Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 3, Issue 22

Oh, no. I'm doing it again. Hello, Flashpoint and all of your various cross-over titles. Thanks for taking my money.

Today kicks off a big comics week, what with DC's launching of the various Flashpoint tie-ins, Image coming out with a slew of books, including several new and fantastic-looking number ones, and Marvel releasing part three of their big summer event, Fear Itself.

And, oh yeah.

Yesterday, DC broke the Internet in half.

Top secret plans of near-future awesome were finally revealed by DC yesterday, and I have to say, I haven't been this excited about a mainstream comics event since Marvel's Civil War.

Sure, I hate relaunches and re-numberings, but only when it's pointless. This...this feels like something different. Something new. All DC titles will relaunch with number ones this fall--that's 52 books, folks--kicking off with Justice League, issue one, written by Geoff Johns and with art by Jim Lee.

Yes. You read that right. Justice League. Geoff Johns. Jim Lee.

From the USA Today feature article about the restructuring:

"We really want to inject new life in our characters and line," says Dan DiDio, co-publisher of DC with Lee. "This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."

That sounds good to me. Very good.

But that's not the Big News. I mean, sure, it's big news. But it's not the Big News. The Big News comes in the second part of DC's press release, where they announce that the new titles will be released, digitally, on the day the brick and mortar retail stores get the product.

And all the comics shops just shuddered.

This is the first big move, the first salvo in the digital vs. print war. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for retail stores, but in every other publishing industry, digital has already won.

And now the battle comes to the comics industry.

Personally, I'm still going to buy my books from the comics shop. As I've said way too many times to count here on the blog, I like books. I like holding them. I like going to the store and buying them.

And I especially love comic book shops. They feel like home. They feel like Saturday afternoons.

But we all knew this was coming, and it was just a matter of time before Marvel or DC made the move. It is a bit surprising that DC went this route before Marvel, as DC has always been seen as the more retailer friendly of the two.

And I'm not entirely sure that this announcement changes that, actually.

The publishing world is, as I've written about, at its most critical stage. The big publishers in the book world are still trepidatious about jumping into the digital sea, even though it's well past time for the eBooks to become their primary source of revenue, with the print copies becoming something different entirely.

Something for the collectors, something for those who appreciate the craft of bookmaking. Like me. And, I'm sure, like a bunch of you out there, reading this.

I think that holds even more true for comics, as new readers (you know, those things the comics industry hasn't been able to generate in the last decade?) will be much, much more willing to buy a new digital comic than they would be to walk into a comics shop.

Sounds horrible on the surface, but it's nothing new. It's what comics shops have had to deal with since the first one came to town.

But now, with NEW digital releases, and not the weeks-, months-, or even years-old books that have thus far dominated the digital comics landscape, I honestly think this will drive more people to stores.

I do.

And I know it sounds stupid, but here's what I'm thinking. Say someone downloads the first issue of Justice League. They like it. They like Geoff Johns and they like Jim Lee. They see that comics have grown up, and I don't mean just in theme. The writing and the art is at an all-time high point in the history of the industry.

They want more, so maybe they'll take a trip to that weird little comics shop in town to buy one of those graphic novels that those ads for movies have been talking about.

Except, this time, maybe they'll actually buy them.

Because they've gotten a taste of the new stuff, at a good price, and at the utmost convenience.

Before I go on, though, let me restate something I've said since day one. Retailers are the forgotten super heroes of comics. The industry only exists because of them. And, on the surface, this move looks bad for a lot of them.

But I think the retailers are going to step up, once again, and make this digital thing work for them. The comics shop will not go away. The best stores will continue on, and I'll even go out on a limb and say that they'll thrive.

I applaud DC for the move, and I look forward to seeing what they have in store. And, yes, I look forward to seeing what they have in stores.

-- -- -- --

That...took up a bit more room than planned, so instead of going deep into each new book that I'm looking forward to today, here's a very quick rundown with covers and solicitations.

From Image, issue one of 50 Girls 50, the much talked about Frank Cho vehicle:
Hot on the heels of his blockbuster New Ultimates run, FRANK CHO teams with Co-writer DOUG MURRAY (The 'Nam) and artist AXEL MEDELLIN (ELEPHANTMEN) to unleash a new universe-spanning sci-fi epic!

Join in the fantastic voyage of the Space Vessel ESS Savannah and her beautiful crew as they fight their way from hostile aliens and exotic worlds, searching for the wormhole that will take them to their ultimate destination: Home.

Another cool new book from Image, by writer Ron Marz, Shinku, issue one:
THRONE OF BLOOD, Part One: The sole surviving descendant of a once-proud samurai clan, Shinku wages a solo war against a powerful vampire clan that has lurked in the shadows for centuries.

An epic of horror and martial arts set in modern Japan, but with roots in the feudal past, writer RON MARZ (WITCHBLADE, ARTIFACTS) and artist LEE MODER (Wonder Woman, Legion of Super-Heroes) will serve up sexy, bloody, ongoing action every month. If you're looking for vampires that sparkle ... this ain't it.

There's also issue two of Flashpoint, and four (count 'em, four!) tie-in issues of that series hitting shelves today. For me, the one I'm most looking forward to is Flashpoint Batman: Knight of Vengeance, brought to us by the creative team behind 100 Bullets--Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, and covers by Dave Johnson.

And, as with all the Flashpoint tie-ins, DC is being tight-lipped about what's actually in the books. Here's the barely one line solicit information:

FLASH FACT! He spends his days running Wayne Casinos!

If you read Flashpoint, issue one, last month, though, you have an idea of what this book is about. And this creative team? On Batman? Yes, please. Azzarello and Risso put on two phenomenal runs with the character, and I am definitely on board for this one.


Sorry about going on and on today. Time to go. But first, what are you Waiting for?

No comments: