THE RETURN OF THE DC 100 PAGERS
When I was but a wee lad this is what was on the newstand rack at the two places I used to buy my comic books-- West Side Pharmacy and another smaller mom and pop shop that was literally across the street from my Elementary School, both on Pleasant street.
100 pages of comics for the pricely sum of 60c. I seem to remember them being 50c when I was buying them so maybe it was a bit before this. But it was a great deal. 100 pages was a lot of comics to read even if that counted ad pages and the inside covers. The books were mostly reprints but some from all the way back in the Golden Age of the 1940s which was really cool (comics were better then).
So it was exciting to hear that DC Comics was bringing back the 100 pagers...
Okay 100 pages for $5 is a pretty big increase but what the hell, it's a deal when you consider a regular 32 page comic book is anywhere from $3-$6. The more exciting news to me was that these 100 pagers, which feature about 12 pages of new material with the rest reprints, would be available ONLY at Wal*Mart. Faithful readers of this here blog will know I'm not a fan of the mega retailer whose incredibly skilled labor force can barely work the cash register, but I love the idea of comics reaching a broader audience. Visions of these packed at the register checkouts filled my head as I imagined a whole new generation of comics fans entering the fray.
Some comic retailers didn't share my enthusiasm-- in fact some were so angry they started screaming about boycotting any creator who worked on one of these titles because they wouldn't be available at comic shops--it's a Wally World exclusive. I gotta admit I find this kind of entitled thinking ridiculous. These are FOUR titles. FOUR. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 comic books which come out every month and if a reader wants any of the other 1496 titles they would need to go into a comic shop to get them. It's also short sighted, because getting new readers into the hobby is a win all around.
Then came reality-- this is Wal*Mart. It's a third world retailer that pretty much just piles broken stuff up in a corner and then lets the masses in. Here's where you'd find these comics if you looked for them;
The aisle which features Collectible trading cards and bags to put them in, along with Pokemon junk, more card game things like Magik, etc. The aisle is located almost after the checkout area and it looks like it gets serviced about twice a year. Set on the shelf almost all the way down was a cardboard box displaying these comics-- and they had exactly 4 copies of each of the four titles displayed.
I don't think this is going to destroy any comic shops-- I also don't think it's going to get any new readers at all.
FOOLED YA AGAIN
I don't read superhero comics for a lot of reasons but mostly because they aren't engaging. They often have ridiculous plots and zero characterization. Batman has been a grim lone angry avenger because lesser writers than Frank Miller didn't understand what he was doing with THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS but they're trying to replicate it.
Anyway, last year Batman got engaged to Catwoman and this week the "wedding issue" came out and readers and retailers were upset that Catwoman left Batman standing at the altar (I didn't read it I'm only going by what I've heard) and the wedding didn't happen. So now instead of having a landmark issue where Batman marries Catwoman after first meeting her in 1940 they now have an issue where Batman got jilted.
There shouldn't be much surprise, the big comic companies are reluctant to have their characters "grow up" because then they can't just re-write the same stories over and over again.
There's something to be said for that-- Popeye isn't as interesting if he and Olive are married and Bluto is no longer a suiter of Olives. Dick Tracy being married to Tess Truehart just seems clunky.
In the end, I'd prefer they just tell good stories rather than fall to gimmicks.