Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pull List Casualty: Invincible Iron Man!

Oh goodie.  The Marvel "Point One" issues are in this month's edition of Previews.  Let's talk about "Point One" briefly before I get to the greater travesty.

Marvel, Marvel, Marvel....what am I going to do with you crazy kids?  Marvel likes the sound of its own voice, particularly when it's pretending to be looking out for you and me.  They sure do love their press releases espousing all the wonderful programs they're rolling out to take a little pressure off the poor suckers shelling out $4 per for their books.

My all time favorite is still the announcement at NYCC promising that all new titles would be priced at $2.99 beginning in January.  And then the solicits come out, and we found out that they were completely full of excrement, because most of their new titles were still flipping us the middle finger at the $4 level.

What's extra good about that little debacle is that Marvel has never publicly addressed it.  If I'm wrong about that, please do comment below and show me where they apologized or explained.  I know it didn't happen, though, because I've been looking for it.  It aint there.

No "Sorry, David Gabriel got the wrong info and we can't believe we did that but humans make mistakes!"  That would be lame, but at least an apology.  No "Oops, we got it wrong for January but after that all the new titles will be $2.99, and this will never happen again!"  Nothing.  They've simply whizzed all over the cuff of our pants and then pretended it didn't happen.  That's the strategy of a six year-old, not an industry leader.

Where's my "Cup o' Joe" with two creams and a little contrite sugar?  I want it.  I think we deserve it.

The latest boon to our miserable lives from the House of Ideas is the "Point One" program.  Marvel is bringing us into the future by giving us issues giving us jumping on issues of some of their flagship properties, providing critical catch-up information and indicating future story arcs.  They are going to embellish these issues with a ".1" designation and then follow up with another regular issue the same month as the point one offering.

First of all, what we're really discussing is a comic book at a new arc written to be accessible.  Accessibility shouldn't require a parade and cover should just be a comic book.

Secondly, I don't know what Marvel thinks ".1" indicates, but to me all that means is messy math I need a calculator for, and that just isn't that attractive.  The only thing I can think of is that maybe they were thinking of "1.0", because software and other products will often launch with that designation.  This just in - 1.0 and .1 are not the same thing.

Honestly, I think the intuitive conclusion for a human being looking at a "X.1" issue is that they screwed up issue "X" and needed to add or correct material.

This has all been a long and meandering way of getting to the fact that I am now dropping Invincible Iron Man.  Did you see the solicitation for it in Previews?  The page for 500.1 is pictured at the top of this blog posting.  It's new, it's hip, it's a jumping on point, it's accessible, and it's $2.99, which shouldn't be a big surprise, since Invincible Iron Man has always been $2.99.

Until now.  Did you see the bullshit on the other side of the staple?

Right after the entirely fabulous point one nonsense, they're inviting y'all in so they can jack up the price.  32 pages for $3.99 now?  And isn't that just like the Queen of Babylon to write all this happy exciting copy about helping out new readers so that they can sell the exact same product and rape them for an extra dollar in a couple of weeks? 

As usual, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  It's almost hilarious how transparently gross and greasy they are about everything.  But at the end of the day, it's going to cost me a title I was really enjoying, so that smile just won't stick.

I've loved Invincible Iron Man.  Consistently excellent entertainment.  Matty Fraction's version of Tony Stark has been compelling, and tragic, and inspiring, and funny, and sad.  Fraction's Stark doesn't behave anything like he does anywhere else in the Marvel Universe, but I consider that Marvel's problem, not Fraction's.

This is the company that has Luke Cage running two teams across the country and running around Hell's Kitchen simultaneously.  This is the company that has Franken-Castle in Franken-Castle and regular Frank Castle shooting things up in Shadowland simultaneously.  And this is the company that has Logan in Hell in the Wolverine book, and a non-Hell denizen vampire guy in another book, and a regular non-Hell and non-vampire guy in X-Force.  Continuity and common sense isn't in their wheelhouse, is what I'm trying to get across.

I've loved Invincible Iron Man, and I love where it seems to be heading.  I like the HAMMER girls, they make interesting foils.  I like the developing/collapsing/developing relationship between Pepper and Tony.  I like Detroit Steel, you don't see new characters any more, and he's a good villain.  There's lots to like about Invincible Iron Man.

Until now.  Good bye and go fuck yourself with your "rope people in and then raise the rent" bullshit.  It's not clever.  It's not good business.  History is not going to look kindly on this period for Marvel.

- Ryan

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