When Image Comics signed up Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch’s book Americas’ Got Powers, it was a real coup. One of the biggest name A-list artists in comics and a media broadcaster with a massive profile in the UK and a growing one in the US.
The first issue, double sized for $2.99 was lucky to scrape into the Top 100. The second issue crashed out into 149 place.
Yesterday both Heidi MacDonald and Josh Flanagan discussed whether the superstar comics artist was dead. Rob Liefeld tweeted that as far as he was concerned, they never really existed, they needed big name company comics to lift their career and without them their star would fall.
But the timeframe seems to have been shortened. Hence America’s Got Powers. Which has very respectable sales figures for any new Image comic. Just not one from a name such as Bryan Hitch.
As to the content of the comic, reviews have been mixed, but I think it’s a really solid book, gorgeous art and a well told tale of power and the lack of it. That it has centred on the “Zero” hero above all is a strong reader entry, and the world feels familiar with weird details. It’s John Wyndham sci-fi, crashed into reality entertainment. It’s not my favourite Image comic, but it’s pretty decent. And, you know, it has Bryan Hitch art.
It wasn’t always this way. Todd McFarlane left Spider-Man and made Spawn a best seller. Some with Rob Liefeld, X-Force and Youngblood. Jim Lee, X-Men and WildCATS. J Scott Campbell with Danger Girl, Humberto Ramos with Crimson, Joey Madueira with Battlechasers. And while Bryan Hitch might not have expected the top ten or even the top fifty, I don’t think he was expecting one hundred and forty-ninth place for issue two. He hasn’t evn left Avengers, he’s still drawing the Ultron issues for Bendis…
Just how much more conservative has the market turned? Just how fearful of change are retailers and consumers? If it had been an Avengers book by the pair, it would have been way up there. But when its riffing on an even more successful brand, nothing.
Most of the big stores ordered big on this comic though; The Midtowns, the Forbidden Planets, the Meltdowns. Smaller stores however seem to have ordered none of it. And many Bryan Hitch fans seem unaware of its existence as a result.
As Walking Dead continues to tear up the charts, it feels like America’s Got Powers may be one of the most underordered Image comics on the stands.
Now just imagine if they make a film. Especially considering the Jonathan Ross is considered one of the most preeminent film reviewers in the UK, one of the biggest broadcasters, is friends with A-list actors, directors and is married to an award winning screenwriter, and both Ross and Hitch have a hot shot Hollywood agent who has done deals for a number of comics-to-films properties, and as we reported, certainly seems to have this in mind…
Then suddenly a lot more people will be after those early issues.