Sunday, June 10, 2012

Zero issue comics

Like so many gimmicks zero issue comics seemed pretty cool the first time around but quickly become more useless than attractive.  (And "first time" meaning the first time I encountered them since I haven't been able to determine exactly when they started - possibly 1994's Zero Hour event which happened during my 20-year comics blackout period.)  Most zero issues are in actuality the first issue of a story and are even included as such in the tpb or they're a prologue and still included in the tpb.  (And a topic for another post is how prologues in any medium are a sure sign that the writer can't handle fundamental storytelling.)  In any case why have a #0?  Even something aimed at a more mass audience like Landgridge's Snarked came with one.  (And though it doesn't quite fit this is where I'll point out one of my favorite huh? covers for Morbius #1 which despite that number one trumpets "Part 3 of 6" - guess you had to go into negative numbers for that one.)

The news that DC is doing an entire month of zero issues in September is only made worse by the news that most of these will be origin stories of some sort.  Apparently nearly all of these issues will have stories set diegetically before the actual #1 which only makes me wonder how they'll be reprinted since the tpbs for nearly all series will have already appeared by then.  Just stuck in the second volume?  Included in new editions of the first volume?  Or yet another huge omnibus reprinting only the zero issues? 

Even more odd is Jim Lee's statement that this is "really about sparking continued interest in new storylines".  How is completely ignoring the current and new storylines going to help create interest in them?  Unless maybe Superman turns out to be a robot (or gay), Aquaman actually a merman (or gay), Wonder Woman only delusional about being an Amazon (or gay), Batman really the Martian Manhunter in disguise (but not gay). 

I don't care about any of this but as usual what's often more fun than actually reading the comics is watching the modern comics business approach this sort of thing with such complete (and completely inappropriate) seriousness while deploying almost amateurishly transparent marketing tactics.  What Lee is actually saying of course isn't that the zero issues will raise questions for the ensuing narrative to answer but that customers will pick up a zero issue and think "Hey, this OMAC thing is pretty cool!  Where can I get more!"  Well, Hypothetical Customer Person OMAC was the most purely entertaining of the lot so of course it's already canceled.  Perhaps you might be interested in this new Talon series about a character nobody's ever seen before in a storyline nobody cares about?  Really ok well then maybe you'd be interested to know that Green Lantern is out of the closet.  No not him.  Not him either.  Not that one.  Nope not that other one.  Nor him.  Look just trust us - he's a Green Lantern.