Well, after a week off to celebrate that, for all the horrid racial issues, the systematic breakdown of the middle class, the disintegration of our education system and so many other problems, America can be pretty good now and again, we come back to our favorite industry. And boy-oh-boy, have Marvel and DC announced some goodies for us to look forward to in the back half of 2015 and beyond. It has also highlighted a continuing problem in the Big 2.
NOTE: These are the only announcements at time of writing. More announcements will no doubt come during this weekend of San Diego Comic-Con.
Over on the Marvel side, they finally are giving us a sneak peak at the Post-Secret Wars world with the announcement of 45 titles to come out in October as part of their All-New All-Different Marvel initiative with the implication of more to come after. Over on DC’s side, they announced the launching of eight new mini-series to come out in 2016. Now, I understand that there are readers of these columns that aren’t as knowledgeable of current comics as others, and that’s fine. I’ll explain my concerns, which can be summed up as this:
With some exceptions, most of these creators and books felt very predictable.
Let’s take a look at ANAD Marvel first. What shocked me most after reading their catalog that they released in comic shops was that most of the books I began tallying into my purchases were books I already knew I was going to be buying. I knew I was going to be buying All-New All-Different Avengers because the FCBD issue sold me on the creative team. I knew I was going to be buying Uncanny Inhumans because I was already digging what Charles Soule had been doing with the Inhumans prior (plus the zero issue for the series released in April). The Mighty Thor and Ms. Marvel were others I knew I’d buy because Marvel isn’t stupid enough to actually screw with those two titles.
But outside of those and a few others, there really felt like Marvel was incredibly hesitant to bring any new blood into the lineup. I’m glad the likes of Al Ewing and Gerry Duggan are being given higher profile books, but I felt like I saw few to none up-and-comers on new books. Not to mention that, considering how many non-white male books and creators we had prior to Secret Wars, the listing feels dramatically lower. It feels regressive. Not progressive.
The DC announcement had similar problems. Sure, I can applaud their thinking outside the box for some characters (but seriously: Sugar and Spike? Still no Cassandra Cain, but don’t worry, the legions of Sugar and Spike fans are going to be covered), but creative-wise… well… Okay, let me say that I am grateful to see DC still giving work to older creators, considering how exploitive industries can be to the old guard of creators, but only one writer (and yes, just writers, could go into a whole new rant on the lack of artist announcements with some of these books) out of the bunch wasn’t an older white guy. That’s Amy Chu (X-O Manowar, Girls Night Out) writing the Poison Ivy mini-series and, weirdly enough, it seems like the most interesting book of the bunch and I’m not even that big of an Ivy fan. Where’s the “embracing new voices” in this, Jim Lee?
I ask: Why couldn’t Teen Titans be written by a twenty-something who has a fresher experience with growing up in the modern world? Why do teams/concepts like New X-Men Academy X, Blade, an all-ages Future Foundation, a Ms. America solo book, a Wiccan/Hulkling duo book not get green lit, but fricken Carnage gets a book? Your words and actions are creating a here, guys. You both have gotten some good will lately: what with Marvel NOW and DCYou. To see that squandered with us going backward is not great!
And I’m not hating on the creators on these books! Most of these books will probably be decent at worst and I am looking forward to a bunch of them! But it’s no excuse to sit on laurels. Frankly speaking, this should be more of a call to change the look of the people behind these decisions. More people who aren’t straight white males making editorial decisions would be a massive benefit to the landscape. We all want comics to thrive, indie or work-for-hire.