Thursday, March 19, 2009

Breaking News - Wednesday Comics

sgThis exciting bit of news is now up on Newsarama here, and it was sent to me by F.O.A.M. member Brian Knippenberg:

At a time when many newspapers are cutting back on their comics sections, DC Comics is looking to remind readers of the fun and excitement a full Sunday-sized comics section can offer.

Except they're going to do it on Wednesdays.

The publisher today officially announced Wednesday Comics, a new 12-part weekly series launching this summer that will be presented in a 14" x 20" broadsheet format and will have to be unfolded and opened to be read. The "Wednesday" part of the title refers to the fact new comic books go on sale at comic book stores nationwide every Wednesday.

"The concept is that we are trying to recapture the spirit, format, and sense of enjoyment that people had form reading the Sunday comics that arrive in newspapers every week," DC Sr VP and Executive Editor Dan DiDio explained to Newsarama. "So, for this 12 week period, we're creating 16 weekly strips that will be presented in newspaper format, which will feature some of our primary characters, as well as some of the premiere creators in the business."

DiDio credits DC Art Director Mark Chiarello's passion and persistence for the project seeing the light of day.

"Mark really championed and fought for this," DiDio said. "He has a real sense for putting together some of the more commercial projects we do, as well as some of the most eclectic and critically successful things we've done as well. He was instrumental in pairing Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee on Batman: Hush, he put together the teams on all the Batman: Black and White projects, and created the concept of the Solo series, which allowed some of comics best creators to come to a comic and do, literally whatever they wanted to do. Mark has an incredibly keen eye for story and art, and from the start was very passionate about this format--and how the stories would play out, and the art would be almost larger than life for the reader."
sg
Characters coming up in the pages of Wednesday Comics include: Hawkman (already linked to creator Kyle Baker art for which can be seen [above]), Batman, Adam Strange, Metamorpho (linked to Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred), Catwoman, Demon, Deadman, Kamandi, Superman, Sgt. Rock, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Teen Titans, Supergirl, Flash and the Metal Men. Each story will have its own full-page installment each week for the 12 issues. The stories may be standalone stories with each installment, or a 12-part serial--the choice was left up to the creators.

DiDio listed off names of some of the other creators joining Baker, Gaiman and Allred on Wednesday Comics: Brian Azzarello, Paul Pope, Walt Simonson, Dave Bullock, Dave Gibbons, Ryan Sook, John Arcudi, Lee Bermejo, Joe Kubert, Ben Caldwell, Kurt Busiek, Eddie Berganza, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Karl Kerschel. More will be announced at a later date, along with an official pairing of creators and characters.

"Mark had creators in mind that he wanted to work with, and he approached them and asked what they wanted to do and work on. We didn't want to have any redundancies, so we shot for the widest breadth of storytelling we could, and I think we got it," DiDio said.

Finally, DiDio stated that the stories in Wednesday Comics will not take place in current DC Comics' continuity, but rather will be accessible by any and all readers. "All the creators are working to make sure that these stories are being created from the standpoint that the readers is someone who has never seen or read anything with the character before," DiDio said, "And really capture both the essence of the character as well as the magic of comics."


Okay--obviously, none of us have read the books, so we don't know if they'll be any good. If they all (or even mostly) suck, then this whole concept won't go anywhere.

That said, I abso-frickin'-lutely love this idea. This is a charming and different concept, and with Wednesday Comics DC is making a real effort to try and make the idea of comics themselves--not convoluted, Nothing Will Ever Be The Same crossover events--exciting. I mean--the stars of the DCU, free of continuity, in a treasury-esque format? Wow!

Sometimes I'm hard on DC, mostly because of how shabbily I sometimes think they treat our hero. And I, like every other comics fan out there, have a bajillion ideas of how would run DC better, if only I had the chance!

But, at this moment, I'm thrilled. I can't wait to get a hold of these books, and if they're even moderately decent, I'll buy every issue--maybe even multiple copies to give out to the kids I know.

And I thank DC for putting this together. Nice job, National Periodical Publications!



For further reading: I posted some other thoughts about Wednesday Comics over at Treasury Comics.com.

Update: I've been reading various comments on teh internets about this idea, and a good 75% of the comments I'm reading seem to be wildly enthusiastic over this idea--especially the line-up of talent involved.

But I've read more than one comment, to the effect of "Eh, I don't like the format, its too hard to store, I can't bag it. I'll wait for the trade."

Dear DC: Do not put these in trade collections. Let one book in your entire publishing line not have to cater to the aging fanboy demographic, who are still shoving all their books in plastic bags.

Comics are meant for reading, for enjoying.

I understand that the trades are where the money is in comics, but this is something different--this is an attempt to rope in a different audience, one just wants to read good stories.

Think of all the copies of Harry Potter or Twilight out there--are they dog-eared, with the spines cracked, or are they all stored in plastic bags?

Die-hard comics fans have helped turn a mass medium into a sub-culture. This one series won't reverse that trend, but you deserve all the credit in the world for trying.

These comics were meant to be big, and let's keep 'em that way!


10 comments:

Wings said...

Great, fun idea. Very cool that someone there is thinking this way!

Doug said...

Wednesday Comics is a fun idea, neat concept, but I'm just not feeling it.

I can't explain why. It just doesn't resonate. Maybe it's the character selection, I dunno. Baker's Hawkman looks decent, but this vehicle would be perfect for all the characters that can't support a "regular" book consistently. Put the Atom in here, Aquaman (yes, I see him in Baker's art, but he deserves a feature - especially since this is "continuity-free"), Zatanna, Firestorm and the other non-Trinity characters.

rob! said...

At the risk of doing knee-jerk defense for something I haven't even seen yet, I have to say that for an experimental idea such as this, you had to have the marquee characters in there--Superman, Batman, Flash, etc.

The line-up does include The Demon, Catwoman, Metamorpho, Sgt. Rock, Kamandi--a healthy helping of other DC stars.

If DC does this right (i.e., not a price point that kills your budget) then it'll be successful, and maybe they'll do it again, and then Aquaman, The Atom, etc., will have a chance.

"Don't ask--just buy!"

chunky B said...

I sorta digging this, I think this could work if, as Rob said, the price is right.

I'm willing to give it a go.

wich2 said...

Thanks for the headsup, Rob.

You know I'm with you 110%, on the Size issue alone (in a nice way, I mean...)

Beyond that, how about some support for a dying American artform, the Newspaper Strip?

It was big - BIG! - for a long time (among Adults, too.) And remember, many of the talents we revere from the Gold-Bronze ages would've preferred to have worked THERE!

Great weekend,
-Craig W.

russell said...

So how do we go about gettting our local papers to carry this?

Doug said...

OK. I might be changing my tune just a little.

Newsarama has a new image with Hawkman taking on a T-Rex with his mace. Gold!

As for the pricepoint, this should be the same as a "normal" book. When I worked for an ad agency, broadsheet paper was cheaper than our ususal Sunday stock. Unless of course, they go for high-quality broadsheet paper.

russell said...

Okay, so these will be sold at comic book stores? I thought they would be in newspapers. I misunderstood.

I kind of like the idea of having them in newspapers, though. :-)

rob! said...

Russell-

yes, they'll be sold in comic stores.

assuming the material is all ages, that'd be awesome to get them into newspapers, but that seems unlikely.

there's an interview with dc a.d. mark chiarello, plus (presumably) the first cover, up now. i'm covering all of it over on my treasury comics site.

rob! said...

Doug-

i agree re: the pricepoint. if they can keep it below $4 a pop, i think they've got a winner.

(assuming the material is good, but i guess that's subjective!)

if this thing is a hit, this would be a GREAT place to use Aquaman, The Atom, etc., since Mark Chiarello said that the selections were mostly based on who creators wanted to work on.

well, we know a lot of comics writers and artists like Aquaman, so maybe if there's a second installment of WC (I know, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here), Aquaman might get a shot.