Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: Wednesday Comics

So DC’s Wednesday Comics had its debut recently. It’s new and different, so it’s very interesting to see what people have to say about it.

Glenn Walker thought it was amazing:

Wednesday Comics #1

Wednesday Comics #1

Kyle Baker’s Hawkman is stunning. Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred have recreated the Silver Age Metamorpho perfectly. The Flash is the peak of sequential storytelling. Great to see a jet age Green Lantern, it’s the era he was created for. Father and son Kuberts do Sgt. Rock, just as husband and wife Palmiotti and Conner give us a delightful take on Supergirl, Krypto and Streaky. Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook pay homage to Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant with Jack Kirby’s Kamandi just as Paul Pope does the same for Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon with his Adam Strange. It’s just beautiful.

And for those of you for whom that last paragraph means nothing, don’t worry. The best thing about Wednesday Comics is that it’s non-continuity. In English, that means it’s mainstream – it’s accessible to any readers new or old. If you’ve been reading these things forever or if you wouldn’t know a Teen Titan from Tony the Tiger, you’ll still enjoy this.

Kelvingreen didn’t think it worked:

First off, despite the “normal” appearance, this is still being sold through Diamond’s distribution monopoly, and, as far as I can tell, is only being sold through comic shops. As a result, the intended audience becomes a little murky. The format seems to be aimed at people who once read comics, but haven’t in a while, or who don’t read superhero comics, but do read the humour strips in the Sunday papers, but then, once again, it’s only being sold through the specialist shops those people will never, ever, visit. All the new formats in the world will do no good if you’re stuck with such an exclusive distribution method, and it may even be counter-productive to try anything new because the audience served by that method may by now be trained so that they don’t want anything different.

Distribution is one thing, crucial to the success of the project, but the contents are just as important, and are just as bungled. The storytelling is abysmal, okay on its own grounds but completely wrong for a one-page-a-week format, with acres of wasted space, a distinct lack of actual things happening, and a disturbing tendency toward limp “cliffhangers”. DC have assembled a group of writers and artists here who often excel in the usual twenty-two pages of a monthly US comic, but seem to have no idea whatsoever how to pace a single page of storytelling; they seem to be writing with an eye to a full story, but have neglected how the single page reads. A lot of these creators are really good, and should be able to figure out how to tell a one-page story, but none of them have managed it (although Paul Pope comes very close); Neil Gaiman and Dave Gibbons should have an idea, at least, from their experience in the UK weeklies, but even they stumble, as if they, like the audience, have been conditioned to not understand how single page storytelling works. There are about fourteen billion webcomic creators out there, all of whom could do a better job than this A-list collection of writers and artists has managed.

While The Crosspatch explains why he passed on the issue:

1. It’s only 16 pages.

2. It’s $3.99/week.

3. It’s odd-sized.

4. It’s $3.99/week.

5. It’s a collection of 16 stories, and you know some of them are going to be crap.

6. It’s $3.99/week.

Yeah, no thanks, DC. Tell you what, collect the stories that are actually worth a damn into a TPB or (this might sound crazy) a regular freaking comic book, and I might pick some of them up. In the current format — no way in hell.

so what do you think?

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Comments

42 Comments

I think that as cool and interesting of an experiment as it is, there is absolutely no way I can justify paying four bucks an issue for something that probably won’t survive my comics bin for the next month.

Sorry, but no. I’ll definitely get the trade though.

Personally, I love the format. I agree that the price point is high and the distribution method is lousy, but don’t agree that the distribution method should take away from reviewing the actual product. I do agree that Wednesday Comics needs to be in as many retail outlets as possible, not just comic shops. Will love to see “Absolute Wednesday Comics.” Too bad it just can’t be serialized like the Supes installment in USA Today.

The Ugly American

July 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm

It’s $4 a week.

“so what do you think?”

That the Crosspatch is an uber d-bag, Whining about the format kinda MISSES THE DAMNED POINT. He sounds like a child stomping on the ground and throwing a tantrum “I want my 32 page pamphlet with 10 pages of ads!” *stomp* “Don’t you try to sell me anything but that, Mr. Man!” *stomp* Another blogger I wish I’d never heard of.

That Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez can turn any dullard’s script into gold with his artwork. I mean, he’s paired with that lunkhead DiDio on a Metal Men story and it’s one of the most beautiful things in the book. I really hope Garcia-Lopez gets one more crack at the big time, a nice Superman graphic novel or something, written by someone worthy of his prodigious talent.

Really, I love Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez’s artwork.

That setting aside the physical format, I think maybe this would’ve been better served with 2 page installments, maybe 2 sets of 6 issues, each story getting 2 pages per issue, each page left me wishing there was more.

The Supergirl story page was fun.

Personally I love this project! I have been hearing the expected complaints about the price and then there’s the complaints about the format, the newspaper it’s printed on, that you can’t get a mint copy ever because it’s folded, there’s no variant cover version, etc, etc, etc. I am not going to say anyone’s problems with the book are unwarranted as we each have our own view of what we want out of a project for our dollar and our tastes, but I feel it’s a worthwhile project that’s well worth the price based on the assemblage of talent, effort, and presentation. Please consider that the pages are double the standard page size and the only ad to be found is on the back! I feel I got as much if not more in some ways out of this issue than I do the standard monthly. The first issue has some stumbling points in how the creators approached single-page storytelling or in just bogging down their story’s start with introductory material, but overall I was left anxiously wanting more. I think it’s a unique way to look at comics and storytelling with the big lush full page visuals and the hyper-serialised approach of just one page per character per week, and I think it’s a welcome breath of fresh air on the racks. It’s fun to look at and fun to read! In fact, the “fun” part of it is something that I choose to fondly embrace because in my opinion there’s not enough of it when it comes to comics anymore.

Why do we get blogs that no one’s heard about?

I can see people not wanting to read Wednesday Comics. I can see people not liking Wednesday Comics. But arguing that it’s somehow a worse value than other mainstream comics is just dumb.

Here in Australia, that $3.99 gets translated to $8.00!!
That said- I love the format and idea as a curiosity and will get all twelve.
The cover price is unfortunate and will certainly be acceptable only to completest collectors.

I still haven’t been able to collect and articulate my thoughts, but I have decided this:

Most modern comic book fans don’t deserve the pleasure that is Wednesday Comics.

I am the most vehement $4 comic hater on the planet, and I bought this, and will buy every upcoming issue and then the giant collected edition that might come out.

16 pages? Motherfucker, I spent $4 on the first issue of Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes, and it was 16 pages with ads.

Not even to mention that I got way more out of each page of the first installment than I do most regular sized $3 22-page books.

Also, some interesting math copied over from J. Caleb Mozzocco of Everyday Is Like Wednesday/Blog@

“Okay, so, because I am insane, I decided to time myself while reading each of my comic books today, and here’s how it broke down:

Wednesday Comics…20 minutes
Green Lantern…11 minutes
Booster Gold…14 minutes
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes…7 minutes

Obviously, I spent more time reading it than any of the books with bigger page counts.

Additionally, I broke out the calculator to determine the average number of panels per page in each of these books:

Wednesday Comics…12.6
Green Lantern…5.3
Booster Gold…4.5
Marvel Adventures Super Heroes…5″

So fuck everybody.

I didn’t get it because of the format. Not because a good story can’t be told in that format, but because where will I put it so it’s easily accessible for rereads? Because, what would happen if I got all 12 individual copies is they’d end up on the bottom of a clutter on my desk, they’d get dirty and torn and forgotten about until my tri-yearly cleaning of my desk and then they’d be in too poor of condition to justify the price tag. I wish I waited for the hardcover collection of Mouse Guard because of its format, like I’m doing with Wednesday Comics. That way they’d sit on my bookshelf and I could easily pick it off of my shelf any time I wanted to read it.

saying it’s only 16 pages is disingenious to be honest, technically speaking it is only 16 pages but the pages are a lot larger making it in surface area at least on par with a 32 page book.

I was looking forward to this and enjoyed it, in comparison to say Blackest Night or everyones fascination with Batman and Robin, it reminds me that everyone has different opinions.

“16 pages? Motherfucker, I spent $4 on the first issue of Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes, and it was 16 pages with ads.”

So the fact that you made a poor purchasing decision is somehow supposed to ADD to your credibility?

Chill out, dude.

All this just goes to (painfully) show how conservative and hung up on format so much of the comic buying consumer base remains. But really – their loss. It’s just such a beautiful ARTIFACT. But beauty is something that passes by a lot of people.

“So the fact that you made a poor purchasing decision is somehow supposed to ADD to your credibility?

Chill out, dude.”

I’m just saying, there are much worse ways to spend $4 out there.

No, I get that, and I agree. It’s just that an extra four bucks a week adds up, plus I’ve actually gotta start CUTTING stuff from my pull list since I’m going to be going to college soon.

Oh yeah, I’m about to have to go back to school as well so I can see that.

I look at it this way: $4 a week isn’t that much when it comes down to it. Assuming I buy books every week, there’s probably at least one that sucked and that I don’t need at all. I’m dropping Deadpool after this next one because, well… Who needs Deadpool anyway? Easy. I dropped Son of Hulk because I don’t care about this other new Hulk baby. I dropped my girlfriend because she’s a bitch.

The point being that $4 for something huge and awesome and exciting and full of Joe Kubert drawing nazis and Paul Pope being Paul Pope is a steal and I’m happy to support this over and over again.

Hey jo u got it wrong:
“Please consider that the pages are double the standard page size and the only ad to be found is on the back!”

each page is actully FOUR times the size of a regular comic, so for those winning, it’s the same as 4×15 regular pages wich means 60 pages, ….

Chaka- Sorry, buddy, though you may be getting ’60 pages’ of POSSIBLE comic artwork, you’re not getting four pages of STORY for each comic in there. It’s just not being utilized like that by most of the contributors. Ben Caldwell, being a notable exception that comes to mind. I love the work of the contributors, but for $3.99 it’s a bit over priced for newsprint. Also, since they are pretty much only trying to market this to the direct market they went ahead and gave the damn thing one to many folds, ruining the overall product, so they could fit the product on a comic shelf.

I’ll be waiting for the eventual collection for the rest of this project, which I really do want to see when all is said and done.

Though I haven’t yet made the trip to my store this week, I am planning to buy the whole run of Wednesday Comics, as there is some talent in there that I really couldn’t ignore. I do wonder, though, if DC are shooting themselves in the foot with the distribution method, though, as some have pointed out. While WC may be worth $4/issue, and while people may gladly spend that for the interesting format and Neil Gaiman/Mike Allred/Kyle Baker/Paul Pope stories, it’s still $4/week and many of us will have to look hard at what we’re *not* going to buy in order to enjoy this series. If, for example, the extra $16/month edges one over the tipping point to where he is dropping a book like Booster Gold or Green Arrow–or any lower-tier ongoing series–that’s not a good thing for DC. Because, in twelve weeks, WC is over, and that reader is probably not coming back to that series he or she dropped.

DC could have better met their goals with this series by working out a deal with USA Today (or another national paper) to give Wednesday Comics away with every newspaper. I don’t know if this was ever on the table–it would cost them quite a bit and they wouldn’t make their share of $3.99/issue, but it would reach a larger audience and avoid cannibalizing their reader base.

Yeah, the Distribution method was HUGE Mistake. They have to get into convenience stores, College Kiosks and Drug Stores (And people with Newspaper Subscriptions).

However, I would have altered the format so that you have 5 stories going on with 3 pages each per issue and once they’re done move on to the next 5 new stories.

One page is too little story per issue. Not everyone has A.D.D.

This isn’t even like the Aeon Flux Cartoon shorts. At least Aeon Flux’s creators worked well with the short format. With Wednesday Comics, it’s like getting the first page of a single comic.

Having said that, I really do like Wednesday Comics. I really want more experimentation like this. Therefore, I’m buying every issue to support it.

“But arguing that it’s somehow a worse value than other mainstream comics is just dumb.”

Amen.

Only 16 pages?
Those 16 pages of art and story are worth the price compared to the regular issues from DC (and Marvel) that are weighed down by over-convoluted continuity and over-rendered art with near black computer colored pages.

I loved it; I loved the art and the colors and I think it’s so great– and if it were monthly, I’d buy every issue.

Sorry, but I live in a third world country and that price is just ridiculous for a weekly.

I worked at a deli once and the customers who would come in and complain about the thickness of the slices & how much it was per pound were the ones I wanted to set on fire.

and that was food… you know, sustenance?

I think the format is fantastic. The second blog posted sounds so ridiculously idiotic that I can barely wrap my head around it; the format is the whole point. So the comic doesn’t fit into his polybag? It might not hold up to years of trying to keep it in mint condition? So what! It’s obvious that, for the first time in a long time, one of these companies is making something that is first and foremost meant TO BE READ and enjoyed by the GENERAL PUBLIC, not a bunch of inbred (in terms of material consumption, not genetics) 40 year-olds who never had a girlfriend in high school. So long as the big two continue to pander to this ever-dwindling but overly vocal minority, they’ll continue to put out suckier and suckier material. This is a HUGE step in the right direction in terms of making superhero comics publicly accessible again. I hope they listen to sales (the store closest to me sold out in half a day; I hope other stores did as well) and not to their “constituency.” Seriously, good for DC.

One of the best thing about this newsprint format is that there’s little hope of keeping it nice. Hopefully, that’ll encourage people to read it ’til it’s a pile of rag paper. It’s got spectacle; kids will want to read this one in a way that they’d likely have no desire to read whatever # whatever. It’s big. It’s pretty. It’s flashy.

There are some downsides; the Teen Titans thing is unreadable and the coloring on the Superman story makes everything (skin, fabric, robots) look like it’s made of melting wax, and considering newsprint costs the price is WAY too high ($1.99 and I’d pick up every issue), but yeah, the four bucks thing is a bit much. But there’s some beautiful art in there, and if I were a kid this would make me a comics reader, no question.

I shouldn’t have said the girlfriend thing; that was smarmy and unnecessary. Sorry.

Other Chris: Except that it’s not because they’re still selling it only at comic shops and not anywhere where a normie wouldn’t have to go out of their way to buy it.

It’s a wonderful idea in theory and the stories are probably going to be excellent once read altogether… which is why I’m going to be getting it in trade.

I can’t wait for the trade to come out, and see all the trade-waiters complain that they’ve ruined it by shrinking the pages down to fit a more reasonably sized book. Or that they’ve ruined it by rejiggering the pages so you get one full story after the other, rather than it breaking the stories up like in the original weekly.

My tuppence worth – it’s a bold move by DC, and one I’d love to support. I don’t think I’ll be able to get to a comics shop often enough, which makes me sad.

Oh, and a final note – people not buying it because they don’t think they’ll be able to keep it clean and neat are mental. Not just because if you really want to look after it, you’ll surely find a way. But also because last time I checked, comics were invented as disposable entertainment not intended to be kept clean and neat.

Comics were also invented to be a cheap form of entertainment, Nick, so don’t be a dick just because people aren’t reading the story the way YOU want people to read it.

Christ, what kind of reaction is that? “I’ll wait for the trade”. “FUCK YOU, COMICS HATER!!!!”

Get a grip.

Bucky Sinister

July 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I’m not sure I understand the argument that this will be hard to store. The series is being sold folded down to regular comics size, and at that size it fits just fine into a comics box. You might need a Golden Age bag for it, I admit. But just storing it should be a snap.

I liked it a lot, by the way. The tone and general quality varies from page to page, but the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I thought it was a great pop-art object, and as that it’s worth my four bucks a week.

Such a polarising event. Awesome. This is exactly what DC needs. They have been tepid, at best, in my eyes, for years. This is good for them.

I picked it up and it blew my mind. It is a comic ‘experience’ that is for sure. It’s not made to be a collector’s item, and it’s not made to be kept mint and flat in a carbonite shell. It’s made to read, and reread, and remember how nice it is to sit back with something that entertains you and feel completely lost in that moment.

Reading this in trade will be missing the point entirely. This was made this way expressly for the purpose of being read this way. The size, the one week installments. That’s part of the journey.

I would respect DC hugely if they didn’t put this into a trade collection, and I know people will hate me saying that, but too many comics collectors (not readers, ‘collectors’) have that whole entitlement issue that they deserve to get it in trade. I think it would be a huge statement to keep this pure and not bow down to the masses. It would also be a huge fuck you, which would make me smile.

Then they can trade it in five years.

Not because a good story can’t be told in that format, but because where will I put it so it’s easily accessible for rereads?
—————

It can’t be that hard to find some place…

What, how are people having a hard time storing this, it fits right into my Long Box!

If you guys are complaining about the fact that it doesn’t fit in a mylar bag, buy a couple of Golden Age bags.

“Comics were also invented to be a cheap form of entertainment”

You know, that’s one of the most important aspect of the problem with the comic industry (specifically the two largest companies, Marvel & DC) over the past 20 or so years. Comics WERE and SHOULD still be a cheap form of entertainment.

They were a reasonably priced periodical that parents could buy (several copies) for their children to read and kids and teens could buy several ongoing series to enjoy.

So what happened? Costs per issues went up and up and up, speculators and collecting obsessed fans cared more about collect-ability and enhancements then the actual reading product and a generation, seeing a better value with video games and other forms of entertainment then a over-priced monthly comic (which would only give you a CHAPTER of a story) avoided comics in droves.

IF (and I say if because I have no idea what DC has in mind with the goals for the Wednesday Comics format),
but IF a weekly over-sized format of chapters of entertaining characters and stories are supposed to entice new readers (or maybe bring in a new generation of readers) into comic shops to try their ongoing monthly titles, they’ll have to:

• Reduce the idiotic $2.99/$3.99 cover price
• MAKE THE STORIES ACCESSIBLE!!!! Good lord, stop the “incestuous” continuities and over-blown company wide cross overs.

If those matters aren’t cleared up, a first time reader of a Wednesday Comic format will walk into his local comic shop, pick up one of the over-priced issues, page through it not comprehend what’s going on (or worse, buy the issue, take it home and be completely lost) and not return.

“I would respect DC hugely if they didn’t put this into a trade collection, and I know people will hate me saying that, but too many comics collectors (not readers, ‘collectors’) have that whole entitlement issue that they deserve to get it in trade. I think it would be a huge statement to keep this pure and not bow down to the masses. It would also be a huge fuck you, which would make me smile.”

Hey. Dude. I’m not a “collector”. I’m a “reader”. I enjoy READING things in trade. I don’t COLLECT issues so I can READ them in trade later. Okay?

Wednesday Comics readers: Being condescending and snobby fruitcakes is not going to get more people to read your precious fucking comic. If anything, it will drive people away. Alright?

KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF.

People are talking about distribution as if DC can just walk up to every newsstand in the country and make them carry this thing that’s only going to be available for 16 weeks. It’s not that simple. It’s hard enough to get ANY regular comics distributed through convenient stores, newsstands, and the likes these days, never mind a limited experimental format comic which quite frankly has names attached to it that we all know but the general reader of things at newsstands would have no idea about nor would tilt their decision to buy something like this on. Neil Gaiman is about the only name that pops outside of the insular world of comic fans, and even he is probably considered by most a Genre author who’s appeal to a mass audience would still probably be considered limited at best. By having the Superman story reprinted in USA Today and contact numbers clearly stated at the bottom of each strip as to where you can call to pick up an issue of this comic at a local comic shop, honestly I don’t think there’s much more they could have done. USA Today represent like 2 million people in print, and something like 3.5 million people online. If this doesn’t spark interest, then simply having them in newsstands and convenient stores (something for which the material has to then be returnable by the way and just isn’t practical or realistic) isn’t likely to spike sales either.

Simply because it’s sitting there available, doesn’t instantly mean that people will buy it. This is why all these places stopped carrying comic books in the first place. People stopped buying them, and so these places replaced comics with stuff people would buy.

I disagree with the idea that it should be available in locations other than comic book stores. Maybe it should have been inserted into some newspapers or whatever the hell WB owns, but non comic lovers aren’t going to buy it. Some might molest it in the stores, but that’s about it. Especially when they aren’t going to recognize a lot of the characters – and they could care less about the creators. In fact, I don’t think that it’s designed for the majority of comic fans. I mean how many are bitching about the format and storage issues. Give me a break. Read it. I also agree with Adam that Ghost Boxes was a huge rip off – and sorry that I didn’t read it in the store like that stupid mouth breathing guy at TBS Comics in Pensacola – you know who you are – quit blocking the stands loser.

The Batman page was my personal favorite. He and Sgt. Rock have been my favorites since I was a kid and I loved both of those. Paul Pope’s story was great. The Flash and Green Lantern stories were nice and captured some of that Silver Age magic. The only ones that I didn’t care for were the Titans and Wonder Woman stories.

PERFECT BATHROOM READING MATERIAL

Chris Jones: right now, the only person being a dick here is you. If you disagree with me, fair enough. Counter my points. But please, don’t fall back on ad hominem attacks. That’s just rude. Similarly, don’t put words in my mouth. I never said “F… you, comics hater”. What I said was “DC have taken a great deal of care over the design of this format, and this design makes it part of its appeal. I very much doubt that any eventual trade will match this, and thus people who wait may very well end up disappointed.” Not the same thing _at all_. Hell, in all cases *but* Wednesday Comics, I’m a trade waiter myself.

Going back to the storage issue for the moment, I thought of several during the day, many of which have been suggested above already. One which hasn’t, would be that if you want to keep it full-size (to minimise folds), get a folder like art students use (essentially two large pieces of card) and keep it in that. There are ways!

How can I counter “people not buying it because they can’t keep it clean and neat are mental”? That isn’t a point, that’s just dissing people who don’t buy the same things you do. Your whole post was just rudely dissing people who aren’t buying Wednesday Comics. If you made points during it it was obscured by the passive aggressive/full on aggressive contempt for people who don’t buy the same comics you do.

Whatever, I’m done with this, I’m not getting into a comment fight with people. We all know where that road leaves.

*leads

Wow… I state why *I* chose not to purchase something, and therefore I’m an “uber d-bag” [sic].

If you bought it and loved it, good for you. I just don’t like gimmicks, especially expensive ones.

Get over yourselves. People disagree sometimes. Welcome to the real world.

I bought the first one out of curiosity, but really–I’m just not interested that much in superhero comics anymore these days. They got me revved up in the 60s when I was a kid, and since then, I”ve read and continue to read superhero comics, but…but…much less than before.

This new format is intriguing but hardly an inspiring pricepoint–and it doesn’t do a THING to improve interest in the medium becauseit’s being sold to the masses who already buy this stuff, anyway.

I remember Wham-O had a Colossal Comic book come out in about 1966 for 99 frickin cents. Pages and pages of great art, great story…now that was an unusual format…which went nowhere, but it definitely had a cool factor. This…’wednesday comics’…while moderately interesting…is only that.

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