Posts Tagged ‘Before Watchmen’

Upset About The Lack Of Adam Hughes’ All Star Wonder Woman? It Seems It’s All Before Watchmen’s Fault

June 28, 2013

wwhughes

Before the Earth One books, All Star was the designation for alternate takes on our favourite heroes.  We got All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder by Frank Miller and Jim Lee starting in 2005 and then shipping ridiculously late with 10 issues over the next 3 years, and then All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely starting in 2006.  There were rumours of future All Star series, like an All Star Batgirl by Geoff Johns and J.G. Jones, but if I recall correctly the only other officially announced title was All Star Wonder Woman, written and drawn by Wonder Woman cover artist extraordinaire, Adam Hughes.

Then it never happened.  We’d get sporadic updates that it was being worked on and coming along, but now 7 years later it hasn’t seen print and the All Star line has been dead for some time.  So what killed the book?

According to Bleeding Cool, it was DC’s lack of interest in more All Star books and their undying passion to make Before Watchmen happen.  Adam Hughes’ partner Allison Sohn posted in the Bleeding Cool forums:

All-Star was not as successful a series of titles as they’d hoped, and they suggested Adam replace All-Star Wonder Woman in his exclusive contract with Before Watchmen. This was 2 or 3 years before Before Watchmen was announced. There’s so much of this stuff that goes on behind the scenes that we never talk about, and in fact often can’t talk about. In my brief experience being involved in comics, I’ve found that whatever something looks like on the surface (in comics, at least) it’s never, ever that simple.

This is yet another reason that Before Watchmen is one of the worst things to happen to comics.  Yeah, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but All Star Wonder Woman would have been such a lovely book!  DC pulled Hughes off All Star Wonder Woman ages ago in anticipation of eventually putting him on a Before Watchmen book years down the road because if there’s two things DC loves to do it’s ignoring Wonder Woman and infuriating Alan Moore.  And now with Wonder Woman: Earth One on the horizon, it seems extremely unlikely that we’ll see Adam Hughes on any kind of Wonder Woman book in the near future.

Oh well.  Even if DC did announce Hughes on a new Wonder Woman book, they’d just cancel it and put him on Before V For Vendetta or something.

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Wonder Woman Sales: #10 Down Slightly, But Comparatively Not Too Bad

July 12, 2012

June was a very weird month for DC Comics.  Four Before Watchmen series debuted, to very good numbers, but those sales seemed to be partially at the expense of all of their other books.  Almost everything else plummeted in June!!  Compared to the big losses across the board, Wonder Woman’s slight declines actually end up looking pretty good.  In June 2012, Wonder Woman #10 sold 47,229 copies for 37th place on the charts, a drop of 3.1% from last month.  Here are the numbers for the issue, and the five issues previous:

NOTE: The average sales total is based on all of the available sales data, which currently comprises every issue of the series since September 1996, for 182 issues in total.  The average rank isn’t given because rank is dependent on what other books came out that month, and that’s such a variable that an average really wouldn’t mean anything.

While drops in both categories isn’t what you want to see, this was a decent month for Wonder Woman.  Yes, it fell two spots on the charts, but there were SIX new numbers ones ahead of it.  Wonder Woman may have slid down a bit, but several books slid much further.

In fact, if we look at just DC’s comic books, Wonder Woman was actually UP.  The book was 20th in May, and rose to 19th in June.  And again, there were four new Before Watchmen series from DC that premiered ahead of Wonder Woman, so it jumped a bunch of other series.

Most of this was a Night of the Owls sales bump aftermath.  Books like Batgirl, Catwoman, and Red Hood and the Outlaws saw big gains last month with the crossover event, and lost sales at percentages well into double digits in June.  And this wasn’t just for the lower-selling Bat-books either… all of the top-selling Bat-books other than Batman itself lost over 10% of their sales.

There were also expected second issue drops for the two bestselling new series DC launched in May.  Both Batman Inc. #2 and Earth 2 #2 were down over 20%.

Bizarrely, several other series lost big percentages for seemingly no good reason.  Action Comics #10 was down 9.1%, Green Lantern #10 fell 8%, and Superman #10 and Teen Titans #10 were both down over 5%.  Of DC’s Top 25 books, only Aquaman #10 fell less than Wonder Woman #10.  Surrounded by double digit losses all over the place, Wonder Woman’s 3.1% decline seems pretty decent.

When you look at the rest of the books, Wonder Woman did really well in June.  If it had fallen in the 8-9% range, we wouldn’t have been too worried because everything fell like crazy this month.  But Wonder Woman did even better, sliding down only a little while everything else slid down a lot.  Of course, we always want Wonder Woman to go up, but in such a calamitous month across the board for DC (apart from Before Watchmen killing it, of course) this is really quite a good showing.

Plus, Wonder Woman is still WAY ahead of its historical average.  Amusingly, the strong sales keep pulling the historical average up each month, like the declining sales and increasing average are trying to meet in the middle.  It’ll be a while before they meet, though, barring some sort of sales collapse.

Prediction For Next Month: I’m on a bit of a not predicting terribly roll!!  After being off by only 300 issues last month, this month I did a smidge worse and was 301 issues off.  It’s no bullseye, but given how bad I was doing before, I’ll take it!!  After two months over 3%, maybe I’ll be a little optimistic and hope the book is starting to level off.  I’m going to predict that Wonder Woman #11 drops about 2.8%, for sales of 45,900.  Check back next month to see how I did!!

Before Watchmen Begins Tomorrow OR Five Comics To Try Instead

June 5, 2012

It’s dumb to make a big deal about something you’re not buying, but seeing as Before Watchmen starts tomorrow I got to wondering what else is coming out that people could get instead?  And if not instead, than in addition to… it’s always good to be inclusive, even when those you’re including are clearly evil fiends who hate creator’s rights.  I jest, of course.  I don’t care if you buy Before Watchmen or not, but seeing as it’s going to get folks in the shops tomorrow, in outrage or excitement, here are some other books that might be worth checking out:

Fairest #4 by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez

There are a few DC books worth picking up tomorrow (Dial H #2 and Earth 2 #2 especially), but recommending DC books seems a little contrary to my theme here.  However, Vertigo isn’t so bad.  Here’s the solicit:

What is it with the Snow Queen and her love of/addiction to stories? And how does that little blue bottle imp plan to take advantage of her weakness? Can he really spin a tale so compelling that the evil queen of ice and sorrow will willingly let them all go in peace? Let’s find out as we hear the rest of Sleeping Beauty’s tale, and learn how Ali Baba ended up stranded in this bleak and snowy world.

It’s a super good book, and so very pretty with the Jimenez art.  Plus it ties into Fables, and EVERYBODY loves Fables.  So give it a look, and pick up the first three if you haven’t yet.  You’ve been missing out.

Secret #2 by Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim

You can never go wrong with a Hickman Image book.  His Marvel stuff is weird and cool, but he definitely kicks it up a notch on the crazy scale when left to his own devices.  Check out the solicit:

We learn the secret past of the Steadfast Security’s chief operator as clues begin to appear regarding the mysterious KODIAC protocols. Someone gets out of jail, someone gets divorced, someone comes home dead. Check out the next chapter of the most thrilling new series of the year, SECRET #2: NEVER GET CAUGHT!

Plus it’s only the second issue, so you can grab the first one too and get caught up!!  It’s worth a read… this Hickman kid is going places.

Creator-Owned Heroes #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Phil Noto, and Kevin Mellon

What’s more hilarious than buying a book called Creator-Owned Heroes the day Before Watchmen starts?  You can laugh at the irony of that all day.  Plus it features a bunch of fantastic creators, and you get TWO stories in one book.  Some info for you:

The world ended a long time ago. How it happened exactly and what exists in the wasteland have always been a mystery. Now Chloe, Gil and a gang of rebels have escaped the last human stronghold and are blazing across Post-Apocalypse America in search of paradise.

And it’s a first issue, so there’s no catching up needed.  Who doesn’t love a post-apocalyptic story?

Extermination #1 by Simon Spurrier and Jeffrey Edwards

The post-apocalypic theme continues with this new first issue from Boom!, on sale tomorrow for only a dollar!!  That’s a sweet deal.  The solicit:

We Lost. They Won. In the wake of an apocalyptic alien invasion, the world’s greatest super-heroes and deadliest super-villains must form an alliance to prevent their own extermination. Two arch-enemies, Nox, a driven hero, and Red Reaper, a ruthless villain, form a volatile partnership for the greater good. The enemy of your enemy is your friend – but will they be able to ultimately put aside their bitter past to prevent global genocide? What happens when all the battle lines are redrawn and foes become unlikely allies in a desperate war for the fate of the very planet – and the outcome of a species? Written by Simon Spurrier (X-Club, Fear Itself: The Home Front, Wolverine: Dangerous Games), Extermination is a superhero survival story by an author that boldly explores the dark crevices of an entire genre.

Enemies becoming friends!!  Alien invasion!!  Dark crevices!!  That’s got to be worth a buck. 

Higher Earth #1 by Sam Humphries and Francesco Biagini

This is a reprint of the sold out first issue that premiered a month ago, written by the man poised to be Marvel’s newest superstar, Sam Humphries.  And it sounds COOL:

You Are Illegal On This Earth. Space is dead. Why conquer other planets when there’s a perfectly good Earth in the universe next door? Heidi, a girl born in garbage. Rex, a soldier gone rogue. The only thing between them and their destiny is an empire of a hundred different Earths, across a hundred alternate timelines. One majestic planet dominates them all: Higher Earth. Created and written by Sam Humphries (Fanboys Vs. Zombies) Higher Earth is his sci-fi follow up to last year’s indie hit Our Love Is Real, a fast-paced epic of infinite possibilities.

If you think a post-apocalyptic earth is fun, wait’ll you read some stories about the multiverse.  And again, it’s sweet irony getting a book about multiple Earths when Before Watchmen literally takes place on another Earth within the DC universe.  Plus it’s only a dollar too!!  How can you pass up these bargains?

So if you’re at the shop tomorrow, shamefully buying Before Watchmen: Minutmen #1 (again, I jest) or protesting it’s existence and annoying the staff, take a look around and check out these books.  And all of the other ones too.  There are a lot of great creators out there telling cool stories and building their own worlds, so track some down and try a few!!

Before Watchmen Is Coming OR This Is Just Dumb

February 1, 2012

So they’re doing some Watchmen prequels.  Seven of them in fact, starting in Summer 2012.  Now, we all knew this was coming… this was the worst kept secret in comics.  We even knew a bunch of the creative teams.  But now it’s officially here and we can talk about it like it a real thing.

First off, and this is a completely random and not at all deep point, you do a prequel to the most famous graphic novel of ALL time and the best name you can come up with is Before Watchmen?  That’s just super boring.  You should have done some more brainstorming on that one, DC.

Second, I don’t like this.  I mean, I’m not going to cry to the heavens for Glycon to come and rain vengeance upon the folks at DC.  I’m not angry about it.  It just seems entirely uncalled for, and I’m sort disappointed in DC and, if I’m being totally honest, in the creators too.

These aren’t stories that need to be told.  The Watchmen prequels were IN Watchmen.  I’ve read the book a million times… I know what happened to everyone before the main story because it’s in there.  I really don’t need to know anything more about Rorshach or Nite Owl or anyone else.  I’ve got a rather well-rounded sense of them as characters.  I don’t know how much of the new series are going to be rehashes that expand on things already shown in the original, but I know the important bits of each character’s story.  I don’t need four issues of Dr. Osterman doing fun physics work or whatever they’re going to do.  The relevant bits of all of their stories have been told.  The idea of Watchmen prequels is just dumb.

I understand why Alan Moore is irked about it, though I’m not against the prequels on his behalf.  Alan Moore is amazing and pretty much the best comic book writer of all time so maybe we shouldn’t be doing shitty things with his awesome books all the damn time, but he doesn’t own Watchmen nor did he originate the characters.  They’re Charlton characters that he repurposed… none of them are his original creation.  Plus Moore’s done stories with tons of other creators’ characters, and these creators have gotten screwed over way worse than he has.  I mean, Moore’s written Superman… Siegel and Shuster had it FAR worse than Moore ever did.  Other people getting to play with the cool stuff you build is what happens when you do work for hire at a major publisher.

But what most bothers me about Before Watchmen is that it’s so obviously a money grab.  Yeah, I know all us nerds are freaking out on Twitter and forums and such, but they’re going to sell like hotcakes.  I think it’s a completely ridiculous idea, but I’ll probably still check out a couple of them.  The sales are going to be HUGE.  And then huger still when they’re released as collections.  Which on the one hand is smart… companies need to make money.  But on the other hand, is it the right kind of money?

Here’s what I mean: Lots of cities and states have been facing some harsh budget shortfalls lately during the recession, so they’ve started selling stuff.  Parks, building, parking meters… they’re cleaning everything out to balance the budget for THIS year.  In a lot of cases, they’re trading long term guaranteed income for a short term windfall (like with parking meters).  The result is that the budget will work out this year, but then next year you’ve got the same problems and nothing left to sell.

I feel like DC is doing the same thing.  They’re going after a short term money grab instead of a long term investment.  Before Watchmen is a limited bunch of series.  They’ll sell well as single issues and as trades, but it’ll peter off pretty quick after that.  There are a lot of good creators on the books, to be sure, but let’s face it: There’s not going to be a second Watchmen here.  The prequels won’t have anywhere near the longevity of the original.  But DC will make a lot of money right now. 

Here’s the thing: SO much effort is going to go into these prequels… these are big name creators, and you know DC is going to advertise like mad.  It’ll be a pricey big push on their end to put the books out there, which they’ll easily recoup.  But then what?  They make some money this year and that’s the end of it.

So what if they got big name creators to come up with new ideas that target new readers, and put some solid money behind that instead?  That could pay off for ages, with new characters and series and a broader audience.  Don’t put Brian Azzarello on some Rorshach prequel… put the advertising money behind the next 100 Bullets.  Don’t have Darwyn Cooke write a Silk Spectre book… invest in a cool and interesting take on a side character that gets you the new Catwoman.  Do new things and grow the brand instead of putting so much effort into a limited cash windfall.

I know that sounds very pie in the sky, but remember this: Watchmen wasn’t created to be the most famous graphic novel of all time.  It was just some maxi-series they did in the 80s, with no real expectations.  It came out of an environment where talented creators were given room to try out new things, with the support of their publisher.  And now, because of that, a) DC’s been making money for AGES off of it, b) comics have become a respected medium, and c) the bar was set higher for everyone, resulting in better comics.  Everybody wins!!

DC hasn’t been thinking long term lately.  Their recent relaunch was a lot like these prequels, a momentary burst aimed at the people who buy their stuff already, and the relaunch is already losing steam only five months in.  There are other examples too (PUT YOUR SHOWS ON NETFLIX, DC!!  GET THE KIDS HOOKED NOW!!) but I’ve blathered on long enough.  My point is that short term money grabs are not a sustainable way to run things.  It’s exciting to have something new and crazy every few months, with a flurry of discussion and anticipation and all of that, but slow and steady wins the race.  Before Watchmen is unnecessary as a story, and their money and support could be much better used elsewhere.

Finally, these books are going to be SUPER late, right?  Lee Bermejo, Jae Lee, Adam Hughes, J.G. Jones, and Amanda Conner are all fantastic artists, but they aren’t known for their speed.  The final issues of some of these minis might be coming out in 2014.


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