I don’t know that any recent Batman story has made me feel more joy than Batman Universe. Together, writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist Nick Derington, and the rest of the Batman Universe team have crafted a humorous, action-packed story that positions Batman as a reader’s guide to the wider DC Universe – which is a wondrous place packed full of Hawkpeople, dinosaurs, immortal villains, telepathic super-gorillas, and so much more.
Excuse me as I indulge in a bit of self-promotion! The wonderful Kathryn Prince (a.k.a Red Phacelia) and I just put out a new zine, and if you like this blog, I think you’ll dig our zine, too. Especially if you are a fan of “Marvel’s” “Thanos” (an entirely new character who is obviously legally distinct from Marvel’s Thanos):
Want to learn why Thanos should have paid attention in biology class? Then click this link to purchase the first issue of Extra Crunchy Fun from Gumroad for just $1. You’ll not only get Kat’s three-page Thanos comic, but also a couple short prose stories, an excellent no-bake cookie recipe, a Star Wars-themed crossword, and more! Which is actually quite the bargain.
If you purchase the zine, definitely come back here afterward and leave a comment letting us know what you thought of it. We’re already planning our next issue, and we’d love to use your feedback to make it even crunchier.
Welcome back to Waiting on the Trade, a monthly comics book club for people who don’t have time for monthly comics!
In this episode, guest host Simon Payne helps us eat nuts and kick butts, as we discuss Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and co.’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Comics publishes a lot of comic books. In March 2020, Marvel published at least 80 new single-issue comics, the majority of which were set within the Marvel Superhero Universe. If a reader wanted to keep up with the Marvel Universe as a whole that month, they would have had to read 60+ books and spend $240+ to do so.
I’m certain that few (if any) readers did that. And anecdotally, retailers have been asking Marvel to reduce the number of books they publish for years now. 60+ superhero books is (and likely always has been) too many to ask readers and retailers to care about each month. Releasing that many titles that regularly oversaturates the market, cannibalizes sales, and perhaps most importantly, keeps readers from being able to access and understand the Marvel Universe as a whole.
Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases roughly two new movies and a new TV show each year, and audiences eat them up. They do so because each new MCU installment feels accessible, digestible, and important. Because just two Marvel superhero movies release each year, each remains an event to behold. Because roughly 15 to 20 Marvel superhero comics release each week, each has to fight and scrap (or do something exceptional) to get noticed.
Retailers and readers like myself felt this way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, it seems Marvel may agree with us. In early May, Marvel announced that seven of its current monthly titles (and one one-shot) would switch to releasing digitally first, before later being collected in print. (This is a bummer, by the way, for the creators who were excited for these books to release in print, the readers who were excited to read them in print, and the comic shops that will miss out on selling physical copies of these books.) Marvel’s print publishing line is now shrinking – so the question now becomes, how much further could it go?
How do we solve everything?