Early theme of this week? Possibly that publishers don’t dig their retailer partners. How else to explain the fact that retailers didn’t get information on DC’s new Countdown series until after the mothership had run them (and a week after they’d received all other solicitation information for that week), or the fact that, again, the Declassified Civil War solicitations (for books shipping as soon as next month) were only released on Tuesday, months after retailers had had to place orders for the books. Luckily, other publishers can tell you all about their 2007 schedules far in advance.
(Of course, once Countdown was officially announced, DC couldn’t shut up about it – Dan Didio and Mike Marts wanted to tell you about it, and at NYCC, we were treated to – admittedly, very cool – buttons and promo images for the series.)
With convention season upon us, this was a weird week, with things both speeding up and slowing down for the start of the week. Rick Veitch, Paul Dini, Ron Marz, Sexy Matt Fraction and, surprisingly, Ioan Gruffudd took advantage of the ability to get on the front page, while the world turned upside down on the sidebar: Tokyopop changed their ratings system, and Wizard Magazine formalized its desire to become a lads mag for geeks by hiring a former FHM editor-in-chief to become its own EiC. Will large-breasted wonders never cease? Not if Wizard has anything to do with it, apparently.
Otherwise, the week really belonged to two stories: Civil War #7 finished, and NYCC 2007 happened. And NYCC was kind of full of Marvel news, so it almost seemed like a continuation of the former (One of the more surprising pieces of news was kind of buried elsewhere: Barry Kitson’s Marvel exclusivity story contained the following:
Mark and I were already scheduled to be ending our run on Legion of Super-Heroes… [Our final issue] will probably be #30 (depending on scheduling at DC) which will give Mark and I a chance to tie-up all (or nearly all) the threads we started dangling in issue #1.
I’m kind of bummed about this, personally; I really dig Waid and Kitson’s Legion (dodgy mid-run slump excepted), so I’m sorry to see it end). Non Marvel news for NYCC included an interesting panel on digital publishing (including Dan Buckley’s headline-grabbing announcement that Marvel is moving towards digital publishing and distribution. Which isn’t really news, as they’ve said the same before, and given the lack of timeframe in Buckley’s announcement, this sounded more like same-old same-old. Top Cow stole thunder slightly by doing the same, only with timeframe, pricing and placement information), Brian K. Vaughan’s racist ways “exposed”, editors and publishers patting themselves on the back (Although this was interesting:
When asked about One Year Later, Didio agreed that it started out well, but flattened out, reverting back to old habits rather than pushing characters into new territory.
Honesty from one of the big two? What…?), publishers talking about capturing a female readership, and… oh, alright: George Perez’s wardrobe:
George Perez was standing there right in the middle of NY Comic Con’s Artist Alley, and hardly anyone noticed.
“They don’t know it’s me,” he joked. “That’s because I’m not wearing a Hawaiian shirt.”
Considering the freezing weather outside at the Javits Center, Perez’s preference for more sensible, toned down and warmer clothing made quite a bit of sense.
As I write this, NYCC is still in full swing, so head over to the front page for the latest stories from there. Meanwhile, let’s delve into the publishing bonanza that was Civil War #7, shall we?
In short: The comic came out, and the ‘Rama had a rare positive review of it, even if many of the talkbackers were less enamored. Those who didn’t enjoy it, though, can easily be dealt with by editor Tom Brevoort, who has his finger on the pulse of fandom:
I think it’s the nature of line-wide crossovers for fans to become excited—over-excited, really—and start expecting more and greater inter-continuity than was ever planned for. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I got over the course of Civil War postulating that, in the final issue, the Annihilation Wave from Annihilation was going to show up and force the heroes of both sides to fight together. This despite the fact that we’ve been saying from the beginning that Anniilation and Civil War were completely separate events. But fans get excited and want the biggest thing ever, and that’s the biggest thing they could imagine right now. But at the end of the day, Civil War is a story, and a story about some very specific ideas, so the ending needed to revolve around those ideas and the two heroes—Cap and Iron Man—who had come to represent the dueling ideologies. But I can write the reviews right now: “That’s it? All that hype for nothing? Nobody died??!!” I know where everything is going down the line, though, so I’ve got a bit more excitement for it than perhaps the average reader does right this second.
That’s right; the fans may not be as excited as Tom, but that’s because they don’t have behind-the-scenes info. I’m not sure if that means that the comic is lacking, or if Tom’s just boasting, mind you. Someone who’s no stranger to boasting is Joe Quesada, who unleashed his own understated review of the series in this week’s Joe Fridays:
[T]o me, Civil War wasn’t just a statement on politics or the state of our civil liberties, but a statement on a wide variety of subjects effecting mainstream America and the world today.
Now, what was Tom saying about people becoming over-excited about Civil War?
If Civil War wasn’t your Marvel bag, though, you won’t have to wait long for the next War (ignoring Silent War, which is happening now, of course); NYCC saw the announcement of details about World War Hulk. Initially announced as a smaller event with a need for minimal investment for fans, it’s now a 35-issue crossover, complete with two seperate mini-series outside of the World War Hulk series itself. Which is, um, an interesting definition of “minimal investment”, but does explain how Civil War stretched past 100 issues of crossover.
Still, anything to keep Paul Jenkins from having time to do this again.