Wednesday Comments – Getting the Runs

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I’m a long time DC Comics fan. Like long time enough to remember a “Pre-Crisis” DC Comics. DC Comics was the company that I was weaned on, that I grew up with and that I’ve basically settled down with.

The DCU is the universe that I’ve decided is the one for me.

That’s why it pains me so much to admit that, creatively, DC is running a distant second to Marvel. And this is coming from someone who only reads one Marvel comic on a monthly basis.

It just seems that if you’re a creative person and you’ve got a story to tell, chances are you’re going to choose to tell you tale in the 616 rather than in the DCU. Maybe it’s because of the lack of editorial interference at Marvel or the relative stability, but more and more I’m seeing the names of writers and artists whose work that I enjoy, popping up on the solicits of Marvel books.

Maybe it’s just envy, but it really feels like Marvel has hitting home runs in terms of creative runs on titles.

Off the top of my head Marvel’s had a few successful runs on books recently, like Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF, Brian Michael Bendis’ various Avengers books, Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man, Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man, Christos Gage’s Avengers Academy, Ed Brubaker’s Captain America and Winter Soldier, Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery, Mark Waid’s Daredevil and Peter David’s X-Factor.

And that’s off the top of my head. If you go back a few years you’ve got Garth Ennis’ Punisher, Bendis and Brubaker both had runs on Daredevil and Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men.

Those are some pretty substantial runs. And for the most part they’re franchises that will stand on their own, but the creators left their mark on them.

On the DC side of things you’ve Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, Scott Snyder’s Batman and Swamp Thing, J.H. Williams’ Batwoman, Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, Justice League and Aquaman, Peter Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps and Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man and Francis Manapul’s The Flash.

For the most part that’s it.

And when you think about it, only five of those runs predate The New 52 (Tomasi’s Batman & Robin and Green Lantern Corps, Johns’ Green Lantern, Snyder on Detective Comics and Williams’ Batwoman.)

Runs are what create buzz for a book. People didn’t really care about Wally West before Mark Waid came up with “The Return of Barry Allen.” And again, Wally hit a slump until Geoff Johns came through and breathed life into the book with his Rogue profiles. Sinestro Corps War was huge because it was a storyline that was allowed to build. The same can be said about Grant Morrison’s run on JLA.

Those are runs from years ago that people still rave about today.

But what runs from today’s New 52 are people going to fondly recall? Obviously Grant Morrison’s Action Comics is going to be praised. And so will Snyder’s run on Batman and Swamp Thing. And I imagine Johns’ run on Green Lantern will probably hold up well. But beyond those runs I’ve already mentioned I’d be hard pressed to find anything that will stand the test of time.

Think about it like this; Green Arrow is arguably the character with the biggest buzz out right now, and how many different creative teams has that book had in the past year? I believe it’s three, with a fourth to come. That’s in insane amount of shaking up.

Creatively speaking, it seems to me that the reason you go to The Big Two is to play with their toys. There are other reason; better pay, higher profile, but creatively speaking it’s to mess around in their sandbox.

Marvel seems to be making their sandbox much more desirable if only in terms of stability. If you play in DC’s sandbox not only will they tell you how to play with their toys, but they’ll also take them away at moments notice, before you even get a genuine feel for them.

I’m not a business person, but it doesn’t seem like a sound practice to me. Here’s hoping that DC turns things and gets a mean case of the runs.

Well, that does it for me this week. I’ll catch you guys later. Until then, it’s Wednesday, go and buy some comics!