Matt Idelson wrote a really interesting column in DC Nation #64, discussing the three major options that editors are faced with when a creator misses a deadline, and how all three of them have roughly the same amount of fans in favor of/against.
The three options are:
1. Inventory story
2. Fill-in creator (mainly for artists)
3. Delay the release
Now, here’s where I cry foul a bit – I don’t think fans really HAVE reacted all that negatively to #2, as fans really haven’t had the OPTION to!
We’ve seen plenty of #1 and a LOT of #3, but when’s the last time you remember a fill-in artist on a prominent story?
Marvel famously didn’t go to one for Civil War. DC is moving on with the next arcs on Wonder Woman and Action Comics even though creators are unavailable to finish their initial arcs there.
So when I read that fans don’t like #2, I just don’t buy it. I think fans WOULD be okay with #2, under the right circumstances. Those circumstances would be:
1. Not on books like All-Star Batman and Robin or Ultimates, where the whole POINT of the title is just to see how these particular creators do the book.
Everything else, fill-in artists would rule the day, and while you’ll certainly have some complaints, they wouldn’t nearly be as many as #1 or #3. Heck, I know Brian Hibbs pointed out a specific case of #2 working on a prominent project – Ron Lim filling in for George Perez on Infinity Gauntlet. Not only did fans basically not care (even though Perez was much better), Lim went on to draw the popular sequel, Infinity War (and the less popular second sequel, Infinity Crusade)!
Heck, hasn’t the current run of Green Lantern had a number of fill-in artists? I haven’t noticed any vocal criticism of that.
But hey, maybe Idelson IS right. Maybe fans really WOULD react as poorly to #2 as they would (and have) reacted to #1 and #3, but in a time where one of (if not THE) highest-selling DC title was a book (52) where people didn’t even know who WAS the artist on any given issue before they opened the book, I think it is pretty clear that fans are willing to put up with #2.
So why not give it a shot before saying stuff like “fans favor/disfavor each option equally”?
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