Wednesday Comments – Lamenting the Demise of the DC’s Co-Features

When the news broke that DC was going to return to the $2.99 price point it was a bittersweet moment because it meant that the co-features were getting the axe. And the fact that it was a bittersweet announcement was sort of ironic because I was actually torn on the topic of co-features; I enjoyed them much more in theory than in reality.

For every co-feature that I loved (The Question in Detective Comics) there seemed to be one that I tolerated (Captain Atom in Action Comics.) And while I loved both Manhunter and Blue Beetle, their co-features seemed like pale imitations of the solo titles that I absolutely adored.

I’m one of the few people who enjoyed the Metal Men co-feature in Booster Gold. I found it to be pretty funny. And while I can’t recall really enjoying either the Ravager or Coven of Three co-features in Teen Titans, it may have been just because reading the main story in that title was a life draining experience.

And given all of the above you’re probably wondering why I’m not for axing the co-features.

First off, it’s messed up to the creators. Those writers plotted out stories in eight page increments. Those artists probably got pretty far ahead of the publishing schedule given the brevity of the story. And everyone, colorists, letters, everyone was probably budgeting for the income of the co-features, so to abandon them so quickly is almost heartless.

And of course DC would claim that bringing back the $2.99 price point, and abandoning the co-features, is doing something nice for the fans. But what about the fans who were enjoying the co-features? Isn’t DC giving them the shaft?

Take me for instance. I read six titles containing co-features; Action Comics, Detective Comics, Adventure Comics, The Spirit, Streets of Gotham and Doc Savage. Five of those co-features will be cancelled mid-story, leaving me dangling. And the sixth, The Spirit: Black & White was possibly my favorite of all of the current co-features.

So while saving me six dollars a month, it’s DC also spitting in my face, as a loyal customer by pulling the plug on co-features and leaving me in a lurch? I mean I was the one forking over $3.99 a month to see what happened with Justice Inc and the follow the adventures of The Atom or Ragman. And now I’m left with no resolution or even a firm plan to wrap things up.

Oh sure, Dan DiDio has announced that storylines will be tied up in one-shots, specials and miniseries. But then again this is the same guy who said that DC had plans on incorporating Milestone characters (note the plural) into the DCU. He’s also the guy who announced a new version of Who’s Who well over a year ago and it’s still nowhere in sight. So, you’ll forgive me for not taking him at his word.

Of course I’m not just going to sit here and rip DC and DiDio for this co-features mess; I’m also going to offer some solutions.

Perhaps DC could combine all of the stories in one or two 80 Page Giants and offer them at a reasonable price to customers. It’d be sort of like Cancelled Co-Feature Cavalcade.

Maybe DC could give the remaining chapters away via DC Digital. It would allow them to have something exclusive to DC Digital before it sees print, which would give the digital imprint a minor boost in traffic.

Or DC could just use the limbo chapters for their next weekly event. Commissioner Gordon , Ragman, The Atom and Jimmy Olsen. If that doesn’t sound like the line up for a bang up weekly event, I don’t know what does. I mean honestly, it couldn’t be worse than Countdown or Trinity.

And that’s how I feel about comics this week.

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