Monday, April 02, 2007

A chance to learn a little something about comics

For those who don't follow or have an interest in comics, here is a chance to learn a little something.

For a while now, their has been a move to bring in STARS to write books. You have had the likes that are known for their books for long while now, Peter David, Neil Gaiman, etc.

But the stars I am talking of are the SUPERSTARS. You know, those of movie and TV fame. Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Aliens Resurrection), J. Michael Strazinski (Babylon 5), Allan Heinberg (Grey's Anatomy - Yeah, that got so you to take notice!).

It has been a mixed bag. Lots love Whedon's work. Same with Strazinski. And Heinberg...

Wonder Woman was restarted with issue #1 after Infinite Crisis (although the character is not being rebooted from scratch this time). The writer for the relaunched series's first story is Allan Heinberg, best known for his writing on TV's Grey's Anatomy. Within the realm of comics, he's best known for Young Avengers, which is notable both for its high critical acclaim and horrible delays in publication.
Delays. That is the cardinal sin of the comic industry...after the misogyny, of course. But that is the focus here. Delays.

So one has to question DC's thoughts in putting Heinberg on the relaunch of one of their Big Three, especially the one who only has one title (Batman has 4, Superman has 3, and they also have Batman/Superman. Wonder Woman just has her own solo book). And the pessimism proves justified. The publication schedule for his 5-issue storyline:

#1: July 7th
#2: August 23rd (a month and a half)
#3: November 22nd (three months)
#4: February 21st (three months)
#5: ... oops, no number five!

Yes, they're not going to publish Heinberg's issue #5. Because it's so fucking late it's jammed up schedules in the rest of the DCU that depend on the next WW story, because Wonder Woman is kind of important and occasionally shows up in other people's books, you know.

Instead, they're going to shove in a filler issue and then move on to the next writer's story, which will runnin issues #6-10. Then Heinberg's final issue will be printed as issue #11.

Issue 5, now as number 11...The final part of a story, now stalled out...

This is so horribly unprofessional it's unbelievable. This is supposed to be a monthly title. It's not like it was a secret that it was a monthly assignment. But writing comics clearly comes in dead last on this guy's priority list. But we're supposed to be excited because a TV writer (read: a legitimate person!) is willing to write comics! This is only helpful if he actually writes the comics. Do they let writers miss deadlines repeatedly by a factor of three in the TV world? As far as I know, the only place that's actually tolerated is software engineering. And apparently, comic books when the writer is a celebrity (see also Joss Whedon, although he's not quite this bad, and whoever is writing Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, which I fortunately don't care about at all because it's been removed from the schedule entirely).

Very, very unprofessional.

But this is not an unknown sin. It was exceptionally bad in the 90's. The mad and comic sick 90's. Companies crashed, or went into bankruptcy as they blew money and lost customers to tardiness. A book is a month, then more, then half a year...people DO FORGET you exist. "Hmm...Ministry of Space, when did I get this, and what happen to the last issue?" (Though to be far they have since printed the last issue of that.)

And it is still bad, see Frank Miller, many crimes in the comic world are his. But so is tardiness, The Dark Knight Strikes Back took forever to finish and get out. And, let the fans face it, the work plot and art were just piss poor. And it seems this is continuing with All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder now. It started in 2005, with Issue 1. We have been promised that Issue 5 this May. Two Years on, over 20 months later, and we are at 5. That is freaking late.

And like the TV stars, Miller is too big to be made to truly suffer for his lack of professionalism and...incompetence. When you've been in the biz for this long and act like this, what do we call it..maybe, callous disregard for ones duty.

There are some great creative and dedicated people in the comic business, and they lose jobs to these guys.

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