Friday, July 10, 2009

PLANET GRIFFIN introduces THE BIG BUZZ: Wednesday Comics!

PLANET GRIFFIN takes a stroll to the local comic shop seeking THE BIG BUZZ--- the latest deal on the shelves stems from none other than DC's WEDNESDAY COMICS, a 16 page newspaper format reliving the daze of the old adventure news strip comics genre not seen in decades!

I admit, the all-star lineup in this thing is really good: Azzarello & Risso on Batman, Paul Pope on Strange Adventures, Arcudi & Bermejo on Superman, Gibbons & Sook on Kamandi-The Last Boy On Earth, and so on... As far as DC generating excitement with it's Wednesday lineup, they did their job and then some... Of course, the STING of the Big Buzz lies in the cost of it's format.

It's definitely a fun read, to be sure, but $3.99 for a 16 page newspaper? Even in today's cash strapped society, paying almost 4 bucks is too much, especially considering that you're buying a Wednesday comic in a newsprint format, which means you're paying for a disposable piece of entertainment... (I don't care how well you try to preserve it) Maybe after it's initial run is completed, DC may try to compile it all in a prestige format, making that compilation a book worth buying. Until then, remember that you get what you pay for... Disposable entertainment.


John Aston said...

Haven't seen this in person, but if this format is newsprint, keep in mind how much you pay for your local paper.

Cough, cough....50 cents. And, even that number is just a arbitrary figure in newspapers. Our small-town papers are 50 cents each for 16 to 24 pages or 75 cents for 30 to 60 pages for the "big city" papers.

Maybe this will lure in us older, tactile readers who have left DC after three consecutive years of being battered by crossovers, time jumps and rainbow wars.

But, the solution is a 16-page newspaper that costs more than their Johnny DC line?

As usual, on the surface, DC confuses me.

Mdoubble said...

DC stand's for Dick Consumers it seems. I'll pass.

RodBuddah said...

@John ... I can't understand why a newspaper, DC or otherwise, should cost so much! Honestly, the talent is great, but so are the ego's that insist that we should continue shelling out THAT kind of price for a series that'll fall apart long before our common sense!

@MDouble... PLANET GRIFFIN is here to keep your knees clean and your back straight. No bending... No bending over... No overpriced garbage. Nuff said.

samax said...

i refuse to pay $4 for anything that i can read in less than an hour. it looked really cool, but as soon as i saw the price, i put it RIGHT back down.

i'm so not feeling DC and Marvel right now...

the list of $4 comics is growing. i walked into my comic shop, and only got 1 book off the new comics rack. thankfully Image still publishes several great titles for $2.99 (i caught up on back issues of "The Sword"). it's like Marvel and DC are actually TRYING to kill the comic book!

as a member of the group of shrinking fans that has put them on our backs, i take the $4 comic as an insult. a comic is not worth $3, but i was willing to pay it... but now, i'm insulted! the camel's back is broken far as i'm concerned.

Mdoubble said...

samax, you hit the nail on the head.

(warning: this mini rant may be offensive to some older viewers)

I can't think of the last time I got excited enough to buy a superhero comic (almost anything these two publisher put out). And to think back in the day, I'd buy a book if an artist I like did the cover or pinup, even if Dan Fraga did the insides.

I think about this when i go to the comic shop and walk out empty handed, 95.8% of the time. I will say, that DC and Marvel make it very easy to save money in this tough economy.

I seriously think the super hero as American comic staple and as the medium's prevailing brand is on its last legs. I don't have the nostalgia to keep me buying comics when the stories are no longer interesting...fuck characters. Super heroes have been branded as what comics are about. That's the same as saying, sitcoms are about white folks in New York, or the airbrush is about shiny objects, or the internet is about porn. With kids growing up on manga today, they also may not have the nostalgia for super heroes later and see comics as something else...a medium first. Hopefully.

On the point of price, for the price of this newspaper's 80 pages ($20), you could also get Vagabond VizBig at 600+ pages.

Or maybe i'm crazy.

samax said...


my wife will never read a superhero book, no matter how many Dark Knights or Spidermans we see at the movies. she liked the Pride and Prejudice adaptation marvel did (which was $3.99 per issue... grrr!), but it was an ad on every other page for immortal iron fist or some stupid ass video game to the point it pissed her off (lame!). Marvel and DC are fucking brain-dead.

the best superhero comics are made by indies too. Street Angel, The Sword and Invincible (hell, even savage dragon) are superior to any Marvel men-in-tights book. creative people should be making creative decisions, not suits.

John Aston said...

The content in the Wednesday Comics is beautiful, by the way (didn't buy it).

It's DC's publishing and pricing strategy that seems.....odd, at least, to me.

Isn't the Comics News a newsprint freebie?

Anyway, the direction of comics is heading towards graphic novel or digital. I think we're watching a transition taking place.

Look at the number books being published by the big two on a quicker schedule — 52, Countdown, Trinity, Spider-Man, X-Men Forever, Punisher War Zone (?) — weekly or nearly weekly. It's all about figuring a way to publish collected versions on a quicker time frame (monthly to six weeks).

On a small press side, Diamond has pretty much thrown small press under the bus as a means of national distribution into comics retail shops with its new sales requirements. Think somebody want's to gamble on a $4 or $5 small press issue to a tried and true $3 or $4 Marvel/DC/Image/Dark Horse book?

But, Samax has it right. Bored with Marvel and DC? Hunt back-issues. Check out Vertigo, Oni, Top Shelf AdHouse and small press. There really is a world of top notch comics out there that's worth discovering than waiting for disappointment next month.

John Aston said...

On a side note, manga is the worst offender of "decompressed" story telling — at $10 to $15 a 200 to 300 page volume and, quite often, nothing really happens.

At least Marvel and DC can tell a story in 180 pages.

In fairness though, and after reading the Ragu of the Red Lanterns, there's something to allowing a story to breathe and develop.

RodBuddah said...

Great talking points, all of you!
This is what people need to know, because you know Marvel and DC don't WANT them to hear it...

It's because of this right here, that PLANET GRIFFIN has now turned the corner!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Mdoubble said...

John, I'll have to respectfully disagree with your manga sentiment. I often prefer the "decompressed" pace of manga to the constipation of american comics. I'm generalizing of course, exceptions stands for all, and I'm not a fanboy either...I just like what I like. One thing I enjoy about the extra space in manga is the story feels to unfold, not be told to me like a movie pitch. I get character first and foremost. Then, something odd happens, that for some reason almost always happens with black and white manga(though Paul Pope's 100% comes to mind), I forget that I'm reading. Sounds crazy, but I just get the information and feel what the writer intends. I'm not bowled over by snappy dialogue, or stopped by gorgeous artwork or freaking ads for movies I gives a shit about. Feels like a meditation almost. I don't sweat the page count at that point. I snap out at maybe 200 pages later.

What I do like about the pacing in manga is that it feels in service to the story. If it needs to be 100 pages where "nothing" happens so be it. I want the story to dictate as much as possible, regarding style of artwork, pacing, characters, chapters, book size, etc. not some arbitrary faux marketing mobo jumbo.

Too often I feel american comics are selling me something instead of telling me a great story (and now a word from our sponsor). I know it's a business, but good stories should always be a part of the marketing plan or business decisions...hell it should be job #1.

RodBuddah said...

Manga has an interesting way of making you think about what's going on. I admit that I can easily get pulled into what's going on with the characters. American comics believe in communicating an idea as quickly and effectively as possible (Largely due to the lack of adequate attention spans)... Manga focuses on the idea in depth, allowing a moment to linger... But I digress;)

samax said...

my beef is with the feeling of being jacked for the cover price vs. a fair trade. sometimes a brisk pace serves the story, and sometimes it's just blowing of the proverbial wad. books like The Sword and Invincible do a great job of splitting the difference between screwing with you via the monthly cliffhanger, but pacing the overall story out over a larger space.

the manga format (i don't differentiate between manga made in japan and american comics that use this format) allows the story and the reader more space to breathe. some of my favorite books (including John's book "Rachel Rage") flourish in this format.

people are always telling me that trades/OGNs/manga are "more satisfying" but i have no problem with a monthly book that gives me a great deal for my hard-earned scrilla.

RodBuddah said...

There is DEFINITELY no comparison between Japanese and American manga...

...Although Shark Knife IS a fun read... Anyways, well spoken Samax.

samax said...

have you read MBQ?

or King City?

or Wet Moon?

because as much as i love Corey, he's kidding around compared to these guys.

and there is a whole lot of CRAP in the manga section alongside the masters, so lets be fair!

whatever the case, i am generally encouraged by the talent i'm seeing in comics, just not by the activity of the industries biggest employers. this SHOULD lead to a renaissance of the comicbook artrepreneur, which is actually good news for us, and i think for readers in general.