Brave & the Bold: This is the way it is

200804041355When Marc Oliver Frisch asked why Brave and the Bold by Mark Waid and George Perez had been sliding in sales, it seemed to touch a nerve, and Graeme at Blogorama kept the ball in play. Surely Waid and Perez were fan favorites? (Perez has left the book, but Waid continues on.) Shouldn’t such a book be right in the wheelhouse of the presumed 40-year-old fanbase of DC Comics? But is that really who reads DC comics any more?

We’re always suspicious of comment threads as a barometer of any kind of valid demographic or marketing information, but the one at Blog@ is worth looking at for the widely varying reasons readers have rejected the title. The overall picture is a reminder that just because it was hot for the Tweeners who now run comics, doesn’t mean the current audience likes it. For instance, Ryan Dunlavey, artist on Action Philosophers writes:

Why I don’t buy Brave and the Bold:
1 – It’s boring.
2 – I don’t like George Perez’s artwork.
3 – Super heroes.


“Don’t like George Perez”???? Wha–? That’s heresy! Ed Ward has a even more stark assessment:

The fact that it reads like older, pre-decompression comics is, I’m pretty sure, one of the reasons it’s a tough sell to contemporary readers. The storytelling is very much a part of a different era of comics and, I suspect, doesn’t ‘click’ with a lot of people explicitly because of that.

I also think that people who may not innately respond to that style of storytelling make adjustments when they are reading older work, because they expect that storytelling style going in, but will not make that adjustment for new books.

I know that it definitely takes a lot more effort for me as a reader to find an ‘in’ to a book by George Perez than it takes me for almost any other contemporary books, and it it’s more work for me to stay involved. The adjustment in my headspace feels very similar to the adjustment in headspace I need to make as a film viewer when I’m watching something from the silent-era as opposed to something contemporary.


Given the constant exumation of every facet of both Marvel and DC history, the idea of “contemporary” isn’t one that necessarily tops the list of current comics selling points. (Other readers in the thread say that the overall storyline wasn’t strong enough to keep their interest.) But seeing this brought up several times shows that it isn’t just John Byrne who’s out of touch these days.

Johanna also links to this thread but picks another pull quote

B&B appeals to intelligent readers who appreciate the history of DC’s universe and the caring attention Waid and Perez give to the characters they use in their stories. Such readers have by and large stopped reading DC comics, since the bulk of the DCU is now run by overgrown fanboys with dismemberment fetishes.


This comment reflects the general consensus of many respected observers on who reads superhero comics and why, but there is no denying that the Ultimate/Identity Crisis/52 generation of superhero comics readers IS a generation of superhero comics readers, and not just the lingering survivors of an older tribe.

While old timers–like The Beat–turn up their noses at this “decompressed” storytelling — rejecting what seems like plotlessness and a lack of pacing, for today’s readers, this is what they expect from comics. And for old timers with any sense of taste, the difference in quality between a Millar/Hitch comics, say, and the average rush job corporate comic, is fairly obvious. In the same way that the Image style drove out John Byrne, the “decompressed” style is throwing dirt on the grave.

What’s interesting from our own viewpoint, anyway, is that in a quest for new comics that satisfy in less widescreen ways, the only place to go is indie comics. The average Oni, D&Q or Top Shelf book has more “traditional” storytelling than corporate comics these days, and are created by young cartoonists with completely different sensibilities.

Looked at another way, a few posts back we linked to some gobsmackingly beautiful old comics by Reed Crandall. Crandall’s heydey as an artist would have been 20 years before those Harris comics were published — a shorter time than George Perez’s heydey was from now. Looking on the Crandall pages today we’re stunned by their artistry and timeless skill. Had they been published 10 or 20 years ago the style would have been seen as hoplesssly old fashioned, however.

But the 20-something comics reader has got his own bag now. What do you think, kids? Who are the greatest storytellers of the “decompressed” era?

Comments

  1. Sigh – that’ll teach me not to comment on some random Newsarama blog again, even when they specifically ask the readers to do so.

  2. For what it’s worth, I freakin’ LOVE that Brave and the Bold book. Great stuff! And I’m about 180 degrees opposed from a dyed-in-the-wool DC head.

    Jim McLauchlin

  3. Nathaniel says:

    While I’m a big fan of Perez’s artwork, I don’t think it’s hard to see that it can look very “dated”, simply because he is so iconically associated with the DC 1980s books.

  4. Dasbender says:

    It’s funny that people not reading B&B get dismissed as fanboys not interested in good storytelling, yet the reason I’ve never even picked up a single issue of B&B is that it looked like something marketed to fanboys. In my experience, all Waid and Perez do is wallow in the old mainstream. It’s a voice I don’t enjoy. Give me Seven Soldiers or Bru’s Captain America instead.

  5. Dasbender says:

    Also, I’ve always had the impression that B&B was inconsequential with regards to character advancement. I love the new Blue Beetle, but as long as I read his solo title, I probably won’t miss anything by not reading B&B. I don’t want to spend $3 just to watch spandex folks punch each other.

    …unless it’s Iron Fist.

  6. alex cox says:

    Sometimes books just don’t “click”.

    It doesn’t always have to be a comment on the state of the industry, or the shifting sands of fandom, or generational favoring of a certain type of storytelling or whatever.

    Sometimes there’s just not that magic spark that has no quantifiability…

    I’m also a little bewildered by the idea that great creators (and both of those guys are just that) are going to have a hit every time out of the gate. Not everything is a home run.

  7. jonathan says:

    Anthology, Team-up, Classified and Confidential titles don’t sell anymore. I think fans feel these comics have no effect on the character’s status quo and they give off the feeling of being pointless. I enjoy Brave and the Bold but I cant say it is ever at the top of my pile when it comes out.

  8. For what it’s worth, I’m a 20-something comics reader, and I prefer Brave & the Bold to most of what’s going on in comics these days, certainly to the current JLA, JSA, and Countdown to Infinidentinal Crisis nonsense. It’s the kind of comics I was reading in my mid-teens ten years ago (like Busiek’s Avengers, Waid’s Captain America, Morrison’s JLA, and David’s Young Justice), and I’m glad that kind of storytelling (i.e., good) is still around.

  9. I’m groovin’ on B&B. It’s a form of comics I enjoy, done buy folks who do it well.

  10. I’m a twenty-something comic reader, and I’m not a big fan of Brave and the Bold. I pick it up when the team-ups interest me, but the overarching plot does nothing for me. I honestly think the book’d be much stronger if they just dropped the attempt at connecting the team-ups and let them be self-contained oneshots or two-parters. Probably wouldn’t do anything to help the book’s sales, though.

  11. Jim Sheridan says:

    I LOVE George Perez but just am not a fan of those characters.

    The point made about some of the plotless or inconsistent modern writing is dead on; I think some of the new generation is also just overworked. I like Warren Ellis, for example, but I think he is tackling way, way too many things at once. I have been grabbing some of the stuff he has been doing recently – Black Summer, Anna Mercury, Crecy, Doctor Sleepless – and finding all of it really thin.

  12. GP + MW would usually have me spending the $$$.

    However, the prospect of a constantly-shifting lineup didn’t appeal to me. I enjoy serial fiction that follows one character or group of characters . . . even two hall-of-fame creators and a continuing storyline, the “relay race” factor (characters handing off the baton) didn’t merit me dropping another book so I could pick this one up.

    Compressed vs Decompressed had nuttin’ to do with it.

    Put those two on Legion of Superheroes or something and I bet it’d be a different story.

  13. RichYan33 says:

    For as many things the B&B has going on it’s more coherent that JSA or more importantly JLA. Every issue of JLA feels like I missed an issue.

  14. The Beat says:

    Ryan! Don’t be silenced. You should be heard. I honestly was more interested in the comment then saw who made it as a sidebar.

    Nat — I do think of you as being firmly in the “Tweener” generation….which has now been annexed into Gen X, btw.

  15. Ralf Haring says:

    I’d pick up a softcover if DC would release one…

  16. joecab says:

    I love George (and Jerry Ordway, who was a good choice to take over the book), I love Mark, and I love the book. And yup I am of that age, and prefer the stories of yesteryear than most current ones.

    But some of my tastes have changed a bit. For example, I’m totally over John Byrne’s work now. Some of it is because his style has streamlined a bit and I don’t like it. Also, his writing style is such that all his stories feel the same to me now. (Ditto Claremont.) And I have some exceptions to those the old timers I love as well: the whole Hypertime thing Mark came up in the Kingdom with was SUCH a glaringly “fanboy” move that it completely turned me off to the entire thing.

    My list of the older creators I’d like to see work from again isn’t that long, and is mostly writers. I’d love to see something new from Paul Levitz or Alan Brennert.

  17. NickT says:

    I never tried BatB because it seemed to be a book which appealed to fans from past times. If that’s what you like more power to you, but the more modern stylings are what got me into comics.

  18. Dave Aikins says:

    I tried to like the book, as I tend to like Waid and Perez.
    Unfortunately, Perez’s pages were just too packed with detail to allow for a nice flow and design. With just the pencils, there was no rest for the eye. No areas to focus on, when every area is showing off detail. Add to it th overdone and saturated color to the already busy art, and the book visually made my head hurt.
    Which is a shame, because I kinda liked what it tried to do.

  19. I like Johnny Ryan the best

  20. Ed Ward says:

    Yow.

    Feels very strange to have a quote from me given such space on ‘The Beat’.

    Since it’s there though…..

    I’ll say again – I’ve been really enjoying The Brave and The Bold but, yes, reading it is a very, very different experience than reading most other current super hero titles because of it’s style of storytelling. For better or for worse ‘decompressed’ story-telling is the current norm and when I have my stack of new books in front of me I always have to change up my reading style when I get to Brave and the Bold. I like the Perez style. I read his New Teen Titans and Wonder Woman when I was growing up. I read Brave and the Bold now. I have the hardcovers of his Avengers run. But his storytelling is very different from what’s being done in most anything else in Super Hero books at the moment and thereby sets different requirements for the reader. I’m not going to say better or worse, just different.

    As far as decompressed storytelling – I think that when they are really ‘on’ that Bendis and Ellis are tops in this category. Bendis’ Alias is one of my favorite books of the last ten years or so, and Ellis gets my undying love for Transmetropolitan and Global Frequency.

    I love Ultimate Spider Man and the Millar/Hitch Ultimates. I think that what we call ‘decompression’ is a great tool that allows for character nuance and can let a story breathe in ways that the old model of Super Hero storytelling didn’t allow for.

    That being said, I’m not sure that I would lump everything current in the ‘decompressed’ category. I know that Ellis has a reputation for decompression, but in his best work you get a TON of meat per issue. Think of the world-building done-in-ones in Transmet or anything within the done-in-one formats of Fell or Global Frequency. I’m sure that Matt Fraction is considered part of the decompression era, but I feel like he crams more comics goodness into each issue of his books than almost anyone outside of Grant Morrison.

    Still, both Fraction and Morrison read (for me at least) in a way that is much more aligned with every other Marvel/DC-U book than Perez does. I don’t feel a ‘shift’ when I pick up Casanova, Immortal Iron Fist, or All-Star Superman the way that I do when I pick up Brave and the Bold.

    Waid’s work outside of Brave and the Bold doesn’t feel this way to me. Flash and Legion both felt like a ‘fit’ with contemporary storytelling, but Brave and the Bold feels apart. I felt the same way reading the Busiek/Perez Avengers. Busiek’s other work feels timeless to an extent, but feels in-synch with the style of storytelling represented in it’s contemporaries (books of same genre and era), but when he was working with Perez on Avengers I felt like I had to reset my reading style.

    I honestly don’t know if I’m making any sense here or if if this is just coming off as jibber-jabber. I’m trying to figure out what it is about the Perez style that seems so distinct from everything surrounding it, and what that different kind of work is that it requires from a reader.

    I try to read as many different styles of comics as possible and know that I approach different titles in different ways. This week’s reads have included the first volume of Amulet, the second volume of Walt and Skeezix, Exit Wounds, the first volume of Elephantmen, Doctor 13, plus my weekly pulls from my LCS. Each of these required a different approach from me as a reader, and each of these rewarded me in different ways (one of the greatest things about having such a variety of work in print at the moment). I’ve got the Professor’s Daughter, King City, Terry and the Pirates, and the Floating Classroom waiting for me on my nightstand to read this weekend. I’m naming all of these to clarify that I’m not just a Marvel/DC Super Hero Zombie – I lovelovelove comics as a medium/artform/whatever you want to call it. Comics are swell and I love them.

    The thing is, when I go to read any title I approach it with a certain base expectation as a reader of what is required of me. I’m frequently surprised by enjoying something more than I expected to or less than I expected to, by finding depth or resonance in something that I didn’t think would be there, but I’m rarely caught off guard by what I’m going to need to bring to the table as a reader.

    Perez’s modern work catches me off guard every time in that, no matter what title he is on, it reads (for me) like ‘Super Hero Comic From 1985′. Now, if I pick up a Super Hero comic from 1985 I know going in what to expect. If I pick up a ‘New This Wednesday’ book from Marvel or DC, I expect it to flow reasonably comfortably with their other books. All Star Superman and Ultimate Spider-Man have radically different agendas and storytelling styles, but both read (for me) like a Super Hero comic from 2008. They feel like part of the same conversation. Perez’s work doesn’t and, because of this, it sometimes feels like a weird alien invader in my Wednesday pile.

  21. AnthonyX says:

    I recall in the early 80′s when I started buying, I thought Jack Kirby was awful (Can most admit to this). As were artists who drew in a similar style (Don Heck, George Tuska). Mea Culpa, I know.

  22. Frank B says:

    I tried. I really tried to get into tis book. I love me some Mark Waid and George Perez, but I’m not a big enough DC Fanboy to get into that book. I don’t think it has anything to do with decompressed storytelling. I’m not a big fan of the character that Mark was putting into the book.

  23. Ed Ward says:

    AnthonyX –

    Excellent point! I didn’t like Kirby’s work as a kid either! I’ve only been able to start appreciating his work over the last few years, and I’ve still got a TON of friends who grew up the same time I did who can’t stand his stuff and dismiss it as ‘ugly’, ‘old’, and ‘unreadable’.

  24. NickT says:

    “I recall in the early 80’s when I started buying, I thought Jack Kirby was awful (Can most admit to this). As were artists who drew in a similar style (Don Heck, George Tuska). Mea Culpa, I know.”

    I appreciate how important and influencial Kirby is, but I dunno if I’d want to buy a book that looked like that.

    Similarly though, my favourite artist is probably Maleev, but when I started I wasn’t a fan. Things change :)

  25. David Blot says:

    IF this book would have been called “Batman & Superman” (or “Batman & Flash”, or “Superman & Green Lantern” – well you get it) it would have sell much better.

    Perez & Waid are not the problem.

    “Brave & the Bold” is.

  26. I am well out of it, does decompressed mean “we turn one issue into four via little dialogue, few panels, and rare plot movement?”

  27. Bobo McGo says:

    I also think that people who may not innately respond to that style of storytelling make adjustments when they are reading older work, because they expect that storytelling style going in, but will not make that adjustment for new books.

    I think that pretty much nails it. Perez’s old-fashioned art style feels dull and static; the characters are often awkwardly posed, and the facial expressions have approximately the emotional range of action figures. It’s like watching old Superfriends cartoons when you’re used to B:TAS. I was disappointed to read he’ll be drawing/kneecapping the LOSH Final Crisis tie-in, but I guess the decision makers at DC are about his age…

    Waid’s self-consciously “silver agey” writing on this title is also misguided. I get what he’s trying to do, but the fact is that silver age comic writing was actually not good writing on all kinds of levels by the standards normally applied to writers of fiction, so when Waid ape’s silver age writing so directly, he’s basically writing badly on purpose.

    Compare this book to Morrison’s JLA, which was recognizably “silver agey” in its kitchen sink approach to storytelling, but executed in a smart, modern style with dynamic art, tight plotting and well-written dialog. That’s how you write a silver age homage that people will actually want to read.

  28. NickT says:

    “I am well out of it, does decompressed mean “we turn one issue into four via little dialogue, few panels, and rare plot movement?””

    Depends who you ask. As such decompressed could just mean not compressed, the writer takes as long as he thinks a story deserves.

  29. Well, keep in mind that even back in the 60s BRAVE AND BOLD didn’t succeed as a peripatetic team-up book of “whoever DC wanted to team up.” Back in the day I thought that was a far better idea than “Batman + whoever,” but it seems that the marketplace did not support teamups of Flash and Doom Patrol, Metamorpho and Metal Men, and so on. Comics-readers, whether hardcore or casual, like consistency, and that may be more of a factor than the threat of decompressed storytelling.

    Still, I imagine that “d.s.” has for many fans come to seem the flavor of the times, just as Lee-Thomas soap opera became dominant roughly from the 70s thru the early 90s. One fan here commented that there was no character advancement in the Waid-Perez B&B, and that used to be the DC style until the 70s, where “done-in-one” was the order of the day. I’m not sure anyone really gets any mileage out of “done-in-one” anymore, unless it’s in an anthology-style concept like SIN CITY.

    Still, it’s interesting to speculate how “d.s.” has affected the old Lee-Thomas ideal of the infinitely-interconnected “universe.” My impression is that today hardcore fans care about the universes that concern favorite characters, as witnessed by the panoply of Bat-books and X-books, but I don’t know if there’s that much of a passion for the kind of overall continuity that sparked CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. And 52 may have made the situation worse by WAY overstaying its welcome.

  30. I suspect this book appeals more to an older audience and that audience isn’t buying monthly comic books anymore. The Quesada/Didio changes have driven them off, or at least driven them to buy trades of older stuff (ie Showcase and Essential collections).

    I think this is a common problem in a lot of entertainment mediums. Kids grow up to be adults, they get working in the medium they love, start doing stuff that’s inspired by stuff they enjoyed reading as a kid, only to see today’s generation of kids not interested. It looks 10 years behind them (at least) and they recognize it’s not really for them.

  31. AERose says:

    I’ve already given up on Brave and the Bold as a blockbuster seller, but it occurs to me that it’s a shame that a comic book with very similar methods, goals, and overall standards of quality in Shooter’s Legion is going to go down the exact same road sans public hand wringing.

  32. Wraith says:

    There are 3 simple reasons why B&B does not sale.

    1. Ongoing team up superhero books DO NOT sale. It has NOTHING to do with the style of writing of the book. The last ongoing MARVEL TEAM UP book from a few years ago is proof of that. That series was written in the “modern style” and it sold like crap.

    2. There are just too many damn DC (and Marvel) superhero books out there and (a) not enough fans out there or (b) not enough fans who can AFFORD to buy every damn book out there (or every book they want to read).

    3. As someone said earlier, the book just didn’t “click” with fans.

  33. Speaking as someone who has been reading superhero comics since the mid-1960s, I have to ask the question that’s prompted by much of what I read here:

    Is there something inherently wrong with DC producing a comic book that appeals to me?

    Or should DC only produce comics that appeal to 20-somethings who grew up on slasher films and MTV?

    Just wondering.

  34. Alan Coil says:

    jonathan said:

    “Anthology, Team-up, Classified and Confidential titles don’t sell anymore. I think fans feel these comics have no effect on the character’s status quo and they give off the feeling of being pointless.”
    _____

    Taking off from that (and not particularly aimed at jonathan), we have heard for the last 5 years how much damage it does to have the 2 mega-universes tied into themselves so much because it alienates the new reader. Yet when a title such as the Confidential Superman or Confidential Batman comes out, nobody buys them. Can’t have it both ways.

    Or are we just becoming people who like to b!tch about anything and everything.

  35. Nathan says:

    Two problems I see with BRAVE AND THE BOLD. In the old days, team-up books had one character that was constant. (Batman,Spidey Superman or the Thing) Sure, there were exceptions,like the occasional Hulk story, but Spidey or Batfans would pick up the title no matter who the guest was.Not the case here. Plus, Mark Waid simply isn’t as good as he once was. A Geoff Johns/George Perez team up title would sell like crazy. I’d probably make Green Lantern the star character though. Just to see if this could be done without Batman.

  36. Alan Coil says:

    Ken said:

    “I am well out of it, does decompressed mean “we turn one issue into four via little dialogue, few panels, and rare plot movement?””
    _____

    Yes, that is precisely what decompression is. Too little story stretched out long enough to fill a trade. That is why most stories are 5 or 6 issues long.

  37. Heidi – thanks for the encouragement but I’m not really the kind of person who gets into writing about his personal tastes -or- pretending to know why this book or that book does or doesn’t sell, hence the short answers. I read the Newsarama blog, they asked people to post why they weren’t buying the book so I did, simple as that. I figured that would be the end of it but since you asked nicely, here’s the breakdown of why I wrote what I wrote.

    1 – It’s boring.
    Pretty self explanitory really. I read the first 3 or 4 issues of Brave and the Bold and all I can remember about them was that there was one issue where Green Lantern and Supergirl do a lot of creepy flirting with each other as they beat up aliens. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what happened in the other issues or even who was in them – so that’s pretty bad. I’m really surprised to see so many people saying that Brave and Bold is designed to appeal to the older superhero reader, because speaking as a 36 year old who still avidly reads GI Joe, that is *exactly* what I am.

    2 – I don’t like Perez’s artwork.
    I can certainly understand why people like his art and I don’t think he’s a bad artist by any means, but his aestetics never appealed to me – overly detailed and in genereal his characters are way too “fluffy”. It’s certainly not because I think his work is “dated” (other people’s words, not mine), most of my favorite superhero artists are guys who hit it big in the 70′s and 80′s: Simonson, Romita Jr, Sienkiewicz, etc, and I love a good old fashioned John Byrne comic as much as anyone, but Perez? Meh. (Sorry George if you’re reading – nothing personal).

    3 – Super heroes.
    I should have known this one would bite me on the ass. The thing is I like super heroes (check out my portfolio if you don’t believe me) and I really wasn’t trolling I just didn’t feel like writing a big explination why 99% of the superhero comics being made today don’t interest me.

    I can’t help wonder if some Warner Brothers exec is reading over this thread and second guessing the title of their new Batman cartoon, since everyone seems to be of the opinion that “Brave and the Bold” = “wierd superhero comics for old people”.

    Alex Cox summed it all up perfectly – sometimes even the big boys strike out. (Hi Alex!) All this new-school vs old-school talk really doesn’t apply, it’s just simply not a blockbuster, and I don’t think anyone really expected it to be one either.

  38. I tend to follow characters more than writers or artists (though there are some writers who will get me to look at stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise considered). I picked up the Flash & Doom Patrol issue of Brave and the Bold, and I’ll pick up the Batman & Flash issue coming up next month. Aside from that I just haven’t been interested.

    I suppose there aren’t enough casual readers these days to sustain an anthology on their own, and you have to get the people who buy the same series month in, month out.

  39. NickT says:

    “Yes, that is precisely what decompression is. Too little story stretched out long enough to fill a trade. That is why most stories are 5 or 6 issues long.”

    Some people who write decompressed write that way naturally. If a story should be six issues long to them, they do it in six. If they think it should be two, they do it in two. That is decompression as well.

  40. The ones who enjoy this stuff spend more time reading it. The ones who don’t are the ones who spend more time complaining on the Internet. Hence the gap between perception and reality.

    I find it weird that people who call Perez’s artwork “old-fashioned” sound like older readers when they do so, instead of younger ones. “There’s no place to rest the eye! I don’t have a good entry point! WHY DOESN’T THAT WHIPPERSNAPPER SLOW DOWN, ALREADY?”

    But readers are likely to develop speed-reader habits if they read decompressed storytelling and/or manga and/or most websites. When you are accustomed to absorbing a lot of information quickly, it can be annoying to read something that clearly isn’t designed to be over in six minutes. It can make you feel as if you fail at reading, and nobody likes to feel dumb. I generally prefer “dense” storytelling, but even I’ve occasionally had this problem when I chase a light manga with, say, Harvey Pekar.

    Still, I hope the “decompression” trend starts to reverse itself in the next few years. An audience that gives creators license to take it easy isn’t the audience I want to serve. Demand MORE from me!

    This comment doesn’t encompass the entire discussion– Dunlavey dislikes the book and the art for entirely different reasons, and that’s fine. (Matter of fact, ACTION PHILOSOPHERS was definitely one of the more “dense” reads I enjoyed last year. Hope to see more like it.)

  41. Steven R. Stahl says:

    When I look at Marvel comics from past decades, the relationship between a comic and a prose story seemed pretty straightforward. The comics narration was equivalent to authorial narration, thought balloons were equivalent to prose thought processes, the dialogue was fairly equivalent, although the comics dialogue was more compressed, and the art was equivalent to descriptive text.

    In dialogue-only stories, there’s obviously less story content because no amount of dialogue can make up for the missing narration and thoughts. In Bendis’s “Avengers” titles (not necessarily good examples), there is much more filler, consisting of splash pages and stretches of inconsequential dialogue, than there ever was in “compressed” comics.

    The Knaufs’ IRON MAN series might serve as an example of reasonably good dialogue-only storytelling, since they strike a good balance in the amount of dialogue per panel, and the pacing seems good, but the plotting and characterization are thin and predictable. The result is rather like seeing a made-for-TV movie transferred to paper, and ends up being a worse read overall than a well-done novelization of a screenplay.

    I’d bet money that people who respond favorably to compressed storytelling read more prose fiction than people who prefer decompressed storytelling do.

    SRS

  42. Grant Watson says:

    I’m always fascinated by this “either, or” philosophy. I grew up reading late silver age, early bronze age stuff and some of it was wonderful and some of it was terrible. I think B&B is great but I also like a lot of Indie stuff as well.
    I do think the waning attention span of todays readers has a lot to do with it. Something with a storyline like B&B, or say Avengers Forever, something that deals with intricate continuity is a hard sell for someone who didnt grow up with that but that doesnt mean its outdated does it? Look at the AFI’s top 100 movies. Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca. These movies will be on the top of the list long after i’m gone. And i’m guessing that people like Mac Raboy, Ditko, Kirby, Kane, Colon, Starlin, Steranko, Perez will always be in “style” . Their art will still be sought after long after we are all gone.

  43. Howabout the book has no pressing impact on crossover continuity?

    That seems to be what kills a title.

  44. Fanboy Menace says:

    Harsh words from Matt Hawes as I know he was a one-time Byrne Board regular, but not words without merit. It’s funny how often the supporters of that forum often turn into it’s strongest critics as Byrne and his mob eventually turn on themselves one by one.

    I had a discussion with a friend (one of the posters in the linked Newsarama thread actually) earlier this year about how we were both pretty much done with the current climate of superhero comics, and I admitted that I had pretty much jumped ship on superhero comics in pursuit of the indies and alts. Glad to see I’m not alone. :)

    I couldn’t be happier to see a new movement of online artists, cartoonists, and illustrators with traditional comic storytelling sensibilities. Mainstream comic art is all but ruined by being overworked and overpowered by Photoshop colors and effects.

  45. Henrik J says:

    Am i the only one who thinks the title is just horrible? The Brave and the Bold sounds like a bad soap opera not a comic.

    George Perez artwork isnt bad, but i wouldnt call it great either, it seems a little old fashioned and unspectacular, i am not a big DC reader nor am i fond of Mark Waids writing so those are just the reasons i dont buy it

  46. Wow, this is one of my favorite books right now. It’s a dense packed treat that you can’t burn through like most Marvel and DC books. It takes time and I keep going back and catching details I missed and clever character moments. I really enjoy that kind of book and sorry it’s not catching on.

  47. I bought issue 3 and 5. I read issue 3 and didn’t really understood what happened. It seems I was in the middle on a big storyline with 120 characters and a story about a book….
    It felt king of weird: a team-up book to me, should be a book when you can take an issue featuring a guest character you like and have a story or a portion of a story that will make some sense. I like the Legion so I picked this issue (and n°5), I don’t know why I didn’t pick issue 4, perhaps because it wasn’t advertised as a “with Legion” issue.
    And me too, I don’t really like George Perez art. I think I could like it if he stopped having storylines with so much people in it…
    I didn’t even bother to read issue 5: seems the storyline is not finished yet….I don’t really see the point of having a team-up book if you have long storyline arcs like that. A mini-serie would have made much sense

  48. Tony Bedard says:

    You want to know why HBO’s THE WIRE was a failed experiment that had to be canceled?

    1-Too many obscure characters. I mean, you needed a scorecard just to figure out these people’s names, and by the time you did figure out which corner boy was which, they’d get killed off!

    2-Baltimore. Who cares about that place? I mean, real good cop shows like LAW & ORDER and CSI are set in cool places we care about, like NYC and Vegas and Miami. But Baltimore…?

    3-David Simon. He might’ve been on his game back in the early ’90s with HOMICIDE, but this self-indulgent show was clearly made for old people who’d rather eat oat bran than cocoa puffs, know what I mean?

    4-It kept changing! If the show could’ve stayed as McNulty versus the Barksdales, they might’ve had something. But each season they had a completely new angle! Really, who cares about the Mayor or those school kids? Give me more Stringer Bell!

    And THAT’S why BRAVE & THE BOLD — I mean THE WIRE — was no good at all!

  49. jonathan says:

    The Wire was the best show on Television. The Brave and the Bold is not the best comic on the stands. I like it but there are many that are better. No matter what point you are trying to make there it just doesn’t work. The Wire wasn’t old fashioned. Sadly, The Wire’s viewership issues had more to do with the fact that America prefers its shows to be a little more generic and white. Very few DC comics currently have problems with being generic and/or white. Look at the current cast of Birds of Prey for example. Although I like the current cast and am looking forward to your upcoming run.

  50. jonathan says:

    I think the Wire comparison would work much better with Blue Beetle. Which is excellent, read by few and features a mostly of color cast. And doesn’t have to resort to the token “hot lesbian chick” to qualify as diverse like Countdown.

  51. Charles RB says:

    “But the 20-something comics reader has got his own bag now. What do you think, kids? Who are the greatest storytellers of the “decompressed” era?”

    Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Simon Spurrier, Ian Edgington (on 2000AD), Bendis, Brian Vaughan.

  52. With all the “it’s not like other comics”, “it’s not tied into the one meta-comic of continuity of the moment”, “it’s for people who have stopped reading other comics”, and with the flashy here’s-a-bunch-of-interesting-things cover style, I wonder if it might be faring disproportionately better outside the direct market, in places where one might find both I’ve-given-up-on-doing-this-full-time comics creaders and I’m-new-and-looking-at-what-grabs-my-eyes readers.

  53. Speaking of Blue Beetle, I’m pretty sure that that title on its best day never sold anywhere close to B&B on its worst. And yet B&B is being discussed as a failure while Blue Beetle keeps stumbling along at or under 20K a month, shedding readers as it goes.

  54. Astute readers will note DC’s entire line is underperforming, irregardless of who is on the book or how good it is, not just Brave and The Bold.

    Right now DC has many A list creators whose books could be and should be performing much better. So it’s clear DC’s brand has a problem with consumer perception that goes much deeper than people believe.

    As I said before in the thread about DC’s sales numbers, DC has built up an unpopular reputation among the masses due to decisions made regarding certain characters and the line direction that goes as far back as Infinite Crisis (which sold but left many disappointed), 52 (a success but unleashed 52 new earths to track), The Flash reboot, Action, WW reboot, Countdown to the finale of a ‘grand plan’ storyline that’s been in the works for as far back as 5 years ago. Of course, the excessive bloodbath for many favorite characters, replacing others with politically correct pundits to make for an ethnically diverse line up (which has never, ever worked) didn’t do much to score brownie points with readers either.

    So as anyone can see, DC editiorial has worked dilligently over the past few years to build this hard earned negative reputation and changing consumer perception is very, very difficult. Some will say controversy is great for sales but when a company goes as far as DC has done to consistently piss off their consumer base, it’s clear these are the results that are going to yield.

    It’s common sense, really: consumers aren’t going to flock to a store or business to spend money on their product when management goes to extreme lengths to turn their customers off.

    So now DC as a brand has an image problem and it’s affected their entire line. Kind of like a school where there’s been a bad viral breakout and its turning people away, even from the popular kids because they’re in the infected class.

  55. BTW, in case I didn’t explain it properly, yes, all the reasons people listed above are fair and valid as to why B&B isn’t more of a success.

    But the same can be said about Shooter’s Legion or Jim Starlin’s New Gods, Grant Morrison’s Batman (a marquis name who can and should be selling better), Johns and Ross’ JSA / Kingdom Come, Blue Beetle, all great books, some with A game creators whose books should be selling better…

    So, since DC’s entire line is underperforming, people need to look more closely as to why DC as a brand is turning so many people off at such a rapid, viral pace.

  56. Henrik J:

    “Am i the only one who thinks the title is just horrible? The Brave and the Bold sounds like a bad soap opera not a comic.”

    Yeah, I agree. Makes you wonder if something more on the nose like “DC Teamup” (Well, a better name than that ;) ) could have helped it.

  57. Alan Coil says:

    Gee, Brett.

  58. Wow, this turned into a rather hot topic. Given how many folks are discussing it, I’m not sure where the best place to through two-cents in is, but I’ll throw ‘em here.

    Brave and the Bold isn’t selling TERRIBLY. It’s out-performing a lot of “important” crossover stuff, an actual Batman team-up book (Batman and the Outsiders), Supergirl, a lot of secondary Batman titles (Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman) and the Flash.

    The negative part of its sales seems to be how far its fallen from its debut.

    Everyone has thrown out some good reasons, but I think one to also keep in mind is the marketing bait and switch on it, which may have been completely unintentional. During the con season prior to its realease, DC folks kept saying that the darker, doom and gloom era of DC was about to give way to a brighter, happier place, and that Waid and Perez would be reintroducing readers to the new, post Infinite Crisis/52 DCU, complete with its continuity changes and more positive tone, in the pages of Brave and the Bold.

    As it turned out though, the DCU plunged into another extended period of turmoil and dark tone, and Waid no longer seemed “in charge” of the direction of the DCU.

    Maybe that had something to do with it…?

    Now excuse me, but I’m going to resume crying in the corner about the fact taht Ed Benes outsells George Perez…

  59. Tony Bedard says:

    My point bringing up THE WIRE wasn’t so much to make a direct parallel with B&B. It’s just that both of them require a little more effort on the part of the audience, but when you bother to give it, the effort is amply rewarded.

    B&B is a five course meal trying to compete in a light snack world. But if you’ll sit down and dig in with a knife and fork, it’s pretty damn satisfying.

    By the way, I adore BLUE BEETLE and live in fear of John Rogers’ talent.

    I also find it strange that B&B gets knocked for featuring obscure or minor characters when 52 was a runaway success featuring the likes of Ralph Dibney, Renee Montoya, Animal Man and Booster Gold.

    Oh, well. The entertainment landscape is littered with beautiful corpses. TV shows like Profit and Cupid and The Prisoner and Kolchak weren’t bad, just under-appreciated. The same goes for B&B.

  60. The “compression v. decompression” argument really needs to die of old age. It isn’t an issue of how many 22-page segments it takes to tell a story (although for some creators, it really is, and we’re all thinking of Jeph Loeb I’m sure). It’s how big of a story is being told. People point out that Jack and Stan told the kinds of stories in modern 6-part arcs in just 22 pages. I would say 22 overwrought pages. When I read through older comics, and I grew up reading a lot of them, as young as I am, I tend to speed through the words just to marvel at the action and storytelling in the art (especially when I am in the mood to suckle from the Kirby teat, which I am often guilty of). This is because, while those silver-age FF issues and whatnot are enthralling in their energy and creativity, they literally read like a cliff’s notes version of the story being told. The story beats are all there, but the action simply isn’t.

    I should note that the current “decompression trend” does not entirely crib from manga. Many of those stories unabashedly stretch out scenes for no purpose other than the creator needing to buy a new tie with the extra cash. Few American stories follow a similar trend. There are unnecessary scenes much more often in comics now, but decompression as the de facto comics style in this country has been around for just about a decade. People will figure things out.

    Perhaps it is because I’m younger, but I always see people posting that page of Wolverine at the breakfast table or whatever from Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men as an example of decompression. I think it’s a well-paced, funny scene, and well worth a page. I also don’t mind the lack of words. Looking through my early Captain America essentials right now, I can flip through and point at virtually any page to see a panel or five where Stan Lee could have cut the dialogue entirely, because the artwork told the story better without it. I’ll take this over anything overwrought like that.

    The future is trades, anyway. I’ll mourn the pamphlet as much as anyone, but proper stories are not told the way Stan Lee did it. It’s not just a case for modernity, but the inevitable maturation of a medium. We want characters, not broad strokes of a story that happens to be held up by impeccable art and spot-on concepts.

  61. NickT says:

    Gus Mojica :

    “Perhaps it is because I’m younger, but I always see people posting that page of Wolverine at the breakfast table or whatever from Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men as an example of decompression. I think it’s a well-paced, funny scene, and well worth a page. I also don’t mind the lack of words.”

    I agree. Could it have been done in less space? Sure, but it wouldn’t have been as funny.

  62. Fanboy Menace says:

    “…mood to suckle from the Kirby teat…”

    I hope I never have to read these words or have this mental image again as long as I live. :(

  63. Torsten Adair says:

    I bought a copy of the Sinestro Corps V.1 on eBay. I know it’s not a complete story, but having read the first volume, I was disappointed in that there were so many pages, but not a lot of story. I don’t see what everyone was going ga-ga over. There were many excellent ideas (Hal Jordan being able to wield the yellow rings, fear vs. will power, Batman as a potential villain, Sinestro’s manipulation of his home planet) but the first volume could have been compressed into an 80-page giant (or an annual).

    Since I read almost everything in trade nowadays, it doesn’t really matter what style it is, so long as the price and format is worth it. Sinestro Corps is worth one trade containing all 12 or so chapters.

    Perhaps the Marvel / Plot First method of storytelling has its virtues and strengths. Or maybe the editors need to impose tighter constraints. Or maybe in a multi-arc story, where each chapter is 22 pages, some fluff will be added to fill the space.
    And quite possibly, we have what was once a never ending story told in finite episodes being replaced by a never ending story told in arcs. Each arc must have a defined story, possibly with a big theme, change, or challenge, and so we get summer blockbuster storytelling with lots of explosions and special effects, but not a lot of story.

    And when fans talk about favorite stories, they seem to choose stand alone issues (Astro City 1/2), or small arcs (Amazing Spider-Man/Master Planner). My favorites are single issues, except for one notable example: Watchmen.

    But I don’t care what people read or don’t read, as long as they read. Myself, I read the good stuff.

  64. I think there is room for both and I think both should be available to readers. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. I’m a big Waid/Perez fan and although I don’t “get” B&B storywise, I am enjoying the ride on the pure sense of the look. There is a lot of wonderful things to look at.

    That said, there are some of the “modern” storytelling that bothers me because now the writers write for the format of the Trade Paperback. Barebones. What goes into the monthly books has to fit into the other format too so they have to write for it and sometimes it compares to having turned “Three’s Company” into a 3 moive trillogy and it doensn’t work at all. Back in the “day” you didn’t have that format of the TPB, so the writing reflected that – stories were self contained etc. etc. But, those who read Usagi Yogimbo know you can have the self contained and the TPB all in one neat package.

  65. >>Matt Hawes Says:

    04/4/08 at 11:18 pm
    John Byrne and his ilk are the problem. They whine and whine about wanting old school comics but deep down the hypocrites spend their money on the grim and gritty comics that excite them.

    Their self loathing then comes out as online complaints. the truth is Byrne and his board members hate themselves.

    The above quote is NOT by me. It is from an imposter.

    – Matt

  66. Charles RB says:

    “what’s missing is the ability of today’s comic “pros” to turn off their brains and just create mindless comics for the masses.”

    I keep hearing people COMPLAIN about today’s comics being “mindless”. Lots of them. Especially ones who are annoyed Brave & Bold and comics like it aren’t selling more like the “mindless” comics do. Then you label Grant Morrison as The Enemy when his JLA was a straightforward “heroes punch evil villains and things explode” title.

    So I have no idea what you’re talking about here and asking for.

  67. Alan Coil says:

    Somebody PLEASE close the italics. I keep falling off my chair from vertigo!

  68. Again, there is someone else posting under my name in this forum.

    – Matt

  69. Sphinx Magoo says:

    I’m a tweener and I read Brave and Bold. It’s one of the few books I look forward to reading every month.

    I understand the comments some people make about George Perez’s artwork, but I love his work. I love his attention to details. I love that his characters’ faces are each unique and that their body postures and expressions are extensions of the characters’ personalities and powers. He’s like a one-man Disney animation team! He puts a lot of attention into his work that demands that the reader slow down and pay attention themselves, and that subtle invitation might be enough to turn people off.

    Meanwhile, I like how Waid and Perez are using characters like the Challengers of the Unknown in new and exciting ways. I like how they show Batman as being less of a jerk in his relationships with other heroes. I like a lot of things about this book, but one thing I’m less crazy about is how stories don’t seem to flow easily from one character team-up to the next. For example, in the early days of Marvel Team-Up the reader followed Spidey as he tried to capture the villain Morbius; as each issue came out, Spidey would meet a new hero who would help or hinder him in his pursuit of Morbius. (A similar pattern was used in the early issues of Marvel Two-In-One as the Thing dealt with the appearance of Wundarr.) The focus was smaller and only Spidey acted as the anchor from issue to issue. With Brave and Bold, Batman and Green Lantern team up then separate in their pursuit of the bad guys; Batman meets up with Blue Beetle and the Legion of Super-Heroes while Green Lantern meets Supergirl (who meets up with Lobo for an issue) then Green Lantern and Supergirl hook up with Adam Strange who hook up with Batman and then the Challengers show up to help save the day. It’s a lot of going back and forth and cool characters and great designs and nice characterizations, but if there’s ever a book that screams out for a tpb collection it’s this one. B&B’s compressed storytelling and attention to details make me want all of the cool stuff all in one place so I can appreciate it better.

  70. I think it may be time to retire the term “Fanboy”. Do we really need a derogatory term for people who are passionate about the comics they love to read? I submit that we do not.

  71. jonathan says:

    Tony Bedard has great taste in TV! I just had to politely kiss ass for a sec since he responded to me which I thought was nice. And he is write about The Wire and the Brave and the Bold having the same kind of densely layered storytelling that is challenging yet rewarding.

  72. jonathan says:

    Did I just write the word write when I meant right. Oh the shame

  73. Brave & Bold is a lousy comic that not enough people like.

    See what I did there? I don’t like the comic book you like. Wild! OMG, we don’t agree!

    The only reason this is getting a bunch of attention is because a couple of the people who happen to like Brave & the Boring are Graeame and Heidi, and they have popular websites, so they’re giving it some attention. I like Exterminators and the Intimates, and I didn’t start an outcry or try to have some kind of half-assed intellectual debate about why a comic that I liked was getting cancelled.

    This is just pointless, and I don’t know why it irritates me, but seriously: Brave & The Bold. Not enough people like it to buy it. Just like every other comic that ever doesn’t sell well. Should we start comment boards about all of them? Oh wait, they already exist, on the DC webpage and a million other places.

    Oh, and just to Tony Bedard–The Wire was a brilliant show. The Brave & the Bold isn’t fit to be mentioned anywhere near it.

  74. Fanboy Menace says:

    Wow, this thread is really bringing out the asstards. You read comics. You’re fanboys. Get over it. But a big round of applause for Chad Carter going above and beyond the call of duty in trying to stir up trouble. You can tell he was really trying his hardest.

    People are wrecking on George Perez’s art? He’s THE quintessential comic book artist. But I guess when you are used to being force fed photos of models and screencaps of porn that have been glitzed over in Photoshop, and been told it’s ‘WIDESCREEN’, then you really wouldn’t have a clue.

    And why would anyone impersonate Matt Hawes? I know Matt, he’s a heckuva nice guy.

  75. Paragon Kobold says:

    Despite all the talk of the title being a failure, I have noticed that the hardcover is sold out at amazon. Perhaps is simply applies more to the ‘waiting for the trade’ crowd?

  76. The Beat says:

    Helloooooooo! First off, I have never read an issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. I have no idea if it is any good or not. I merely found the online discussion of it raised interesting issues.

    Second off, I am deleting a bunch of idiotic posts here. NO NAME CALLING.

    Third off, I don’t allow spoofing but I have no idea what is going on with this Matt Hawes business. I am putting these comments into moderation until someone explains in email.

  77. The Beat says:

    Never mind. I figured it out. And the person who was posting under multiple IDs to agree with himself has been banned.

    The real Matt Hawes comments remain.

    It’s sad that a serious discussion of comics issues has to turn into name calling and skullduggery. Is this really what you think of yourselves?

  78. Alan Coil says:

    Heidi just said:

    “It’s sad that a serious discussion of comics issues has to turn into name calling and skullduggery. Is this really what you think of yourselves?”
    _____

    Well, Heidi, we ARE fanboys. ;)

    There are always going to be people who don’t like a book, just at there are with movies. (No Country For Old Men only gets a 94 at Rotten Tomatoes.) Fortunately for them, they can vent their spleen on the internet.

    I wish I had done a screen cap earlier so I could see which posts were deleted. It would be nice to know who to ignore in the future at other sites.

  79. I’ll ask the same questions I asked on the newsarama blog.

    When was the last time Waid sold a book above this level based on his name? He was fired from the F.F. the first time for putting up numbers like this after the $.09 issue. The lone exception is 52 where Waid was one of four writers.

    George Perez is great. However, if you take away his Avengers and Avengers/JLA, the exceptions to the trend, he hasn’t sold a book at a high level in twenty years.

    This is a nostalgia book with no core characters to be nostalgic about. This series had good art and a weak story.

    I’d like to add that anthologies and team-ups don’t sell well for Marvel or DC. Also this title was the 13th best selling title for DC in February placing just below Superman. Given the creators, the format and DC’s overall sales, I don’t see the surpise over the sales on this title.

  80. Wow.

    In rereading this thread, I can’t believe the number of people who are so vocal in their complaints about the creators, two A list greats such as Mark Waid and George Perez.

    Mark Waid is an excellent writer. His Flash underperformed because he was handed book featuring a situation about the character that was completely out of his hands.

    DC editiorial played bait and switch on the readers, killing off a popular character, replacing it with a rebooted book featuring a lead character DC planned on killing after 13 issues — 13 issues of some of the worst writing and art since the start of the new millenium. That pissed off many, many people.

    Yet Waid did the best he could. He took the baton he was handed and made the best of a really shitty, unpopular situation. Of course, the garrish artists used to interpret his stories (who changed 2x in 6 months) probably didn’t help since comics are a visual medium.

    People complaining about George Perez?

    I think people need to look at the decision to put someone of Perez’s stature on a book like Brave and The Bold to begin with. When I heard Perez was going on B&B, I was left scratching my head. As The WRAITH said, team up titles were never, ever chart toppers.

    Why aren’t people complaining about Geoff Johns and Alex Ross’ JSA not selling in the realm of Kingdom Come’s numbers? It’s a Kingdom Come sequel? Why aren’t people complaining about the legendary Jim Starlin’s DEATH of the New Gods underperforming? Jim Shooter’s Legion? Jim Shooter is a man that while running Valiant, was publishing books that had both DC AND Marvel running for their money. Gail Simone is on her A Game on WW, a fan favorite writer who people begged to be on that book. Why isn’t WW selling better?

    People need to look at the individuals setting the tone and direction for DC’s whole underperforming line because it affects popularity, consumer perception and sales for the entire brand. It’s sad that some great A list creators’ reputations are now being tarnished; placed under the microscope because of the unpopular, head scratching decisions made from the editorial leaders whose thinking has affected sales on DC’s entire brand.

  81. BTW, for the chap who says aside from JLAvengers, Perez hasn’t sold a book in over 20 years, go check your facts.

    During the time of JLAvengers, George was at Crossgen. Crossgen was nice and innovative but their books weren’t exactly chart toppers. Crossgen published books featuring a universe of books that were a bit confusing, few people were able to get into them, hence Crossgen no longer publishes.

    After Perez did JLAvengers and Crossgen was no more, he was put on Avengers and that book sold very, very well.

    After completing a 3 year commitment on a best selling book, Perez was brought back to DC under the belief that he was going to complete the long awaited, long requested New Teen Titans graphic novel. He was jazzed, fans were jazzed.

    Instead, he was doing assorted pages for the patchwork quilt book that became known as Infinite Crisis and after that, Brave and The Bold. The Brave and The Bold… something that didn’t exactly have people swinging from the rafters with excitment.

  82. A couple other notes about B&B, specifically:

    The book has several flaws that I was willing to overlook because of its compensations. It takes its time revealing the connection between the stories, and even when it does, that connection is a tenuous one and not especially stirring. The Destiny Book was a clever MacGuffin, but only a handful of the characters get a chance to respond to it in any way. Megistus’ personality, motivation and background are too vaguely defined for him to engage the reader as the best villains do.

    The Challengers’ appearance in issue #6 is almost completely deus ex machina for anyone who doesn’t know about their “borrowed time” origin story– and that’s a major flaw, because they’re crucial to the climax. Issue #10 has so much going on that even Waid and Perez can’t quite fit it all in. And I really don’t know how the book’s gonna keep going once a less detail-oriented artist takes over.

    All these things may be driving newer readers away. Or even older ones. Hell, I don’t know.

    But for all that, it’s still great fun. It’s the first thing I’ve experienced since Justice League Unlimited that really makes me feel like a shared universe is a strength, not just something to work around.

  83. I think the book has, quite simply, been consumed by its own hype. It was announced shortly after Marvel’s last Marvel Team Up, which launched to decent numbers with a popular up-and-coming writer in the form of Robert Kirkman and Scott Kolins on art, fresh from respected runs on The Flash & The Avengers – it was understandable DC would want to attempt a similar book. The initial ‘dream team’ of Waid & Perez spearheaded a surge of excitement but problems arose when it was delayed significantly after its initial announcement, then met with further delays when it finally commenced publication. By this point, Marvel Team Up was slipping in sales and whatever market demand there may have been for team-up books seemed to have dissipated.

    Mark Waid’s storyarc hasn’t really grabbed me, and I dare say many others haven’t been taken with it either. It has aspirations of being an ‘epic’, important event but placed against the ceaseless sturm und drang of whatever Crisis DC are onto now, it feels small and insignificant; pointless even. Then, George Perez’s departure from that ‘dream team’ after ten issues makes the book start to resemble a trembling house of cards, one that was never that well stacked to begin with.

    The Brave and the Bold should, in theory, have been a massive success – big name creators, big characters and smaller fan-favourites alike crossing paths and, at least to begin with, a vocal demand for the product. Somewhere along the way though, through either the lateness, the story direction, the ‘feel’ or some combination, the product failed to deliver on its promises and the expectations – and sales – faded alongside it. Maybe the team-up book is dead. Maybe the audience has moved on from the type of story Waid is trying to tell. Maybe the moon is not in the fourth house of Orion and the blood sacrifice failed to awaken the Elder Gods of comic sales. For whatever reason, it appears, to me at least, the book is now being kept alive to finish the main story and save face but I don’t see it lasting a great deal longer.

  84. Steve says:

    Brett,

    Please, check your timeline and re-read what I said:

    “if you take away his Avengers and Avengers/JLA, the exceptions to the trend, he hasn’t sold a book at a high level in twenty years. ”

    Avengers came first, not JLA/Avengers. It sold. He did some CrossGen. It didn’t sell. He did JLA/Avengers, it sold. He’s on Brave and the Bold. It’s selling OK, but not a blockbuster.

    It is not a knock on Perez’s talent to say that his name alone cannot sell a book, just a statement of fact. This is not the 80s, when Perez could turn bad-sellers like Teen Titans and Wonder Woman into top sellers. If DC put Waid and Perez on Hawkman, Aquaman, the Atom or any other 2nd stringer, would the book sell? It’s a safe bet that the Legion project with Crisis tie-ins and Johns writing it will sell better, but that is DC using Perez wisely, which they have not really done since his return.

  85. “I wish I had done a screen cap earlier so I could see which posts were deleted. It would be nice to know who to ignore in the future at other sites.”

    It was just one anonymous poster impersonating various people, each time providing the Byrne board as a back-link; a grudge, presumably.

  86. Allen says:

    I agree with Brett.

  87. I think folks are overanalyzing this waaaay too much. A team-up book headlined for the most part by sales-challenged characters like the Challengers of the Unknown, Blue Beetle, Blackhawk and Dial H For HERO? Even if it were drawn by Michelangelo and written by Jesus it would be a tough sell.

  88. Torsten Adair says:

    1. What do the professional critics say about this title?
    2. Action Comics, right after CoIE, was a teamup book which tied into the other Superman books. Could Booster Gold be considered a teamup title? During this Age Of Conglomeration, isn’t every book a teamup if two heroes appear in the same book?
    3. While a talented writer or artist will help garner attention, it is still the story which drives sales. I read Superman Red Son, and sold a lot of copies at my store, because of the interesting premise, not because of the writer. The talent is just frosting which helps to sell the story.
    4. Review the old teamup books from DC and Marvel. How many stories were memorable?
    5. Two methods of creating a successful teamup series: Dream Team and B-movie. The Dream Team Method allows great writers to do a one issue story with whomever they wish. And/Or two interesting characters are paired to tell an unusual story.>>>

  89. brett says:

    Steve,

    Please check YOUR facts.

    George Perez has not done a regular superhero monthly in 20 years either. The last monthly super hero work George Perez did, was 20 years ago.

    Since then, George has been more of a special projects kind of guy. Some might consider his work at Malibu on Ultraforce ‘superhero’ but no, his work at Malibu falls under the same catagory as Crossgen, a universe of characters people couldn’t get into and if people can’t get into the universe of characters the stories are based on, the books won’t sell regardless of who is on the book.

    But George has done plenty of work since his mainstream monthly superhero days, yes not all chart toppers but then the same can be said for many other once ‘great’ creators, whose name alone do not automatically make a book a top seller anymore.

    The industry gave way to many spoiled, egomanical creators who decided to deliver work not when due but when they felt like it. Those are the superstar creators of today but as we’re quickly finding out with these ‘Superstars’ is that what burns 2x as bright can burn out 2x as fast, especially when they don’t deliver.

    The difference is George is a legend and still, a master. Yes, there are people today who don’t like his style but the same can be said about any artist at any time.

    So for people to go on trashing him, his 30+ year career or his ability to carry a book is an insult not only to him but to the LEGION of admirers who have kept buying comic books for over 30 years… just to see what new work this master will produce.

    Personally, I have little interest in modern comics and would have stopped buying comics a long, long time ago if not for George Perez’s presence in the marketplace so don’t underestimate his draw.

    The fact that he’s still in the trenches doing monthly work when so many once great artists have vanished and the new working artists just don’t deliver, is more of an attestment to the man George Perez is than anything else.

    You are correct though, for the majority to buy, the key is putting George on the proper book. George hadn’t done regular mainstream monthly superhero books before his return to Avengers, which sold excellent.

    To pick up on that Avengers sales momentum, DC’s decision makers should have followed it up with something spectacular (The New Teen Titans graphic novel seemed to strike an exciting chord with many) but instead, gave him piecemeal work here and there, then, put him on Brave and Bold, a comic that didn’t exactly light fires of excitment when news hit.

  90. NickT says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has said this yet, but another possible problem for BatB is that teamups aren’t as special any more as by now most people have teamed up with each other and there are more teamup opportunities in modern comics as there are more books and big events.

  91. Torsten Adair says:

    >>> The B-movie approach is that you take a secondary character with few ties to continuity, place him/her on a quest, and let other known characters guest star in that book. TV series used this technique a lot in the 1970s, as some actors made a career of guest starring. (The Love Boat exploited this technique.
    5. DC could not market this as a miniseries, as even more people would wait for the trade. Better to have placed this as an arc inside a character series like Detective, but continuity gets in the way. Or better to take a title like Detective and reformat it as a 48page issue with two stories, allowing for a series like this to succeed without starting on issue #1.
    6. Is it more difficult to sell a new series with issue #1 than it is to wrap it in an established series with issue #231? How many new series make it to issue #50?
    6. Two other teamups are possible: A) the hero is constant, but every issue she fights a different villain; B) Meta teamups, where two teams meet, such as the JLA/JSA.

  92. The Beat says:

    Well, I think we’ve beaten this topic to death AND strayed far from my original topic. so…comments closed.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Earlier this week at The Beat there was a post about the low sales of DC’s book The Brave and The Bold.  In it, The Beat mentions that the presumed DC Fan-Base and readership is in their 40’s and thus has been reading for a very long time.  I initially wanted to chime in on many things.  How much I love the book for example, how I think George Perez is such a fantastic artist, how anyone could find the book boring, and why oh why would anyone not like super-heroes? [...]