Nov 18, 2008

The hits just keep on comin'

So much has been going on with DC Comics the last week and a half. Now I'm kind of glad I waited to write anything about it. To be a fly on the wall over there right now, or dare I say, a Beetle, would be very interesting indeed.

Previously announced cancellations had me pretty upset but you can now add two more books to that list. Blue Beetle and Manhunter. Honestly I knew Blue Beetle wasn't doing all that well and Manhunter didn't have me very excited during it's latest run but I'm sad to see them go. Dan Didio confirmed the news in a round of 20 Answers with Newsarama. He had this to say about the former:
One of the books that I’m most disappointed about in that regard is a book like Blue Beetle, which we are cancelling. That’s a book that we started with very high expectations, but it lost its audience along the way. Recently, we felt that it was standing on firmer ground, and was getting a more positive response. The problem is that the firmer ground and positive response is not enough to keep the book afloat. So unfortunately, we had to cancel that series.
Obviously the characters themselves are not disappearing just the books. Blue Beetle of course is still involved with the Teen Titans for the time being. Didio also explained that the cancellation of Birds of Prey, Nightwing and Robin did not have to do with sales but "positioning characters for future stories." You can also read Matt Sturges feelings on the BB cancellation and what he sees for Jaime's future. Apparently there will be a death in the final two-parter.

Over the weekend Didio had an interview in the LA Times and announced some more big news. Superman will be leaving Action Comics to make way for new characters and in the Superman book itself he'll be leaving Earth in favor of space. In another bold move DC is bringing back Adventure Comics restarting with a #1. Apparently the Legion of Super-Heroes will be the main attraction there and they promise more from the interview later in the week.

In the sort of rumor/probably true section today, a lot of writer trouble. CBR's Lying in the Gutters says the end of Final Crisis will be delayed because Dan Didio didn't like how the story ended in respect to it's implications in the DCU and asked a "rather unhappy" Grant Morrison to do rewrites. "As a result, creative teams working on a number of spinoff and affected books have also had to stop work while the 'Final Crisis' ending is reworked," explained columnist Rich Johnston. Adding to the misery, Johnston talks of an argument between James Robinson and Didio that "led to Robinson quitting the Superman books and the DCU in general." 

Seems like utter mayhem over there at the moment but at least one thing has been settled. The writer for the long-discussed mini-series Battle for the Cowl had not been announced until last weeks Newsarama discussion. It will be written and drawn by Tony Daniel which came as a big surprise to some. While having illustrated Marvel and DC comics in the past he's a relative unknown as a writer. Of course the extra well-known Neil Gaiman will be stepping in to write a two-issue tribute to the character in Batman #686 tentatively titled, "What Ever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" (ala Alan Moore's What Every Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?). Gaiman will be working with artist Andy Kubert on that one to condense the infinite versions of Batman. He also told USA Today, "This is my last Batman story."

Besides all the rumors and controversy it does seem that DC is attempting to break everything down so it can be rebuilt on firmer ground which is not only admirable but an enormous undertaking. Superman and Batman will no doubt prove to be the most difficult, not only in the practical sense but also in a pleasing-the-fans sense. Either way I look forward to seeing how all of this pans out.


You can also view and discuss this article over at GEN.

16 comments:

eric said...

While I'm not surprised with the cancellation of Blue Beetle and Manhunter, I am surprised with the re-formatting of Action Comics. If you think about it, perhaps DC's intention is to make the title Action Comics live up to its name. Not to say Superman isn't action, but maybe they're taking a different marketing approach. I'm not sure I like the idea of Superman in space, although he's done it often but as a regular gig, I am not fond of the concept. I really haven't bought many comics of late but I'm actually glad to hear DC is "culling the herd" by re-formatting their titles and dropping other ones.

Why a writer would get so upset and leave a paying job simply because they may disagree with an editor or the direction a story is going MAY be understandable BUT if I had such a gig, it'd be "Yes, sir" to whatever they wanted. Perhaps Robinson has the luxury of not having to worry about bills.

Grant Morrison upset? Honestly I'm not a big Morrison fan. He's O.K., but all this Final Crisis and other tie-ins left me cold and I didn't get into it all simply due to the excessive titles and drawn out stories that went nowhere. So he has to rewrite. If you have a job and the boss wants you to do a task differently, you do it and keep your trap shut.

Sounds like these guys are being primadonnas, but it's hard to say as I am not in DC's offices and don't know the entire 4-1-1.

Still, this all makes for interesting gossip.

More interesting than most comic books of late. Sad.

Amber Love said...

I agree with you, Eric. I guess at a certain level of fame and success where you can walk away from a job, a creator is more inclined to actually say, "Take this job and shove it." Sometimes it helps save their reputations on a book that isn't winning fans over as expected (*cough*Amazing Spider-crap*cough*).

I am shocked at the number of titles being canceled at DC. It's a bold move but it shows signs of wanting to make tough decisions and try to find something that will sell (the ultimate sign that fans like it). Maybe I'm the only one in the DD camp, but he gets such a bum rap. I have been rather disappointed in the Batman RIP thing because the "crossovers" have nothing to do with the story and just gimmicks to sell floundering books like Robin & Nightwing. Unfortunately, when I read them I actually liked them as individual books and now they're being canceled. If the point of the crossovers is to get fans into new books, why go through that effort if their days are numbered?

I'm still waiting for the Power Girl series which was promised too. I figure the cancelations are just making room for some new stuff.

NYCC is just a few months away. The DCU panels will be very interesting. DD barely got any applause which was sad but it showed how much people hated Countdown.

Michael Bailey said...

Taking Superman out of Action is a horrible idea.

And the James Robinson thing was debunked. The Superman Homepage contacted Matt Idleson, the Superman editor. Of course Matt could be lying, but still.

DC is sending out some seriously mixed messages though. "Look at all the shake-ups in the Batman and Superman worlds. By the way, we're bringing Barry Allen back." It makes very little sense and puts me off even more than DC as a company already has.

Superman out of ACTION. That's just...grrr.

Randy said...

They took Superman out of Action, somewhat, back in the late 80s when they experimented with Action Comics Weekly.

Superman had a two-page strip that looked a lot like a Sunday comics strip from a newspaper.

Action Comics Weekly was a failure. Even though it had some cool Green lantern, Nightwing and Black Canary stories.

The Nerdy Bird said...

Yeah the NYCC DC panels are going to be heated I'm sure. Hopefully by then all of them will actually be able to give answers instead of the usual, "we can't tell you that" line.

MichaelBailey said...

I am curious as to what fan reaction is going to be at those panels as well. From the ones that DC released as podcasts it seems that Dan DiDio does polls that seem to jibe with the company line. I wonder if this trend will continue.

The Nerdy Bird said...

I think a lot of it depends on how R.I.P. plays out now and it's relation to the rest of the Bat-Family.

Newsarama is asking for more questions for Didio now and specifically for convention panel type questions, so let's hope some of that comes out now.
http://www.newsarama.com/comics/110819-DiDio-Call.html

Randy said...

Hmmmmm, so let's see....Superman is leaving Action Comics, a new anthology series is coming in its wake and Superman is leaving Earth for awhile.

Is it 1989 again and I missed the memo?? Maybe my job at the comics store I worked at back then is still available. I can go back to writing weird word balloons on New Universe books in the 4-for-a-dollar bins, eating Nutter Butters, drinking Sprite and gaming in the shop after hours.

Actually, come to think of it, that's not too far off of some of the things I still do to this very day....

Never mind.

Michael Bailey said...

The wonderful thing about the last few generations of fans (i.e. fans from the seventies, eighties and nineties) is that the more things change the more they stay the same.

Randy said...

I'm going to make a kind of prediction here. It concerns one Mr. Richard Grayson. I'm not sure what is going to happen with him per se, but I definitely foresee that whatever happens with him, he will not be using the codename Nightwing.

Evidence 1: Red Robin. The Kingdom Come version was Richard Grayson. Granted, Jason Todd has been using the name recently, but given ads of recent, Red Robin sure seems to have a place in the future of the DCU.

Evidence 2: Flamebird and Nightwing. Yes, the Superman story 'New Krypton' have given us new versions of these perennial 'favorites.' I highly doubt Geoff Johns would create this pair with the intention of them fading into obscurity once more after this story is over.

It is not usual to have two characters using the same name for a long amount of time. Like I said, I'm not sure exactly what the future holds for Richard Grayson, but whatever it is...and this is only from having read comics for 25-30 years of my life...I'm reasonably sure he will not be wearing the Nightwing costume. At least for a while.

The Nerdy Bird said...

Yeah Randy, unfortunately I don't think Dick is gonna be Nightwing for a while before long.

The guy who's being going around as Red Robin in Robin was just revealed actually.

randy said...

Was it Anarky? I haven't been reading Robin much lately.

The Nerdy Bird said...

No actually, it was the General. I didn't even know who he was so it was sort of anti-climactic for me. Though Anarky is also involved in this arc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_(DC_Comics)

Randy said...

The General? I assume you mean the kid that fought Batman and Robin in various Chuck Dixon-written comics throughout the 90s and not General Wade Eiling in the Shaggy Man's body, right?

;)

I really am a fountain-head of useless information. I think this blog would be one of the few places were anybody would find that even remotely impressive. Sometimes I'm amazed that I was able to find a wife and spawn a child. Actually, I should say I've spawned twice, as my wife is 4 months pregnant.

The Nerdy Bird said...

Yeah, the kid, but he's more grown-up now.

And oh my gosh! Congratulations!!

Randy said...

I might have to pick up the TPB when it comes out. And thanks for the congrats. :)