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CSBG Archive

Sunday Brunch: 5/23/10

Sunday! You know what that means.

QUESTION CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Invent an ethnically diverse legacy hero for the superhero universe of your choice, and then invent a grisly way to kill them off.

COMICNOMICS DEPT: Here’s a fascinating article by way of Jason Wood at iFanboy, on the price elasticity of comics demand, or as Jason calls it, “the Ralph Dibny Effect.” Naming something after my beloved Elongated Man is a good way of getting my attention, Jason!

And that’s where the publishers got us. They called our bluff. In spite of a vocal outcry against $3.99 as a standard price, the industry bet our demand for our comic book fix was so strong that we would acquiesce.

And they were right.

This past month, the number of $3.99 comics in the Diamond Top 300 overtook the number of $2.99 comics. And the average cover price of the Top 300 was $3.55. And yet, in spite of the price hike, and in the midst of an economic recession and the availability of trade paperbacks and collected editions, our demand for single issues hasn’t abated.

Of course, then he goes into charts and math and stuff. At this rate, comparisons to the cigarette industry are apt. We pay high premiums for our fix. Where do I pick up my four-color gum?

SPURGE ON, SPURGEON: Noah Berlatsky, a.k.a. the Hooded Utilitarian, talks shop with Tom Spurgeon, a.k.a. the Comics Reporter:

One thing I like about comics as a medium is that you can choose to engage comics while holding a variety of competing notions in mind at the same time. You can read a panel progression but also consider bigger and smaller elements of design. You consider what’s right in front of you but also project fundamental circumstances on things that aren’t portrayed. You can look at an object portrayed as the object it portrays but also as an object itself. I never get tired of that kind of thing. We live in an increasingly literal world, where people don’t like movies because they think the actress is too ugly, rather than being able to see her as attractive because you’re being asked to see her in the story that way. Comics is like the advanced class of the opposite of that.

OBLIGATORY CHRIS SIMS DEPT: Chris has topped himself with this one, the Periodic Table of Super-Powers! My favorites are the Sub-Legionic Powers.

OBLIGATORY DEATH OF COMICS DEPT: At least, if the headline is to be belived. Matthew Johnson on how and why kids have fallen away from comics:

For parents, comics are not an entertainment medium; they are a distraction device. Think back to your earliest childhood experiences with comics. Here are mine: being bought comics to keep me quiet at restaurants while we waited for the food; being bought comics to keep me quiet in the car while we drove to the cottage; being given comics in my Christmas stocking to keep me quiet while my parents slept a few more hours… getting the picture?

ITEM! The A.V. Club interviews Grant Morrison. Finding this article was like running into your mistress while shopping with your wife.

RANDOM THOUGHT! I bought a gross of comics yesterday, give or take a few. Now I know how it feels for a member of AA to fall off the wagon. Among my purchases: thirty-some issues of ROM Spaceknight, three issues of the Human Fly, nine issues of the All-New Atom (that’s right, DC, I’m Team Choi), a Rocko’s Modern Life comic, a handful of Amalgam comics, some Helfer/Sienkiewicz/Baker Shadow issues, and the Nearly Complete Essential Fred Hembeck Archives Omnibus, from the man himself (hi, Fred!). Good times. Now, where to put the damned things…

REMAKE/REMODEL: This week, Warren Ellis challenged his minions to recreate Wonder Woman #1. Some gorgeous entries this week; here’s three from David Bednarsky, Paul Sizer, and Ed Sludden:

Wondy DBedWondy SizerWondy Sludden

I’d buy all of these.

DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “The Hungry Earth” Written by Chris Chibnall

Who shades

You know what? I may have run out of things to say about Doctor Who. Anyway, since this is part one of two, let’s hold off until next week, when all the good stuff surely happens. Also, it’s late, this episode didn’t exactly thrill me, and I’ve got something like 140 comics to read. So pretend I said something clever about how this episode is quite reflective of Jon Pertwee’s first season way back in 1970, and then call me in the morning.

And that’s where the publishers got us. They called our bluff. In spite of a vocal outcry against $3.99 as a standard price, the industry bet our demand for our comic book fix was so strong that we would acquiesce.

And they were right.
This past month, the number of $3.99 comics in the Diamond Top 300 overtook the number of $2.99 comics. And the average cover price of the Top 300 was $3.55. And yet, in spite of the price hike, and in the midst of an economic recession and the availability of trade paperbacks and collected editions, our demand for single issues hasn’t abated.

32 Comments

Inspired by the Spurgeon/Berlatsky thing: Sean Collins at Robot 6 asks ‘What comic arguments do you never want to hear again?’, Spurge offers ‘Three Arguments We Could Be Having’.

Invent an ethnically diverse legacy hero for the superhero universe of your choice, and then invent a grisly way to kill them off.

Wait, somebody actually wants to hear my idea for a Filipino Hitman Jr.?

It’s not like literalism hasn’t infested comics, either. Just go on any message board and look for fanboys bitching about any artist who doesn’t draw in photo-realistic or mega-crosshatched style. I’ve seen people call Mike Allred’s art ugly, for the lovva Pete.

‘Finding this article was like running into your mistress while shopping with your wife’.– And you know this from experience?

Marvel needs to know that I’ve avoided some books I would otherwise have bought because of the high prices lately. All you other fans need to do the same and get the word out.
But I understand the need to make a decent profit. Could we talk Marvel (and other companies) into going back to cheaper paper? There’s no real reason for the fancy slick, glossy paper they use nowadays. The paper they used in the ’90s wasn’t slick, but it was still very high-quality. As long as it holds the image without any bleeding, and it’s reasonably durable, that’s all we need.
And they could pay the lousy writers less.

Willie Everstop

May 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

“Invent an ethnically diverse legacy hero for the superhero universe of your choice, and then invent a grisly way to kill them off.”

Black Adam shares his power with his African American sidekick who then becomes Black Black Adam. Unfortunately Bizarro beats him to death with a busload of kids.

Willie Everstop wins.

Wonder Woman finds an orphaned black boy, who proves invaluable to her on several city based missions…

Dubbed the Bro Wonder, Doug Abraham becomes the touchstone for DC’s heroes in dealing with everyday people….

He unfortunately meets his end when Wonder Woman during a fight with deluded Olympian Gods gets hurled into a children’s center and plows into him. Making the death worse is the words of one the gods “I don’t see why you are upset, it isn’t like he was one of OUR people..”

Hate-mail deluges DC but the controversy propels WW into the top 5 books sold for the next year….

Sad thing is, I could actually see this happening….

Willie Everstop

May 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Hank Pym’s non-Union Mexican equivalent gets chopped up and put into several refrigerator boxes by the recently resurrected Cabeza de Huevo.

Heh. This reminds me of when Black Vulcan was on Harvey Birdman. “It was Aquaman who named me Black Vulcan. I wanted to be called MegaVolt. So I said to him, how about we just call you White Fish!”

Gareth Wilson

May 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Booster Gold II: A time traveller from the year 3000, belonging to an ethnicity that does not exist yet. Attacked and killed by both sides of a race riot in Gotham City.

quoting Mary Warner

Marvel needs to know that I’ve avoided some books I would otherwise have bought because of the high prices lately. All you other fans need to do the same and get the word out.

DC needs to know that I’m not buying any comics at all, 100% because of the price.

I have not bought numerous Marvel minis and one-shots due to the $3.99 price that I definitely would have bought at $2.99. It’s too bad that it seems most people didn’t let the higher price point effect their buying habits.

A Dutch, albino Black Panther who tries to reinstate apartheid in South Africa and gets trampled by a herd of house hippos after being shrunk by Pym particles.

Hey everybody, you could do what I do; have a bonanza at the $1 bin (formerly known as the 50 cent bin, previously called the quarter bin). This month alone I purchased 5 issues of WednesdayComics, 2 issues of Ultimatum, an issue of Utimates II,Justice League #6 (!), an issue of ClanDestine (before the CBR column) an issue of Civil War, a Sailor Moon Comic, A Donald Duck Adventures AND afew Nexus issues. ALL from dollar bins!! Quit it with the Omnibuses and trades, hop aboard the single issue express. If your local comic shop doesn’t have a $1 bin or the like, then they’re dicks.

“Where do I pick up my four-color gum?”

That could be digital comic downloads, right? They’re cheaper than paper comics and they still give you the fix. I think people are gonna have to realize that if you want stuff the old-fashioned way, you’re gonna have to pay more for the extra work.

Willie Everstop

May 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm

The South Side Sentry was every Marvel character’s cool black friend until Thanos erased him from the world’s memory with the Infinity Gauntlet. He taught Reed Richards how to dance, explained the intricacies of human sexuality to the Vision, and fed pick-up lines to Cyclops on his first date with Jean Grey. There have been rumors of romantic encounters with Gwen Stacy, Kitty Pryde, MoonDragon, the Skrull version of Alicia Masters, Big Bertha, and Dr. Doom’s mom.

THe SSSentry found himself confronted with his evil white half, The Man. The Man finally takes over and completely destroys Atlantis for vague reasons you should probably just make up yourself. After three double page spreads of SSSentry flexing underwater there is half a panel of Namor punching him in the face. Finally there are a few more double page spreads of the Sub-Mariner throwing a body into a volcano. Wolverine cries at the funeral.

Andrew Collins

May 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Man, I loved the SSSentry! Especially in his debut story, SSSentry’s Badassss Ssssong…

Willie Everstop

May 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm

It turns out that before Jason Todd there was a young Asian girl who took up the mantle of Robin. She was smart and quick and brave. She was the kind of girl my daughter wants to be like when she grows up.

After a year of compelling adventures Robin was kidnapped and tortured by Joker, Dr. Light, The Mad Hatter, and a brainwashed El Bueno Excelente. Afterward Two-Face bisected her and Killer Croc ate the rest.

Batman was getting ready for a righteous vengeance spree after he solved a few cases first but then Superman kisses him and Bruce forgets the whole thing. Superman can be kind of a dick sometimes. Robin came back to life a few times during some major cosmic events but it usually ends the same way.

Travis Pelkie

May 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Oh God, the South Side Sentry is awesome. The Man. Oh boy.

This post looks to have a bunch of neat links to look at, which I’ll have to do at some point.

I loves me a cheapo bin. About a month back, I was at Ithacon (Ithaca, NY), and the stuff I got was either 3 or 4 for a dollar. I ended up with about 200 comics. I too have been wondering “what’s wrong with me? Why do I keep doing this to myself?” But then I remember that I regret the purchases I don’t make (issues of Kurtzman’s Help for 3.50 each, the slipcased 9 ish BWS Storyteller for $27) more than the purchases I do make.

Here’s my attempt at an ethnic hero update/grisly death. Keep in mind that I too love love love the Elongated Man miniseries.

Black Elongated Man (you fill in your own jokes).

The Joker makes him overdose on the Joker serum and Viagra. He dies with a smile on his face, at least.

Captain Doctor Master

May 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm

The $3.99 price tag is causing me to quit buying new comics.

Most new comics take ten minutes to read because the story is so slight. Can’t see paying $4 for ten minutes of entertainment.

Mike Loughlin

May 24, 2010 at 5:31 am

A new Nightcrawler jopins the X-Men. He’s black, but you can’t tell because of the blue fur. Looking at his new teammates, New Nightcrawler realizes that the living symbols of equality and integration are almost all white (and the one black guy went bad, the black chick has blue eyes, and the Asian chick used to be white). Wondering why that is, he becomes paranoid about his team discovering he’s black, and acts as white as he can. New Nightcrawler listens to Coldplay, eats only the blandest food, and tries to watch hockey with Wolverine.

Of course, the team discovers he’s black, and it’s no big thing. Indeed, New Nightcrawler becomes a stalwart member of the X-Men, and an effective activist for mutant rights. One panel after he thinks about how he really feels like part of the team now, and his worries were silly, he’s vaporized by that anti-mutant Catholic cult from Chuck Austen’s run that thinks he’s the original Nightcrawler and want to make him pope so they can unleash exploding Communion wafers upon the world.

After a teary funeral in which the X-Men talk about how he was a true friend and taught them so much, no one ever speaks of him again.

Willie Everstop

May 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

White people are rapidly becoming the new minority in America and Marvel is excited to have minority characters that they know how to write for. The House of Ideas proudly presents for your perusal Connecticut’s Mightiest Heroes: Marvel’s White Knights.

Lucas Cage – Punctual Hero for Contractual Acquisition
SnowStorm – South African Mutant Mistress of White Weather
Subdued Rage – You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry but he is actually rather polite
Fur Cloak – Can access the Dark Dimension but he keeps his windows rolled up
Doctor Voodoo – Always prepare a nice white wine sauce before biting the head off of a chicken

They are scheduled to be Alpha Flighted by the Next Avengers in the next Avengers.

AverageJoeEveryman

May 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Alright I didn’t read any of the above comments but my idea for an ethnically diverse legacy is Mexican Multiple Man. One too many tries to fit into a compact car and POP.

Willie Everstop

May 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Everyone should be thankful that I decided to skip Japanese Dr. Octopus and the Brazilian Matter-Eater Lady.

Is it really true that the $3.99 price point hasn’t made a difference? I’m also among those who avoid that price. As a result I went from 80/20 Marvel over DC to the opposite. Marvel lost hundreds of dollars from me just for last year alone….

The Legion of Super Heroes welcomes its newest member– Ethnic Boy! With the amazing ability to change his ethnicity to supply whatever stereotypical skill is needed at the moment. He becomes Asian, and developes fantastic ninja skills, he becomes American Indian, and can commune with nature, he becomes Arab, he can blow stuff up! Whatever stereotype is needed, he embodies it.
And so he helps out the Legion through several adventures, until the awful day when an innocent afternoon of Lego-building turns to tragedy, and he is eaten by Matter-Eater Lad. ‘I thought he was a Danish!’

As it turns out, Barry Allen dated a Latina during that forgotten period when Iris was dead and he wasn’t. Meet the product of their union: El Impulso!

El Impulso is hot tempered and prone to fiery arguments with his buxom girlfriend, Maria. Being Saint Barry’s illegitimate child, he has an unstable relationship with the Speed Force. This causes him to lose energy at an alarming rate and take frequent afternoon naps.

Of course, El Impulso has his own colorful Rogue’s Gallery. His arch-enemy is The Coyote, a nefarious human smuggler that uses his cunning to thwart our hapless border patrol. He also regularly confronts The Mariachi (a guy with a really loud horn) and The Tortilla (a guy armed with various gimmick burrito ingredients).

El Impulso joins a revived version of the forgotten heroes composed primarily of side-kicks. He is especially close with Green Lantern’s old friend Kairo. They systematically recreate every single moment that Barry and Hal shared together in the old JL-of-A series in order, but in a somewhat hapless manner. This enables the writer to appear to making ironic jokes about old DC Comics while actually fetishizing them.

After Maria is raped, murdered and shoved in the ‘fridge by a new, deadlier version of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, El Impulso swears revenge. However, first he must confront the Bandit’s ally: Giganta. At the worst possible moment, his unstable speed force gives out and Giganta squishes him under her giant heel.

Wolverine cries at his funeral.

With Suicide Slum rapidly gentrifying, Jefferson Pierce decides to train a successor that better fits the new demographics: White Lighting!

Clad in his signature Madras Plaid shorts, Topsiders and Polo Shirts, White Lighting has stopped at least one shop-lifting incident at the local Dean & DeLuca. His Lighting Mobile is a Toyota Prius powered by his super-human ability to convert static electricity into deadly lighting bolts. The local police know they can always reach White Lighting on his always charged Blackberry.

White Lighting turns down a bid to join the JLA after foreswearing joining another secret society after his youthful membership in the Skull & Bones. Ironically, it is the old Infinity, Inc. villain Mr. Bones that proves to be his undoing in a local Starbucks while mesmerized by his new iPad.

I was doing some research for something else. I turned up this gem. This isn’t something I’m making up (though I wish it were), so I guess it doesn’t count as part of the challenge, but I found it brilliant.

“History: (Captain America Annual#12) – Roberto Velasquez was a talented boxer, often sparring with his friend Manuel Torres at Trini’s gym, but because of his size, his future as a boxer was uncertain. He was approached by Armando Aviles, who promised to make him stronger and faster, without using drugs. Roberto agreed, and was subjected to the Power Broker treatment in Florida by Dr. Karl Malus. In Roberto’s next match, he faced a normal boxer, Emilio Garzon. Without meaning to, Roberto killed him in the ring. Roberto was horrified, and ran out on Aviles, refusing to box anymore.

Manuel was subsequently matched against Rico Lazar, a augmented boxer. This brought Roberto out of hiding to try and save his friend, and Aviles used the opportunity to give Roberto another chance with his crime ring. Roberto refused to do so, and was shot by Aviles. Thinking he was dead, Aviles had his men seal him in a coffin, shoot it full of holes, and toss it into a swamp.

Roberto survived all of this, and swam to safety. Deciding that his “death” had granted him anonymity, he broke into a sporting goods store owned by Aviles, and donned boxing gear, taking the alias of “Bantam.” He then went after Aviles, but as he fought him, Aviles was accidentally shot dead by one of his own men. Bantam fled the scene of the murder.

(Civil War: Front Line#3) – After the Super-Hero Registration Act was passed, Bantam chose to register. He came from L.A. to New York to apprehend the hero Thunderclap, who didn’t register. Bantam tried to beat Thunderclap with his fists, but Thunderclap used his sonic boom and accidentally sent Bantam flying into a gas truck, which exploded. Bantam was killed by the explosion.”

I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that they created a super-hero who’s schtick was that he was a super-powered Hispanic boxer or that he was killed by a villain called “Thunderclap” whose wikipedia page indicates he was the brainstorm of Marvel UK and

“Born in West Bromwich, England, Stanley George Johnson was a struggling electronics salesman until he decided to cannibalise together other people’s technology create a pair of hydraulically powered gloves that could create sonic booms[1].”

Bravo, Marvel. Bravo.

Sorry. meant that Thunderclap was a hero. I guess. So I suppose that counts as ethnic hero on ethnic hero crime, doesn’t it?

I have that first appearance of the battling Bantam. I can’t believe anyone remembered him, even to only kill him off.

[…] Via Bill Reed of Comics Should Be Good, Jason Wood of iFanboy briefly explores the price elasticity of demand for […]

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