DC Thinks Comics Are Trading Cards, Only Covers Matter

DC had great success with their “Villains Month” gimmick last year, in which they put out a limited number of 3-D lenticular covers to boost sales and make it seem like their books were in high demand.

This is comics, so if a gimmick works, people keep repeating it until it’s beaten into the ground. DC’s doing the 3-D cover thing again next September, this time as a part of “Futures End“, a look into the future of the DCU. (When you can’t tell good stories, reset the timeline — that appears to be DC’s go-to strategy these days. Speaking from experience, that’s the problem with a reboot. Once you do it, it seems like a much easier out next time.)

Because fancy covers take time, DC is now soliciting for the books. Orders are due May 29 for the over 40 comics affected. The problem is, DC doesn’t know who’s going to be writing and drawing these stories. All retailers, those who have to commit the funds to buy these books, know is a title and a tie-in. Oh, and a brief plot description, which is apparently already determined.

Apparently, DC doesn’t care about the actual story inside the covers, just the fancy gimmick. This is cynical, uncaring marketing, and I regret that so many people will take part in it. Comics are magical for the stories they tell, created by actual people, not corporations. Buying comics because of one plastic picture… well, it’s been done many times before, but it doesn’t bode well.

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12 Responses to “DC Thinks Comics Are Trading Cards, Only Covers Matter”

  1. Mikael Says:

    Yawn.

  2. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/2/2014: No More ADHD — The Beat Says:

    […] § Some classic Johanna snark on DC’s creatorless solicitations for their Five Years Later September books: […]

  3. Dwight Williams Says:

    The reboot practice does seem to have become addictive over the past three decades, doesn’t it?

  4. Glenn Simpson Says:

    Or perhaps they are hoping we’ll trust them, just this once, due to the circumstances, to provide quality stories without necessarily telling us ahead of time who will be writing or drawing them. Isn’t it also cynical to assume that not knowing who the writers are means the stories will be bad?

  5. Johanna Says:

    That’s true, I am taking a negative approach. That’s in part because I’ve been so disappointed by what the new 52 turned into. But I’d also ask: has there been great anonymous art created in this fashion? Artists take pride in their work and deserve credit for it.

    As importantly, retailers deserve to know what they’re being asked to buy blindly, since customers do purchase based on names, to a degree.

  6. Bill Williams Says:

    Under Diamond’s returnability rules, a change in creators is grounds for return of merchandise.

    Doesn’t this situation make all of the Future’s End comics ordered returnable?

    How does the New52 not seem more like an elaborate Elseworlds GN with every passing month?

  7. Johanna Says:

    No, because if no creators have been announced, how can you prove they’ve changed? (Also, I think a number of those rules were abolished when they went to the FOC system.)

  8. James Schee Says:

    I am so glad being a digital customer means I don’t have to preorder. The whole Villain Month(which is when they last did the cover gimmick right?) thing was an awful read to me when they did it last year. So DC doesn’t have a built in trust from me that this will suddenly be better

    I want to like DC, as their characters are some of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Yet other than

    Pak’s Superman title, which has a nifty Lana Lang and a Superman that actually resembles a hero.(but is about to get buried in a crossover)

    Detective Comics by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato whose prior work on Flash was the best superhero book of the 52. Have started off well here too, with a very visual focused storytelling style.

    Wonder Woman by Azarello and Cliff Chiang, which is epic in scope. Too epic at times, can almost forget WW is in the book. But still solid storytelling and incredible art.

    But that’s really it, except for occasionally liking Green Lantern The New Guardians, because its weirdly interesting seeing a growing relationship between Kyle and Carol.

    But it is hard to get too attached, a DC despite what they say doesn’t seem to have a big plan. And I fully expect some new reboot is not too far away.

  9. Need To Know… 06.05.14 | no cape no mask Says:

    […] on their site, isn’t it? In industry news, Marvel’s mid-list has something amiss, while DC may have forgotten what business they’re in, or at least, how to keep creators happy. Oh, and there were cons, too, which we won’t even […]

  10. Jim Keefe Says:

    “Comics are magical for the stories they tell, created by actual people, not corporations.” Unfortunately, under Work-for-hire contracts, legally the opposite is true.

  11. Johanna Says:

    As my physics prof used to say, “True, but irrelevant”… to the point I was making here, anyway. And we did see a period where the corps were more willing to share, with creator-participation deals and the like, as other choices became available as places for creators to take their ideas.

  12. ORBITAL NEWS DIGEST – 06/05/2014 | New Orbital Says:

    […] on their site, isn’t it? In industry news, Marvel’s mid-list has something amiss, while DC may have forgotten what business they’re in, or at least, how to keep creators happy. Oh, and there were cons, too, which we won’t even […]

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