Sunday, March 05, 2006

Jumping off point

When comics companies pull an all-change on us and give a comic a new creative team or a big retcon, they like to tout this as a good 'jumping-on point' for new readers. In order to make this a good place to start they often dump a lot of the character, cast, plot and sub-plot of previous issues and start the comic going in a completely new direction. The corollary they often seem to forget is that if you were enjoying the previous incarnation of the comic then this also makes a perfect jumping-off point for the established readership.

This becomes particularly relevent right now as DC gives a number of their titles a major overhaul for a post-Crisis world, even though Crisis hasn't finished yet. Are the guys at DC as sick of the whole thing as we are that they are so keen to move onto the next phase? Starting the post-Crisis comics while the story is still in progress feels a bit like when you find easter eggs in the stores before christmas.

So while you are checking out the new directions for Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman or Hawkmangirl, how many titles that you previously read will you now be expecting to drop as the series you have enjoyed until now is concluded, and all the stuff you liked about it is pushed aside to make way for the shiny new model? And what is the point of getting people interested in one title while alienating them from another? Can't they just tell good stories within established continuity that will attract new readers while keeping the established ones?

And one more thing. While they are constructing elaborate ways of gutting established titles and slapping on a fresh coat of paint to pull in new readers, how is it that when they actually have a new original series they don't use the all time most successful jumping on point of beginning the story with issue #1? Take for example Supergirl, or any of the new Crisis spinnoffs: if you knew nothing about them but picked up the first issue would you find a good jumping on point? No, you'd find yourself in the middle of some story that started in some whole other comic. Would you then go hunting for those other comics which featured characters you knew nothing about having stories that you weren't interested in simply in order to find out what the hell was going on with this new comic that you picked up because it was a first issue?


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I'm gonna leave the new "Justice League of America" in the dust. The title has steadily eroded since Morrison left (though Joe Kelly's run had some merit) and now its being revamped by Brad Meltzer? Ew.

CalvinPitt said...

DC definitely hasn't been winning me over. I read Batgirl, they cancel it. Robin's been a mess since they moved him to Bludhaven, though I am going to read the first arc just to see what Batgirl's up to now. After that, I'm not sure I can tolerate the costume. And Johns has pretty much killed my interest in Teen Titans with 18 issues that are essentially plot devices. That's the only three I bought, and I can't see myself picking up anything new so mission not accomplished.

chris said...

Ya, they've got to realize the direct market won't grow no matter what they do. It's all about preventing customer loss, not gaining new ones.

Disintegrating Clone said...

I'm looking forward to the revamps, as they give me a better chance of understanding what DC is going on about. I've been shedding incomprehensible DC titles like dandruff the last few months.

joncormier said...

I guess that I'm in a pretty good situation. I don't particularly follow ANY series. I've been on a few - Godland, Fear Agent, Jonah Hex, but otherwise I mostly just buy what catches my fancy. This way I'm attracted to stories and not caught up in the new/old, so new it's old again shenanigry infecting a lot of cape-based books.

I am a Bat-fan, and I liked the first issue. But there's some stuff I just won't be drawn to - Supergirl for instance, no matter when or where she is. C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

I was collecting 12 DC titles when ICrisis started. Now... zero.

Thank you Dido, Johns, et all for giving me a reason to stop wasting my money on Dick Grayson male model and the rest of this explicative deleted.