Tag Archives: Vertigo

10 Things to Learn from the March DC Comics Solicitations

The March solicitations for DC Comics have been released. Check it out. Here are my thoughts about what we’ve been shown this month.

1. Reintroductions. Several titles for the month of March focus on the reintroduction and reinterpretation of old characters from the pre-New 52 era. Some of the seem to be All New All Different and other look to be about the same. Still, they say they’re brand new, so maybe we’re still missing something.

The H.I.V.E. has traditionally been an enemy of the Teen Titans, however it appears to be focusing on Metropolis and therefore will come to blows with Superman. The H.I.V.E. has been subject to several changes to its core concept over the many years. It was originally a group of unnamed villains brought together to fight the Teen Titans, then it became a much bigger organization, until finally being taken over by the Queen Bee and becoming her actual ‘hive’. Time will tell how the group will be portrayed here. It could be something completely new.

Zealot will be joining Stormwatch in issue #18 and she appears to be creating problems for the group’s dynamic duo of Apollo and Midnighter. Zealot is a Kherubim, an alien race that has been at war with the Daemonites for thousands of years. If the conflict between these two races is still canon I think it’s likely that DC is building up to the introduction of the Wildcats. Grifter is now without a title and now that Spartan and possibly something to do with Mr. Majestic are being introduced in February, I think once Zealot plays her part in Stormwatch she could be showing up elsewhere.

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Whatever Happened to the Comic Book Creator?

This title, that you didn’t buy, is cancelled with issue #8

Creator owned comics are dead. Literally. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe no one wants to buy anything new anymore and with that reality the industry dies a little more. New characters have always had a hard time finding an audience. Everyone wants a new #1, but no one wants to buy a comic about someone they don’t already know. On top of that, the recent trends within mainstream comics has moved towards stifling creative endeavors in favor of proven successes. All this is leading comic book creators to shy away from creating new concepts for mainstream comics, but their independent creative owned books never find the sales for success. In essence we’re being robbed of so much potential.

The sudden cancellation of a comic book NAMED Creator-Owned Heroes tells a lot about what comic book fans are looking for. A book starring characters created by the likes of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Phil Noto, Darwyn Cooke and others is a big deal, and yet people weren’t buying it. Sales were in the 5,000 range and they were asking for only a little bit more than that. Palmiotti and Gray have a loyal following from writing Jonah Hex and now All-Star Western, Steve Niles created 30 Days of Night and so many other things, Phil Noto is a popular cover artist at Marvel and DC, and Darwyn Cooke is the type of creator that you follow religiously. It was thought that all these creators’ fans would come together in order to support the book. Apparently not. Creator-owned concepts don’t always make it at Image Comics, but what about Marvel or DC, the companies that everyone wants to read and make the most money.

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Next on the New 52 Chopping Block

DC Comics’ cancellation zone seems to be somewhere under 20,000 units sold. Of the titles not already cancelled, these are the titles that fell under that mark in the month of October: Ravagers, DC Universe Presents, Dial H, Batwing, Firestorm, Savage Hawkman, Legion of Super-Heroes, Demon Knights, Deathstroke. That doesn’t mean that these are the titles that will be cancelled next. Some of them most certainly will be cancelled, but others will probably be given extra time to regain lost readers with a change in focus or creative team. These are usually the signs of a book before cancellation. Sometimes you can even tell a book is going south before the sales figures can even be posted.

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1. Phantom Stranger doesn’t sound like a title that will make it very long. It was kind of a surprise that it even existed in the first place. I figured the Stranger would be walking around somewhere, but definitely not in his own title. It’s kind of hard to see this book even making it through its first year. While the title has seen better sales than probably expected (people love Phantom Stranger), the book has already seen a 35 spot drop in its second month of publication. Many other New 52 books have been cut short after issue #8 and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of them.

The problem with the book stems from the Phantom Stranger character himself. He’s been traditionally depicted as a mystery. Where did he come from? Why is he doomed to wander the Earth alone forever? Was he a fallen angel? Was he the biblical Judas? No one ever knew and it was really fun to be able to guess about it. But in the New 52? No. He’s definitely Judas Iscariot, he was punished to wander the world looking like he’s a crime noir coachman and he wears a necklace made out of the thirty pieces of silver he sold Jesus for. Now he has a secret identity and he has a mission and a motive. This is not the Phantom Stranger. Elimination of all the mysteries surrounding him does not make him a more compelling character, it makes him feel hollow. Especially when he’s a religious figure. I can only imagine what actual religious people think about this.

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What is Happening to Vertigo?

Karen Berger has left Vertigo. If you don’t know who that is you should probably learn. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Vertigo since its inception in 1993. She’s not just leaving the company, she’s apparently leaving the industry in general, desiring a “professional change.” Karen Berger has been a legend in her field for the past twenty years, helping to usher in titles like SandmanHellblazerV for VendettaFablesPreacherThe Invisibles100 BulletsY: The Last ManAmerican Vampire and many many others. It’s hard to think how the comic book imprint will function without her guiding it.

Perhaps that’s just what DC Comics wants, though. Recently, Vertigo has been on shaky grounds. A few years back DC changed their contract language, essentially taking away royalties if a creator’s comic doesn’t sell well. That sounds fair, but the company now holds their standards as high as 50,000 units sold, which Vertigo books never reach. Meaning all creators, even if their title is successful will miss out on royalties that they once were entitled to. This seems to be stemming from an idea that Vertigo isn’t really the moneymaker it used to be and DC has been left footing the bill for underperforming titles more than they prefer.

While Vertigo still pays their writers the most in the creator-owned community, their previous contract changes have caused popular Vertigo creators to move their work to other comic book publishers. DC now owns 50% of the media property rights for all their Vertigo titles and, understandably, people don’t like that.

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10 Things to be Learned from DC Comics’ February Solicitations

DC Comics released their solicitations for February 2013 and now we know what the DC Universe will be like in three months time. It’s given us clues as to what will be happening soon as well as down the road. There’s plenty of guesswork, but it’s all we can really do.

1. Justice League Expansion? The solicits for Justice League #17 mentions the possibility of the Justice League finally expanding its roster. While it might not be right away, it still could be happening in the very near future. Maybe we’ll finally see the likes of Firestorm, Atom, Deadman, Element Girl, Mera and Lady Luck(?) We were told would join the Justice League eventually.

The odd part about this is the inclusion of Hawkman and Green Arrow in this picture. The two will soon be appearing in Justice League of America and this picture was released before that title was even in a twinkle in Geoff Johns eye. It’s pretty obvious that the title was not something they had on their schedule at that point, since Justice League International was supposed to be the ‘other’ Justice League team. Then again, Deadman is there and he’s been in Justice League Dark since the beginning, so maybe I should be giving them more credit.

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New Titles: Uncanny X-Men, Fearless Defenders, Alpha; Hellblazer Ends, Constantine Begins

Just when you thought there was a severe lack of X-Men books, Marvel has satiated your appetite for X-books. Joining Marvel Now!’s line-wide relaunch is the third volume of Uncanny X-Men with Brian Michael Bendis as writer and Chris Bachalo on art.

Bachalo is leaving Wolverine and the X-Men in order to launch the new book. He states that he’s redesigned everyone and the series will take on a darker tone than previously seen, especially compared to his work on Wolverine and the X-Men. With the appearance of Cyclops and Magneto it looks like this title will be following where the previous Uncanny X-Men left off. Following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops has been locked up and Magneto is on the run, so look for those story lines to converge in this new title. Perhaps the book will show the redemption of Cyclops after his steady fall from grace over the last few years hit rock bottom when he accidentally killed Charles Xavier. Thanks again PhoenixUncanny X-Men premiers in February with two issues and joins a slew of X-titles, like X-Men: Legacy, Wolverine and the X-Men, All-New X-Men, X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny X-Force, Cable and X-Force, Uncanny Avengers, Gambit, and finally, Savage Wolverine.

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V for Thought

Here we are again. The 5th of November. I hate this day. Whether it’s because of V for Vendetta, or the real life Guy Fawkes, people seem to remind me every November 5th that it is the 5th of November. Sure, the story of the Gunpowder Plot is fascinating. One man tried to overthrow an oppressive government in the name of freedom.

Except that’s not what it was about. It was all about religion. England hates Catholics, but they love Protestants. The Catholics gathered together to not upheave the government, but to blow it the fuck up. When Guy Fawkes gathered the gunpowder under the House of Lords, he was not planning to blow up just the building, but the entirety of Parliament during the State Opening. With everyone dead the mostly Protestant England would have no choice but to accept Catholicism, right?

Guy Fawkes Night originated as a commemoration that the plot had failed and the King had not died. For a long time the celebration had religious overtones with a very anti-Catholic theme. Eventually that all died away and was replaced with a holiday much more like Halloween, but with the same roots as Columbus Day. Celebrations from savagery.

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