When All Star Superman one the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series, were they being ironic? Were there quotation marks around "Continuing?"
Granted, it's doing better than the Goddamn All Star Batman, which saw a 1-year hiatus between issues. But in nearly 2 years, A-S-S has seen a grand total of 8 issues, making it considerably less than bi-monthly. So this is "continuing??"
I kid because I love. But also, I want to compare this to the opposite of the "occasionally published" comic, the "our creators are so slow we punt" phenomenon, we has been going on a lot at DC.
Last week, much to my surprise, Superman Confidential did NOT feature the continuation of the "Origin of Kryptonite" story by Cooke and Sale. Instead, we got a tremendously abysmal mermaid story, with only the following editors' note as explanation:
No apology or explanation, just "here it is--tough." ON PAGE 4.
Now, part of it is my own damn fault, for not reading the solicits or paying attention to the cover when I picked up my pulls. And it's not like the Cooke/Sale story was the greatest thing ever, either. But still, this kind of thing is pretty damn annoying. No wonder more and more readers just wait for the trades...
And as we know, it's hardly an isolated incident:
- The One Year Later relaunch Wonder Woman was unable to complete even it's first storyline...eventually they just started the next storyline with a new team and said, "we'll show the end to you guys later." They did, finally, in the Wonder Woman Annual a couple of weeks ago. SPOILER ALERT: apparently, Diana didn't die in the "Who is Wonder Woman" story.
- The highly publicized Geoff Johns/Richard Donner/Adam Kubert collaboration in Action Comics was never able to finish, with the editors bailing after 4 issues with several months of fill-ins and Countdown tie-ins before starting the NEXT Johns/Donner storyline, and promising us that sometime in the future we would see the finish of the "Last Son" story. Really.
But obviously there are different rules for different creators. If you're a "Name," say Frank Miller or Jim Lee or Grant Morrison, well, take as long as you need (Eisner Awards must help in that decision, too). If not, well, we're yanking you, and we'll just publish somewhere, sometime, when you finish.
Now I would argue that this latter approach is a real disservice to the fans. Especially those who don't bury their nose in the industry news.
- No one should be surprised, as I was, by getting product they wouldn't have wanted. Again, mea culpa, but there should have been a more prominent warning; if not on the cover, than certainly before page 4.
- Certainly something more than a mere "it will appear elsewhere" seems required. After plunking down $15 bucks to follow the "Kryptonite" story, I'm damn well owed an apology, aren't I?
- More definite plans than "printed at a later date" should be given. Obviously, given the slow work of the creators, you may not have a definite date, but tell me it's going to be in an annual, or a future issue of the regular mag, or a giant one-shot like the 1970's Cancelled Comics Cavalcade--maybe Late Book Bonanza!!
And the other question is, how can DC avoid this (other than stop employing slow-ass folks--I kid because I love)? Perhaps schedule more bi-monthlies? Or not start publishing the story until most (all??) is already in the can? I yield to anyone who has more inside knowledge of the workings of the industry than I...