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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 

John Romita Jr. goes to DC to draw Superman

The New York Times wrote about John Romita Jr's move to DC to draw Superman. I think he's making the shift much too late, and for years now, his art has become a bit mediocre (in the early 2000s, his art on Spider-Man was blocky in some stories). In the article, they say:
When the move to DC was announced in February, fan reaction online was mixed. On the comics news website newsarama.com, comments ranged from the farther he “gets from Marvel the better” to “I wish he could draw every comic ever made.” Mr. Romita, whose first published story for Marvel was in 1977 and featured Spider-Man, would eventually draw most of its superheroes. He has worked with some of the industry’s biggest writers including Frank Miller (on Daredevil) and Mark Millar (on Kick-Ass). On Superman, he is working with the inker Klaus Janson and Geoff Johns, a popular writer who was named DC’s chief creative officer in 2010.
First, I wish he hadn't drawn that awful Spidey issue for J. Michael Stracynski that trivialized 9/11. As for writers and artists he worked with, Miller was a great guy to work with in the 80s. But working with Millar on Kick-Ass only jots down a black mark on his portfolio, given how grimy that was. As for Johns, it's already apparent he's nothing more than an overrated embarrassment, and hardly someone I'd call "popular". Besides, his books do not sell very high. Speaking of which, sales are brought up here, and it's almost hilarious:
Previews of his Superman pages showed off Mr. Romita’s signature thick line work, hulking figures and dynamic action sequences. The first story line involves Ulysses, who is sent to Earth from his doomed world by his parents. The new creative team for the Man of Steel will most likely give the series a sales boost. Last month, Superman was No. 48 on the list of comic book best sellers with just over 40,000 copies sold of Issue 31. Batman was No. 4 with over 107,000 copies. At No. 1 was Original Sin, a mini-series from Marvel that has revealed dark secrets about its well-known heroes, selling over 147,000 copies. As with the Coke and Pepsi rivalry, many fans divide themselves into DC or Marvel camps. Mr. Romita, who is not a complete stranger to DC — in the 1990s he worked on two stories that united DC and Marvel characters — is a bit more agnostic, looking across the industry at the work of compatriots like Mr. Miller, Jim Lee and Adam and Andy Kubert, among others, for inspiration. “Without competition, you’d be nothing,” Mr. Romita said.
I wonder how many people still reading the NYT on a daily basis felt puzzled and giggled when they read those sales figures? It wouldn't make much difference if it were 300,000 copies for each of the titles mentioned, that's still a very rock bottom sum compared to the sales for movies, videos and music tapes that sell in the millions.

The story for Superman had me chuckling because of how obviously derivative it is of Kal-El's own origin, and whatever sales jump Superman will get as a result of Johns and Romita is unlikely to remain for long.
You could say that Mr. Romita, 57, is not just leaving Marvel, but also the family shop. His parents both had careers at Marvel: His father is John Romita, a renowned artist who, among other things, designed the look of Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s long-term love interest; and his mother, Virginia, worked as a production manager. [...]
No mention of Joe Quesada's widely loathed breakup of the Spider-marriage, I see. Come to think of it, no mention that Mary Jane Watson had become Peter's wife under better writers. And, curious how they forgot to type in her maiden family name, Watson, to boot. Sadder still, Romita Jr. probably has nothing negative to say about that disaster.

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In the Silver Age, sales figures of 107,000 probably would have been considered marginally adequate, and sales of "just over 40,000" would have been grounds for cancellation.

Whether it's because of technology (video games, TV, the internet) making comic magazines obsolete, or whether it's the leftist politics, or just bad quality scripts, the fact is that the comics medium is dying. Maybe it's just as well. It might be better to have no comics at all than the drek that DC and Marvel are publishing now.

But Slott says sales are great!


I have to admit I laughed out loud when I saw those sales figures. They make it sound as though 107,000 in sales should be heralded throughout the world. Although, given how pathetic comics have become since (pick the last year you can remember when comics were actually worth reading; personally, mine is somewhere around 1986), I suppose it probably is cause for celebration for them.

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