Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode #35: DC Comics - Publishing Fiasco

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

This is an unschedule Hoopla! that, once again, is being written to warn readers of a last-minute change in the DC publishing schedule.

Well, not really a last-minute change... because that would imply that the change was made before some pre-arranged deadline. In this case, however, it was made after that deadline.

Some of you may recall, a few weeks ago, when I wrote to warn those who pre-order their comics that Wonder Woman #13, which was solicited as being the first issue of the Gail Simone run, had been changed so that it was actually going to be a fill-in issue leading to the Wonder Girl limited series. DC has been doing a lot of this, lately. And now they're doing it again.

Superman Confidential #6, which was solicited as, quite logically, being the sixth and final part of the Tim Sale/Darwyn Cooke storyline has now been changed to... well, let's take a look at the press release they sent out a few days ago...

Press Release

Originally scheduled to appear in SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6 (MAY070149), the final chapter of the story “Kryptonite,” written by Darwyn Cooke and illustrated by Tim Sale, will be rescheduled to appear in a future issue of SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL.

SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6 (MAY070149) now will feature the story that had been scheduled for issue #7, written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin with art and cover by Koi Turnbull and Sandra Hope. In this story, the first chapter of a two-part tale, the fate of Metropolis is at stake when Superman gets mixed up with Lori Lemaris!

Unfortunately, those of us who pre-order our books have already ordered Superman Confidential #6. Which means that we've all now purchased a Lori Lemaris story by Jimmy Palmiotti.

Hurray for us!!!

This is yet another example of how totally f###ed up DC is these days.

Let's take a look at some other examples, shall we...?

The solicited content of Wonder Woman #5, which was supposed to be the missing final chapter of the book’s initial arc, was running late and so was eventually shifted over to Wonder Woman Annual #1, and issue #5 was something completely different by a different writer/artist.

And here's one that's far too complex for me to have pieced together, but which was explained over at The Beat's monthly column, DC Comics Month-to-month Sales: April 2007
by Marc-Oliver Frisch.

[The monthly column isn't actually called DC Comics Month-to-Month Sales: April 2007. That would be silly. But this was the column that came out in April 2007.]

Another month, another fill-in issue of Action Comics. “Last Son,” the much-hyped story by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert, we recall, is hopelessly late and will therefore be released in bits and pieces, not being finished until next year’s Action Comics Annual #11. Hence, among other steps, the fourth chapter of “Last Son” first solicited to appear in issue #847, has been pushed back first to issue #848, then to June’s issue #851, followed by another string of fill-ins before normal service was going to resume with issue #855 in August. That, at least, was the result of multiple schedule revisions; it wasn’t an ideal solution, but at least it seemed DC had chosen — and managed — to get the book back on schedule. All’s well that ends well, right?

But hold on: As per DC’s website, Action Comics #851 is no longer supposed to come out in June. It’s been pushed back to July. So, despite the multiple revisions made to the book’s schedule over the last few months, it now looks like there will be two issues of Action Comics in May, none in June, two in July and three in August. Unless, of course, they decide to revise their plans one more time. If nothing else, this fiasco certainly illustrates why they’re not expecting Kubert to be able to finish the story until sometime in 2008.

Ah, DC, how you fill my heart with rage.

Ultimately, however, what are the real consequences for DC? Comic-book readers continue to purchase their books and DC manages to sell comics "twice" by changing the solicitation information after it's too late to change orders.

A classic case of bait-and-switch.

My question... isn't there some legal obligation to sell the thing that they are claiming to sell?

- Paul

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