As we draw 2015 to a close, rumors are bouncing around the Internet that DC is going to follow Marvel’s lead by introducing more bi-weekly (every other week) comics to our weekly pull lists.
I’m both happy and concerned about this notion, so let me express both aspects.
VARIOUS PUBLISHING SCHEDULES
I remember the days of going to my local comics shop and pretty much knowing in my head what books would come out when. The vast majority of them came out monthly, and they often were released during a certain week of the month. For example, if it was the first week, I knew what Batman and Superman titles would be there without having to print out and carry a list with me.
Those days have long passed, and now I need to look ahead to know what’s coming out each Wednesday. I miss being able to track things more easily.
DC has been very successful with their weekly comics, including 52, Countdown, Batman Eternal and the current Batman and Robin Eternal. This way, I know every week I’m going to get a book I’m really looking forward to.
Now, Marvel’s been publishing several comics on bi-weekly schedules for some time. This includes Avengers and Uncanny X-Men, for instance. After all, if you have an audience willing to pay for a comic more than once a month, why not?
I’m just going to need that printed list more than ever if some comics are weekly, some are bi-weekly, some are monthly and others show up whenever they’re ready. I can live with that as long as the quality stays high!
Some books from DC I’d love to get more often, if possible. Mr. Snyder and Mr. Capullo’s Batman immediately leaps to mind, and Detective Comics would also be good. Bat-fan here much?
But if we have to change creative teams to meet the schedule, then I’d prefer they keep to their monthly schedule.
Let’s face it – DC has been struggling of late. They NEED more sales, and the best and probably easiest way is to increase output on popular titles.
If Batman and Robin Eternal needs to stop so a bi-weekly Batman can come out each month, I’m good with that. The weekly Bat-titles have been truly excellent, but they don’t come out each and every week, just when they fit their creators’ schedules. There was a gap between Batman Eternal and Batman and Robin Eternal, for instance.
If we get more good Batman each month, I’m a happy guy!
My biggest concern is that quality will be sacrificed. Let’s say that Mr. Snyder’s schedule doesn’t allow for a bi-weekly Batman, so another writer comes in to keep the book coming out on a regular basis. If this person isn’t up to the level of storytelling that I’m looking for, I’d have to reconsider what I’d do about Batman each month. If one issue is from Mr. Snyder and the other isn’t, I’d have to be careful about which ones I’d pick up.
Of course, the new writer might even be better than Mr. Snyder! As unlikely as that seems, it could happen!
Then, too, people live on budgets. If there are two Batman’s each month, some of us would have to give up on another comic to get them both. While I do find it healthy to re-examine what I get on a regular basis from time to time, I’m not sure how often I want to do that. If a comic has a bad month, I don’t want to jettison it overboard just because that happened this month.
Also, some characters run out of steam after a while. I constantly worry about Batman’s popularity balloon bursting, and the number of great Bat-titles sharply decreasing suddenly. I mean, I thought the Punisher would be a big deal much longer than he was! Even Wolverine isn’t the top-seller he used to be, for pity’s sake!
And Marvel could decide to take DC head on when it comes to bi-weeklies, and we could see a not-so-secret war take place in which both companies would be flooding stores with bi-weeklies in an effort to knock each other down a peg or two. Yikes!
I remember the three-times-per-month Spider-Man comic that folded after a while. Turned out they didn’t increase sales, so that experiment was ended pretty quickly.
As I mentioned previously, I also dislike not knowing what’s coming out when, so that’s a concern of mine as well.
MOVING AHEAD IN 2016
Since the release schedule for March has already been published, we likely won’t see bi-weekly comics from DC happening until at least April.
I think it all comes down to quality. If you’ve got good stories to tell, then put out more issues of a comic. I think DC’s done that well with the “Darkseid War” in Justice League, for instance, with several great tie-ins that have been worth the money and the time. Granted, not all of them have been terrific, but I’ve enjoyed more than I’ve been disappointed with.
Many of Marvel’s bi-weeklies add up to 18 issues a year, which means not every month gets two issues. If they did, that would mean 24 issues each 12 months. Summer is usually a time when comics fans have more money, so that would be a good time to plan to increase the number of issues.
Even after a tumultuous 2015, the comics industry still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up. Bi-weekly books could be a help by increasing profitability, but they’ve got to be handled just right for that to happen!
Which comics would you like to see come out twice a month? And what would you like to see happen in 2016? Be sure to share your thoughts below! And have a Happy New Year! See you in 2016![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation”][/signoff]