Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Ticking Timebomb

I'm really wondering how DCnÜ is going to pan out. I'm definitely in the camp that sees an inevitable sequel to the '70s DC Implosion, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot more titles in September that I'd like to try as compared to August. DC's being very aggressive in marketing the event, and are offering widespread returnability and variant covers to entice retailers to order in bulk. However, a lot of those same retailers feel ambushed by the event, leaving them with months of "dead stock" leading up to the reboot, and a lot of customers griping about the event. I can't speak for the brick and mortar shops, since I rarely visit any these days. However, I'm looking at where things sit with my mail order supplier, and I see cause for alarm.

Looking at the solicits, my first assumption was that I would definitely order Justice League #1. It's the key book of the entire relaunch, and is being offered in both a $3.99 and $4.99 edition, the latter bundling access to a digital copy. I've steadfastly refused to pay $3.99 for a standard format comic, but because my supplier usually offers the cover featured titles from the Diamond Previews catalog at 75% off, my purchase was a given. Except, the book isn't being offered with anything but the standard discount. So it's now a given that I will not buy it.

When Batwoman #1 was first solicited, my supplier promoted to book at 75% off. I've heard great things about what's been done with the character, but I am not a Greg Rucka fan. Artist/co-plotter J.H. Williams has since taken over as the primary creative force, so I was interested in giving the title a try. However, DC canceled that solicitation, and are re-offering it on an extremely heavy month. Lost in the shuffle, the new solicitation is only getting a 50% break from my supplier, so I won't be trying it after all.

Since DCnÜ September was such a huge event, it seemed to me that the smart thing to do would be to offer scads of these books at 50% off, especially since DC will probably offer retailers some kind of incentive for supporting the line as a whole. That would insure that this would be a jumping-on point for people. Back in the '90s, I decided to buy every single #0 issue that came out of the Zero Hour event to sample DC's entire line. That's what it took to finally bring me on board with the Legion of Super-Heroes titles, and I continued a bunch of other series from that point, even completing a run of friggin' Xenobrood. Heck, I've even bought ever #0 issue DC has published since. With a 50% discount break, I would have really debated trying a ton of these new titles.

In fact, let me offer a list... Justice League, Justice League International, Wonder Woman, Captain Atom, The Fury of Firestorm, The Savage Hawkman, Mister Terrific, Superman, Batwing, Batgirl, Nightwing, Animal Man, I... Vampire, Voodoo, O.M.A.C., Blackhawks, and Static Shock would have all been candidates. However, not a single one of those books is being offered at greater than the standard discount. I'll shop around a little bit to see if someone will offer a break somewhere else, and I'd be interested in a package deal of all 52 titles in the half off range. I don't think I'll find such a score though, which means I will most likely pass on every single one of these titles until they land in trade or a discount bin.

My supplier is instead putting up a single DC book for 75% off, Action Comics #1, so I'll get that first issue. Aquaman #1 is the only other 50% off DCnÜ book, and I was planning on subscribing to it anyway, so I'll get a little bonus there. Finally, I'll be buying at least the first several issues of Stormwatch at my standard discount.

Thanks to my supplier taking the conservative road, I will probably only buy three DC comics in September. In August, I got both DC Retro comics of the Justice League & Wonder Woman, plus DC Comics Presents: The Metal Men & JLA Heaven's Ladder, for a total of eight comics at no less that $3.99 each. That's a loss of something like 75%+ of my business with DC between months, guestimated to prevent rooting around for a calender. I wonder if my situation is comparable to anyone else's? DC had better hope not...

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