December Previews, Snarky Comments and Superhero Comics

Archie Archive cover

I am very disappointed to see that, with the improvements in creator credits Archie Comics has been making, that there is no name associated with Dark Horse’s Archie Archives Volume 1 ($49.99, DEC10 0085, due out April 13) reprint collection, either on the cover or in the solicit material. Shouldn’t the name Bob Montana, creator of the characters, appear somewhere, even if other people worked on the strip as well? The newspaper strip collection IDW put out does have his name listed as author.

DC’s big project this month is a tie-in to the DC Universe Online MMO video game. They’re going to put out a 26-issue comic series called DC Universe Online Legends, with a new issue every other week, all through 2011. There are so many problems with this idea, I don’t know where to start.

First, the online game has been delayed a bunch of times. It’s been talked about since summer of 2008, when the first trailer came out. Now, it’s promised for early 2011 sometime, with no committed date. Next, the game is only available for PCs or the PS3, which leaves out a bunch of interested players. Then there’s the content — a comic based on a fighting game just sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? I bet I know what *that* story will be about! Just look back at the immense legacy of excellent comics based on toys or games for another indicator of likely quality. Plus, for four months, DC will be running three biweekly series. That’s a lot of commitment to ask for readers interested in their universe. Last, there’s the implications. Is this the first signal of how the new, multi-platform, franchise-based DC Comics is going to operate, putting out books to “support” its parent company’s priorities?

Weird Worlds #2 cover

I’ve been having to overlook skimpy costumes and scantily clad women while reading Previews for decades now, but I was still shocked when I turned the page and saw the cover of Weird Worlds #2. There’s a splay-legged woman wearing the barest straps aiming her crotch at the viewer. Tacky and tasteless.

Flipping through the superhero Previews pages, even the books I enjoy (like Batgirl), I don’t want to commit to or preorder, because I fear that every month is going to be the one where they change the creative team and tie it more closely into continuity, which are just the things I don’t want. There’s no space any more for odd little titles that have their own distinct audience. It’s a creeping sameness throughout the superhero lines, the idea that if you buy one you need to buy them all.

On the other hand, Cliff Chiang is drawing Zatanna #10 (DEC10 0241, $2.99), so I’ll buy that. There, one DC comic I’m looking forward to this month. Or maybe I’m just regressing — there are three “kids comics” by DC I’m interested in, which is a much better track record than their regular line:

  • Batman and Wonder Woman are getting married in The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 (DEC10 0271, $2.99). That’s one of those immediately interesting ideas, and I’m curious to see how they handle it.
  • The Shazam family appears in Tiny Titans #37 (DEC10 0274, $2.99), complete with Tawky Tawny and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny.
  • I’m curious to see if Young Justice #1 (DEC10 0270, $2.99) handles the gender balance better than the cartoon did. And it’s written by Art Baltazar and Franco, who do the Tiny Titans so well, although this is a different, more straight-forward superhero, style book.

The start of the new Spirit series is collected in a book titled Angel Smerti (DEC10 0252, $17.99, out March 16). I’m not sure how smart a title most people can’t spell or pronounce is.

I enjoy Marvel’s teen team books because they aren’t ramped up so high, with everything being a life-shattering decision — and when they are, well, that’s what being a teenager can be like. i’m looking for lighter entertainment, in other words. So what is the latest promo for “the members of the Avengers Academy and the Young Allies”? Something called Arcade: Death Game set in Murderworld. Marvel just doesn’t get it! Or they don’t want readers like me, which is more likely. I’m not a teen boy, I don’t want to spend all my disposable income on collecting whatever they tell me is hot, I won’t buy a comic just because it’s got a movie coming out, and I’m ready to drop a book as soon as I don’t enjoy it. I’m a fickle customer, from their perspective, and not worth bothering with.

7 Responses to “December Previews, Snarky Comments and Superhero Comics”

  1. Grant Says:

    re: “I don’t want to commit to or preorder, because I fear that every month is going to be the one where they change the creative team…”

    You are so right. That lack of consistancy kills the enjoyment for me faster than anything and it’s the main reason that A. I haven’t had a subscription at my LCBS since 2002 and B. I’m not even a little bit faithful to a title anymore. If they’re not, why should I?

    I’m just old enough to remember the days when an artist/writer team stayed on a title for years at a time with only the occasional 1 or 2 fill in issue (god, the bronze age was awesome). It’s also the reason that I stopped reading comics all together for about 5 or 6 years during the mid 90s. Well, that and the Spiderman Clone/Death of Superman nonsense.

    Isn’t “Arcade” basically the same type of character as Teen Titans villain “Mad Mod”?

    Speaking of Marvels “teen team” titles, I know several women that think “Young Avengers: Childrens Crusade” is great stuff. It is about the search for Scarlet Witch so there is some marvel continuity, but aparently it’s disconnected enough to come off as more about the kids searching for a character than a major continuity thread and feels fairly “stand alone”. I haven’t read it, just what I’ve heard. I found this kind of funny review for it at comicvine:

    I’m still waiting for a Marvel Masterworks edition on the original New Mutants series which is still my favorite Marvel teen title.

    I haven’t read the Brave and the Bold comic. Does it have the same kind of humor and that same great love of silver age lore as the show? If so, I might check that out. I haven’t cared much for other “toon based” comics.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I haven’t read the Brave & Bold comic yet either. I hear that it’s not quite as funny as the cartoon, that it’s played a bit more straight-forward, but I need to check that out.

  3. hapax Says:

    “Just look back at the immense legacy of excellent comics based on toys or games for another indicator of likely quality”


    I’m the only person on the planet who LOVED Rom: SpaceKnight, aren’t I?

  4. David Oakes Says:

    I liked ROM.

    I even liked Visionaries.

    And I know at least one other person who LOVED Atari Force.

    When toy based properties are good, well, the toys were good, so we should have expected no less. But when they are bad, they unneccessarily stunk up our comics universe, so they must be eradicated with extreme prejudice.

    Kind of the same with any crossover property, really.

  5. ShadZ Says:

    I don’t get your objection to the upcoming Avengers Academy/Young Allies storyline. The character of Arcade has been around for 30-some years now, and I don’t think we have ever seen him successfully kill anyone in one of his Murderworlds. The story sounds like a light romp to me…

  6. Johanna Says:

    I didn’t know that. I was just reacting to promoting the words “Death” and “Murder”, which is not what I want in my superhero books.

  7. March 2011 Previews: Marvel Comics Due in May » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] to be canceling miniseries that come in with low orders and then trying again with a one-shot. Arcade: Death Game was announced in December, only to return as Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1 (MAR11 0644, $7.99). I […]




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