|My favorite Superman story. Ever.|
It was our second show back from vacation, I was sick, and there were about 3,000 things I'd like to change about last night's show, but there you go. Lots of twisted tongue action, (kinda like Luke with his sister in Empire) a host of factual errors, and frankly, too much anger.
I actually had two other "news" items tucked into my copious amount of notes, and I just couldn't do it. It was just going to be more bitching and vitriol, and I was sick of hearing my own rancor, which tells me that an outside audience should be about ready to vomit. I'm not sure I've ever done that before. When you get sick of hearing your own whining, I suppose that's nature's way of saying "shut the fuck up, now."
One thing I don't regret bitching about was the Comics Conspiracy boycott of Grant Morrison over the "GD" sound effect in Action Comics # 1. They've since back-tracked and apologized to Morrison, which is all well and good, but how does something like that happen in the first place?
How in the world are you in the business of selling comics and don't understand subtext enough to know that when a guy gets hit with a tank shell, he might just be grunting through his teeth? Why would Grant Morrison have to explain that to you? This would be the equivalent of a gas station owner boycotting Snickers bars because they keep giving him indigestion, and the President of Packaging/Distribution calling him up and explaining that "you have to take the wrapper off first, because if you eat the wrapper it makes your tummy hurt." It's that level of absurdity that has me with my thumb out again so my Space Brothers can come pick me up, because I'm clearly not meant to share space with that dude, am I?
It's bizarre, and it's something I would ordinarily try to dismiss as something endemic to said shop's proximity to the ol' Mason-Dixon line. But I read a strong piece today over at IFanboy by Josh Flanagan detailing similar outrages in decorum and good sense by other comics retailers, and these were all representing that bastion of culture, the north east. So I guess we're all a bit mad and backward, and that's negative, and not really what I wanted to talk about today.
I've said before and it bears repeating that the success or failure of the DCnU will not be declared until much further down the road. Whatever happens today with print runs and sell-outs, it means nothing if the hype is just hype and the same inbred batch of customers are buying 1/3 the volume six months from now. I would say the earliest we could even consider rationally judging the situation would be January. That's probably three months too soon, but I would harbor arguments, at least. Right now, we know next to nothing.
But I know this - if the "New 52" were to somehow against all odds create a critical mass and tip some buzz into an actual positive phenomenon...this is what it would like like.
It would like like massively upped orders, then sell-outs, then re-orders, then more sell-outs. It would sound like people talking about the comics in a spirited manner, whether good or bad, because that would mean the unthinkable - that comics actually mattered. It would mean that somewhere buried inside the dross of recycled old crap we're getting in this "New 52" are some fresh takes with a brass sets of genitalia.
And I think we're getting all of those.
You can't argue with the sell-outs, because nobody needs a second print unless the book is actually making it into a customer's hands, and other customers are actively asking for the product. I don't have an accurate buzzometer, but I've got my ear to the ground and my eyes on the blogosphere. People are talking about the new DC products, and they are excited about many of them. Some of these excited people weren't around last month. Feel that tingle in your nethers? That's new blood tingle. Been a while since you felt that one innit?
I can't claim that I'm in love with every aspect of DCs new line. I really, really, really, wish that Justice League and Action Comics were $2.99 books. If you're going to chase long-term growth at the expense of your short-term margins, go whole hog, I say. And I don't think that every comic coming out of the new epoch is an Eisner nominee, either, but how could anybody expect that? It's absurd.
What I was looking for were some comics with balls, where creators were free to run with some wild ideas, and I feel like we're getting them. Historically, Tony Daniel's scripts haven't blown my skirt up, but that Detective # 1 was not a rote effort. That thing had a set of balls. Action Comics # 1 is wonderful. Is it for everybody? Somehow I doubt it, but they'll have George Perez over on Superman for a different take. Action has aggressive, fresh balls on it.
The DCnU has people buying comics, talking about comics, and dare I say...anticipating comics. These books are "hot", they're drying up, there's a reason to rush to the store on Wednesday. What's going on with Batgirl??? Is it a Gail Simone thing? Is it a Barbara-Gordon-out-of-the-chair fascination thing? I don't know - but whatever it is, it's real.
I don't think we're near done with these little rushes, either. Wait til' something really under the radar catches hold. I'm looking at Nathan Edmondson on Grifter, or Josh Fialkov's I, Vampire to catch fire and really start some shit. Don't sleep on Fialkov, folks, he's for real. Go read Echoes and tell me he's not for real.
When we get something really obscure to catch, then it's going to get crazy. You get a couple of the "lesser" titles to bring some heat, and the perception is that anything from DC could be the "next big thing", and then you've got the equivalent of a gold rush. It's not identical, but the feeling I get from DC now is akin to that feeling we had for Valiant in 1992. It was the feeling that something pertinent was happening, that we were on the ground floor of something important. There's a warning there somewhere, I suppose.
Do I worry about too much of the hype settling on dollar figures instead of narrative attraction? Some of you will find this strange, but you're damn right I am. In that Flanagan piece, there's a comic shop asking $6 for brand new copies of Batgirl # 1. That is an institution that does not know its history. And don't these people know that if they really need it today they can get it for $3 all day long on ComiXology? I guess that's probably a secret well kept in a house that sells new books for double cover. Fuckers.
Yeah, the jury is still out, and this is not a perfect beast. How is Schrodinger's cat doing in that box right now? I don't know. We've got a few months left before that contraption's contents are known. But here's the thing. While it may not be possible to declare the DCnU a win yet, it would have been possible to declare it a loser this early if the initial reports were down and the water cooler effect were nil.
But that's not the case. If the DCnU were a miracle...this is what it would look like, sound like, feel like. My favorite Superman story I've ever read? That would be Action Comics # 1. The one that came out on Wednesday. Even an incredible bastard such as myself can find comfort in that, and some long needed hope for the future.