June 19th, 2011

Strawman

Don't Blame Me, Blame Yourselves. Our Market Research Confirms It.

There are some things where it's important for everyone to be happy.  When people are unhappy, they start blaming each other over things that can't really be measured.  Like the old question in baseball, does the runner steal on the pitcher or the catcher?  It's an interesting academic question, but ultimately does nothing more than blame someone who people want to blame and give a pass to the other.

This takes many forms, but the worst is with artistic media.  Consumers will wonder why things are being done the way they are, the artists should be doing things for them, since the consumer enables the artist to exist.  The artist will dismiss the consumers as uneducated, not caring what he is trying to accomplish, artistic freedom, and so on.  When everyone is happy or at least willing to live and let live, everything is fine.  When it's not, both sides develop a sense of entitlement that only burns bridges instead of building them.

With Flashpoint coming to an end and DCnu about to kick off, DC has started the DC Retailer Roadshow.  The first one was held Friday on the Burbank lot of parent company Warner Bros., the next is Dallas/Ft. Worth on Monday.  DC co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee attempted to spin the bold new direction of DCnu to retailers and field questions and complaints.

It doesn't seem to have gone over very well.

Didio should be falling on his knees and thanking his lucky stars that Jim Lee is his co-publisher and helping be the public face of DC editorial.  I know I took a lot of shots at Image when they started up, but Lee was never anyone I really had anything bad to say about.  Mainly because he didn't do anything worth speaking out on.  While other Image creators were busy seeing how far they could shove their feet in their mouths, Lee kept working, kept above the fray, and kept on keeping on.  His behavior was professional while Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, and Erik Larsen were bouncing off the ceiling (I wonder if the three of them were locked in the water tower on the Burbank lot?).

(Cheap joke:  Liefeld knew about the DCnu over a year ago, he mentioned that's how long he's been working on the new Hawk And Dove series.  Well, I guess that's one way to make sure he has three issues ready by August.)

Stand by for action!  Really.  The gist is that the comic market is shrinking (no shit) and drastic times call for drastic deeds.  Done dirt cheap.  ...sorry.  Lee's story techniques are the model they are using.

The long and the short of it is that DC is trying to make over not only its universe, but the direct market universe as well.  1 to 25 variant covers, with 1 to 200 variants for titles retailers order really big on.  Retailers that set up a DC Digital portal on their web sites get a 30% kickback.  Gee, I wonder if this is part of the reason creators aren't seeing any money from digital sales.  Although not all titles will be available as digital after the 52 Launch.  They will let retailers pay for their floppy orders in two installments if they wish.  This could be interesting, if played right, retailers are less likely to take a bath on event comics.  Book returns?  100% of unsold books can be returned.  The original fee was 10%, now it's a flat rate of 20 cents per book.  Books unaffected by the reboot?  Green Lantern, Legion Of Superheroes, and Batman.  Set in the past are Justice League and Action ComicsGreen Arrow, Hawkman, and DCU Presents are continuing on from Brightest Day.  Everything else (like the Superman books selling about 40K) gets the treatment, although Action and Detective may return to their original numbering depending on how the relaunch goes (told ya that was going to happen).  The creative teams being replaced in recent days was to allow the creative teams for DCnu to get a jump on their deadlines.  It's also supposedly a plot to bring in readers who have wandered off.

Didio started getting upset with the retailers who were complaining about what was basically a press release instead of a Q&A session.  For two hours, Didio and crew rehashed stuff that already is in Previews and on churnalism web sites like CBR when a retailer stood and asked when they were going to get to the important stuff, such as advertising or the fact that this covers books from August to November, but no word on if this stuff will apply to December and beyond.  Retailers started getting upset as well.  It might not have helped when DC Senior VP Sales Bob Wayne said that the reason retailers were losing readers as everyone waited for the DCnu relaunch was the retailers' fault and they weren't doing their jobs.  Lee had to calm everything down.

Like I said, everyone likes to blame the other for not letting them do what they want or think is best.  And it's only going to get worse from here.
HolyHandGrenade

Can't They Just Invent A Pill Or Frozen Concentrate That Makes You Smarter And Tastes Mmmmm So Good?

From the Israeli news network Ynet:

Several weeks ago, a dog entered the Jerusalem financial court and just wouldn't leave.

A judge there remembered a secular lawyer from about 20 years ago that insulted the judges.  The judges cursed the lawyer, bidding his spirit to enter the body of a dog.  So the judges there thought this dog was the reincarnation of this lawyer.

A rabbinical court condemned the dog to death by stoning.  A court manager was quoted as saying the stoning was ordered "as an appropriate way to 'get back at' the spirit which entered the poor dog."  One of the judges went to ask local children to carry out the sentence.  While this was going on, the dog escaped.

An animal welfare organization has filed a complaint with the police.  A court official has denied any of this took place.

So, their karma almost ran over their dogma.
Peter G

Lights Out

Green Lantern has pulled in about $52 mil this weekend.

You might think that's pretty good.

It's actually the lowest of the openings for comic book movies this summer.  Thor took in $65 mil and X-Men First Class took in $55 mil.

The tale of the tape is the Friday versus Saturday numbers.  Friday night, Green Lantern pulled in almost $22 mil.  But there was a percentage drop for Saturday.  Usually, movies do better on Saturday than Friday because people are off.  The fact that Green Lantern lost viewers is a bad sign.

All they can hope is that the movie has legs.  Monday's haul will tell the tale.  If the numbers stabilize, then Green Lantern will be bragged about.  If not, it goes on the pile with Watchmen, a movie with great expectations and a huge fan following that went splat.

On the bright side, it will free up Ryan Reynolds to make the Deadpool movie.  (Holding out hope that Selena Gomez puts in an appearance as Squirrel Girl.)
Kermit And Piggy

And Now, Two For The Comic Book Nuts

I'm at the comic shop, and I'm looking over one of their fliers.  It has mock-ups of comics they sell.

Two catch my eye.

One is for Hannah Zatana.

The other shows Bucky rushing up to Captain America as Cap is eating his shield.  "No, Cap!  You can't eat your shield!"  "But, Bucky, if I don't--I'll die!"

I looked at the guy behind the counter and said, Please tell me these two comics are real.

"Sorry, no.  They're just jokes."

But they beat the hell out of anything out there right now!