You know, after seeing all the fuss over the farce of the pulping of the latest issue of All Star Batman & Robin I just really am despairing over a couple of things:
Oh, before I do this, a quick recap; Frank Miller & Jim Lee's All Star Batman & Robin just looks like train wreck comics. I haven't read it in any more depth than skimming the occasional issue, but from what I've seen it's something so incredibly bad that it almost beggars belief that this is the same guy who wrote Batman Year One & Dark Knight.
The latest controversy all stems from the fact that Frank decided to have swear words in the book. But instead of using the traditional method of #*!~# or somesuch alternative or even to just put a big black bar in to denote the words, Frank decided that it was vitally important to have the words lettered in and then put the black bar over them.
Surprisingly, the comic was then printed up with the black bars a shade of black lighter meaning the cussin was clearly visible. And not just average cussing either. We're into serious George Carlin territory here. Much gnashing and wailing at DC who issue a blanket recall on the book, asking retailers to pulp them and promising complete refunds on the books. Of course, the book only made it out to certain west coast USA retailers and predictably a lot of them did exactly what you would expect and slapped them up on ebay.
There's no actual law broken here, nothing implicit in the Diamond distributors / DC contract with retailers that means they have to pulp their copies. So no-one's actually doing anything wrong. Except it means we're one step further away from being a proper grown up professional organisation again. And each time it happens we go backwards.
Here's the scan, courtesy of Rich Johnston at Lying in the Gutters:
So what I want to know is:
One: Is DC really that desperate to keep Frank Miller on board that they will agree to anything?
What moron in DC thought this was a good idea? What next? Do we assume Frank's going to start demanding full anatomial correct genitalia first and the costumes drawn on second?
Two: When, oh when are the retailers going to grow up just a little bit? The industry still operates on a model of decades ago; the ship on Wednesday, on sale on Wednesday (or Thursday here in the UK) model. So delivery day is also new comics day and chaos then ensues. For years we've been asking why we can't get early delivery and a guaranteed on sale date for new comics and books, like the grown up professional folks over in the bookstores and record shops have. Well, here's the reason why; because every so often something like this happens and retailers just fall over themselves trying to fuck each other over for a few dollars. Short term money is made sure enough. But it just perpetuates the idea that the industry consists of comic shop owners and managers who look and act an awful lot like this man:
And just in case you were wondering, this is another post triggered by reading something Brian Hibbs wrote and agreeing almost completely with him.