Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Superman Title Issues Shuffled; Countdown On Target

In interesting news around the internet, DC has announced issue scheduling changes on the Superman title. What this does is keep an issue coming out on a monthly basis, which I applaud. The bad news is that the fill-in issues mean that the current story arc is being delayed. Here is the news via Newsarama:


Please note the following contents changes to upcoming issues of SUPERMAN:

SUPERMAN #660 (NOV060188) now will feature a story written by Kurt Busiek, with art by Mike Manley & Bret Blevins and a cover by James Fry & Rodney Ramos. This issue looks at someone who's popped in and out of SUPERMAN for months. Ever since "Up, Up and Away," he's made his presence known. Now, at long last, the story you demanded starring... The Prankster?! This issue is scheduled to arrive in stores on March 14.

SUPERMAN #661 (DEC060191) now will feature a story written by Kurt Busiek & Richard Howell, with art by Richard Howell & Eduardo Barreto and a cover by Jesus Merino. In it, an ancient and vicious curse set into motion by the Greek gods hits Metropolis, challenging Superman in a way he's never been challenged before. It'll take more than the Man of Steel to save the day this time. Enter: Wonder Woman! But even their combined power may not be enough to halt a curse older than time itself! This issue is scheduled to arrive in stores on March 28. Retailers may adjust orders on it through the Final Order Cutoff date of March 8.

SUPERMAN #662 (JAN070269) now will feature the start of the 5-part second half of "Camelot Falls," previous slated to appear in issue #661. This issue is written by Kurt Busiek with art and cover by Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino. This issue is scheduled to arrive in stores on April 11. Retailers may adjust orders on it through the Final Order Cutoff date of March 22.

SUPERMAN #663 (MAR070183) now will feature now will feature chapter two of the 5-part second half of "Camelot Falls," in which the Young Gods of New Genesis pay a visit to Metropolis, while the Prankster is on the loose and the threat of Arion looms over the city. This story was previous slated to appear in issue #662, and is written by Kurt Busiek with art and cover by Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino, as solicited in the March Previews (Volume XVII #3). This issue is scheduled to arrive in stores on May 9.

Because of these changes, SUPERMAN #660, 661 and 662 will be made returnable at a later date."

I don't so much mind the shift in content as I am puzzled as to why the story arc is running so far behind. With Kurt Busiek writing it, I am not sure what to think. I know that Busiek usually keeps a tight schedule with his "comic book company" books while lagging on his Astro City projects. Maybe it is an artistic issue? I am really curious about this.

In other news, the esteemed Rich Johnston is back home from the New York City Comicon and he has oodles of news. This particular piece of information caught my eye.

I understand there are two months worth of "Countdown" content completely finished, three months before the new weekly book starts to ship.

That is wonderful news! Since it is green-lighted in the Lying in the Gutters column, I feel great hearing that. DC has done a nice job on 52 and it looks like Countdown will be no different. Yay!

Those are the pieces of news that really caught my eye tonight- both for completely different reasons. What do you think of the content change? Are you planning to pick up Countdown?

Have a wonderful evening!


Anonymous said...

"I don't so much mind the shift in content as I am puzzled as to why the story arc is running so far behind."

Two words: "Carlos Pacheco". While the guy does beautiful work, he's simply not able to hit the deadlines for a monthly. Naturally, DC keeps assigning him to monthly titles (Superman/Batman, Green Lantern and Superman were all late after the "head star" of an issue or two). So,'re right. It is an "artistic issue".

You're also right about Busiek's work ethic. He's normally very professional when it comes to meeting his obligations, especially with "Big Two" assignments. The art delays have got to be driving him crazy...especially on a high-profile title like Superman.

Happily, DC finally seems to be getting off of their duff and doing something about the chronic lateness. I'm not crazy about fill-in issues, but it sure beats waiting around for Pacheco to finish his $#@% story.

It's especially frustrating for old Superman fans like me. Just when the character had really started getting back in the groove after literally YEARS of shabby storytelling, DC's really messing up the momentum with their assignment of notoriously slow artists (the other one being Kubert over on Action Comics).


Swinebread said...

This would never have been allowed back in the day

Lisa said...

I had heard back at the Baltimore Comic Con, from someone who'd know, that DC had committed to getting books out on time, and that they would do whatever it took to do so. We didn't know about "Countdown" at that time, and I'm not sure if DC did, but it was good to hear, even though DC's comics continued to run late.

Now, with "Countdown" runnig in continuity it seems that DC HAS to commit to really keeping things on schedule. It's good to see them dedicating themselves to the single-issue comics!

What a complete change from Marvel, who's focus seems to be on having a pretty graphic novel to sell in both hard and soft cover at the local Barns & Noble. I'm glad to see that DC is committing itself to being a COMIC BOOK publisher, not a book publisher. They'll still sell plenty of graphic novels while gaining ground on the single-issue market with on-time comics tied into each other and their new weekly series.

I think that as this year ends and 2008 starts we'll see Marvel's market share slipping in single-issue sales while DC holds several top-10 spots. Between lateness and the Civil War fizzle, Marvel's going to feel a pinch - their saving grace might be the non-super hero material like Dark Tower and the Dabble Brothers stuff that they've added into their mix. (Something DC's been doing for a while with Virtigo)

I liked in Johnston's article on the NYCC where they were asking the DC execs if there would be massive crossovers and Bob Wayne said, "You must have us confused with the other guys." Back at Baltimore CC Marvel told us Planet Hulk wouldn't have crossovers - but now Marvel has crossover fever and PH is going to be ANOTHER HUGE crossover event. One more thing about Marvel that makes me a little irritated. No wonder why I read so many more DC comics than Marvel!

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, you hit the nail on the head. The art by Pacheco is gorgeous, but the guy is slow. He belongs on limited series or as a fill in artist. Either that or make him the "special guest artist" and have one shots that are works of art.

My hubby and I have had the chance to see Busiek in person several times. Usually he just shakes his head and puts up with us, but one thing is certain- he doesn't mess around with his bread and butter from the big two. Nice guy, sarcastic as hell! :-)

I don't mind fill-ins of a good quality, so this should be interesting to see. I will follow your blog for your insights.

Heidi Meeley said...

Swinebread, back in the day Marvel had Virginia Romita as traffic manager, and DC was equally strict. With the advent of "superstars" the whole system has went to crap. I miss those days of order- Mrs. Romita had heard every excuse in the book and having an artist husband and son, she didn't take any namby pamby excuses. She is a goddess in my book.

Now is DC could just clone her, we would be in good shape.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, your insights are so incredibly good that I can't think of anything of note to add. It makes me happy to see DC stepping up to the plate and making their creative teams hit deadlines.

At this point, I take Marvel with a grain of salt. There are certain books they publish that I adore, but otherwise it just seems to be a lot of lip service.

That is one reason I appreciate Rich Johnston and his column. He cuts through the BS and gets to the meat. I know that people either love him or hate him, and I put myself firmly in the love category. I appreciate his quest for the truth.

Thank you for the excellent insights, Lisa!