The lead story has to be the October 2011 sales figures, which still show success vis a vis DC’s new 52. It’s safe to say that the new 52, and the new 52 alone, is responsible for America spending 12% more on comic books than they did last October. Comic-book unit orders are also up—by over 32% from last year. That’s tremendous. They’re also up from the first month of the new 52, but I assume that’s because so many DC #1s sold out in September and were reprinted in October. What does 32% mean? It means a million more comic books were sold. DC’s market share was 42%–a new record for the world’s number two comic book publisher. They haven’t hit that number since December 1999, when Grant Morrison’s JLA came out. In comparison, all indie publishers combined got only 28% of the market.
Here’s the top 10 for comic book sales, October 2011:
10. Superman #2.
9. Fear itself #7.
8. Wolverine and the X-Men #1.
7. Hulk #1.
6. Detective Comics #2.
5. Flash #2.
4. Green Lantern #2.
3. Action #2.
2. Batman #2.
1. Justice League #2.
Rounding out the top 25 were second issues of the other Bat-family books, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, Justice League International, and only three other Marvel titles: Fear Itself: Fearless #1; Amazing Spider-Man #671, and the last issue of Uncanny X-Men. So only six Marvel titles cracked the top 25, in a month where one of its bestselling titles ended and we saw a #1 with the word “X-Men” in it. Amazing.
Things didn’t fare much better for Marvel on the trade front, with only one book, Ultimate Spider-Man: The Death of Spider-Man, managing to crack the top 10 (and coming in at #10, no less). DC had 5 books in the top 10, several of them hardcovers, including Flashpoint. Walking Dead got two trades in the top 10 and worth mentioning is that Alan Moore’s horrendously shocking, disgusting, horrifying and brilliant Neonomicon trade paperback came in at #9 for Avatar Press. You should all go buy it, unless you’re easily offended.
Now for the rest of the news, hit the break.
COMICS ON TELEVISION
We’re entering a renaissance for TV heroes, and I have high hopes that the Marvel live-action slate will do for “real” supershows what DC has been doing for cartoons lately, what with Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and several great DVDs…And if you’re not watching B:TBATB, you’re missing lots of great Aquaman stuff–like the clip above. Marvel needs to catch up. Avengers is a solid TV show, but the where hell is it? Anime X-Men is actually very good, incorporating Grant Morrison’s U-Men and elements from Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing” line-up, but the other two anime projects were terrible. So it’s time for…
ANOTHER MARVEL T.V. SHOW! AND THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL! Fox bought an hour-long Punisher show. It will be a sitcom in which Frank Castle tries to juggle the demands of a 9-to-5 job, kids, and a horny wife with his nighttime activities of assassinating major crime lords. The wacky neighbor will be a loveable street sweeper who keeps complaining about how hard it is to get bloodstains out of pavement, played by Ted McGinley. Seriously, though, the show is indeed being developed and a pilot will be shot under showrunner Ed “Criminal Minds” Bernero. It will portray Frank Castle an an NYPD detective who moonlights as a vigilante. No, really, that was the serious description. May I suggest as a title, “How to f#$! up the otherwise easy gig of adapting Garth Ennis’ comics into TV shows.”
THE SPECTRE. Also got a Fox show. Or at least a development deal.
COMIC BOOKS IN COMIC BOOKS
WATCHMEN 2. No, not the movie, the comic. No, not the comic that’s been rumored for years, a new comic. That is rumored. This one says that there may be an attempt to weave Watchmen into the new 52—and Dave Gibbons may be involved. It’s not clear whether this will actually bring them into the DCU (God, I hope not) or will be like all the (remaining) Vertigo titles, operating separately. Rumor is there will be four miniseries with Darwyn Cooke overseeing the project but not necessarily writing all of them. Oh, and they’ll be prequels. Do you care now? I don’t. Watchmen was a standalone. No need for more. Besides, prequels to classics usually suck; right, George Lucas?
WINTER SOLDIER. Spinning out of the narrative disappointment (that’s code for clusterfuck) that was Fear Itself, in which Matt Fraction killed Bucky and then brought him back, next year Ed Brubaker will get another Cap-family book featuring the character. I have to say that the quality of Brubaker’s Captain America has definitely dipped since his killed-Cap-and-brought-him-back storyline that spanned several years. But since that storyline was far and away the best Captain America story of all time, and probably one of the best superhero/espionage books of all time as well, saying that it’s not what it used to be isn’t extreme criticism. The new book sounds dark, which Brubaker does real well, so I’m hopefull.
JUSTICE LEAGUE NEW 52. I’m just saying, this book is terrific. No, it’s not as brilliant as Batman or as groundbreaking as Wonder Woman or as high concept as Frankenstein, but it’s tons of buttery popcorn fun. And that’s what a team book is really supposed to be about: Spectacle, not substance. That’s what makes a good issue of The Avengers so much fun. Crisp dialog, good action sequences, and “big” art. Great stuff, and the DC book I look forward to most each month now (other than Batman).
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN DIGITAL/PRINT RELEASE. Marvel is giving away a free code for the digital copies of Avenging Spider-Man #1, #2, or #3 in the print versions, so you can get both. Of course, it only works on the iOS and Android apps. That’s what’s so lame about digital comics—whatever you buy, you’re held hostage by a certain app. It’s not like getting a pdf or an mp3. As for the book itself, it’s written by Zeb Wells with art by Joe Madureira so I’m sure it’ll be great. It’s like Marvel Team Up, sort of. Issue #1 arrives in November, featuring Red Hulk and Spidey vs. the Moloids (or something that looks like them).
THE DEFENDERS. Thirty years ago, it was probably my second-favorite “team” book (after Roger Stern’s Avengers). Thirty days ago, I was excited to hear that Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson would revive the team and that members would include Iron Fist, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange. Thirty minutes ago, I heard that the team will be facing Fear Itself cast-off Nul and would essentially continue the Fear Itself story. And that, my friends, is when I stopped paying attention.
GREEN ARROW. Yeah, it sucked. So now they’re brining in Ann “Daredevil” Nocenti to take over. Now, I’m not a fan of her “Daredevil meets the actual devil” run on that book—but she did create Typhoid Mary, who was later put to good use by Brian Michael Bendis. And she says she’ll be creating a similar foil for Green Arrow. Plus, she wrote some very good B-lister material for Marvel in the 1980s, including the Beauty and the Beast miniseries starring the blue-furred Beast and, of course, the amazing Longshot miniseries that introduced that character and made artist Arthur Adams a household name. (I like to think of Adams as Jim Lee before Jim Lee was Jim Lee.)
ALPHA FLIGHT AND IRON MAN 2.0 ARE CANCELLED. So both of the people buying these books will have to revise their pull lists. The Nick Spencer Young Dr. Doom book is also cancelled, even before it was released.
COMIC BOOKS IN MOVIES
RED 2. I dunno about you, but I really enjoyed the Bruce Willis geezerthon based on the Warren Ellis comic. I’m looking forward to the sequel, which has a 8/2/2013 release date staked out.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA THE MOVIE. Bryan “X-Men” Singer will take on a film reboot of the 1978 TV show (the one that sucked, not the recent Sci-Fi Channel (before it was SyFy Channel) that was fantastic). It will be written by John Band of Brothers Orloff.
CRIMINAL MOVIE. It’s been a rumor for years, and now it’s official: Hunting Lane Films will adapt Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Eisner Award-winning Criminal: Coward comic for the big screen with David “30 Days of Night” Slade as director. Slade’s also the guy who will be revamping “Daredevil,” which is not owned by Marvel but by Fox.
ROBOCOP. Director Jose Padilha met with Superhero Hype and said his movie will be about what happened after Alex Murphy got shot but before he became RoboCop. Like a transformation movie. Frankly, it sounds horrible. When you’ve got an original as brilliant as the first one, just leave it alone and do an entirely different movie. Have we learned nothing from the remakes of Nightmare on Elm St., Psycho, Halloween, King Kong, The Thing, Godzilla, etc.? The best remakes are complete reimaginings: Peckinpah transforming Seven Samurai into Magnificent 7; Casino Royale going from Woody Allen to testicle torture; Cronenberg turning Vincent Price’s cornball horror into the genius of Brundlefly; Rise of the Apes just being flat out wicked cool and barely using the original concept…The only time a “remake” really works is with comic book movies where they retell the origin: Burton’s Batman was dated and so The Dark Knight was appropriate, e.g., but even there moviemakers spend far too much time rehashing the same stories rather than bringing in something new. Yes, I’m talking to you, Superman.
All for now. Happy Veteran’s Day. Remember: At 11:11 on 11-11-11, take a moment for a fallen hero, a survivor, or someone still in uniform….Everybody’s gotta know somebody.