Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hallelulah! It's a truce

For the second month running, no Civil War plops onto my doormat. Now I'm no expert on the comic book industry, but I reckon if your entire year's comics are based around one storyline in a seven-part mini-series, you're probably going to make a considerable effort to put them out on time.

Obviously, out come all the usual excuses about artists being overstretched ("Shit, Joe, I'm sorry, I'd clean forgotten the eight week hols in Torremelinos I'd booked for the wife"). Now Joe, being Joe, commendably comes up with the old "The Watchmen was thirty-nine months late and nobody complains about it now" line, conveniently overlooking that The Watchmen was fantastic, while Civil War is feebly flipping over and over like an oxygen-starved haddock.

Now, this being the internet, we have a duty to introduce as many evidence-starved conspiracy theories as we can dream up, so can I point out that Marvel's behaviour is exactly what you'd expect if they'd suddenly realised their flagship story was a steaming mound of excrescence that made half their products (does that sound too commercial? How about "intellectual property"?) behave like lunatic right-wing kidnapper-torturers and that if they didn't sort it out their company would be up Scheissestrasse?

What do you do in these circumstances? You suspend printing, get all the relevant editors and writers together, draw down the blinds and throw a panicky "what the fuck do we do now?" all-nighter while resisting the temptation to chuck your possessions into the back of a truck and hightail off to Montana. Consequently, the schedule ends up slipping a little.

In support of my theory (not that I need evidence, obviously, this being a conspiracy theory and all), at the time of the Clone Saga, Marvel seemed to throw these meetings approximately twice a week for two whole years, and the result was the single worst comic book series ever written. Sorry about that, Ben Reilly fans, but it's true.

(Strangely, Marvel were advertising the Ultimate Clone Saga the other month, and now Peter David's threatening to bring Ben Reilly back. Is this comic books' version of the fashion industry, where some nightmarish trend, like 747-wing shirt collars or thick jumpers with leggings are yanked from the grave purely to inflict trauma on the minds of those who were scarred first time round? Has it come to this? as Mike Skinner would whinge.)

And yet I find myself drawn to Civil War. Not because it's good, but because of the sheer scale of the impending disaster. It's a grand folly, a Millennium Dome in four colours, a pen and ink England rugby team. Whether you like it or not, you have to concede that it is, as promised on every single damn cover, a comic book event.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

None of that matters as long as it sells. And it does sell. All the negative feedback in the world will have no effect as long as people continue to buy the book. And they will.

6:43 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

Every time someone tries to bullshit you about how hard it is to produce comics to a monthly schedule, just repeat these words: Fifty Two.

2:50 pm  

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