Conspiracy corner: Pants, kittens, credits

DC Comics is either smart or crazy…or both. Their policy of extremely controlled release of information on the New 52 has led to Kremlinology being taken to new heights as every post on The Source leads to people examining everything with a fine tooth comb…(and sometimes finding franks and beans) and DC getting more and more publicity out of it, even when it looks like a mistake or change of direction.

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Take Wonder Woman’s pants…please. Yesterday it was revealed that they’ll be giving away a free preview, DC COMICS: THE NEW 52 #1:

Featuring a 6-page preview of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, the cover art for all of the books, never-before-seen sketches, and insights from creative teams, DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 #1 is a complete and comprehensive guide to all of the books being published this September as part of DC Comics—The New 52.


Sounds like a good idea, right? And we can’t get enough of that Toms of Krypton cover by Rags Morales. But the eagle-eyed quickly noted that Wonder Woman has gone barelegged for the summer:
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That’s right, after donning jeggings for a new, practical look, now Wonder Woman is back to shorts — at least on that little preview image. Is it just a coloring mistake or a brain fart? DC Women Kicking Ass, the Valerie Plame of Kremlinology, says that this is the real cover, and her sources say that the pants may be out the window. It’s the sheer malleability of every major decision made at DC that makes Kremlinology so much fun…and so time consuming.

Then there was “Kittengate,” a conspiracy that existed mostly in Rich Johnston’s mind. You’ll recall that the contents of SUPERMAN #712 by Chris Roberson were pulled at the last minute, and a story about Krypto mourning his lost master by Kurt Busiek published in its stead. Johnston, and his sources, claimed it was because Superman was shown rescuing a kitten; others said it was because of potential trouble over the issue’s Islamic character.

Well, this week, SUPERMAN #713 came out and guess what it contained? A scene where Superman rescues a kitten.
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Johnston stuck by his story and his sources. Now, our sources say that a kitten had nothing to do with it, and Roberson told Comics Alliance:

Issue 712 opened with a one page sequence drawn by Allan Goldman of Superman rescuing a little girl’s cat in San Gabriel, California. When 712 was pulled from the schedule, it was decided that we still needed to show Superman in San Gabriel because of the contest, and so we simply had Jamal Igle draw the same scene as one of the ones he was already doing for 713.


While it’s looking like Johnston got burned on this one, he did yeoman service comparing the New 52 #1 credits with the #2 credits and finding that many creative teams are already shuffling:

One change appears to be Marco Rudy no longer being the listed artist on Suicide Squad #2, replaced by Federico Dallochio and Ransom Getty already. Other amendments include Al Barrionuevo assisting Miguel Sepulveda on Stormwatch #2, Jason Gorder was always inking Grifter (listing Bit on #1 was a mistake,) Jonathan Vankin and Phil Winslade creating a back up strip on the oversize Men Of War #2, Jordi Bernet drawing a back up strip in All-Star Western #2, Richard Friend and Jay Fabok helping David Finch on art for The Dark Knight #2 (and the previously discussed Paul Jenkins co-writing the series) and Blond assisting Kenneth Rocafort on Red Hood And The Outlaws. Ken Lashley is gone from the art on the second issue of Blackhawks #2, replaced by Graham Nolan and Norm Rapmund, though he is still doing the cover.


One of the reasons for the VERY STRICT deadlines on The New 52 is the realities of digital day-and-date: Apple has a longer lead time than printers, as material must be approved before going on sale via the various apps. So the books HAVE to be turned in on time. So one thing on the New 52 is just like the old 70-something: creative teams will be changed at a moment’s notice. The goal is for characters to trump creators in this relaunch — whether this will produce a line of crisp, focused stories or a line of jumbled pap is something we’ll learn by November or so.

Comments

  1. Great piece, Heidi. Thanks for your always keen analysis.

  2. timothycat says:

    That is one pissed off looking kitty!

  3. Charles Knight says:

    “whether this will produce a line of crisp, focused stories”

    Which four years down the road will look like shit for trade-readers as Hack artist X fills in for a chapter.

  4. Yeah, I’m LOATHING this new DC fill-in creator push in order to get books out on time. (Yanick Pacquette as the main artist on Swamp Thing, with Francesco Francavilla as an occasional fill-in artist on the series. RIGHT… It’s gonna be Francesco for a majority of that run, with occasional Yanick isues. I LOVE Yanick, but he’s not a monthly artist. Just ask Batman, Inc.)

    I’m probably one of the crazy minority, but I’ll drop a book in a heartbeat if the new/fill-in creative team isn’t up to my standards. I’m all about the art, over story (though I obviously love a great story!) but if the art is crap on paper, I can’t get past it, no matter how wonderful the story is. And if a story arc ends up having three different artists over it’s span, my head will usually explode (I’m talkin’ to you, bi-weekly Amazing Spiderman! Ugh.)

    The problem is, fanboys want it ALL. Excellent storylines, drawn by Bryan Hitch, out on a strict monthly schedule. Ain’t gonna happen, ain’t gonna happen. They’re already b*tching about how the second issues have fill-ins! Well, you asked for it folks, so now you get to reap the “rewards.”

    And geesh, what has happened to Apple. Man, they used to rock. But could you imagine if every magazine and book that was sold at Barnes & Noble had to be approved before it was sold in their stores. I mean, if they carry a copy of Playboy, they know what they’re getting. No need to approve each and every issue. THIS is what is currently keeping people from moving full force to digital books/magazines/comics, etc. This Draconian hold over what people can and can’t view/purchase. Who does Apple think it is? The morality police. They’re like “Dude, we’re your cool hippy liberal friend, yo! But no, you can’t see that penis. Sorry.”

  5. “The problem is, fanboys want it ALL. Excellent storylines, drawn by Bryan Hitch, out on a strict monthly schedule. Ain’t gonna happen, ain’t gonna happen”

    You’re right that it’s not going to happen, but there’s no inherent reason why it couldn’t be done. It’s just a matter of giving the creators enough lead-in time. Stack the issues up until they’re ready, if need be.

    This isn’t a cottage industry. It is not unreasonable to think that two professional publishers ought to be capable of announcing schedules that they can realistically expect to achieve.

  6. Conspiracy theory alert!

    What if the fill-ins/replacements for the issue #2s of the relaunch are DC’s way of saying to their creators, “And we MEAN it!” to help motivate those creators who tend to fall behind schedule more regularly than they meet it?

  7. Jeff Mace says:

    Wow, Rich Johnston had no frakking clue what he was talking about! That should come as an enormous surprise to, um, nobody.

  8. Synsidar says:

    When the production schedule controls what people do, thinking about the comics as things other than units is pretty hard. Either do what’s needed to get the units shipped, or find other work.

    SRS

  9. Kate Willaert says:

    “Which four years down the road will look like shit for trade-readers as Hack artist X fills in for a chapter.”

    I think four years down the road, we’re going to look back at this as the most unorganized reboot/relaunch/whatever they decide its going to be in the history of comics (from the people responsible for “organizing” Onslaught and WorldStorm).

  10. Al™ says:

    With a push on to hit publication release deadlines, I can see comic artists changing to a more ‘doable’ graphic style.

    Not ‘hack’ work, but no time for drawing the fingernails on all the passersby in a panel either.

    Maybe there is a happy medium in the amount of panel and colour detail in these monthly books. Then it’s up to the fans to support the resulting look.

  11. Heidi, you told me yourself you heard about kittengate from a DC source. But, no, considering the sources I got, I’ll happily stick with it. They were of the same caliber, and in certain cases the same people that I got my New 52 information from.

  12. Jeff Mace says:

    And yet, here’s a comic with Superman rescuing a kitten in it.

  13. The Beat says:

    Rich: Wha–? I NEVER said that. I said I had heard about it AFTER YOU BOUGHT IT UP. And no one had heard of it before that. Talk about circular logic!

  14. mpneeb says:

    >>Which four years down the road will look like shit for trade-readers as Hack artist X fills in for a chapter.<<

    Tim, knowing DC is likely keeping their asinine and counter-productive trade-policy, I'm willing to bet these issues- no matter how important- won't be in the trade.

  15. Something tells me that if Lee is running late on Justice League, he’s not going to be pulled off the book.

    Of course, Lee being late could never happen, so it’s a moot point.

  16. No, Heidi, they REALLY WERE totemically opposed to kitten-rescues. Rich’s unnamed sources say so! They changed their minds afterward!

    The fact that they were sending #713 off to press at the time these “sources” were telling Rich this, which means that they had to have approved moving the scene Rich claims was the reason the book got spiked to the next, non-spiked issue, doesn’t mean anything. They were totemically opposed to it even while they were approving having it drawn into #713 and sending it off to press.

    It perfectly sensible, as long as you believe in time-travel.

  17. So… Superman talking to brown people was the problem after all?

  18. Rich: Kurt has a point, doesn’t he?

    I suppose it’s technically conceivable that DC did pull #712 for kitten-related content but then changed their minds in time to include the same scene in #713. But that still implies that your sources, who had access to information about #712, were either unaware of the position re #713 or for some reason failed to tell you about it, even though the decision had already been made by then.

    I find it much easier to believe that DC was scared of getting more negative publicity from the right-wing press on the eve of their big relaunch. That is at least a rational, if cowardly, explanation for their actions.

    So, writers: who will be the first person to get DC to publish a scene where Superman rescues a Muslim from a tree?

  19. “So… Superman talking to brown people was the problem after all?”

    Remember: This is the company who argues in public that it has a very ethnically diverse cast of characters because there happen to be green and blue people among them.

    Different standards apply.

  20. Synsidar says:

    Was Johnston’s source directly involved with the production of SUPERMAN #712? If he was, then it’s likely that his statement was accurate, based on the information he had at the time.

    SRS

  21. jmurphy says:

    When I read it at the time, I thought the BC piece was absolutely brilliant deadpan SATIRE. Still do, Rich’s protests notwithstanding.

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