Comic Fodder

The Signal Watch - 03/31/2009

Let's do this thing, shall we?

DC Ups Price, Adds Content

I am fundamentally not against DC upping the price on titles if there's an increase in content. I've long hoped for DC to turn back the clock and bring back the formula. It worked well with series such as the post-Infinite Crisis title "Tales of the Unexpected" which wound up carrying the sub-feature "Architecture and Morality", which was tied to a less than spectacular, if servicable, Spectre story.

The burden, of course, is pairing the right characters. And not wind up in a situation where the back-up feature is more desirable than the lead, throwing the cost per feature out of whack for any duration. A good example of what may be a nice balancing act is the addition of Blue Beetrle to Booster Gold. I was never in danger of dropping Booster Gold, and giving Jaime Reyes another shot as Blue Beetle makes the $3.99 price point seem very reasonable (provided Sturges ups the ante on his take on Beetle. Big shoe sto fill on that one, in my opinion).

But, of course, if you're a huge Metal Men fan, and you loathe Doom Patrol, are you paying $4 for a comic of which you only wish to read 25%?

DC doesn't usually display a huge bit of wisdom in these areas, so its still far too early to tell if this is going to work out, but I'm thrilled to see they're giving it a try. And its a step closer to a format I'd personally prefer to pick up every month, and that's the anthology.

Speaking of...

Wednesday Comics

As much as I'm dreading the storage of Wednesday Comics, which I perceive will fall into the shelf next to other awkwardly sized comics I pick up, such as Mouse Guard... Wednesday Comics is an odd beast, isn't it?

We were all talking eComics or iComics or what-have-you one week, and then the next week, we're all clamoring for a return to the newspaper insert broadsheet, which comics were most famous for walking away from in the 1930's? As excited as I am at the prospect of an anthology with a larger canvas upon which the characters can play, I'm sort of unsure what it says that DC's latest publishing venture is not looking at developing a digital delivery system (or digital preservation system) but that they're harkening back to the days of newsboys and Hoovervilles (which may be all too appropriate).

Undoubtedly, someone at DC is trying to make A Point regarding the magic of the printed page versus the viability of the mobile device, and I'm not going to say there isn't A Point to be made.

But at the end of the day, format is one thing, content is another. I'm hopeful in regards to content, but with the anthology format, I sort of know I'll be lucky if half the features are my cup of tea. At the same time, I like having the cost of content which I'd be on the fence about rolled into an anthology so I can keep up or at least check it out without dropping $3.00.

I look forward to seeing if the artists and writers are able to stretch beyond their usual modus operandi and take advantage of the change in medium/ format. I have visions of what a JH Williams, an Eisner or his ilk would do with the space, and I am, admittedly, skeptical in regards to whether we'lll see that or not.

What would McCloud say...?

The Complicated World of Valerie D'Orazio

Famed comics blogger Valerie D'Orazio is performing one of the more impressive slo-mo blogicides you're likely to see in this life or any other. It seems she's ready to shut down her site, Occasional Superheroine, and move her blogging to a new URL. While its unclear what will be different as of yet (less comics heavy content seems to be the early indication), the new site is up and publishing.

The Signal Watch salutes D'Orazio as she rides off less into the sunset and more over a hilltop and into another movie. We aren't always sure she did a great job of separating "the truth" from "her opinion". We'll be honest and say we think she should have just named names. And we recommend she not take criticism as an attack on "the truth", her health, etc... when she's chosen to make a side-career out of public punditry.

Especially when her final act on Occasional Superheroine was to try to make a go of selling her memoirs.

I don't know exactly what strikes me as so sublime about that decision, but it seemed like the perfect send-off, in many ways, to what this reader saw as the ongoing theme of the blog after the initial push via "Goodbye to Comics".

We wouldn't write so much about D'Orazio if we didn't find her a fascinating personality with insight and opinions we found often frustrating as often as we found ourselves nodding in agreement. Someday somebody needs to option Occasional Superheroine for treatment in some media. There's a narrative arc there that I don't think you could just make up. Or at least enough content for research for some master's candidate in psychology.

Best of luck to her with her assignment on Cloak & Dagger, the new blog(s), and whatever else D'Orazio takes on.

Watchmen Hype is Over

Are we officially done with Watchmen? I think so. There was a huge line for "I Love You, Man" at my local theater Sunday evening, but none for Watchmen. I'll leave it to Travis to analyze box office, but it can't have been good.

Look forward to all the deeply discounted Watchmen merchandise at your local Hot Topic.

Faces of Evil Event

I confess that life has recently got in the way of me making it through my comics at the rate required not to have piles of comics stacking up around the house, so I tried to make a dent this weekend. I made it through the "Faces of Evil" one-shots, including "Solomon Grundy", "Deathstroke" and "Prometheus". All seemed like the first issue of a mini-series or set-up issue for a multi-issue storyline in an ongoing, which is fine. I'd gather DC is testing the waters for marketability of a series based on their more enduring villains, and I believe we've got the Scott Kollins Grundy already on the shelf.

I'm not a huge Titans fan, and mayhaps that's my problem, and while I like the design of Deathstroke's costume, too, I just am not quite as fascinated by the character as DC wants me to be (and find his fascination with junior superheroes a little unseemly). At some point, the character has been made so flawless, he's beginning to live up to the accusations some make about Superman... he's just not very interesting. He's supposedly the world's greatest assassin, who can pinpoint the weak point in rocket-proof glass by eye-balling it, but he can't seem to ever kill anyone stamped as a protagonist in a story. Even if they're children.

I'm not sure Grundy can actually carry a mini-series with Kollins as writer, so I will wait to hear reviews on that before buying. The one shot was a good "Secret Origins" style make-over, courtesy Johns. And at this point in the DCU, if every character hasn't had a definitive origin story penned by Johns, they should. We can use the continuity.

I confess that I was actually a little fascinated with Sterling Gates' take on Prometheus. Should be more surprised, but I believe he's Geoff Johns' Padawan at the moment.

I'm not sure I'd read a Prometheus ongoing. Scratch that... I know I wouldn't. But with DC's new "back up feature" structure... Maybe there's something there.

All that said, I still have no idea what the "Faces of Evil" month event was on about other than a marketing research experiment gone awry and a weird attempt to have somewhat similar looking covers in the DC section at your LCS.

A Bat-Question

What incriminating evidence does Judd Winick have on Dan Didio? Why has DC returned the man whose contributions to the Bat-Universe included the resurrection of Jason Todd and the creation of The ScareBeast back to Batman in the June solicitations?

DC, I want to buy your comic called "Batman", but you can't make me NOT want to buy it.

Also, does anyone really believe anybody but Dick Grayson will be in the bat-suit until Batman returns from the past/ another Earth?

Me either.

Also... Gotham City Sirens? Really? Mr. Dini, if you're going to insist, I must ask that you make sure its not skeevy. Can we get a handle on our cover artists, please?

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 like the concept of the Sirens title but I worry about having too many lead characters will keep the stories from feeling like anything but an anthology.

-- Posted by: David at April 6, 2009 3:58 PM

Oh - and DC fails to mention that the lead feature is now only 20 pages, not 22, even though the co-feature is now 10 pages, upped from the standard 8.

-- Posted by: David at April 6, 2009 4:00 PM