Michael Alan Nelson
If you’ve been keeping up with the events in the DC Universe, then you know things are looking particularly grim for the good guys.
At the conclusion of “Trinity War,” the Justice Leagues faced an invasion from the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 — “The birthplace of all evil,” as one character called it — evil counterparts of the Justice League. In the first issue of Forever Evil, these villains claimed to have killed all of the Justice Leaguers, they freed all the supervillains from all the super-prisons and organized them into an army called The Secret Society, they did some awful things to Nightwing and then even moved the moon to permanently block out the sun.
To mark the occasion of evil temporarily winning (again), DC declared September Villains Month, and is interrupting the ongoing adventures of its heroes with special “.1″ issues starring various villains. Each of these was to bear a fancy plastic 3D cover that jacked the price up a buck and ultimately created shortages, an artificial collectors/speculators market and irritated a whole bunch of retailers, many of whom were already pretty irritated by having to figure out how to order something like, say, Justice League #23.3: Dial E, which fused one of the publisher’s best selling comics with one of its worst.
We — and by that I mean you and I, for the course of this post — aren’t going to concern ourselves with that aspect of the books, however. Instead, let’s look under those covers, whether they’re the fancy plastic 3D ones or the regular, cheaper “standard edition” ones and concern ourselves with the quality of the comics concealed behind the covers.
Offering “incentive” covers to retailers for ordering a certain quantity of a comic isn’t new, but BOOM! Studios is putting a bit of a twist on it for their new ongoing series Outcast — a limited run cover by Joe Jusko that BOOM! founder and CEO Ross Richie estimates will have a print run of around 40 copies. The book already comes “slabbed,” so to speak, as a CGC-graded 9.8 edition. Retailers have to order 200 copies of the book to get one.
“Measuring this against the promotions we did for the Stan books with incentive covers, we estimate that at most there will be 40 copies of this book on the market,” Richie said. That’s a very low print run from a company of BOOM!’s size, and, as Richie points out, “It would certainly be the lowest print run item and hardest to find comic for Joe Jusko in a 30 year career that he’s had.”
Now I’m not one who buys comics in the hopes that they’ll be worth something or to seal them in plastic, but I could see that if you were a hardcore Jusko fan this might be something you’d be interested in. It’s also worth noting that the regular comic itself costs a buck, meaning a retailer would have to spend $200 retail (i.e. before their discount with Diamond) to get a copy.
The first issue arrives in December from writer Michael Alan Nelson and artist Matteo Scalera, with regular covers by Liam Sharp, Cary Nord, Alé Garza and Trevor Hairsine. It’s a fantasy book about a warrior king who is killed in battle and resurrected as one of the walking dead — “an outcast with only one purpose: to restore his lost soul!”
We’ve known for a few weeks now that some writers were attached to titles in DC Comics’ upcoming relaunch, only to find themselves shuffled off even as the official announcement was made. While some creators have spoken openly about the hurried, and somewhat-confused, pitch and rejection process, the names of other writers, and the corresponding titles, have been a mystery.
But with the launch last night of the publisher’s new landing page for “DC Comics: The New 52,” ComicsAlliance discovered that some of the original creators were, at least briefly, listed among the issue descriptions, providing evidence of the original plans. There’s confirmation of Brian Wood, instead of Michael Green and Mike Johnson, on Supergirl, Michael Alan Nelson, rather than Ron Marz, on Voodoo, and Simon Spurrier and an undetermined artist, rather than Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang, on DC Universe Presents.
C.O. Austen, whom ComicsAlliance theorizes might be much-criticized Uncanny X-Men writer Chuck Austen, was also listed on Blackhawks, in place of Mike Costa, who actually ended up with the gig.
DC has made the corrections this morning, but ComicsAlliance has the screencaps from last night.
1. For Batman and Green Lantern, if it ain’t broke, DC’s not fixing it. In 2010, you had to go all the way down to the Direct Markets #109 bestelling title, the debut of J. Michael Straczynski’s abortive tenure on Superman, before hitting a DC book that wasn’t part of the Batman line, the Green Lantern line, or the Green Lantern-spawned Blackest Night and Brightest Day events. DC has rewarded the creators behind these franchises’ success by keeping them more or less in place, albeit with some title-swapping and artist-shuffling. Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, and Peter J. Tomasi are still writing the three main Green Lantern series (along with the previously announced Peter Milligan on Red Lantern), while Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Tomasi are still handling the books with “Batman” in the title (with long-time Gotham Citizens like J.H Williams III, Gail Simone, and Judd Winick filling out the line).
2. DC’s rolling the dice big-time on an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vertigo-verse. Today’s big announcement of new “dark” titles features such Vertigo characters as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, as written by such Vertigo creators Peter Milligan (Hellblazer), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and Scott Snyder (American Vampire). That’s quite a vote of confidence in Vertigo’s taste in creators, characters, and tone, especially given that many industry observers saw the line as an afterthought for the new regime. Of course, how this will impact Vertigo itself has yet to be seen. It’s also worth considering that Vertigo’s biggest and most durable hits over the past decade or so have tended to be creator-owned titles existing in their own worlds and straying pretty far from the imprint’s horror-magic roots, so launching eight shared-universe horror-magic books — over one-sixth of the new DC Universe line — is a gamble in and of itself.