Weekly comic-series. That assortment of words can stir up a mess of emotions in me I can't easily comprehend. When I talk about a weekly comic-series I don't mean how there are so many Avenger's comics that arguably one comes out every week. I am referring to those times when a comic publisher will do an event comic that comes out once a week, every week, for a whole year. These always make me nervous and hopeful at the same time.
The shining example in many people's eyes of what would count as a weekly comic-series that was done marvelously well would be DC's, "52". The worst example of this can also be found within DC, with their "Countdown to Final Crisis" comics. Really, I can't think of any time in recent memory Marvel had a weekly year-long comic series coming out besides when they were doing "Amazing Spider-Man" on what was basically a weekly basis, but that didn't have a set time-length so much as it eventually ended and became the current "Superior Spider-Man" comic and its assorted tie-ins.
|A "Batman Eternal" teaser image.
A little earlier today DC went and dropped the bomb that not only do they have their new weekly series "Future's End" starting up in May, but come September every ongoing DC comic will kick it into overdrive by looking ahead some years into this potential future, and result in another weekly comic (to be named later) being launched that examines the things that could lead to this potential future, or something. Oh, and the September comics will be in that annoying 3-D-cover format DC used for Villain's Month of 2013.
|One of my favorite satirical news duos sums up my view perfectly.
I mean honestly, they already have the pressure of one weekly comic starting in April, another in May, and before I absolutely rip into them maybe we should simply examine three big flaws with simply doing just a weekly event comic, never-mind having two going on, with "Batman Eternal" and "Future's End" being in full-swing by the time September arrives and then brings October with a third weekly series.
3 Big Potential Weekly-Series Flaws
If the concept is bad, the whole thing will be bad
If the overall idea of the story is flawed, or the concept doesn't work well, then the whole series will suffer. Putting aside how "Countdown to Final Crisis" was also harmed by its many tie-in comics and was barely acknowledged by "Final Crisis"--in fact with some plot points in that comic directly contradicting the series--"Countdown" was hobbled from the start.
The whole point was that it was building to the real event, and basically all the readers were getting was setup. It flowed poorly, it was often dull, and the focus was scatter-shot in a way that was annoying whereas "52"'s way of jumping around to various characters made sense as an overall tapestry was formed. "Countdown" was an utter mess, but it was basically doomed from the word "Go", in my opinion. With a comic-book there may be the occasional mediocre or terrible story-arc, which is fine because you just wait for the next tale. When its a 52-issue mess...you're screwed.
|This snazzy teaser for "Countdown to Final Crisis" was basically the only thing that I liked about the series
Another problem with weekly comics is sometimes the art can feel rushed, to put it lightly. You have all these artists working on a tight schedule and fill-ins will almost undoubtedly be needed, it can be quite messy. Now, if a careful balancing of artists is done where certain ones illustrate particular stories things can work out well. "Brightest Day" was a comic that came out every other week (switching-off with "Justice League: Generation Lost") but the majority of the time it was clever in having a particular artist stick with a story-beat. Ivan Reis was the main person who drew the Aquaman sections, for example.
The cost of knowing what the Hell is going on
When a comic comes out weekly for a year that is a big investment for a reader. Should it be a $2.99 comic you're easily paying over a hundred if you don't get a store discount, and if there are numerous tie-in comics for the event, or some-to-most issues are $3.99 for some reason you're now at almost 300 benjamins for the privilege of keeping-up with the big event.
"Future's End"--A Weekly and Line-Wide Event?
|A slightly-older "Future's End" teaser
Then DC announces another soon-to-named weekly comic which will have the entire publishers line-up serving as a kind of massive prologue in September while apparently crossing-over with the "Future's End" weekly series, and my hesitation turns to shock.
THEN DC declares how the covers will come in 3-D as they did for Villain's Month,which many may recall was a royal mess, and my shock turns into slack-jawed disbelief at the combination of gall and idiocy I feel DC is displaying.
|I can't wait to pay extra for a stupid cover gimmick
Between the many comics with 3-D covers (that you already know DC will be charging $3.99 or more for), the weekly cost of "Future's End" and whatever the weekly comic that comes in October will cost, someone who just wants to enjoy the entirety of these events could easily spend half a grand--before even taking into account if they also want to read "Batman Eternal"!
I really do feel that DC as a company has lost its mind. This "Future's End" and October-series business sounds bloated with there being so many comics between the weekly series and September event. Plus, it feels like a price-gouging exercise with the horrendously stupid 3-D covers making a return. I'm honestly terrified this kind of excessive behavior is bringing us right back to the absurd shenanigans that occurred right before the last great big crash of the comic market.
|Who would have thought a reboot would now look restrained compared to what DC is doing now?
I liked the Nu52 reboot DC did, it was ballsy and dangerous but paid off. Over time the comics haven't been that impressive however and I've been reading less and less titles due to either dropping them or having the ones I liked cancelled. Now we have gotten to a point where DC is again doing something surprising, but where it is sheer lunacy instead of a brave risk that's worth taking. Does DC honestly think its reader-base can support three monthly titles, a big month-long event, and the regular issues of series that will be coming out before and after September--or as I'm thinking of calling it, "The Month of Madness (trademark pending, but not really)"?
This is insane, overly-expensive, and I plan to have little-to-no part of it, simply reading the main (and thankfully just monthly) Batman comic, Green Arrow (because of its incredible art) and a Justice League comic or two occasionally.
Today, February 27th, 2014, is the day I think DC officially showed us how it has gone over the deep end. These three weekly comics, a big September event, and all the regular titles may, for all I know, do gangbusters in terms of sales. However, I really think that isn't likely and instead we could be on the verge of a comics market-collapse that will be so immense it'll cause us to marvel at the grotesqueness and majesty of it all.
I honestly just hope all the comic stores will be okay if this blows up in DC's face and leaves Marvel, Image, and the rest of publishers laughing.