Your Mileage May Vary: Wednesday Comics

by  in Comic News Comment
Your Mileage May Vary: Wednesday Comics

So DC’s Wednesday Comics had its debut recently. It’s new and different, so it’s very interesting to see what people have to say about it.

Glenn Walker thought it was amazing:

Kyle Baker’s Hawkman is stunning. Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred have recreated the Silver Age Metamorpho perfectly. The Flash is the peak of sequential storytelling. Great to see a jet age Green Lantern, it’s the era he was created for. Father and son Kuberts do Sgt. Rock, just as husband and wife Palmiotti and Conner give us a delightful take on Supergirl, Krypto and Streaky. Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook pay homage to Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant with Jack Kirby’s Kamandi just as Paul Pope does the same for Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon with his Adam Strange. It’s just beautiful.

And for those of you for whom that last paragraph means nothing, don’t worry. The best thing about Wednesday Comics is that it’s non-continuity. In English, that means it’s mainstream – it’s accessible to any readers new or old. If you’ve been reading these things forever or if you wouldn’t know a Teen Titan from Tony the Tiger, you’ll still enjoy this.

Kelvingreen didn’t think it worked:

First off, despite the “normal” appearance, this is still being sold through Diamond’s distribution monopoly, and, as far as I can tell, is only being sold through comic shops. As a result, the intended audience becomes a little murky. The format seems to be aimed at people who once read comics, but haven’t in a while, or who don’t read superhero comics, but do read the humour strips in the Sunday papers, but then, once again, it’s only being sold through the specialist shops those people will never, ever, visit. All the new formats in the world will do no good if you’re stuck with such an exclusive distribution method, and it may even be counter-productive to try anything new because the audience served by that method may by now be trained so that they don’t want anything different.

Distribution is one thing, crucial to the success of the project, but the contents are just as important, and are just as bungled. The storytelling is abysmal, okay on its own grounds but completely wrong for a one-page-a-week format, with acres of wasted space, a distinct lack of actual things happening, and a disturbing tendency toward limp “cliffhangers”. DC have assembled a group of writers and artists here who often excel in the usual twenty-two pages of a monthly US comic, but seem to have no idea whatsoever how to pace a single page of storytelling; they seem to be writing with an eye to a full story, but have neglected how the single page reads. A lot of these creators are really good, and should be able to figure out how to tell a one-page story, but none of them have managed it (although Paul Pope comes very close); Neil Gaiman and Dave Gibbons should have an idea, at least, from their experience in the UK weeklies, but even they stumble, as if they, like the audience, have been conditioned to not understand how single page storytelling works. There are about fourteen billion webcomic creators out there, all of whom could do a better job than this A-list collection of writers and artists has managed.

While The Crosspatch explains why he passed on the issue:

1. It’s only 16 pages.

2. It’s $3.99/week.

3. It’s odd-sized.

4. It’s $3.99/week.

5. It’s a collection of 16 stories, and you know some of them are going to be crap.

6. It’s $3.99/week.

Yeah, no thanks, DC. Tell you what, collect the stories that are actually worth a damn into a TPB or (this might sound crazy) a regular freaking comic book, and I might pick some of them up. In the current format — no way in hell.

so what do you think?