Friday’s Free Comics, Recycled Stories, New Conspiracies And Old Arguments

Posted by September 4, 2009 One Comment

aion_comic_spreadHow did Gears of War get those reported massive sales outside of the direct market? The announcement that DC/Wildstorm are creating a comic series based on NCSoft’s game Aion may hold a clue. The comic, Aiva’s Story, will be exclusive to the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend, given away for free, and then made avilable free with the purchase of the game at GameStop and Electronic Boutique stores in North America when it launches on September 22. Which could be worth hundreds of thousands of copies in reader’s hands…

Every now and then, someone asks why the comics industry isn’t serviced by “real” journalists. Well, let’s look what happens when real journalists get hold of a story. Last week, the British media covered the really big comic book story. That the Beano character Dennis The Menace was going “politically correct” for a new BBC cartoon. The Telegraph kicked off with the family of original creator David Law being outraged by this. The Sun was equally disgusted as the bully misanthrope was reinvented as some kind of mischievous stripey hippy, telling us “”Dennis is no longer slippered by his dad as a punishment”. And The Mirror added its voice to the cry. The stories did seem rather similar though. Almost as if they were engineered. For maximum publicity. Especially since the exact same story was run two years ago by the Daily Telegraph telling us “No longer will the naughty schoolboy, and his dog Gnasher, be punished by his father with a slipper.” Of course the actual defanging of Dennis The Menace happened twenty years ago when said corporal punishment was removed from the comic. But apparently it’s news, year after year. And this is the “politically correct” comic that last year ran zombie stories for six year olds. Still this is what happens when real journalists cover comics. And where Mercury News inflates the value of Marvel by ten. And where the Pittsburgh Post Gazette thinks Stan Lee drew Spider-Man.

One little thing struck me in a recent Marvel comic. We saw Cloak And Dagger being approached by Norman Osborn to join his Dark X-Men. Their objection? They weren’t mutants. Which is odd, because they were always described as latent mutants, their mutations only being triggered by tainted narcotics. But they seemed most insistent. Why the change? Well, if the characters are not mutants, then they may not be covered by Marvel’s deal with 20th Century Fox. Combined with a delayed-for-a-reason Cloak And Dagger series, could a Marvel Studio movie be in the pipeline?

UPDATE: Marvel inform me this is not movie/Fox related by simply putting right what once went wrong, that the original decision to retcon the characters as mutants was a bad one which has now been retconned back.

And just how accepted are comics now anyway? The LA Times’ Julia Keller has to defend even reading and writing about graphic novels….

Frankly, they expected better of me — given my doctoral degree in English literature and my well-known and oft-alluded-to affinity for dense, difficult, high-minded novels by the likes of Virginia Woolf and Joseph Conrad.

They’re X-Men characters too, right?

(Last Updated September 4, 2009 4:26 pm )

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