- +

Author Topic: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)  (Read 7175 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline John C

  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1308
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2011, 03:55:14 PM »
I like the multiple-Earth approach, too, Phil, but there's an entire generation of readers that's been brainwashed into thinking it was "too complicated."  They don't realize that most of the complications didn't appear until AFTER Crisis on Infinite Earths or out of fan-written literature.

For example, people still complain about Earth-B (stories from The Brave and the Bold from Bob Haney that didn't fit mainstream continuity) and Earth-E (stories where Superman and Batman were in their primes in the '50s), even though I don't think anybody mentioned either one "officially" at DC until the '90s (or took it seriously, if they did).  And the "Absolute Edition" of Crisis has a listing of Earths that's complete nonsense, including bunches of imaginary stories numbered by publication date, which...huh!?

Digital Comic Museum

Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2011, 03:55:14 PM »

Offline philcom55

  • DCM Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #46 on: June 24, 2011, 04:14:32 PM »
Yes, I thought the Earth Two scenario worked perfectly when it was used sparingly - limited to the annual JLA/JSA 'Crisis' and occasional issues of Flash. I certainly didn't have any trouble with the idea when I first came across it as a wide-eyed eight-year-old!

 - Phil Rushton
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 04:51:20 PM by philcom55 »

Offline John C

  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1308
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2011, 06:30:12 AM »
Yep.  At about the same age (warning:  dating myself), the local convenience store was out of Batman comics (the only thing I bought at the time), so I picked up what looked like the next-best thing, a book called "Justice League of America," which had a tiny headshot of Batman on the cover.

It was third of five parts of "Crisis on Earth Prime," which included four Earths (counting Earth-3), three decades, at least four timelines, plenty of real-world history that was above my head, and copious use of the Limbo dimension.  Oh, and the story was interrupted by the I-didn't-know-it-was-unrelated Masters of the Universe preview in another dimension, as I recall.

Even coming in at the middle of the story, I wasn't confused.  On the contrary, I was hooked, especially on the Justice Society.  I stopped buying Batman to get All-Star Squadron, picked up JLA during the crossovers, learned about comic stores and back issues, expanded to Infinity, Inc., and older books that worked with the alternate Earths, and basically spent far more money on comics than I ever would have otherwise.

Oh, and for years, I waited for the story about FDR being revealed as a robot, because I grossly misinterpreted Zatanna's comment in "Crisis on Earth-Prime" that "that man is electric!"  OK, so the story was a LITTLE confusing...

Offline narfstar

  • VIP Uploaders
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1674
  • Karma: 74
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2011, 07:12:36 AM »
I agree that there was no fan confusion until after the Crisis. At eight it was easy to understand.

Offline paw broon

  • VIP
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • Karma: 5
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2011, 04:44:59 AM »
Never had any trouble with Earth 1 - Earth 2 crossovers, or the concept, but then, I did read a lot of s.f when much younger.  I remember the excitement on seeing all those heroes, many of whom were strange to me at the time, and wanting more, much more.  Even at Crisis, I wasn't confused, just amazed that DC could kill off those heroes.  And I enjoyed it and waited eagerly for the next issue.  Unfortunately, it all fell to bits quite quickly after that and for me, a lot of the magic was gone.
Out with some pals yesterday, I was not surprised to hear from them (all comics fans) that the #1's would be a good point to jump off, not on. And that digital would really hurt smaller comic shops here.  Most of them wait for tpb's and that in itself is a sign of trouble for shops as these guys will buy from Amazon, rather than a comic shop.  But if the European model could be adopted and G.N's became the norm, could it be the saviour of small comic shops and a huge boost for comics?  In France, for example, despite FNAC and Amazon, comic shops survive and can thrive, with shelves loaded with graphic novels.  Although the American offer might need to be expanded to include a bigger proportion of other subjects.
I'm off to my lcs this afternoon and hope to find out a bit more opinion from the other side of the counter.

Stephen Montgomery

Offline John C

  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1308
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2011, 05:30:04 AM »
I'm actually a big fan of a "just the trade" model.  It gives space for the story, lets you play a little loose with deadlines, and is more economical for everybody involved.

Actually, if I were DC, I might be inclined to try something extreme, especially with digital sales:  Use the Showcase format on a monthly basis.

Imagine if those fifty-two comics were organized and packaged into two or three five-hundred page volumes for maybe thirty bucks apiece, published on cheap paper, no color.  If you want color (and some sort of "active content" like a DVD commentary explaining references and helping you buy the referenced comics), that's your three bucks (minus a discount for buying the paperback) for the digital version.

If an artist can't make the deadline for this month's Green Lantern, then "by special demand," you run a fun old story from the archives to fill the space.

It still kills the local comic shop, but...I don't know, I find it hard to mourn the places.

(Overlong rant?  Sure, I'd love one!)

I don't know what it's like anywhere else in the world, but in the suburban sprawl of New York, even the best of them are creepy, creepy places.  The windows are usually covered up, making you think it's either a mob front or a porn shop.  Neither instinct is proven wrong when you open the door to harsh fluorescent light and typically posters of half-naked women and/or people having various body parts severed (drawn, of course, because who would want to look at an ACTUAL woman?).  Then you walk past the counter of unhelpful nerds, the forest of trading cards and video games, and the labyrinth of action figures and what might be X-Rated anime, for all I know, and you get to the comics.

The comic racks/shelves/flats are, of course, not designed for a mere mortal to shop.  You can't really browse unless you're willing (and permitted) to actually pick up and flip through every single comic, because nobody has the time to indicate what might be worth reading.

Or, if it's an older shop, you can walk further back (past the poster fortress and the highly suspect magazine rack) to the back issues, where you spend an afternoon hunched over looking like an ape-man pawing at the 2001 monolith to find a book that...well, that's not really browsable, either.  If you don't know what you're looking for, you're basically judging books by their covers hundreds of times over.

To top it off, between them and the publishers is Diamond, forcing books off the shelves by hiding their announcements or refusing to carry them and basically manipulating sales by their very organization, deciding who gets more space devoted to the pitches.

And it occurs to me that a situation like that is never going to help get new readers into the system, because it takes a hardcore fan to push their way all the way in to where you make the sale.  It's harsh, and I don't like the idea of putting people out of business, but maybe it's time to let them pass.  I don't think there's money to reinvent them with natural light, open spaces, tasteful decoration, and helpful staff.

However, if there's a way to fix them and make it profitable, I'll point out that I have an independent book store about a quarter mile from my house.  In a space about the size of a typical Barnes & Noble that they've been in for decades, they've survived the chain megastores a few miles away and the Internet.  The place is always busy, so "digital sales will kill the local comic shop" isn't necessarily going to be true.  The local comic shop just needs to figure out how to be more valuable to customers than the competition.

Offline KevinP

  • VIP
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 114
  • Karma: 4
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2011, 07:34:33 AM »
And it occurs to me that a situation like that is never going to help get new readers into the system, because it takes a hardcore fan to push their way all the way in to where you make the sale.  It's harsh, and I don't like the idea of putting people out of business, but maybe it's time to let them pass. 

I have a radical idea.  Start writing comics at a kid's level again, but not dumbed down so adults can't enjoy them.  Eliminate gratutous deaths, sex scenes, dark gritty heroes and mega events.  Have a complete and satisfying story in each issue.  Get some writers with ideas instead of fight scenes and emotional confrontations.  Make the heroes uncomplicated and likeable (see the Marvel movies for hints).   Package them as cheaply as possible and sell them at supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores  and walmarts. 
"Stories are signposts to help the world choose between the darkness and the light." ~Arago

Offline philcom55

  • DCM Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2011, 07:50:08 AM »
I have to confess that I've never really felt at home with TPBs and Graphic Novels (or 'Big Comics' as Alan Moore calls them). I grew up with traditional American comic books and the British weekly anthologies like Eagle and Valiant, and still prefer the originals to any modern glossy reprint. Unfortunately the publishers seem to have gone out of their way in recent years to make their monthly installments as unappealing as possible. In the old days a single issue of Justice League of America could be relied upon to contain a complete story with a proper beginning, middle and end (or on special occasions - that genuinely were special - half of an epic two-parter). Now, however, a single issue has no structure at all and seems instead to be just a garish, overpriced pamphlet designed to give a 'taster' of the forthcoming TPB - and even the end of a six-issue arc turns out to be just an excuse for a cliffhanger that is bigger than ever! In addition to which one also has to put up with those annoying in-house story 'previews' which are repeated in every one of that month's titles!

Of course there are exceptions but it sometimes seems as though DC and Marvel are hoping that people will buy the comic books just to read (and throw away) and the subsequent collections to keep - thereby selling every story twice over! Certainly I've noticed that the back-issue market in comic books from the last decade or so has all-but collapsed - implying that people no longer see them as collectible items at all... :-[

...OK, Rant over!  :)

 - Phil Rushton
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 07:54:33 AM by philcom55 »

Offline Yoc

  • S T A F F
  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13012
  • Karma: 32
  • "Say cheese!"
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #53 on: June 30, 2011, 09:01:40 AM »
I'm enjoying this topic.  We're getting some fun ideas out there.
I'm with John about TPBs.  But this is the only way I'm seeing anything new as that's all my local library carries.  I just finished reading Planetary 1 TBP (issues 1-6).  An interesting concept I'll continue to follow.
It does seem that some single issues feel very short on story and pages but Phil, you might enjoy some of the old Alan Moore ABC books like Tom Strong where usually each issue was a self contained story.  That series had a real SilverAge fun feel to them.  And the Strong family felt a bit like a Marvel Family book without all the super powers but still all the same fun.
So there are some books out there worth reading but as John says, FINDING THEM seems to be the real problem and with Diamond in full control that might not be possible if you only want the paper versions.  Digital editions might be the best way to get book of ALL kinds out to the public without having to go through Diamond.  That sounds like a good thing to me.  Perhaps not to the LCS but hey, maybe they'll have to learn how to do a better job of things to keep alive.  Weed out the crappy stores and those that remain might be something special worth visiting.
All just my humble opinion.

Offline paw broon

  • VIP
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • Karma: 5
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #54 on: June 30, 2011, 11:25:52 AM »
Yes, indeed, an interesting and thoughtful topic.  And I wonder if I'm starting to change my opinion re digital.  Problem is, I don't have any way of reding them except on a computer screen and I find that uncomfortable after a while and slabs are so expensive.  Comic shops, or stores as you call them, it's interesting to hear what they're like in some places.  On Comics UK recently someone was sounding off about a comic shop in Glasgow - no names, no pack drill - but any local fan, i.e. me and a few others knew right away what shop it was and the description fits the N.Y ones.
I'm fortunate that my lcs is in a smaller town, is relatively new, small, clean and the owner is a decent bloke.  However with Diamond  supplying him and his lack of space, there are often titles that don't appear and he sticks to mainstream unless it's a special order for a customer. 
Today, having seen what DC are doing with Black Canary, Birds of Prey and Zatanna, I've cancelled them when the  renumbering starts.
On tpb's, I was given a loan of Winter Soldier and with some trepidation, started to read and , you know, it's not bad.  And that despite my ranting on about Bucky not being dead.  It wasn't that good that I'd start buying the monthly, though.  Like some of you, I can find volumes in my local library.
I've been singing the praises of Planetary since it started and will continue to do so.  For once something modern which is well written, nicely illustrated and this is made to be read in a collection. Another example would be Jack Staff, which is great fun and a bit strange. Or League of Extraordinary Gwntlemen, which I only read in collections. I like graphic novels, especially many French and Belgian ones.  It's a shame that more aren't translated into English, as that h/b with good paper is a package that works.  Doesn't stop me being a fan of flimsies like those you mention, Phil, or American pamphlets - well, older ones anyway.
Stephen Montgomery

Offline Yoc

  • S T A F F
  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13012
  • Karma: 32
  • "Say cheese!"
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #55 on: June 30, 2011, 12:14:34 PM »
I've been a fan of Fables since issue 1 only reading them in collections.
I was 100% behind the series though since the Dark Man has shown up it feels like it's slipped a bit in quality.
I was happy to see that my library system has the complete 27 issue run of Planetary and specials so I'll get to see it all without worry.  LOEG was great, I'll be trying to keep up with them as well.

Offline philcom55

  • DCM Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #56 on: June 30, 2011, 01:46:18 PM »
Fables is one of the few titles I continue to buy on a regular basis as well - though up to now I've stuck with the comic books rather than the collections. The funny thing is that, while I really like the European album format, when it comes to comics from the UK and US I've always had a dyed-in-the-wool collector's preference for 'first editions' over reprints. With older comics I think most fans would agree that an original copy of Amazing Spider-Man no.1, for example, is infinitely preferable to any of the editions in which its contents have been repackaged over the years. The trouble is that very few people seem to care about modern comic books in the same way - seeing them instead as part-works; it's as though the TPB has now become the real first edition, and those of us who still remember how things used to be are just dinosaurs at sunset...!  :(

Maybe it really is time to stop pretending that the latest issue of Action Comics has any place in an unbroken run of comics going back to 1938, and to accept that the old age of the comic book is finally over!

 - Phil Rushton
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 01:59:25 PM by philcom55 »

Offline narfstar

  • VIP Uploaders
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1674
  • Karma: 74
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #57 on: June 30, 2011, 03:31:01 PM »
I have coverless copies of many key silver age books JUST BECAUSE. All have been reprinted many times but there is something about having the original

Offline John C

  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1308
  • Karma: 1
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #58 on: June 30, 2011, 04:43:42 PM »
Kevin, I agree.  Just focus on telling interesting stories and put them where people go.  I don't trust any large company to do it, because they're too busy "being taken seriously."  I think that's where the "gray hat" heroes and the violence comes from, in fact, just like kids think it's grown up to curse like a truck driver and talk about "boobs."  And hey, look at comics letting heroes curse and focus on sex appeal...

(A bigger problem is that people who want to break into the business emulate what's already on the market and try to "better" it.  Just like cartoonists tell you to learn to draw first, then find your animation niche, I wish there was similar advice for people getting into comics:  Learn to write and/or learn to actually draw, THEN adapt it to comics, rather than trying to be "the next Frank Miller.")

Phil, it's not just that the stories are long, it's that they don't make any damned sense and they're not even PACED for single issues.  The best example I can think of is Brad Meltzer's "Identity Crisis," which happens to also hit Kevin's comments.  In seven issues, we start with a locked-room murder mystery, the heroes jump to a conclusion so that we can be supplied a distasteful back-story, walk through a succession of red herrings who have nothing to do with said back-story, get pushed to the conclusion that secret identities are super-important, and...finally reveal the true villain in the last few pages that completely invalidates every single thing that happened in the story up to that point.  Hands down, it's absolutely the stupidest thing I've ever read, and dealing in software, I've read a lot of stupid things...

Anyway, even when stories were multi-part, even with the enormous cliffhanger at the end, the parts were individual stories that you could read alone.  You didn't need a "jumping on point," since things were structured to make sense on their own.  I remember getting the first part of Mr. Terrific's death at a garage sale as a kid.  I had no idea what happened in the second part, and it was years before I finally (and triumphantly) found the other issue, but half the story was still satisfying.

Paw, I know what you mean about reading off screens, but they are getting better.  I don't consider it a good thing for my health and sanity, but I can work off my netbook screen well into the night, and I spent about two hundred dollars on it.  I'd plug the Pixel Qi screens, but they're insanely expensive for just a screen.

Yoc, possibly the best recent series I've seen in a long time was Blue Beetle.  I know, I was surprised, too.  But the character's a good kid in an odd situation with a great supporting cast, some brisk storytelling, and snappy writing.  I was sorry to see the book end and the character handed off to other writers.  Bleh.

Offline Yoc

  • S T A F F
  • Administrators
  • DCM Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13012
  • Karma: 32
  • "Say cheese!"
Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #59 on: June 30, 2011, 05:00:02 PM »
Ah, thanks John.  I only know the 'new' kid Blue Beetle from the Batman Brave and Bold cartoon.  He seems fun enough.  And wow has B&B taken a turn to the bad with 'Transformer' Batman in giant robot attacks.  Blech!  The Avengers series has gotten much better after a so-so first dozen episodes.

One comic series I recall raves about a while back was the Starman Mystery Theatre and the Animal Man series.  I've got both on my 'to read' list along with a million others.  *sigh*

I think in today's Digital Age with iPads etc taking off that digital comics might make sense.  And if that resulted in more alternatives to the big two all the better!  I have plans to buy Something but I still haven't heard about a fantastic alternative to the iPad at a reasonable price with a good 10" screen that isn't running on an Atom chip.  But I'm keeping my eyes open.

-Yoc