Monday, June 11, 2012

Dan Didio, you mad, beautiful genius

Not that I'm paying much attention at the moment, but DC cancelled another handful of titles with plans to replace them with, in a Direct Market populated solely by comics readers from whom their is no alternative audience, ideas just about as promising as the books that they're cutting.

On the chopping block:
Captain Atom - a conspicuously Dr. Manhattanish take on Captain Atom, the character Alan Moore was riffing on when he created Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.
Resurrection Man - a book that was never that popular back in the 90's, so why 2011 was the time to relaunch, what with nobody asking for it...
Voodoo - I forget the exact provenance of this book, but it was never DC and part of some other line at some point and was about a stripper alien?  Maybe?  I wasn't clear, but...  they fired the character's creator off the book and put on someone who actually understood the character or something... Nobody read this.  It's all moot now, I guess.
Justice League International - a book that was intended to build off the good will garnered over 5 years of great Justice League stories that don't exist...  Here's your whole problem with the "5 year leap" thing DC was trying to do with the New 52.  Dan Didio couldn't clap enough to make everyone believe that we weren't totally rebooting the DCU.

but now you can get:
Talon - well, I can't argue that a major event should generate a new character.  I haven't read one issue of Court of Owls, so this is lost on me.
Phantom Stranger - some characters just work better in the background as mysterious figures or in mini series.  Phantom Stranger and The Spectre are at the top of this list.
Sword of Sorcery - I predict a very small, very vocal group of fans who will complain about the right treatment of Amethyst, which is an hilarious thing to do.  This book will never see 2014.
Team Seven - it seems impossible to have cooked up a more generic idea, even in light of the failure of Blackhawks.  But somehow... a book featuring too many characters that nobody cares about wearing post John Byrne armor in gray and carrying silly looking weapons seems like the ur-New 52 book, so I think this may take off.

But that's not what made me slap my forehead.

It was the fact that, last spring we saw the cancellation of four books due to overwhelming indifference on the part of DC readers.  The market spoke, these books were not needed.  It's how commercial enterprise works.  It's how we know: we need no more Studebakers, movies featuring Shaq, or that Billy the Big Mouth Bass had reached every person who wanted one.  Sales just dipped.

So, in the Spring we saw the end of:
  • OMAC
  • Mister Terrific
  • Hawk and Dove
  • Blackhawks
However, Mr. Didio knows we didn't really mean it, what with our not buying these comics.  We just forgot to buy them, or had a mini stroke whilst in the comic shop that made us blind to our need for Rob Liefeld on Hawk & Dove.  Mr. Didio knows that in our heart-of-hearts we wanted those comics.  So, hey, good news, everybuddy!  Those books and characters you didn't care about?

It seems that Mr. Didio thinks I, and folks just like I, just got this wrong. He's bringing all his favorites back in the pages of DC Universe Presents #0. Not only are they not going away, Didio is making sure you @#$%ing better read them this time, you @#$%'s.

Think of it as the 2012 version of the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, only this time with all-new adventures that the solicitation text promises will “play out across the entire New 52.” It’s a 64-page issue by the likes of DiDio, Cafu, James Robinson, Rob Liefeld and Marat Mychaels.


NO! Dan, NO! Stop throwing OMACs at us. You had your Greg Rucka OMACs, you had your Bruce Jones OMACs, you wrote your own OMACs. Kirby couldn't really make OMAC work. It's okay. You can stop now. People do not give a poop about OMAC, at least not enough to BUY an OMAC comic book. Nor do they want anything associated with OMAC to "play out across the entire New 52". I actually like OMAC, and I want to see it get a rest for a decade or two.

But... you know, I can get down with this turn of events.  I can dig that Didio has moved on from thinking the creators have it all wrong to the idea that the customers have it all wrong. I would love to see Didio's office with all the different characters on the board, pins attached, yarn stringing them together, Didio just quivering, standing in front of them in his homemade OMAC outfit, swearing he will see a day where Hawk and Dove are relevant... And then there'd be lots of deep, deep sobbing.

DC's Monday solicitations offered approximately 2 comics I might buy (hey, well done, DC), and another 90's call back by making it "Zero Month". By the math I'm doing, based upon where "Zero Month" fell in the DC line when I was in high school or college (I forget which - I wasn't reading DC at the time), I might be about to pick up a DC Comic again in 3-4 years.

It's also great, because it shows that DC is so disjointed that they're forcing their creators to stop what they're doing for a one-off story that might hint at what the @#$% is going on in their comics that might explain the broke-ass New 52 Universe.

Oh, DC.  You and your editorial mandates superseding narrative and common sense.

You guys realize that an issue 0 was sort of a reboot back when it was used after Zero Hour, right?  We're kind of already rebooting the New 52?  Or at least making up a new past ALREADY?  Is anybody writing this @#$% down?  Because it is GOLD.

You did, it DC! You made watching your editorial flailings infinitely more entertaining than anything happening in your comics! I hope someone in the DC offices is throwing confetti and blowing noisemakers.

1 comment:

Simon MacDonald said...

I just sent you an email predicting that you'd be done reading DC comics for 3 reasons then I read your blog post and seen that you've hit on a couple of them. What a complete CF by DC. As I said they pulled me back in then quickly lost me. As you've discussed before the numbers of comics sold be DC are going to drop down below pre new 52 levels considering they are not pulling in as many new readers as they'd hoped and older readers are leaving in droves.

Seriously, why in the hell would anyone be interested in a Phantom Stranger ongoing? Sword of Sorcery could be good but the fan base for fantasy based comics is not a big as it'd need to be to sustain this monthly. Talon just feeds into the ongoing Batmanification of DC's line. It looks like 13 Batman related titles in the new DC 52, that's 25% of the line if my math is right. Team Seven, heck I'd be surprised if they made 7 issues.