Marvel and DC both have their faults and their strengths, but there are two things I’ve noticed recently that the upstart does much better than the old guard.Â Neither company is above stealing ideas from the other, so why does DC lag in this one area and get too complicated in the other?
First, I read Dan Slott’s The Thing: Idol of Millions trade paperback.Â Yes, I am one of those people who caused it to fail because I didn’t buy it in singles.Â When you buy Hard Time in singles we can talk.Â It was fine, I guess – nothing spectacular, and I don’t have a problem with it dying, but my point is: it’s a failed series, yet Marvel STILL got a trade paperback out.Â It lasted eight issues, and they’re all here.Â Not bad.Â Marvel’s policy of bringing out trade paperbacks has been the subject of many a blog post, and I’ll reiterate it here.Â Even if The Thing was a failure, Marvel can still make some money off of it, and I guess people may read it and think, “This Slott guy is pretty good – I wonder what else he’s written?” and then they’ll go to She-Hulk, thereby pumping that book’s sales numbers.Â I don’t know if that’s the thinking behind it, but it’s not a bad way to try to get your other books to sell even if that particular one failed.
And then there’s DC.Â Why on earth doesn’t DC do a better job with bringing out trade paperbacks?Â Doug Mahnke is a pretty big artist in the DC world these days, so where are the two trades collecting all of Major Bummer?Â Everyone has been using the actual Suicide Squad or variations thereof, so where are the trades of Ostrander’s excellent series (hell, where’s Ostrander’s Spectre)?Â DiDio hates the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, I guess, but wouldn’t trades of those issues sell?Â J. H. Williams III is another star in the DC firmament, and Andryko has been using Chase in Manhunter, so where’s the trade of that series?Â Now that we have a Multiverse again (which I’ll get to), how about aÂ trade of Breach?Â DC has had plenty of failed series (and, as Suicide Squad and The Spectre show – plus, you know, Hitman, very few issues of which are collected – lots of series that didn’t fail), but unlike Marvel, who seems to be able to milk every last dollar out of every character they can, they appear to have a policy of “move on and forget it.”Â I get that not every failed series can get a trade paperback, but I’m just wondering about some of the titles that seem to be relevant to the new DC.Â I guess with DC’s glacial pace of getting the old Morrison series out in trade despite what he’s done for them, it’s not surprising, but I wonder what the idea behind it is.Â Everyone brings up that DC has more money behind them than Marvel does, which is why they have fewer advertisements cluttering up their single issues, but does that mean they have no interest in making more?Â It’s weird.Â The point about Morrison brings up Marvel’s policy of “Visionary” trades, which DC hasn’t picked up on either.Â Byrne on Superman would be a nice “visionary” kind of thing, wouldn’t it?Â I have been getting Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four in the trade paperbacks, and it’s great.Â So where is this idea from DC?
The other thing that I thought of in the last week is this whole Multiverse thing.Â God, I’m sick of it already.Â I love how Marvel does it: by simply ignoring the whole thing.Â There are plenty of alternate worlds in the Marvel Universe – hence Joey Q and Tom Brevoort’s recent snippiness of the use of the number 616 to designate the “real” Marvel U.Â But they don’t obsess about it.Â In Exiles, the characters leap from reality to reality, and then they move on, andÂ nobody thinks anything of it.Â I’m still not sure what the deal is with the Bishop/Cable/Rachel Grey future world.Â And where the heck are all those MarvelÂ Zombies?Â It doesn’t matter – their worlds get used for the stories, and ignored by everyone else.Â I’m sure some fan out thereÂ has catalogued all the various Marvel Universes (“No, Captain Airstrip One is fromÂ Earth-23!”), but the higher-ups at Marvel don’t get all bent out of shape over it.Â The people running DC, it seems, are giving into the fans who want all their universes strictly listed and delineated.Â I don’t have a big problem giving the fans what they wantÂ (well, not that big a problem), butÂ the whole 52 phenomenon had a bit of “inmates running the asylum” kind of feel to it.Â I think the idea of a Multiverse in the DCU is fine.Â The way they try to pin everything down, however, smells of desperation.Â If Mark Waid comes along and wants toÂ tell aÂ story about a Batman in an alternate reality, let him.Â Don’t worry about where it fits in to the greater Universe.Â If it’s a good story, that’s all that matters.
Of course, DCÂ has become more bound by their history than Marvel has, so maybe that’s why they obsess over it.Â But it would be nice if they could be less constrained by who lives on Earth-2 and Earth-Q.Â I would like if DC came up with Earth-M (or Earth-K or Earth-Mrvl) where all the characters were suspiciously like those of a certain rival.Â You know, like Colonel AmericaÂ and ArachnomanÂ and Iron Dude and Coatimundi.Â That would be awesome.
DC does a lot of things better than Marvel, certainly.Â I’m not that bent out of shape over the Multiverse, but would it kill DC to bring out more trade paperbacks?Â I wonder.Â
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