Monday, February 13, 2012

Where's the video?

Sorry to disappoint those who'd rather see me in living color fidgeting about before the camera. I'm going to hold off today and actually write something.

By now, if you're a comics fan, you've made your decision on the DCnU(DC's New Universe or the DC/New 52, as the relaunch has been called). As I said in one of my videos at the time, I actually picked up all the #1 issues when they were published and close to half of the second issues the following month. Since then I've dropped more than half of those and may be whittling those down even more.

In my videos I've already talked about some of this, but wanted to clarify things for those of you wondering.

For a couple of years, pretty much all of 2004 - 2006, I all but gave up on comics. I'd just about gotten fed up with everything from the Big Two and I wasn't finding much that held my interest in the smaller companies. Also, it had just gotten to expensive to be spending a few hundred dollars a month, knowing that I'd never get a percentage of that back if I decided to sell my collection. When we moved here to California I only took along about a quarter of my collection, bringing along only those titles that meant something or might actually be worth a few bucks down the line. At the moment I have about a dozen short-boxes (holding about 150 or so books each), a long-box (300+) and a five-shelf bookcase with several shelves of TPBs & graphic novels. These get more use as Babie's perch for birdwatching, than they do from me browsing or re-reading.

I currently am cataloging my comics on both Comic Collector Live and Comicbook DB although there is a gap where neither database includes some of the books I have in my collection. Hard to believe, considering the thousands of collectors using one or the other, but I have picked up some weird things over the decades. I have actually gotten some titles added to both catalogs, but have been too lazy to scan covers and enter data for some of the others.

Hmmm, I seem to have gotten way off track from what I had wanted to talk about. Nothing out of the ordinary for any of you who have read this blog before, or seen my videos. But I digress, as some comic book writer has said on occasion. :-)

Where were we? Oh, right! The New 52.

To be honest, I don't know that even at my most fanatic point back in That Other Life, was I actually collecting more than a couple dozen titles. Not counting assorted one-shots, or mini-series, there may have been only 20+ comics that I was collecting at any one time. Right now I'm trying to get it down to maybe a dozen titles, published on a monthly basis, leaving me extra cash to be able to grab some new book or mini that catches my eye.

At the moment, I'm buying a single Marvel title, now that they have finally gotten around to finishing off THE TWELVE. Despite the announcement a couple of months ago, actually seeing issue #9 on the shelf at Nuclear Comics & Skateboards came as quite a surprise. In fact, owner Kenny had actually removed the title from every 'pull list' since he wasn't sure how many of his customers would still be interested. I actually had to go back and pull the earlier issues from the box to refresh my memory. There were so many plot lines and secondary characters that even someone used to comics continuity was having a problem keeping track.

Part of the problem with the DC relaunch, IMHO, was that they felt it necessary to replace almost every existing title with a new or revamped book. The editorial decision (or rather the marketing one) was that they not only wanted new readers, but you had to lure back those readers who might use the relaunch as an exit ramp from the DCU. You not only had to re-introduce the best known characters (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash & Aquaman) but throw in titles featuring lesser-known (to the non-fan) characters in hopes that some of them might be popular enough to interest a producer or merchandiser. Let's be honest, a company the size of Time-Warner really isn't interested in comic books per se.

This means that you not only have Superman (in two books), but Supergirl & Superboy. You get Batman (in three-four books) plus Robin, Nightwing, Batwoman, Batgirl and the new Batwing. Throw in four Green Lantern related books and hope a couple work out. It seems that Flash, Aquaman & Wonder Woman are only worthy of a single title each, but you can still toss them together into the Justice League along with former Teen Titan, Cyborg. Lesser former-Leaguers Green Arrow and Hawkman are still around in solo books, but both are there just in case Marketing finds something for them to do. You see where I'm coming from at this point, right?

Bottom line is that I just found the majority of the new books either too different from what I had expected or not different enough to make me care. Some had good writing and many had decent art, but in both cases they can only go so far when I have so many other choices and a limited budget. From what I have been reading and hearing, plus from the creative staff shuffling that has been apparent even before the first issues shipped, I'm not the only one who feels this way. DC claims to be happy with the sales figures, but when you announce that a half dozen of the books will be cancelled and replaced within six-issues, it does seem that things are not as rosey as the folks in Manhattan would have us believe.

I've gone on way too long, but it was fun actually writing for more than 140 characters.
I'll try to make this a more regular habit.

Take care!