Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's New?

San Diego is over now, nothing left but to hack off the vestiges of nerd flu (check out the latest from IFanboy, it sounds like Flanagan just drank a gallon of tuberculosis) and figure out what in the hell just happened.  There was no dearth of announcements.  If comics do anything well at this point, and granted, the list is dwindling, they sure know how to hit the hype button.

So.....what's new?

The answer, if you're paying attention, is very little.  Graeme McMillan just posted his own "Top 10" list of announcements on Newsarama, and they all seem to be playing the same tune:

"Hey, remember that old shit that you liked?   Well, here it is AGAIN!  YAAAAAAY!"

Except boo.  And please don't misunderstand, I'm plenty able to enjoy reasonable quantities of recycling, and I do succumb to nostalgia just like anybody else.  There's comfort in the fact that the world as I know it seems to be obsessed with dusting off everything I ever loved as a child.  Makes up a little for the fact that my knees hurt for no reason, and that my refractory period is now charted on the calendar instead of the stopwatch.  Fine.

Peter Vincent - there can be only one!
But on the other hand, enough is fucking enough already, and doesn't anybody have anything new to offer?  Do we actually have an urgent need for a Fright Night movie with Colin Farrell?  Probably enough vampire stuff out already, and Fright Night is entirely dependant on the charms of Roddy MacDowall and the guy from Herman's Head.  If they aren't in it, and in 2011 they bloody well shouldn't be in it, there's no point.  Make up something new, call it something new, and let somebody else think fondly about something else thirty years from now.  There's more to life than chasing the dragon of one's past, there's just got to be more.

You'd never know it to see all the "new" shit announced at CCI, though.  Remember Howard Chaykin's "Black Kiss"?  No, not really.  Well, it's back!  Cable, he's back.  Wow, what's that about six months?  I can feel the nostalgia kickin' in on that one, big time.

Ryan Choi's back, but you knew that was coming double quick, because not only is he a comic character, but DC had to prove to the seven people hyperventilating over the whole debacle that it wasn't in fact planning the Fourth Reich by killing a two-bit Asian character.

(Yeah, but doesn't everybody die once in awhile, and wouldn't being fully inclusive mean killing those guys, too?)

((Stop making sense, single parenthetical, obviously DC is a bastion of pure evil for treating Ryan Choi exactly as it would treat any other character in its universe, dumb ass!  Don't you know there's only one woman working in the whole 52 book relaunch!  Geez, get with the program!))

(Sorry, I'll shut up now.)

((Thank you.))

So yeah, Ryan Choi is back, and I can hardly wait to continue not buying his comics.  Lame.



What else?  The 12.....it's back!  What's The 12 again?  Exactly.  Moving on.  The Fairest isn't new, it's a spin-off of Fables.  The Hulk isn't new.  The Hulk is very much not new.  I like Jason Aaron, but saddling him with a busy cat like Silvestri sounds like a mega delay just waiting...and waiting....and waiting to happen.  Nothing new about that.

Saga - on the loose!
Don't even talk to me about "Battle Scars" or "The Fearless." Seriously.  None of that comes from a place of inspiration.  All of that was born from a couple of guys in suits with an abacus looking at a calendar, recognizing they had movies coming out, and artificially demanding that their creative mules crap out an Event with those characters to sell overhyped schlock to an ever more anemic audience.  Battle Scars and Fearless are just the disfigured and aborted babies of that marketing monster.  Keep it.  You can keep it all of it.  Come back to me when you've got a project generated by inspiration and passion.  Fuck Battle Scars and Fearless in the face, and while you're at it, give the upcoming Defenders project a good old face fucking for me as well.  I want all of those travesties to have pregnant faces immediately.

Even the one kinda actually new thing, Saga, is really just an announcement that Bryan K Vaughan is back.  I'll take that, though.  He didn't announce Z The Last Uterus, which is what Marvel would have done.

I'm greatly anticipating Saga.  We haven't seen those characters or that world yet.  It doesn't sound like Ex Machina or The Runaways.  He's doing something different.  It's the # 1 item on McMillan's list, and I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the most new, the most novel.

Why don't we hear anything about stuff like SVK, where Warren Ellis created a comic book with a black light that allows you to read the comic in two different ways?  Shine the black light on the book and it reveals interior character thoughts written in invisible ink.  I don't know if that's going to change the way we read comics in the future, but at least it's different.  He's trying something.

The answer from the stodgy corporate types is that new doesn't sell.  Grant Morrison and the Unstoppable Scottish Git Mark Millar couldn't get Aztek to go.  Matty Fraction couldn't get The Order to fly.  They say they don't bring the new because nobody wants it.

My response is that if you look for growing sales to be your guide, you can effectively cancel everything in the medium other than Walking Dead.  You'll trot out The Defenders again, but you're worried about something new not selling?  Listen closely, comics - I don't know how to tell you this gently, but you've got nothing left to lose.

Turn the thing loose, man!  I want to see digital comics with embedded audio and sound effects. Warner Bros. doesn't have the money for that?  I want to see an all ages line of comics launched from animated features.  The first story is a movie, then that narrative is continued directly into the new comics.  You're telling me the Disney brain trust can't swing that?  The thing needs to cycle new.  The DCnU may (or may not) be a good start, but it's not enough.

Give your creators a little taste of the pie and let them build you the Next Big Thing, would you?  Would it kill you to share a little of the profits in exchange for a new lease on life, Big Two?  We're dying here, and I think we're ready.  I feel damn good and ready for the Next Big Thing, emphasis on the next.

- Ryan

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