman_0075_all_4_printings_newsstand

The variance (as opposed to variants/multiple editions) of the Superman #75 covers is due to the multiple print-runs. You have your standard first print; and then for later printings, rather than taking interior art or additional artists, the color of the Superman logo and text The Death of Superman! was changed, and a small Roman Numeral was added to the cover copy to clearly indicate which printing the issue was. (I recently came across at copy of The Killing Joke that I had and couldn’t find anything saying which printing it was…I finally realized/remembered that which printing is indicated simply by the color of the book’s title and the cover price). That’s part of why the issue(s) are so clearly "iconic" and memorable…they’ve not been diluted by umpteen hundred different images for just one issue.

It’s occurred to me that there’s likely additional variance–the UPC box. In my photo here, the first print has an actual bar code…while printings II, III, and IV have the creator credits (these are direct market copies of the "newsstand edition.") I also make a distinction there–bar code vs. not–I consider the same. I’m not actually sure if the later printings have a version with the bar code, or if the later printings were comic-shops-only (newsstands perhaps having gotten the first printing only, and anyone else had to go to the direct market?)

Anyway…the ultimate point of this post is the photo; that these are 4 different versions of the same edition of the same issue, just produced as separate print-runs. Yet same cover image, still instantly recognizable as the same issue, despite not all being printed at the same time.

Weekend Ranting (October 1st Edition)

Though I’ve been sticking to Monday to Friday posting, I’ve had some thoughts increasingly building up that haven’t quite been making it into standalone posts. So, here are some things that’ve been on my mind lately.

And remember–this is just me, some random guy who has been "into" comics for 28 years, blowing off some mental steam.

destruction_of_coast_city

  • Marvel‘s doing Artist: TBA variant covers. and Super-secret Artist 1:1000 variant covers. And ridiculous needs-an-app-and-loads-of-entered-data-to calculate-eligitiblity variants. Y’know…bad enough, doing variants AT ALL. But if you don’t even have the artist(s) lined up and so you’re announcing variants MERELY for the sake of VARIANTS…you suck! Back in 1992 in one of THE doorbusting-est instances of a comic going on sale, I have the number "750" stuck in my head as the number of copies of Superman #75 I heard was ordered at ONE shop. Launching a continuation of a (now) year-old mini-series and having a 1:1000 cover? What the heck?!?
  • Marvel hyping a new Star Wars series…but it’s Star Wars: Classified. Look…either you bite the bullet and SPOIL some sort of surprise-ending to something, some otherwise "surprise development," and you just take the backlash OF spoiling something, by soliciting some spin-off series. OR…give it a rest! Give it a break! Let the series or event or whatever CONCLUDE, and THEN solicit/hype the Next Big Thing. Yeah, you’ll have a 2-month gap, but if people are really, TRULY clamoring for it…allow some time for ANTICIPATION to actually build. For some finality of something before to sink in. To get the word out that hey! There’s actually more coming, that’s not the end of everything. Just the end of a story!
  • Variants, PERIOD, are no longer special. Regardless of my personal dislike of variants, I can at least accept/acknowledge the choice to use them for "special occasions." Say, a #1 issue, or the start of some new storyline (oops, if we’re talking Marvel, that’s one and the same!) or some other big deal. But when every single issue of every single series seems to have a MINIMUM of two different covers, then there is NOTHING SPECIAL about them. It’s actually MORE SPECIAL and UNIQUE to find any comic for which there is ONLY ONE PUBLISHED COVER. I mean, How freaking ridiculous is that?!?
  • #1 issues are the same way. When there are 3-4 #1s for an otherwise "ongoing series" in the course of 2-3 years; when it takes a combination of 3+ "series" just get to 60 issues… it’s not special. Either that #1 indicates a to-be-short-lived mini-series which will be far preferable in a collected volume…OR it means that I have absolutely NO REAL IDEA what issue I would go back to if I wanted to read something immediately preceding it…since despite this #1 on the cover, I can lay decent odds on it being functionally a #10 or a #29 or some such, being the next issue published with a title and creative team and no greater gap in publication than any other issue-to-issue time (#3 to #4, #27 to #28, etc).
  • The constant cycle of events…particularly the line-wide events. And I’m looking primarily at Marvel on this. Hardly halfway into Secret Wars (Summer 2015) they start the hype/push for a big round of renumberings/relaunches. But the event is "delayed" and the relaunches go out anyway. Then, by the time that event book finishes, they’re already starting the hype on the NEXT event, Civil War II (Summer 2016). And then prior to THAT event even finishing, they’re already rolling out…ANOTHER ROUND of renumbering/relaunches! With delays and such, didn’t Secret Wars functionally run at least 8 months? Add to that what I believe is functionally at least 8 months of Civil War II, and even IF there was a whopping four-month gap between the two, you have 16 out of 20 months with an ongoing major event story! (80% of your time with ongoing events).
  • I got suckered on it twice when Marvel kicked off their new Star Wars line, paying the inflated $4.99 cover price for a #1, though in my own defense, I checked to make certain subsequent issues were "regular price" at $3.99. Star Wars, though. Bigger deal, something special, allegedly-extra-sized issues, big splash, whatever. But the move to it seeming virtually standard that a #1 will be $4.99 or $5.99?!? You’re already losing me on yet another freaking #1 issue…but then you want to have it $2 above a DC #1 if not TWICE AS MUCH as a DC #1?!? Fool me once, shame on you. Keep it up, I see what you’re trying to pull, and even something I’d otherwise BE interested in or consider supporting on principle, you keep me away. (Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows)
  • Convention Exclusives. There’s that saying of "leaving money on the table," right? And while I can "get" and "appreciate" marketing psychology and stuff for supply and demand and hyping stuff up…when you create product SOLELY to sell at a convention when you KNOW DARNED WELL that there are NUMEROUS people that will NEVER BE ABLE TO ATTEND a convention (and that numerous people BUYING your product AT the convention are doing so SOLELY to "flip" the product on the secondary market)… it sucks. Just make stuff available to people who will pay. Sell it through your site. Take pre-orders and produce to that. SOMEthing.
  • "Convention book stock." I get that part of dealers going to conventions involves selling to audiences they don’t usually have, with probably hundreds if not thousands of bodies that have never/will never set foot inside their actual store…but bringing stuff to the convention gets product in front of eyes and likely sales otherwise not possible. BUT… to me, it seems like "everyone" tends to have the SAME STUFF. Virtually EVERYONE has bins and bins and BINS of Marvel Premiere Edition hardcovers, typically $10/ea (having had $19.99, $24.99, or $29.99 cover prices). Very little DC product, period, and typically not in flat-price bins.
  • "Convention singles stock." Recent comics marked up $1 from cover price (new/last few weeks’ issues, with SOME at cover price if there’s been no real "hype" or such). $1 bins of overstock from the last 5 years. MAYBE discounted stock from a few years prior, virtually nothing from the 1990s, and virtually no 50-cent or 25-cent bins with any sort of "runs." When there ARE 50 or 25 cent bins, nothing is remotely in order, it’s all just a mash of stuff thrown together. A convention is basically a one-time thing: I get to look at the boxes NOW, and that’s it. Not worth the hassle…compared to a shop with a regular stock that I can check back every week or so for new stuff or decide that yeah, that bunch of Action Comics issues? I’ll snag those and then see what’s missing and go from there.
  • Final thought for now: Communication is key. If you’re running a convention and accepting applications for press passes, and state that someone will be in touch "within a few weeks of the show," that implies "a few weeks AHEAD OF the show." Two days ahead of the show, I realized 1. hey, the show is THIS WEEKEND and 2. I never DID hear back from them, guess I didn’t qualify for a press pass. So, I went back to check admission prices and such–maybe I’d want to go anyway. But Given that I’d be going alone, simply as me/myself, AND paying admission and facing the above couple points? I decided it would NOT be worth my time/hassle/etc. 4:50pm the day before the show I finally get a response…but I’d already planned my weekend as NOT including the show. C’est la vie.

What If…’The Death of Superman’ Happened in 2016?

superman_075cBack in 1992, DC treated us to Doomsday!, or The Death of Superman. The event played out across six weekly issues of the Superman titles of the time, with a seventh chapter in a Justice League America tie-in issue.

While the various titles went through multiple printings, the cover images stayed the same. DC would add a Roman Numeral to the cover copy–II, III, IV, etc to denote which printing the issue was. To add further difference to the printings, the color of the title logo would be changed from the original.

This meant that the cover image of Superman: The Man of Steel #18 was distinctive and remains iconic, 24 years later. Ditto the various other issues.

Especially on the "key" issue–Superman #75.

Granted, there were actually multiple covers for Superman #75. There was the "black bag edition," also known as the "collector’s edition." This was only available through comic shops (the "direct market") and outside of a "platinum edition" I believe only had a single initial printing.

superman_075b     superman_075a

The "collector’s edition" cover itself was a grey tombstone. This edition was what would in contemporary terms be the "variant" edition.

The "regular" edition–the "newsstand edition"–fit the usual/standard trade dress of the time, and featured an image of Superman’s tattered cape caught on a pole amidst the destruction in Metropolis. Subsequent printings–as mentioned above–change the color of the Superman logo and included a Roman Numeral to denote that each printing was no longer the first printing.

I believe the issue went through four printings–I have never been made aware of a fifth or later. (Exception being years-later reprints, like the Millennium Edition or stuff included with toys, etc.)

That was all fine, I was ok with it–retailers could order however many copies of each edition (though "in the moment" few ordered enough). The later printings kept the issue around to satisfy overall demand…and the cover image became and has remained iconic. There’ve been a number of subsequent comic covers over the years doing the "homage" thing based on the Superman #75 newsstand edition.

That was 1992.


If Superman #75 was published in 2016, in the present? There’d be a zillion variants, totally diluting the cover and any singularly-iconic imagery.

deathofsuperman_03     deathofsuperman_04

A set of two covers that placed together form a single wider image. Why not get folks to buy two copies of the issue with different images just to get one image?

deathofsuperman_01

But hey, there’d also be the wraparound cover, showing the actual death of Superman as a single cover.

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And another wraparound, showing a fallen Superman with Doomsday’s shadow…effective imagery in general, but also not in keeping with the story itself as the two fell together/simultaneously.

deathofsuperman_08     deathofsuperman_11

Regardless of the fact that there’d be the "upcoming" Funeral for a Friend story (also known as World Without a Superman), there’d be at least a couple of "funeral covers" for the actual death issue.

deathofsuperman_07     deathofsuperman_15

There’d be the generic-ish images of Doomsday’s fist with Superman symbols.

deathofsuperman_10     deathofsuperman_19

There’d be a couple that showed Superman is potentially victorious, despite the cover blurb proclaiming The Death of Superman!

deathofsuperman_05     deathofsuperman_06

deathofsuperman_09     deathofsuperman_21

There’d be the generic-ish Superman and Doomsday slug-it-out images with even a "photo cover" of a statue thrown in.

deathofsuperman_25     deathofsuperman_26

Superman and Doomsday colliding covers…

deathofsuperman_23     deathofsuperman_22

Another collision cover, and a generic (yet cool-ish) Superman with Doomsday looming behind him (or the shadow of the creature somehow).

deathofsuperman_18     deathofsuperman_28

There’d be the generic "bleeding-S" covers. Promotion for the comics, and of course there’d be a ready-made animated movie already, with toys and such to further tie-in.

deathofsuperman_12     deathofsuperman_14

There’d be a painted "moment of death" cover, and a "concept sketches" cover.

deathofsuperman_13     deathofsuperman_16

deathofsuperman_24     deathofsuperman_27

There’d, of course, be the Doomsday-centric covers, showing off different takes on the creature in various poses. Recognizable as the creature, but not necessarily anything iconic or singularly stand-out. Or to BE stand-out, make that one of Doomsday reaching toward the reader a 3-D cover!

deathofsuperman_17     deathofsuperman_20

And aside from the different takes on the creature looking somewhat like he does in the actual story, there’d the the much more exaggerated, flashy takes on the character, going a bit beyond.

And there’d be way more fun than just these! See below for even more thoughts on the matter, as I’m "breaking" the post here for length on the front/main page of the blog.

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