Thursday, September 8, 2011

DC Comics...a name that screams "Wallet Rape"

So this month there are, or will soon be, a full set of fifty-two number one issues from DC Comics. I, like most of my kind, have known about this for some time, but I think I was probably the least excited. In my lifetime I've seen several of these sudden, over-hyped renumberings and have yet to find one that actually produces something completely new and surprising.

The sad thing for me has been the fan response. Stopping in at my local comic book shop I've discovered that Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #1 have become instant-rare issues, and what few extras the store had of Detective they've already marked up to ten dollars a copy. The collector mentality, something I've struggled to overcome for myself and understand, is a disgustingly unreasonable thing that I find, like most disgustingly unreasonable things, originates in the heart of good old, let's fuck up culture-America. The 1990s was a bad period for the comic book industry not just because publishers were mass producing books and creating pointless special collector editions but because the fans of the industry and enterprising outsiders hoping to do as little as possible to pay for their fuck-up child's possible future education created an insane demand. It was this demand and stupid fan response that caused the over-publication which glutted the shelves of direct market stores and weighed down the value of supposedly priceless books till they were value-raped beyond recovery. Here we are again with a news-catching publicity ejaculation from old DC that has spurred slackjaw, funny-book-philiacs into action with wallets bared like virginal lady bits to a pack of rabid, erection-baring nymphos.

I did actually buy a couple, even though I'm not the guy who was in the shop to salivate over getting two copies of every single issue. I did have a genuine interest in finding out how they revamped Action and Detective, but now I'll never get a chance to inform that interest. What I did manage to purchase were two of the fifty-two. I picked up a copy of Jeff Lemire's Animal Man and Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing. I really didn't want to buy Swamp Thing back when I first heard that they were throwing old green into the main DCU, but I was interested and a $2.99 price wasn't really preventing me from checking out what could be utter crap. I have mixed feelings about the book. I miss the Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein days, hell even the Alan Moore days, of Swamp Thing, but it seems like Snyder might have something with this new book. Hell the artwork is damn fine spiffy, too. I can't say I like that Superman (in his new blue armor?) would think to visit Alec Holland, the two shouldn't even be in the same goddamn universe as far as I'm concerned, but the idea of Dr. Holland having escaped the Green only to be nearly pulled back at issues end is intriguing. I will probably see where that goes.

In regard to Lemire's Animal Man, I miss when Jeff Lemire was an independent creator turning out quality. That's not to say that this book wasn't fantastic. I found the writing to be what I'd expect from Lemire, and the artwork, by Travel Foreman, was energetic and stylishly sloppy. This is one book I think needed to happen.

I guess my biggest problem is that it doesn't feel like this was at all necessary, and it seems like this was in many ways a money-grab by the publisher. If anything quality comes from this it's incidental depending on the creative teams responsible. I'm thankful for Animal Man #1, miffed about Action and Detective, and am very blah about Swamp Thing #1. Let's hope all this actually goes somewhere. Until the whole venture really proves itself I shall remain a bitter, irritated fan of the medium and sometimes customer of a publisher I really don't believe in.

Watch where you spend your money, comic fans. To paraphrase a dusty old knight, you must choose, but choose wisely. Make yours DC if they deserve it, otherwise I'd recommend avoiding them and most of their fifty-two. Give Animal Man a shot though, if you'd like.

Till next time.

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