Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Really Just Too Much News

It’s the week of ComicsPRO’s Annual Meeting, which has increasingly meant in recent years that things are going to be absolutely crazy all week. And you know what? That was the case once again! Let’s look at all that and more in this week’s edition of Comics Disassembled.

1. Marvel Comics, Taking Big Swings (and Occasionally Missing)

There’s a lot of merit to taking a big swing in baseball. We’re in an era of launch angle and exit velocity, with the days of the contact hitter maybe not quite being numbered, but they’re increasingly rare outside of Luis Arraez. Everyone else? They’re taking those massive hacks, because those mean a better chance of hitting a home run. Unfortunately, it also means a greater propensity for striking out, especially every pitcher has a heater in the high 90s and knee buckling breaking stuff. That’s the trade-off, though, as it’s a sport dominated by only a few true outcomes.

While they still have more than a little of the safe, bat control approach to them, it seems to me that Marvel’s mixing in a little more of those big cuts into their repertoire of late. They have been trying some new things and occasionally, beautifully, wonderfully, hitting massive homers in the process. The biggest was Jonathan Hickman and Marco Checchetto’s Ultimate Spider-Man #1, a comic that put up big numbers and set the stage for Ultimate Black Panther #1 to do the same, albeit with more than a little speculator heat behind it.

Those were big swings, and the good news is, they’re not done yet, as Ultimate editor Wil Moss is really going for it with a new Ultimates volume from writer Deniz Camp and Juan Frigeri. That might not be who you expect for an A-list launch on a big line of emphasis from Marvel, but Camp and Frigeri are the type of squad you put together if you want something that’s going to blow people’s minds and leave them dying for more. Will it hit? I’m not sure, especially with it coming five months after Ultimate Spider-Man really started this ball rolling. The energy may have dissipated by then. But this is the type of casting you do when you’re aiming for something to possibly be great, so I’m putting my money on yes.

So, Marvel’s in the big swing business these days, but that of course comes with its fair share of misses. Unfortunately, one of those was the much ballyhooed G.O.D.S. from Hickman and artist Valerio Schiti, which will now be ending with its eighth issue. This is honestly not much of a surprise despite that elite creative team, as this title wasn’t a new universal skeleton book like many expected, but more of a fun, charming romp with a fresh set of characters (that I honestly enjoy!). More than that, it was likely cooked to some degree by its $9.99 first issue, which put a pretty hard cap on a book that came with more skepticism than a Hickman/Schiti title normally would thanks to it being mostly new, and all that happening at a time when retailers are about as risk averse as ever.

As per usual, sometimes it goes well for you when you swing for the fences and sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s my hope, though. I hope Marvel doesn’t learn the wrong lessons from this and are still willing to try new things. This new Ultimate endeavor is proof of the value of that, and in its own way, so is G.O.D.S., even if it has another lesson about approach within its story. Fingers crossed, because I prefer the Marvel that goes for it rather than the one that loads us up with endless event tie-ins.

2. DC, Back on Wednesdays!

I’d argue this is the biggest news of the week in some ways. It would not that be that difficult of an argument, to be honest. Unfortunately for this item, it’s not the most visual, so apologies to DC Comics, you’ve been bumped to the second spot.

But hey, the news is in the title for this point: DC announced at ComicsPRO – to a highly positive crowd whose response was hopefully not so strong that it resulted in the literal bringing down of the house – that it will be returning to a Wednesday on sale date starting in July. That might not seem like that much of a change, as it had switched to Tuesday a few years back when it moved to Lunar as its distribution partner. How big of a difference is a day, really? The answer is “pretty significant,” to the point that ComicsPRO’s President and the owner of Guelph, Ontario’s The Dragon comic shops Jenn Haines put it at the top of her list for things she most wanted from her publishing and distribution partners.

The reality is, that one day isn’t just one day, but a second day of ordering, a second day of checking in single issues, and a second day of new comic sales, something that requires a lot of time and effort to pull off even if it might not sound like it. There’s a reason the response in the room was supposedly rapturous. This return to the status quo is going to be a massive relief for shops, and proof that publishers are in fact listening to them, at least to some degree. That’s a big win!

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