Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's The End Of The War As We Know It ,,,

.... and I feel fine.

It's the WeboComicsBlogoNet buzz today, what all the cool kids are talking about in their fancy virtual soirees. Graeme, Heidi, Johanna, Ragnell, Brian Hibbs, and many more that I've already lost track of are reacting with surprise, dismay, and indignation.

For retailers: yes. Yes, yes, yes. This is a financial disaster in the making, as the title that's establishing a new ceiling for comic sales starts shipping aeons late, and drags a big chunk of Marvel's product line with it. As a retailer, I'd be furious.

But I'm not a retailer. So I am not furious. As a reader, I'm supposed to be indignant? To point and laugh? To make comparisons to 52?

Whatever the problems are, let's take the lateness for granted. That ship has sailed. So the options are delays, or replacements. McNiven's work has been astounding in Civil War, and is the single note where the 52 comparisons go awry. Sure, 52 is on time ... but it's not in the same universe as what McNiven's doing. Quality art takes time, and the 52 shop has obviously made one decision and Marvel the other.

Ideally, Civil War would be running on time. But if not, and I'd rather wait for Millar/McNiven then get immediate gratification from a Bart Sears fill-in.

It's easy to take potshots at the Big Two as assembly-line comics that exist solely to service trademarks and provide a monthly hit., always sacrificing art for the bottom line. Were Marvel to anounce replacements, the cry would ring out that they are "out to make a cheap buck". Marvel here is making the choice towards keeping an artistic vision intact, and still can't win.


markus said...

they can win. They just don't because we're hearing they started with a 1 month lead time*, underestimated the workload** and chose not to tell anyone until way to late***.
All of which anyone with an ounce of competence could avoid.
That Marvel didn't is a clear sign of their priorities and lack of professionalism.

* due to (i) having to "top" IC after the HoM desaster and (ii) a change of plan/storyline late in the run.
** alternatively, maybe it really totally surprised them that a book involving half the MU contains more characters and thus is more work.
*** as Millar tells it, the problems were visible from the beginning. Even assuming CW had to start when it did for competition purposes, announcing the move to a bimonthly schedule early (say, around #2) would have allowed for a smooth change of plans. Dropping the bomb a day before #4 is supposed to be in stores is ... well, let's say it's what little kids do when they're afraid to admit they made a mess.

CalvinPitt said...

I'm not actually buying Civil War, so it's being late, by itself, doesn't bother me much.

It's that Marvel is pushing back the release dates of other books that ARE on time. So I have to wait an extra month for Amazing Spider-Man because McNiven can't get his art for Civil War done on time?

That's what irritates me.

nicholas danger said...

Screw Civil War, NEXTWAVE came out today, and that supercedes ALL.

James said...

I think you make some really good points here, however I think they miss what is really driving the rage around the Civil War delays. As you say Civil War is coming out late and that is now a fact that we have to accept, however I think most people are pissed because of the huge monkey wrench this has thrown into the rest of Marvel's publishing schedule.

I am not reading Civil War for various reasons, including the terrbile job done with HoM and the fact that there is only so much of Millar's political screaming at me I can take, however because of a snafu somewhere most of the Marvel books I do read are going to get delayed as well? That's just crap. Even though Marvel is making the correct decision in delaying them to preserve the storyline they should not have allowed themselves to be put ion this position in the first place. If Marvel wanted to put out a universe-spanning book which would have ramifications for EVERY title they needed to plan better. Whether this means they hold off until they have enough issues in hand to prevent this sort of thing from happening or plan from the get go to have issues come out every six weeks or two months to give McNiven time to turn out the high-quality work he has been doing on Civil War.

Rather than just breaking the Civil War series the snafu has broken all of the major players for Marvel except the X-Men. That's the problem.

Mark Fossen said...

markus -

Good points, though I'm not sure - unless the whole plan was structured aound bimonthlies - that an earlier announcement would have helped at all.
mr. danger -

You are correct.
james & calvin -

Such are the perils of a shared universe. I like it this way, when line-wide events really are line-wide. The alternative is ignoring the main developments in other series, or (gasp!) throwing in fill-in issues.

I remember the original Crisis, and felt disappointed that in many of the books, the influence was negligible. I like a tightly interconnected universe in my Big Two - it's one of the things they bring to the table. In order to do that, everything affects everything else.

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