This week, there’s really only been one news story for the world at large: The first four issues of DC’s new Countdown series have been made fully returnable. When that announcement was made in the pages of the New York Post, the industry reacted by… Oh, alright, it wasn’t that funny, I admit. The real big story of the week after the jump, just in case people have still managed to miss what happened.
So, Captain America’s dead, then. On Wednesday, there was no avoiding it, if you happened to be reading a newspaper, watching the news on TV or checking CNN or Yahoo, a sign that either Marvel’s press people have done their jobs properly or that it was a very, very slow news day. Things didn’t really lighten up on Thursday, with even the mothership’s own Matt Brady finding himself talking to the BBC news team in the UK. Friday was the same, thanks to the LA Times picking up on the story:
The most telling measure of America’s current distemper can be found in a more mundane place… in the gory assassination of Captain America in issue No. 25…
But here’s the thing: No retailers had been told about this beforehand. They’d been told that their orders were too low, but not given any reason why, which was somewhat less than helpful. Understandably, reaction from retailers about the situation was mixed: Happy to be selling so many copies, but unhappy that they hadn’t been given enough information to make sure that they didn’t sell out so quickly.
On Friday, Gabriel clarified the situation:
No retailers were told anything other than the “classified” aspect of the event. Diamond did not know what was happening as our production schedule that they receive also had the vague titles and information. First look books did not go out on these issues, solicitation copy was checked and double checked, handbook and spotlight entries were double and triple checked, on sale dates of books that contained spoilers were shifted, in short all the places that we have accidentally leaked out info in the past we kept a close lid on…This book has the highest reorder velocity that we – or Diamond – has ever seen. I don’t actually see an hour to hour report so I can’t tell you anything more specific than that… Currently, there are no plans for [a second printing]…this book should sell for a while now. However, if it is needed, then we will do it.
Within three hours of that story going live, the following story appeared:
Newsarama has learned that the call has been recently made, and Marvel has decided to go back to press on the issue. A second printing will be made available to retailers and will be in stores on March 28th.
What makes this story especially interesting was made public with this post from a retailer in the resulting thread:
My email from Diamond had this:
“SPECIAL NOTE FROM MARVEL COMICS: No announcement will be made to the press about this book until March 26. Marvel would like retailers to refrain from disclosing this information while First Printings are still selling.”
That sound you hear? That’s the plot thickening.
For those who’d like to read how those involved with the issue felt, Joe Quesada touched on the subject in his Joe Fridays column, Jeph Loeb talked about his spin-off series, Fallen Son, and writer Ed Brubaker explained some things about the whole deal:
This storyline, in one form or another, has been building since issue #1 of Cap. The way it begins, with Cap’s death in issue #25, is probably more huge than it might have been otherwise, and more of an event. I tend not to think huge or event, generally, but this warrants it. But even with all that, to me, this is just a continuation of the story I’ve been telling in Cap all along, and this is the next step. If Civil War had not come along, it may have taken a while longer to get here, and Cap may or may not have been killed, but this is all fitting into my plans and leading to some great things in Cap. I’m really excited about this book, just as much as I was when I first began it. I have said from the beginning that Civil War was a gift to me, and to Cap, because of what I’d be able to do after it, and it’s really true. This story became better I think, than it would have been otherwise.
So take that people who accused Marvel editorial of forcing this on poor Brube.
Outside of the current fate of poor Steve Rogers (because, yeah, we all know he’s coming back at some point in the future), the week was somewhat light on news – Civil War spin-off Avengers: The Initiative got upgraded from mini-series to ongoing based on pre-orders for the first issue, Image’s Invincible announced a $1.99 jumping-on point for new readers, Cancelled-at-DC book The Boys set a date for its return at new publisher Dynamite, and the first issues of Darwyn Cooke’s The Spirit and Garth Ennis’s Chronicles of Wormwood sold out at Diamond. We’re a week after Wondercon and only two weeks from NYCC, so we can maybe expect the relatively slow news period continuing for the next few weeks…
Instead, this week, the Rama excelled with interviews – DC’s Georg Brewer talked about their high profile hardcover collections of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World comics, Cory Walker discussed returning to the bosom of Robert Kirkman, Jumpin’ John Layman rapped about working with the undead of Marvel and the wonder that is Ash from the Evil Dead (I mean, “Army of Darkness.” Because, you know, they’re entirely different characters), Scott Lobdell popped up to remind us all that he’s not dead or even undead, just working with Stan Lee, Palmiotti and Gray worked their Hex magic, the creative team of the soon-to-be-relaunched Fear Agent told you why to buy the book (Quoth writer Rick Remender: “With Dark Horse also releasing trade collections of the first two volumes of Fear Agent in the next few months, for those of you not reading the book, this is a perfect time to jump on board. That’s right. I said it. Perfect. It’ll get no better for you. Ever.”), and one of my favorite artists Karl Kerschl talked about who and what he’s all about. Even if that includes the addiction that is watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip:
When Sorkin is in the zone, he’s really good – the episodes have a lyrical beat to them that’s almost hypnotic, even when the plot lines are kind of by-the-numbers and despite the fact that he’s re-treading the same basic characters and themes from Sports Night and West Wing. The recent ‘Harriet Dinner’ two-parter was abysmal, though. Full of lazy writing and cheap gags. So I don’t know. I really want it to get picked up for another season to see if they can get it sorted out.
Karl, you are my brother in pain.
Next week: Marvel announces that Captain America is actually Ronin and Stephen Colbert asks for his money back.