Bitch, bitch, bitch. Sigh. It’s a living…
For about three decades, I’ve been bitching about how our friends at DC and Marvel have abandoned the storytelling racket and are drowning themselves in the pool of “Event publishing.” During that time, line average comic book circulations have plummeted by about two-thirds.
(Explaining The Stupid Math Trick: “Line averages” are compiled by adding up the circulations of each individual issue printed by each publisher during the year and then dividing the total by the number of different issues involved. Variant covers and extra printings confuse the issue, but, screw it, they’re cheesy hustles that only complicate the processes. I refuse to acknowledge a second printing unless the publisher tells us what the first printing was. If Marvel Comics printed only 750 copies of Amazing Fantastic Fury #7 and then celebrated that success with a second printing, the whole thing is as meaningless as a fart in a blizzard in the dead of winter.)
So why am I carping about this now? And, not to mention, again? As is their wont, Marvel and DC each issued their February 2020 catalogs. On the cover of Marvel Previews – Wolverine #1!!! Another stunning concept from the House of Idea! Oh, and it’s got at least 12 different variant covers – not counting those that might be done for individual retailers – and this includes a virgin variant (wait… what? Alex Ross is a virgin???), hidden gem variants, a party variant, a die cut variant, and an adamantium variant – which, by way of disclaimer, is not even made of adamantium.
To honor their own Event, Marvel is reprinting three previous Wolverine #1’s as well. Will all this hubbub restore Wolvie to his former sales glory?
Maybe if the story is so adequate that readers tell their retailers to put the title on their pull list and keep it there until, you know, the next Wolverine #1, which may or may not happen in 2020.
DC also knows a thing or two about Event marketing. After all, they’ve been spending the better part of a half-century eating Marvel’s signature radiation. For February, DC is launching – get this – a brand-new Harley Quinn title. This one is written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti and drawn by Conner. Given their previous work on the character, that alone should be enough to entice me to read it. But DC publishes Harley Quinn first issues roughly as often as amoebas undergo mitosis, so this four-parter is going to the part of their foul-mouthed Batpenis-avoiding Black Label line, in Prestige Format.
Did I mention this one pops up because of the new Harley and the Birds of Prey movie? Did I mention it’s Black Label because they want to tie-in to their R-rated Harley Quinn teevee series? Do Amanda and Jimmy even know enough swear words, or will this one have to guest-star Eric Cartman?
(For the record, I saw the first Harley Quinn show and I enjoyed it immensely. If I objected to curse words, then what the fuck would I do for a living?)
DC’s launch of Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey is almost as unusual as DC launching new Batman projects. Well, be not disappointed, Bat Believers. DC’s launching two new Batman series in February as well. Counting the three or more Harley titles but not counting the dozen or so Batreprints, this gives DC nearly one million new Batman stories in the Month of the Valentine.
I remain nostalgic for the time when publishers thought the way to sell comics was to produce actual stories punctuated by the occasional Big Event, one whose concept would completely blow the readers’ minds. My use of “blowing the mind” reveals how deep my nostalgia runs.
Like I said. It’s a living…