In a week of carefully orchestrated “surprises” in the comic world, it wasn’t Annihilation: Conquest #1′s return of a classic Marvel villain or even Mark Bagley shock move over to DC (Feel free to guess what book you think Mark’s going to work on, by the way) that gave us the biggest shock of the past seven days. No, that accolade happens to belong to the stunning fact that the Gordon Lee trial in Georgia was declared a mistrial during the opening statements.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Charles Brownstein talked about the news:
It was unbelievable, Matt. There we were, for the third time, ready for trial. A jury had been selected, our experts were in town, and we were ready to begin, and the prosecutor immediately threw the trial by doing what he said he wouldn’t do. Whether his action is the result of incompetence or worse, I can’t say, but result is that after three years, Gordon’s case continues to drag on, and to do so because of one prosecutorial blunder after another.
Talking of one blunder after another, Brian Bendis showed up on the mothership this week to talk about New Avengers: Illuminati #5, and guess what? He’s still trying to bait people who thought that his Tigra abuse scene was sexist:
I’d like to point out to people who follow Newsarama – in the fight scene with the Skrull, Namor begins it fully clothed, and, by the time it’s over, his shirt is ripped open, and more of his naked body can be seen. I know that this will cause a letter-writing campaign of my obvious disdain for fish-men, and my desire to see fish-men injured and demeaned – even though my dad was a fish-man and I know many fish-men still.
More proof, if any was needed, that having a well paid job of your dreams isn’t enough of a last laugh for certain people. Just in case he one day says something that upsets Marvel’s Powers That Be, John Barber is already lining up new writers to replace him, as the new Giant-Size Avengers Special #1 demonstrates.
In more sensible parts of the world of comics, Top Cow’s Filip Sablik talks about why the first three issues of the new Darkness series will be returnable:
We’re banking on the fact that retailers will have more success than failure with The Darkness and we won’t get back a high percentage of returns. For the retailers it allows them to take a chance on a new series with relatively little risk. As long as they hit the minimum qualifier, which for issue #1 is matching or exceeding their orders for First Born #1, then they have the ability to return any unsold copies as stripped cover returns and be fully credited for those unsold copies.
Essentially the retailers who take a chance and really promote the series in their stores will be rewarded with greater sales and pay for only the copies they sell. We’ve also set the returnability window at 60 days rather than the standard 30 days retailers would see on an overship, our thinking being that some fans may come in and pick up issue #1 and #2 after they’ve heard some positive reviews from friends and online. The goal for us is to ensure that there are at least “X” number of copies on the stands so that fans see the book when they walk into their local comic shop. We know that over 900,000 people bought The Darkness video game. We’re not naive enough to think all of those people will come flooding into comic shops for The Darkness #1, but we do believe a percentage of them will come by and be looking for The Darkness comics.
Between this, the CBLDF “fine” on late books, and the cheap Witchblade trade in January, it’s almost as if Top Cow are trying to get taken seriously as a comic publisher, isn’t it? I mean, they’ve even got writers like Ian Edgington working on their Pilot Season books. Next thing you know, they’ll start using artists who don’t draw like Marc Silvestri…
If you’re wondering what DC have been up to when not stealing Marvel artists, the answer seems to be living in the past, whether it’s Neal Adams drawing a variant cover for All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #8 (As he explained later, he even reads the book. Although he doesn’t really say whether he actually like it or not… “I have followed the book, totally. My son Josh and I debate it heatedly each issue. We agree on one thing- if we didn’t think it was interesting, we wouldn’t be debating it. That, alone, is a mark of an excellent creative effort.”) or Judd Winick simultaneously reviving the 1980s and 1990s with his Teen Titans East special:
The Teen Titans East one shot deals with these characters who are not very well known, which, for me was sort of a nod to some of the real big misfires of the ‘80s and ‘90s, when they would put together some of the worst teams imaginable under the biggest banners. I think everyone who’s been a DC fan for the past 20 years has had a “This is the Justice League?” moment. So that’s where it all began, and that was the idea behind it – this would be the first chapter of a larger story that was going to bring the original team back together.
Living in the past would be a luxury to Marvel’s Spider-Man team, of course; their “Brand New Day” relaunch is planned to get them there, but only if One More Day ever finishes. As new ship dates are released for the Brand New Day launch books, Marvel attempted to keep fan anticipation going by officially releasing promo material that has been bootlegged for the last few weeks and already read by those who actually care. The lesson learned from this experience? Just put the damn comics out, already.