Wednesday, June 22, 2011
MAUK TRIAL: Senioritis at DC? [UPDATED]
There are a couple odd moves from DC that I saw hitting the web today that I can't help but voice my opinion over.
(Though I feel a little bad that this post will be following Robb's Green Lantern review because it will seem like we're picking on DC today... But Comicbook Crossfire is here to opine and discuss and these are the things that're weighing on our minds)
Bleeding Cool has gone over some really odd and downright clumsy edits to the Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search For Swamp Thing #1. They changed the large, goatee'd gentleman from the preview pages that ran in the backs of most of DC's comics to this much more slender looking fellow now named Chas. I don't know if Chas is a Hellblazer character, nor do I really know much of anything about Constantine, outside of the Keanu movie (which clearly doesn't count) and his appearance in a Paul Dini Zatanna one-shot from Vertigo, several years ago.
It just seems like an odd switch, particularly considering that those preview pages were running in last week's books. (or possibly just the week before) They also changed some of the captions to kind of awkwardly explain away Constantine's appearance at the end of Brightest Day and why he's back in the UK at the beginning of this issue. I'm not sure what the point of that is or why there's this really awkward confusion, contradiction, and downright bad editing going on.
Not to mention the weirdness with the disappearing and reappearing Zatanna on the cover, and just why it went from Hawkman's silhouette to Zatanna, back to Hawkman, and back to Zatanna. I realize she's a magician but that's an awkward trick to pull.
I can't help but wonder if this the result of editors spending more time worrying about the September books and less about what's currently on the plate.
I don't really intend to pick up this series, but I do wonder just what the point of it is, at this juncture and whether it really is all that necessary or essential to Swamp Thing and Constantine's new status quos in September.
NEXT, Blog@Newsarama tell us there is, apparently, an entire issue of Superman's "Grounded" storyline that will go unpublished. I don't know how much if any work was done on it, but enough that Chris Roberson was interviewed about the character who was supposed to appear in it. [It has since been made known that the entire issue was completed and approved but got shelved just as the issue was to go to print] Newsarama suspects that the issue was shelved because of potential racial/religious issues or further patriotic backlash from the Superman books. Which is just silly because it seems like the whole intent of Grounded, regardless of how well it actually played out, was to have Superman address real issues that the country faces. So INSTEAD, we're getting the Krypto issue that was meant to be in Kurt Busiek's run, long ago, but was shelved for a reason I can no longer remember. So I guess I'll actually be buying Superman this week because I was pretty curious about this Krypto story that Kurt wrote for Rick Leonardi that was supposed to address the death of Superboy during Infinite Crisis.
It might seem kind of awkward if the story relies that heavily on referencing Infinite Crisis but, again, maybe nobody actually cares at this point. It's a little hard to tell, the closer we get to the September relaunch.
UPDATE: More news has broken about the awkward little switcheroo DC pulled on Superman #712 this week and, unsurprisingly, Comics Alliance's Chris Sims absolutely nails it.
I was talking to a friend, the other day, about this feeling of "meh" that seem to be creeping into some of DC's books of late. I mentioned in my Pull List, yesterday, how I felt that DC just sort of saddled Paul Cornell with this Doomsday story that nobody really cared about and just lazily slid into Action Comics, dulling what was a spectacular run on the title. I've mentioned to Robb and others, recently, how the War of the Green Lanterns storyline has felt sort of tired and disinterested in itself, despite it killing off a major and much beloved character, the story still feels like it's spinning it's wheels a bit. Then you have Gail Simone unceremoniously exiting her beloved Birds of Prey-- introducing a follow-up story that will probably never happen-- to be followed up by a two issue fill in story by Marc Andreyko and Billy Tucci. I love Marc and their little Blackhawk story could still be a fun little romp, but I doubt it'll act as much of a send off to the years of work that Gail Simone put into the series.
On the flipside of that, I thought Judd Winick's final issue of Power Girl was so strong, I'm disappointed that it doesn't just end there. Again, Matt Sturges could have a couple fun little fill-in tales before the book (and, seemingly, character) is retired but I doubt there will be much pomp. And, again, it doesn't really NEED the final two issues because it felt like Judd just gave us a final issue. I'm not even entirely sure if I want to pick up these remaining filler issues if they're not meant to properly send off these characters or the creators who brought so much to them.
I equated all of this to what appeared to be a case of company-wide "senior-itis." Senioritis, if you're not familiar with the term, is the phenomenon experienced when a group of students, facing their final weeks before graduation, come to the conclusion that their actions no longer matter, that their grades are probably fixed at this point and their transition from student to graduate feels set in stone. So you goof off, you stop caring, and you drag your butts to class purely just to kill time before you never have to set foot in that building again. The teachers experience it too. You see them dole out pointless busywork and you end up watching movies in class. (or, in the case of my high school Science Fiction & Mythology course, you watch a bunch of episodes of The X-Files)
Not every student falls victim, nor every teacher, nor am I suggesting has every comic book or creative team or editor at DC. But I feel like that's what I'm starting to see in a lot of places. And it's hitting the fans, too. This feeling of "well, if it's all just getting relaunched or rebooted in September, why bother?" It's not a sentiment I agree with. Not you're talking about books that you've genuinely enjoyed reading. If I wind up jumping off of Power Girl or Birds of Prey early, it's because my love of those books and those characters relied heavily on the creators who brought so much love and care to them. Andreyko and Sturges' fill-ins could be harmless fun, and maybe I'll still gravitate to that, but it does feel a little hollow. On the other hand, I'm really hoping that Gail Simone had enough room in the schedule to be able to really give Secret Six the strong send off it deserves. Gail has come and gone on BoP a bit, but Secret Six has been her baby since Villains United. In spite of some lackluster feelings of late, I'm also still kind of excited to see Superboy Prime go up against the Teen Titans before that series wraps. Especially since it's probably the last time we'll see the Superboy Prime concept for a good long while, I hope that Krul really cut loose and had some fun with him.
I'd really like to see some strong goodbyes for these comics, characters, and creators before we start fresh in September but maybe I'm just being overly sentimental. But I think capitalizing on some sentimentality is about the only way you're going to get people to stay interested before the slate's wiped clean.