§ Geoff Boucher sits down with Dan DiDio for a concise talk on all the ch-changes with Batman and Superman, and the above upcoming Batman cover, which hints at a memorial for someone of some kind.

DD: Simultaneous to “Battle for the Cowl,” we’re going to be making changes in Superman’s world as well. Superman has been the star of “Action Comics” for its entire run, essentially, and he will be leaving it and handing it over to new characters. The only time he hasn’t appeared in the book, I believe, was after “The Death of Superman,” in those years. So this is a lot of fun for us. I think that’s going to get people excited and scratching their heads and wondering what’s going on. In his own book, “Superman,” there will be a dramatic turn as the hero leaves Earth and it seems like he’s leaving for good. We’ll follow his adventures in space more so than his adventures on Earth, and that’s a big and exciting thing. We’re also bringing back one of the old-time favorite titles of DC Comics, “Adventure Comics.”

§ Brian Hibbs reports that The Great Recession hasn’t yet hit sales at his shop, but there are many elements at play out there, including the continuing question of the viability of the periodical, and Marvel’s potential move into digital delivery:

I had an interesting conversation with a publisher the other day where he wondered out loud what would happen without the periodical in the superhero genre: could Marvel and DC switch to a GN-driven format for those characters?

I very much think that the answer to that is “No”. Oh, sure, you’ll always be able to sell an upscale format of an A-list creative team on A-list properties, but there are probably less than two dozen “A-list” creators, and far less than a dozen properties for whom that would be tenable. There would be a measurable market for an OGN of, say, Spider-Man. There is a much much smaller market for an OGN of Iron Man. And there’s effectively no audience for an OGN of, say, Ms. Marvel.

§ On a related note, Don MacPherson looks at what many have called a particularly unsatisfying chunk:

Marvel Comics came under fire a couple of weeks ago when it released Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1. Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Alan Davis and Adi Granov, the comic, priced at $3.99 US, featured only 16 pages worth of story, and the rest of the issue was fleshed out with “bonus material.” That material took the form of Ellis’s scripts and rough breakdowns from the artists. Fans were incensed, as the inflated cover price certainly didn’t seem merited. I bought and read the issue in question as well, and I have to agree.

§ This week’s generic “Graphic novels come of age” story comes courtesy of the Toledo Blade, and it’s a good blueprint for important themes, increasing sales, blah blah, but it also includes a cute cartoon by Svetlana Chmakova (above) setting it far above the pack.

The genre is “… one of the ‘hottest’ and most engaging contemporary art mediums currently stimulating widespread interest and dialogue,” writes Jacqueline S. Nathan, BGSU gallery director.

The exhibit isn’t all capes and fists nor endearing creatures with wide eyes. A variety of protagonists in decades-worth of original drawings by 14 storytellers are represented in these mostly black-and-white images. A copy of each artist’s book is displayed on pedestals adjacent to their drawings.

§ Here is one politician who REALLY reads comics: Rep. Jason Mumpower, expected to take over as speaker of the Tennessee State House.

His love of comic books — he has about 17,000 in his collection — also sets him apart. He calls himself a voracious reader, with more than 15 magazine subscriptions, and listens to books on tape on the 300-mile trip back to Bristol.

Bonus: Is Mumpower not the best name ever for a Bond villain?

§ Speaking of which, middling reviews and a vocabulary-building title did not prevent QUANTUM OF SOLACE from having a huge $70 mil opening, the biggest ever for a Bond movie.


  1. Dropping Superman from Action Comics. WTF. I’m sure that will send sales of Action soaring to Blue Beetle levels of success, since the market clearly hungers for more books that do NOT feature Superman or Batman. Superman in Space. Wow, what a fresh idea. I wonder why no one has ever done that before. I haven’t been this excited about Superman comics since they made him an electric blue elemental thingy. These DC people are frickin geniuses.

    When I went to the theater this weekend to see Quantum of Solace, the theater had the movie listed only as “Bond” — they didn’t even try to sell tickets that said “Quantum of Solace.” I guess that strategy worked pretty well for them.

  2. Well, DC’s extraterrestrial corner of the multiverse has been neglected of late. It’s fertile ground for storytelling, and the last time, during Supe’s exile, Mongol followed him back. And look what happened then…

    That said… not too long ago, DC did an involved storyline where the big heroes disappeared from public view. How did that turn out?

    As for Action, Adventure, and DC Comics, I’d make them anthologies, perhaps using a structure similar to Superman Family, where related characters have separate adventures, but they intertwine occasionally. You can even feature the occasional C-list character, either as a cameo, or a backup story.

    Frankly, I’d like to see DC do something like Shonen Jump, where they put out a big thick magazine in black-and-white, featuring new and old stories, and then publish the stories in color when collected into trade paperbacks. (In other words, use the old DC Digest model, but regular size, with some new material, but on cheaper paper.)

  3. “Frankly, I’d like to see DC do something like Shonen Jump, where they put out a big thick magazine in black-and-white, featuring new and old stories.”


    Great idea, so of course DC will never do it.

  4. Based on this report from the latest Lying in the Gutters:

    “Morrison is not the only person having difficulties with DiDio’s direction. I understand that James Robinson and Dan had a stand up argument that led to Robinson quitting the Superman books and the DCU in general.”

    I’d guess that Mr. Robinson was also not too impressed with the new “direction” for Superman. A great shame, as he is a terrific writer and I was really enjoying his work on Superman.

  5. THE BEAT didn’t make it a news item after being clued in, but the Batman article in USA TODAY today was discussed on the Stern show this morning. Predictably, it was mostly jokes about “Neil Gay-Man” writing Batman, most of which you can pretty much extrapolate. :>

  6. Why bother calling it Action Comics if it’s just a Superman book? Only reason all of the other Superman books have been cancelled instead of this one is because of its history. If DC wants 2 Superman books, I suggest they make another one and allow Action Comics to be the book where new and interesting things happen every month where Superman occasionally makes an appearance. Pulling Superman out of Action was a long time coming, and I think it’s a good move. However, I won’t be buying it, but I applaud the effort.

    Everybody seems to love making DiDio a villain. He probably doesn’t have the same free reign that Joe Quesada has at Marvel, and both of them have to answer to shareholders at the end of the day. Yelling at your boss solves nothing except it sometimes just makes you feel better. It’s like the JMS/Quesada argument. All reporting this stuff does is get Rich Johnston’s column some hits. It’s called work-for-hire. If a writer wants control over a character, Robert Kirkman would be happy to welcome them to Image Comics.

    … or maybe it doesn’t bother me because I don’t really give a crap about Marvel or DC.

  7. Didio doesn’t have to answer to shareholders. DC isn’t a publicly traded company, but instead a subsidiary of Time Warner. Instead he probably answers to someone up in the chain of command up there who doesn’t seem to tie job performance with sales.

  8. Time Warner is a publicly traded company, so yes he does have to answer to shareholders.

    I never meant to impy that DC was publicly traded. I was only pointing out that neither company was actually run by the EIC but in fact other people who only care about money.