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:
I’d buy all of these.
DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “The Hungry Earth” Written by Chris Chibnall
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.