Comic Fodder

The Signal Watch - Week 02/13/09

Well, I apologize for posting so late this week. I was traveling for work, and the symposium I attended went late into the evenings, so time I had hoped to have at the hotel to ponder superheroic imponderables was extremely limited.

Webcomics from Marvel and DC

I want to jump right into this one because it kept crossing my mind during my proffesional symposium this week.

One of the big announcements at New York Comic-Con was that Marvel is going to be stepping its toe into online distribution of new content with a Spider-Woman web-comic that (oh, wait... Spider-Woman... web comic... did I just get that?) will be available on iTunes.

Marvel will, no doubt, misinterpret the enthusiasm regarding the announcement of the web-comics. Here's Marvel's promo.

DC launched their first motion comic a while back with Watchmen of all things, and the enthusiasm from fans has been luke-warm, as near as I can tell. With a similar distribution model as Spider-Woman, Watchmen is available via Amazon or via iTunes. It's a hugely read comic, so what's the scoop?

A quick examination of the motion comic technology suggests the first attempts at web-strips when Flash hit circa 1999 intermingled with TV quality animation. There are also voice-overs, obviously beautifully thought-out storyboarding as to how the images could flow. Its not a failure. But it also isn't comics. Not really. And its not really animation, either. At least in Watchmen's case, they've left in the word captions, which is kind of mind-boggling when they also have the narration.

I may be misinterpreting this, but this doesn't feel as if its aimed at me, the captive comic fan who has been looking for a digital alternative for my monthlies. Is it safe to assume that these comics are aimed at someone else, entirely? And if so, whom?

I am thrilled that DC and Marvel have set up iTunes relationships. And I could finally, easily justify the purchase of an iPhone were the comics to become an app there. But, honestly, I don't WANT motion comics. I don't want some low-rent voice actor reading Superman's voice, and animation. I'd much prefer to pay a portion of the cost and just use the iPhone as a reader if I'm not reading off my laptop, etc...

At this point, the genie of scanned, digital comics is out of the bottle. While I don't participate in the practice myself at all (seriously), I'm aware that pretty much anything one might want is available illegally the same day it hits the shop. The issue isn't if they want online comics. That question is answered. It also isn't whether comic fans want animated comics, which I would hazard... they don't. Its how they want to consume the comics and how much they want to pay.

Rather than DC and/ or Marvel trying to figure out ways to spend money that are neat but don't resolve the issue, its time to give the fans what they're clamoring for. Put the darn new releases online. Put it ALL online. Make it legal for them to consume your comics again.

Yes, the argument could be made that the direct market will take a hit. The reality is that the direct market has already taken that hit and that audience has already left the store to get their comics for free. The question now should be: If the price hits $3.99, how many more will walk? Anecdotally, I can't tell you how many people I know who read their comics online, but its as many or more than who are willing to pay $2.99 a pop.

The Direct Market won't disappear. Stores will continue to carry merchandise that sells, and the market will have to dictate what those items are. I'm guessing a shift to graphic novels and trades as these series are collected and comic publishers learn how to keep a run of collected editions in print (such as all the volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man).

The thing is: I don't think a word of this part of the column is a new idea. We're just waiting for DC and Marvel to quit spinning their wheels on animation and voice overs and just cut to the chase, already.

Rucka on Detective (but Batman replaced by Batwoman)

I won't say Rucka can do no wrong, but I'm a fan of the man's comics work.

At long last, he's freed poor Kathy Kane from post-52 limbo and landed her in the very high profile gig of replacing Batman in Detective Comics for a bit. And somehow they have JH Williams on art chores.

I try not to anticipate too much. You end up with heartbreak that way, but I confess to being more than a bit thrilled that this comic is going to exist.

I am wondering if the accusations that DC shied away from using the character had anything to do with her sexuality were actually true, or if we were all waiting for Rucka to blow off the steam he'd built up at DC/ Didio during 52 and finally return to his character.

Whatever the case, I look forward to this story far more than I expect to enjoy "Battle for the Cowl" or "A Few Months of Filler!"

Manga Cliffs Notes

Not much to say other than that, hey... Manga Cliffs Notes exist. This will most likely drive English teachers doubly insane.

I actually think its a good idea, but I was the kid who read the chapter in Cliffs Notes before reading the regular chapter so I could feel like I had a head start when I was plowing my way through a particularly tedious book I knew I would glaze over portions.

Which Lantern Are You?

Simon sent me this quiz. I don't think its official DCU stuff, but its still fun, nonetheless.

NYCC 2009 Highlights (for me)

I have a certain fondness for the four-legged folk of the Marvel and DC universes. So I was particularly pleased to see the announcement of Marvel's upcoming "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers". I guess my one disappointment is that DC didn't exercise this plan first with their ample possibilities for a Johnny DC Legion of Superpets comic, but... hey. This looks like something to look forward to.

Brubaker is taking on a "Marvels" project, chronicling the earliest days of Cap, the Sub-Mariner, etc... back in WWII.

Lots of changes for the Bat-titles this summer. Probably won't pick all of these up, and am suspicious of something called "Gotham City Sirens". Hope its smarter than the title.

Supeman news.

Superman Movie News

Few properties stir up such odd behavior from the press, from directors, actors and the studio as Superman. The latest news/ rumor is that Singer will depart the franchise as director and WB is looking for someone to replace him. And that someone is...

The Wachowski Brothers!

As an avid Superman fan who watched announcement after announcement from Tim Burton until the first day of shooting on Superman Returns... don't believe the hype. Don't believe any of it until the first publicity shots hit the internet.

Expect the same names to be floated, and now ancient news from the last go-round to make it as far as the mainstream press. People like McG will be named. Its going to get silly.

People will also start the project only to realize they have no feel for it or that the studio hates their idea, and that will get flushed. Its going to be a bumpy ride.

If I'm skeptical of the Wachowski's being handed the franchise, its because their last effort landed with a solid thud last summer when Speed Racer earned a whopping $44 million, and WB was upset that Superman Returns only brought in $200 million, domestically. As much money as the Matrix made for WB, you have to think they're, at best, letting the Wachowski's pitch. Just as everyone else in Hollywood will pitch their concept for the Man of Steel.

Also, anything appearing in the comments regarding "what WB needs to do with the Superman movie is", followed by your pitch... will be ridiculed.

Questions? Comments? Hate mail?

Come on, I can take it.


Ryan is an Op/Ed columnist for Comic Fodder. He keeps his comics and himself in Austin, Texas where he manages the long running blog League of Melbotis.

He likes Superman.

You can reach Ryan (aka: The League) at

I had no plans to pick up Tec but with Rucka on, W III drawing, and that kickass preview I was like 'hell yeah'. But no matter what DC says, I'd bet money that her sexuality will be almost non-referenced or will simply be a talking point for the character.

I also thot Gotham City Sirens was a dumb title (i do like the premise tho) but considering it probably started out as The Ladies of Gotham or Batman's Babes or something else equally sexist - this is DC we're talking about - I'll let it slide.

As for the Wacho-bro's, they are great directors, and apparently great producers, but they CANNOT WRITE!!

-- Posted by: David at February 16, 2009 3:26 PM

I almost think that the Wachowskis are the world's best second unit directors. I wholly agree they can't write, and I wonder how much of what I found abhorrent about "V for Vendetta" (the switch from a truly depressed, botched society to a tale of middle-class complacency resulting in mass demonstration to say... nothing) was their attempt to make the screenplay "relevant", which more or less defanged the film.

And I know I'm alone in this, but I found the first Matrix a complete mess of flat acting, dull characters, massively twisted internal logic, recycled tropes from other movies and chilled attitudes about collateral damage.

Yes, the movie looked neat, but that only takes you so far. All of the actor-on-actor scenes were unimpressive. They relied entirely upon Hugo Weaving to carry most of the scenes, and the dialogue was simply ridiculous most of the time.

So, no... I'm not thrilled to hear they're involved. We've got too many other good directors out there who don't think a 20 minute car chase scene (the only part of the other two Matrix movies I've seen) isn't tedious.

-- Posted by: Ryan at February 16, 2009 4:32 PM

Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

-- Posted by: fussball at March 2, 2009 7:05 PM