Trade Perspective: On recent delays ...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Newsarama posted a DC Comics press release yesterday, noting new content for Wonder Woman #5, as Alan Heinberg's "Who is Wonder Woman?" story gets bumped back an issue. Fans are already chewing their arms off, as with the Action Comics change announced on Tuesday. Sure, these are legitimate concerns from the fans, but I just can't help but think ... if you were a strict "wait-for-trader," you might never know the difference. And the fact that DC's willing to interrupt a monthly storyline--that is, completely derail the reading experience of the comic book fan who goes into their local comic book shop monthly and picks up single issues, without being up on the news or reading message boards or the like--suggests that (A) there's some sense that the "casual" comic book fan just doesn't exist any more, and (B) that the focus really is the trades, because, after all, what does it matter if "Who is Wonder Woman?" is printed out-of-order in the monthlies, as long as it can show up whole and hearty on DC's trade backlist. At some point, one wonders if DC shouldn't have just saved themselves the grief and printed "Who is Wonder Woman?" as trade first.

Meanwhile, all orders for the Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman? hardcover have been cancelled, and the book is to be resolicited. Containing the Pfeifer issue too, maybe?

Update: see one diverse comic book nation and Sequentially Speaking for additional thoughts on the "delay issue."

Update again: Meanwhile, Alan Heinberg chimes in at Newsarama that the delayed Wonder Woman #6 might be a special, extra-sized issue with back-up stories. Which begs the (trade) question, will those back-up stories be collected? And if so/if not, does delayed issue plus extra content equal good for the "wait-for-traders" or bad for the "wait-for-traders?"
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  1. Isn't this more like DC going back to the days when they published their monthly comics every month?

    In months where the planned issue wasn't going to be ready they'd throw in either a reprint or an inventory story they had in a drawer for just that very purpose. Of course, back then stories didn't run for 6 months so it was less of a shock to the system when it happened.

    This all surely works for rather than against the idea of a casual comics fan. I would have though that if the casual fan pops into his/her LCS once a month or so then it's in DC's interest for there to be some kind of, say, Wonder Woman comic there every month for them to casually pick up (or not).

    I think I'd rather have a monthly comic every month, even if it breaks up the current story, rather than wait 2, 3, 4 months for the next issue (as long as the quality is at least in the same ballpark as the "normal" issues). And, as you say, it doesn't affect the trade either way.

    Of course, everyone would be happier and the world would be a better place if they could put out their monthlies every month as originally scheduled.

  2. Dan,

    You make plenty of good points. It does harken back to the days of the inventory stories, but yeah, the six-part trend does change that up a bit. Frankly, it seems like comics are working against themselves--all stories are multi-parters now to fill up the trades, but the creators can't work fast enough for multi-parters. And I see what you mean about how this can work well for the casual fan.

    And like many things, this does seem to be the long way around the easy solution: just put the comics out on time. But I remain convinced that I'd rather have slow shipping good comics than regularly shipping dribble.