I'M an indie-comic publisher who should be plugging his new releases, but this week, there's only one item on the mind of anyone reading comics ... my big league competitor DC Comics' announcement of "relaunching" all their hero characters in their September titles.
For all indies putting out titles in the September Previews, that'll mean real stiff competition for purchases from retailers all over the world. (and I do think it will be a landmark month for DC sales).
But although we should never be afraid of fighting for space beside Marvel or DC (that threat is ALWAYS there), we should be more afraid of the ever-increasing threat of the two biggest comic-book publishers in the world struggling to maintain their market share.
That, after all, is the ONLY reason they're doing this. Sales of many of their popular titles are diminishing fast and repackaging Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Batman might seem to be a way of generating a sales tsunami.
But I always maintain GOOD stories sell. Bad ones DON'T. DC has had far too many bad ones.
Like Marvel, they still maintain an 'event' carries much more weight than devising a new threat for the Caped Crusader or the Man of Steel.
Over the years, many of the company's creative teams have under-estimated the power of 'shock value' or where to take it.
For one, I've always reckoned it was a BAD thing that they never understood when a character is dead ... he or she should stay DEAD. After all, this is a storytelling formula which has manifested in the worst aspect of TV storytelling ... soap operas. If you've got the balls to kill off Superman, for godsake keep him dead.
Story-wise, DC have delivered some great product -- the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Superman and Batman sagas have been invigorating. Sales have been very good here. So there's solid proof it can be done.
A lot of work has gone into this relaunch and I think credit should be given, not for the idea, but for the secrecy maintained by the move. It hit the industry like an earthquake last week.
The move will definitely affect retailers sales from Rough Cut Comics' release of Rose Black: Demon Seed in September.
So for December, I'm announcing all my titles are being "re-imagined" for a major relaunch of the company's most popular characters.
Rose Black will be rewritten as a beautiful hunchback werewolf thrown out of the underworld for cheating at cards with Satan; The Surgeon is a space-travelling tree specialist (see what I did there?) who inflicts arborial nightmares on Earth's alternative worlds; and Freedom Collective will simply be given jet-black costumes.
Good luck DC (I'm sure you wont need it) ... or will I be calling you AC Comics by 2012?