WLG #411: Phenomenon

A column article by: Matt Spatola

Phenomenon (noun) something that is impressive or extraordinary

This week for What Looks Good I have a couple of choices on here that some people would say are part of a special phenomenon within comics, something that transcends the usual boundaries of our hobby and is embraced by the mainstream public. And unfortunately that doesn’t happen as much as it should.

So here we go…

DC

Before Watchmen: The Comedian #1 $3.99/$4.99 (Brian Azzarello & J.G. Jones)

“'I'm a funny guy...' Plus: Don't miss the CRIMSON CORSAIR backup story by writer LEN WEIN and artist JOHN HIGGINS! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.”

I’ve mentioned here before the fact that I don’t really know where I stand on the debate about DC’s Before Watchmen projects. I know that they are legally within rights to do whatever they like with the characters. I know that Alan Moore has had an ongoing feud with DC over ownership and other rights snared up with the Watchmen characters. I know that a lot of readers are interested in seeing more stories featuring the Watchmen, both signally and as a group. I know that DC and Warners  would certainly welcome the revenue from the expected huge sales these series’ will have.

But do we really need these series? Isn’t part of what makes- or made- Watchmen such a phenomenon is that it was just that one, self-contained, finite story? Doesn’t making more stories dilute the original masterpiece? Doesn’t Watchmen now become just another ‘franchise’ like Batman or Superman, an intellectual property that the corporate publisher wants to exploit? Doesn’t is lose it’s ‘specialness’?

I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.

IMAGE

The Walking Dead #99 $2.99 (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

“ 'SOMETHING TO FEAR' CONTINUES! The unthinkable happens, as we all gear up for next month's monumental issue 100!”

The Comics Industry’s super success story! In a market that even in good times struggles with a contraction of sales on books, The Walking Dead continues to add readers just about every month. And next month’s special 100th issue will be the biggest selling issue of the series yet. Early estimates from several comic news sites are placing orders for that issue at around 300,000 issues. 300K! That would make The Walking Dead #100 not just the highest selling independent comic in over 10 years but the highest selling comic book of 2012. Period.

And let’s not forget that the Walking Dead has this little TV show that also is making and breaking records. The Season 2 finale this past March was watched by over 11 million viewers, making it the highest rated basic cable series in history.  Or the debut of The Walking Dead video game last month which broke records as it drew 1 million downloads in only two weeks.

MARVEL

Invincible Iron Man #519 $3.99 (Matt Fraction & Salvador Larocca)

“The New Iron Man explodes into action! Spymaster's rampage within Stark Resilient comes to its bloody end! THE ASSASSINATION OF TONY STARK!

Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca have been on this title since 2008, the year Marvel Studios came out with Iron Man, which catapulted the studio, the characters of Tony Stark and Iron Man and actor Robert Downey Jr. into the mainstream. And if it wasn’t for the success of this Iron Man film then the studio wouldn’t have been able to build its releases toward Marvel Studios’ The Avengers.

The rumor is now that after the conclusion of Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event there is going to be a huge shift in creative teams. Brian Michael Bendis already announced he’s leaving the Avengers books. Jonathan Hickman is leaving both Fantastic Four titles. Based on all that, the buzz is that the team of Fraction and Larocca are going to roll to one of those books, which in turn will bring Keron Gillien and Greg Land to Iron Man.

Will it happen? Not sure. I sort of hope not. The book has been one of my top reads for years, so much that I can’t imagine Fraction and/or Larocca not being here.

So there we go. A few books  that are part of comic book and mainstream phenomena. And if you were already planning on getting those comics and want a few more suggestions you should also take a little looksie at: The Shadow #3, Winter Soldier #7, Higher Earth #2 and  Marvel’s latest publicity stunt Astonishing X-Men #51 and its gay wedding extravaganza.

See you all in 2!

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