More from that USA Today article:
“If we have a cellphone and we’re texting on it, we are a cyborg”, said Geoff Johns.
Jim Lee then leaned over to Johns and quietly explained that that wasn’t how cyborgs worked and asked if he was sure he knew what the word “cyborg” meant.
Johns then sullenly left the room.
If you want to read some really real, grown-up-type talk on the whole DCU reboot thingy, you should go read Brian Hibbs’ latest over at Savage Critics. Lots of good points brought up there.
From the USA Today story:
“And while it will ultimately boast 14 members, at its core will be DC’s A-list do-gooders: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman.”
A DC representative then quickly added, “Oh! And the black guy! There’s a black guy!”
I’m hoping DC has the cajones to do a real universal reboot. They might pick up new readers; older ones like me will stick on; it’s the middling ones, the ones who can’t imagine a world without a “Nightwing”, who might bolt. But DC has got to do something to make their stories more accessible. Mainstream comics have long since given up on the principle that “every comic is someone’s first”; instead they cling desperately to the principle that “this comic must NOT be someone’s last!” This gives us an endless cascade of ‘can’t miss’ cliffhangers to keep dying addicts addicted, rather than an endless parade of new stories to keep new readers interested. That parade is EXACTLY why fans love most of the multi-media versions of the DCU: stories that are enriched by having knowledge of DC history, but not dependent on it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if DC were bold and brave enough to take that approach to their monthly comics? I think it’s time.” —via The Absorbascon
Sometimes I go through phases of really believing that cape comics have a chance of evolving and sticking around, rather than navel-gazing their way into oblivion. And then I see the sales charts and find out that John Rozum and Frazer Irving’s Xombi shipped 12k and get depressed and bitter. Twelve thousand is pretty bad, particularly in today’s crappy comics market.
I keep forgetting that the echo chamber that is the people I correspond with isn’t made of the traditional direct market consumer.
Cape comics fans don’t want new, or diverse, or fresh, or even really interesting. They want what they have always had, but maybe slightly different from the last time. Maybe a new face, but not too new, in some old clothes, or an old face back from the dead and a little sexier.
David Finch’s incredibly ugly, boring, and awful The Dark Knight came in at #4, and a couple books saw sales spikes for Reign of Doomsday.
This is the comics industry we’ve built, and it’s gross.
David Brothers, 4th Letter!
At first, I wondered if maybe 12,000 in sales wasn’t so bad. It was around Sweet Tooth’s sales, another stellar series that gets high ratings, but seems to only bring in under 10,000 in sales. Given that few books have grossed over 100,000 in sales since November 2010 and the general decline of the industry as a whole, I thought this was to blame. And I do think that is a factor, but not the entirity of the problem.
Looking at April 2011 sales, Xombi #2 dropped down to 8,345 in sales from its first issue sales of 12,035. Which is immensely disappointing, given that Xombi #1 is so freaking good. No, I mean, seriously. I wasn’t a fan of Frazier Irving’s art on Batman, but it is so perfect for this series. And it’s funny and different. I can’t recommend this book enough. And it was very highly reviewed. I want to see this series make it beyond a year. I want to see this series make it.
Why are the sales so low? Is it a lack of publicity/promotion* coupled with general lack of fan interest? *And I should add, there were interviews with John Rozum and news when Xombi #1 came out, and there were previews of both issues so far.
My concern is now the news of Static Shock ongoing being cancelled — is this DC looking at the sales of Milestone character Xombi and deciding it’s not worth it? That one will dictate how the other sells? And then to throw up their hands and say, “Well, we tried.”
Like I said above, Xombi is great. Please give it a shot. Trust me, it’s worth it. If not, you can complain all you want, but at least just try it out.
Sweet Tooth, and other Vertigo series, usually perform well in trade paperback collections, so DC can afford to print the monthlies at somewhat of a loss, knowing they’ll make money back on the trades. Xombi, on the other hand, will probably not sell a whole lot more in a trade than it’s currently doing in monthly format, so if it’s losing money as a monthly and won’t recoup some of that loss in trade, why keep it going?
And I don’t think the problem is lack of promotion. I think the problem is that the market has shrunk to the point where there are roughly 50,000 hardcore comics fans who like the same 10-20 characters and buy their titles because they “matter.” Everybody else is either a small enough minority that their dollars don’t make a dent (A big “Hello,” to my fellow Thor: the Mighty Avenger and Nextwave fans!) or have been priced out and moved on to other forms entertainment for their geek fix. So these 50K guys, they drive the market, and a look at the buying habits of this group is any indication, a book’s quality is less important than its perceived “importance” in the larger schema of whichever of the imagined universes they pledge allegiance to.
Would it have made sense to launch Xombi as a Vertigo book to appeal to that smaller, but equally devoted, audience? Maybe. I know I’ll check out a book solely because it has the Vertigo logo on the cover and I would guess that there’s a contingent of comics readers that thinks the same way. It makes sense to me, as Xombi is definitely closer in spirit to, say, iZombie or Hellblazer than it is to Green Lantern Corp; but Milestone is DC’s baby and so therefore, a book that falls between the stools of DC and Vertigo got dropped in the DC pool and expected to swim like the big kids or drown.
I picked up Xombi because of good reviews from the “echo chamber” Brothers mentions and the fact that I really, really dig Frazier Irving’s art. (And I have the copies of Iron Man: the Inevitable to prove it.) But I’m not shocked that a non-superhero book starring a relatively unknown character who sits — for all intents and purposes — outside the mainstream universe, written by a writer who isn’t Geoff Johns, or Peter Tomasi or Judd Winick or any of the other DCU Playhouse Players and drawn by an artist whose style sits outside the established superhero style, is under-performing.