Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Left At The Altar (Again And Again And Again...)

Well, that didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.

JMS is stepping down from writing Superman and Wonder Woman "to focus on writing a sequel to the recently released original graphic novel Superman: Earth One."

Even as critical as I've been of him, I expected JMS to have a longer term at the helm of those books. But, alas, it was not to be.

So, JMS' last issue of Superman will be #706. Which means A) Given that issue #704 was a fill-in, he leaves after completing only 5 issues of his projected 12-issue story; and B) DC's January solicit for issue #707 is, well, wrong. Adjust your orders accordingly.

As for Wonder Woman? Well, after the much-ballyhooed "reboot," JMS will have completed 4 issues (#604 is his last). 4 out of projected 12 issues? Wow, what a coup, DC.

After abandoning Supreme and The Twelve mid-storyline at Marvel, JMS has now bailed on two of DC's highest profile titles, and storylines which DC has spent a considerable amount of time, effort and money promoting (and I wouldn't count on his Adam Strange story showing up in Brave & The Bold anytime soon. Sorry, Lissbirds!) You would think a guy who came originally from television and movies would have some sense of responsibility about finishing a project. But then again, like many celebrity comic writers, Marvel and DC bend over backwards to praise him to the skies while he quietly shafts them and their fans.

Maybe, though, someone is finally wising up to his act. According to Newsarama article, "Straczynski won't be working on monthly comics for the foreseeable future. The writer is quoted in the publisher's statement as saying this news coincides with a 'one- to five-year sabbatical from writing monthlies' for him."

What a firm commitment, JMS. "One to five years?" Still, at least someone has realized that JMS has no business writing monthly comic books.

I don't know how much longer we'll be stuck with Broody Superman's Walkabout--new writer Chris Roberson will be using JMS' "story notes" (as will new WW scribe Phil Hester). (Please notice that--"story notes," not even completed plots, for issues scheduled to appear this month!!) But at least they'll undoubtedly be better written, and they'll be scripted by writers who have shown the responsibility to write on a monthly schedule.

UPDATE: I love the spin some sites are putting on this, claiming that JMS bailing on yet more projects is actually a sign that original graphic novels are the future of the comics industry, and that "pamphlet's" are dying.

Said death, of course, having absolutely nothing to do with JMS' complete and utter inability to actually complete said pamphlets on anything remotely resembling a monthly basis. Nope, this had nothing to do with DC putting a pretty face on canning JMS because his inability to meet deadlines was humiliating to DC and their attempts at big PR. And had nothing to do with the hugely negative critical reception the books were getting.

Nope, it was "the evolving nature of comics." Uh-huh.


Scott said...

I'm wondering if DC decided to let JMS write more of his mostly-ignorable vanity project just so they could get him off the other books. I can't imagine that Super-Walking-Man and Unrecognizable-Person-Who-Calls-Herself-Wonder-Woman were burning up the charts...

Tim Knight said...

Thanks for this - echoed my thoughts on the whole debacle almost exactly.

Sadly, I now can't afford to return to collecting either Superman or Wonder Woman, but I'd like to thank DC & JMS for making it so easy to drop these titles from my pull-list in the first place.

MailOrderClone said...

Have to agree with Scott here. The comics JMS was writing during this run were, quite frankly, pretty awful. They read like the writer didn't care about what he was writing, and just slid out some halfhearted schlock in an effort to get paid. I'd rather JMS worked on projects that he cares about, and that he'll do a decent job on, then on ones that other people care about a great deal more then he does.

Link said...

Is JMS still doing the Superman Earth One stuff for DC or are they kicking him off that?

snell said...

Link--no, that's the official reason for his leaving Superman & Wonder Woman: so he can spend all his effort working on the sequel to Earth-One and other graphic novels.

Siskoid said...

I can't help but feel partially responsible. But you put me up to it, Snell.

Mark Engblom said...

Halleluia! Sad thing is, this development was exactly the kind of thing many of us thought would happen, given JMS's shabby track record and gnat-like attention span.

Funny how we didn't read anything about JMS's dire "health problems" in the announcements yesterday. That was the reason given for the delay in Superman issues, but now that Ultimate Superman is (allegedly) such a monster hit, nary a sniffle or a cough was mentioned. It was more or less "full steam ahead" on the Earth-One Express.

Wow....can you imagine how excited Chris Robinson is to carry the torch on the Super-Gump storyline? Gee....and notes to follow, too? And JMS looking over my shoulder? SIGN ME UP!

Wouldn't you just love to see, in the middle of Robinson's first issue, Superman suddenly stopping, slapping his forehead, saying "What in the hell am I doing??!?", then flying off to engage in an honest-to-goodness ADVENTURE STORY! Really....why is DC so committed to a creator who can't return the favor? Are they contractually obligated to complete the storyline, especially in light of its dismal sales? Are they contractually obligated to USA Today for the monthly "Track Superman's Route" fluff pieces?

The whole things is incredibly bizarre and irritating.

Eyz said...

Wonder Woman and Superman may have been messy, but his take on the Brave and the Bold was pretty fun and interesting! Very characer-driven and true to 'em all.

At least, it will be good for Supes and Wondy, right? Right?
Can Greg Rucka go back to WW and Geoff Johns on Superman?

Anonymous said...

It's Chris Roberson, not Robinson.

snell said...

Mea culpa and apologies to Chris Roberson.

SallyP said...

Well! His work ethic is terrible, but on the other hand, I'm seeing this as good news,since other writers, who may acutally give a damn about the characters will take over, and hopefully straighten things out.


notintheface said...

I hope Phil Hester says "screw it" and makes Diana's changed history a coma-dream.

I also hope he draws the book.

And I hope Roberson actually has some fresh ideas on Supes instead of stitching together rehashed 40-year-old Denny O'Neil plots.

notintheface said...

I take back the part about Hester drawing the book. Don Kramer likely only needed partial fill-ins because JMS was constantly late. He probably wouldn't have the same problem with Hester.