tpull takes a look at DC The New 52 1 year later. Check out part 1 here to see how it began.
DC The New 52: Lack of a checklist
For the epic fail more recently, we have the first big crossover event in the DC The New 52 universe: the Night of Owls. Starting in Batman, they tried to have appearances related to the big story in all Bat-titles: Batman, Detective, Nightwing, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Catowman, Batwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Birds of Prey, Batman: the Dark Knight, and even All-Star Western had a tie-in with it.
Before we talk about the checklist epic fail, let me point out something that really got me angry: repeating the same story almost verbatim within two of the comics. There’s a “big reveal” that plays out over seven pages in Batman #7. That same reveal is shown in Nightwing #7, and takes up about four pages, so some of the exposition is cut out, but otherwise, the words and actions are identical. They literally used the exact same conversation and wasted our time with it. So if you’re a new reader, and being encouraged to checkout the Nightwing title for more about this exciting Batman event… welcome to a re-run.
The new comic format has only 20 pages to it. I paid $2.99 a piece for 40 pages of story. I’m not happy about losing two pages in the interests of cost-cutting in the first place, but you better be sure those are all fresh pages. Instead of getting my money’s worth, I get to read the EXACT SAME TEXT in two comics really close together. DC owes me at least four more pages somewhere…
So here’s the checklist problem: there was no checklist. That’s right, with an entire page in the back of every DC issue devoted to generating interest in their entire line of titles… they didn’t put out anything to guide the readers and tell them in which order to read the story. This is why it’s called Publishing 101. See, when Marvel puts out a crossover event, they issue these free postcard-size checklists with a cool picture on front, and sometimes a website or a Twitter hashtag. Doesn’t matter if it’s for Schism, Regenesis, or AVX (http://borgdotcom.files.
The weird thing is, people were actually giving DC a chance. The story was working. Until they wanted the next part of the story. A man discovered the Night of Owls storyline, and got very interested. He went to his local comic store and asked for the next part of the storyline. The comic store owner had no clue. Not because he wasn’t interested, he was. But the guy racks and stacks hundreds of comics every week and runs an entire store, so he didn’t exactly have time to read all of the comics before the store opened for the day. Some online research might help if he didn’t have other customers. But should we have to rely on fan volunteer work, or checking Wikipedia for this stuff?
What we have here is a person with money he wants to give to the store owner for DC’s product… and DC has gone out of their way to not think about marketing. In the middle of their biggest initiative perhaps ever in their history as a company, when good word of mouth is vital, and they belong to a huge conglomerate with tons of marketing know-how… DC did absolutely nothing, and risks losing what otherwise would be a guaranteed sale. The rest of the publishing world doesn’t work like comics. They print a book and hope it hits to cover the costs. DC has a sweet deal, where legions of comic fans are willing to wade through 300-400 page catalogs and pre-order their product. And DC still found a way to lose money for themselves and others.
DC The New 52 status update? Epic fail.
tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can’t seem to stop.
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