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Wednesday, August 25, 2010 

Trades that are only a waste

Comics Bulletin published a list of at least 10 trade paperbacks that are only a waste of more paper. And it's nice to see they thought to include Siege and its connecting miniseries on the list:
I'm including this as representative of a new kind of TPB. Siege Prelude, Fall of the Hulks Prelude and Prelude to Infinite Crisis are advertisements you pay for. These books contain comics from different series that supposedly relate to the big event crossover they're promoting. The comics are often collected in their own series' TPB where their stories can be read in context. These books are also a double-strike against the crossovers. The presence of a prelude implies a story so big and complex, it needs a long build up. And the events leading up to it will not be summarized nor explained. So the crossover looks likes it's badly written before it's released!

And that's only true of Siege.
Yup. I've noticed how quite a few of the TPBs Marvel's published lately are noticeably more costly than what DC offers, and it wouldn't surprise me if this is one of quite a few that cost 30 dollars. (I was lucky to buy a Thor Visionaries TPB of Walt Simonson's work from a bargain bin: it cost 30 dollars on the cover, but I got it for almost 20 dollars less.) Do they really expect people to buy any TPBs published at such expensive prices that easily? And if even the recent crossovers cost that much in trades, it's all the more reason for people burned on crossovers to avoid them.

Even DC's Millenium is mentioned here:
Remember what I just said about crossovers? This is why I said "most" and not "all". Millennium was a crossover published in 1988, 12 years before the millennium ended. A Guardian of the Universe and a Zamaron, his mate, have come to Earth to evolve 10 humans into new guardians. Their choices include a racist South African white male whom they expect to turn evil; insane plant-man Jason Woodrue; and two people who are killed by the second issue.

Earth's heroes must protect these chosen people from the Manhunters, a race of androids who've opposed the Guardians for centuries. These Manhunters have even secreted themselves on Earth, recruiting thousands into their secret society. The heroes are shocked to discover many of their closest friends, and even family, are working for the Manhunters! My God! Where did these evil machines come from? Oh yeah, the Guardians made them. The Manhunters were built to fight evil before the Green Lanterns. But when they learned the Guardians themselves were responsible for bringing evil into the universe, they rebelled and were cast out. Thus began the new legacy of the Guardians of the Universe being short-sighted, manipulative bastards.

Long story short, all the important plot developments happened in crossover comics not included in this collection. The New Guardians gained superpowers based on their ethnic stereotypes. Nearly all of them died of AIDS a year later. No, I'm not exaggerating. Bad story, wasted potential, pointless aftermath.
And it was just a warm-up for the really bad stuff that came out of Pandora's Box starting in 1991, when Armageddon struck, then Zero Hour, and they didn't even have to have quasi-political allusions to be bad.

There's more to this list, including the Clone Saga and Countdown: Arena, some of the additional examples of crossovers made into trades for the sake of fleecing more money from unfortunate customers, and it makes me wonder what's the point of reprinting some of these disasters when they're unlikely to find much of an audience even today. If there's any stories that are really not worth becoming TPBs, "event comics", editorial mandates and crossovers like these are just those.

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And liberal Steve Englehart was so proud of Millenium. I looked through the mini-series some time ago and found the only thing really memorable about it was Joe Staton's artwork. I actually liked Stevie's brief run on the original JLA and his work with the late, great Marshall Rogers on Detective Comics, but the rest of his work has been way too political for my tastes. From that stuff, I get the sense that he thinks far more of himself and his leftie opinions than the rest of us do.

Oops! The person who wrote the previous post was me...Thnunumber6.

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