Monday, May 16, 2022

Is DC Even Trying Anymore?

DC Comics. Home to powerhouses like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash...the list goes on and on. DC started in 1934 under the name of National Allied Publications. That is 88 years ago. I was in my late 20's when they started!

They are often referred to as one of the big two (along with chief rival, Marvel Comics, home to...well, you know if you are reading this). The problem nowadays, is that DC isn't a part of the big two. Outside of the Batman family of titles, it is on life support. And not even all of the Bat titles are doing well.

If you look at the top 100 sellers in the months of January through April, this is the high-level breakdown...

January DC had 26 titles in the top 100. 20 of those were Bat titles.
February DC had 26 yet again, with 17 being Bat titles.
March saw DC completely rebound (lmao) with 27 comics in the top 100. 18 of which belonged to ol' pointy ears.
April? 33 titles! WOW. Sit down. 21 were Bat titles.

Marvel is absolutely destroying DC. Outside of Batman, DC is not doing anything right. At all. They are writing comics for themselves, not for fans, clearly. Is there a wall at DC where they just throw crap and hope something sticks? This is a business that has a clear need for someone who can lead, not just manage. Huge difference, and DC is managing just fine. They are managing crap. They do not have the leadership required to rekindle the interest in even its core characters. Look at the Superman titles. Is there an excuse for what is happening there? Yes. Plenty. Is there a REASON? Nope.

Green Lantern? My favorite character/franchise. What in the hell? It's like watching Star Trek Discovery...there are a few cool parts, but largely no one gives a $#!+. It's entirely forgettable. 

While I enjoy Marvel, I have been a DC fan my entire life (well, for as long as I've been reading comics...probably not as an infant, where my prime focus was on food and not having a squishy diaper, I mean, come on).

It's hard to blame DC. Their parent is Warner, and they colossally interfere and place executive/creative ego over solid decision making. Marvel has actual cohesion, and Image has Spawn. And other Spawn titles. And other Spawns. This may look sarcastic as I type this, but they are legit fun books and are always visually incredible. 

So what is Marvel (and Image's Spawn) doing differently? It's less event-driven and they are absolutely more true to their characters. Marvel, for example, have created "woke" characters without fully overwriting their predecessors. That is great! Comics needs more diversity. 

Side note to Marvel...the best "F you" to the people appropriating the Punisher logo is just publishing nothing but stories where Frank Castle is laying waste to fringe right-wing groups. NOT that new, stupid logo. Stop.

Consistently well-written and drawn stories, fresh, NEW characters, and not alienating an older audience (who spends way more) are just a few ideas. Focus group a diverse reader selection, regularly. At this point I won't be surprised if the next big Bat event deals with alternate Earth Batmans who are warring with each other. Batman Right vs Batman Left. That way each political spectrum is covered.

Keep politics out of comics as much as possible. Readers do not want it, regardless of what a vocal minority of fans on Twitter may say.

Anyhoo, next blog will actually be why I love DC's Nightwing comic so much. Go figure.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Neal Adams and George Perez

There is not much I can say here that has not already been said about these two heavyweights in the comic industry. Both of these men broke into
comics, in their own way, as teenagers. In the mid-60's, Adams was looking to get out of comics, and we can all be glad he didn't. His work for DC started as the weirdness of the 60's were starting to wane in comics. His realistic, gritty art style helped usher in a new wave of art to match the new wave of stories coming in. His work in 1969 at both Marvel and DC (X-Men and Batman) were arguably his first projects that would lay out a path of success that would see him become one of the top creators ever. His work on Batman, and later Green Lantern/Green Arrow, catapulted him to comics fame. GL/GA would introduce the world to social relevance in a big way. As a kid, I remember these comics, and remember being blown away by the clean, realistic art style that really stood above other artists. Adams' greatest contribution, in my opinion, wasn't his art. It was his active crusading in the industry that helped creators like Siegel and Shuster receive both credit and money for their creation. Superman. Adams cared deeply about creator's rights, and not only was he a superior artist, he had superior ethics.
George Perez was born around 13 years after Mr. Adams and really came into prominence in the late 70's. His work at Marvel and DC landed him some very high profile projects...Avengers, New Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Infinity Gauntlet, and Crisis on Infinite Earths. Like Adams, Perez had such a clean, beautiful art style that was copied by many. My personal favorite story that he illustrated was "A Lonely Place of Dying", which introduced Tim Drake to readers. Perez worked steadily until 2019, when he would retire due to health reasons. Both of these creators contributed so much to comics, and paved the way as influences to many talents. Rest in peace, gentlemen.