DC did it. In an industry where fighting for attention on the shelf is the key to the game, DC has rounded up the competition and painted their covers beige*.
Few people are going to care this week that IDW have Dungeons and Dragons: Drizzt #2, a new ongoing comic book about D&D’s favorite Drow Elf Drizzt Do’Urden written (partially) by R. A. Salvatore and featuring a cover where a dwarf headbutts an Owlbear. AN OWLBEAR, sugar! They’re the honeybadger of the D&D world!
This is possibly one of the best covers of the year…but is anyone going to notice?
Not when you have Action Comics #1, Batgirl #1, Detective Comics #1…heck, even Animal Man #1 on the shelves! All the Owlbear carnage in the entire Forgotten Realms ain’t going to roll a critical hit against any of DC’s crop of 52 new titles with a big “#1” on the front.
Now it is true, Marvel has the New Avengers Annual #1 which will kick off some of the aftermath of Fear Itself, especially Wonderman’s new team the Revengers! Plus, Marvel also has the full color relaunch of Gabriel Ba’s Cassanova in Cassanova: Avaritia #1. Too bad these will be overlooked by many, as they sound great!
Poor Image, meanwhile is trying to bait customers into picking up a title HOPING it’s controversial. Image’s The Big Lie #1 features time traveling, conspiracy theory adventures around 9/11. I’m sure Image has found incredible new angles to show about this local tragedy, because otherwise they would just be crass, sensational muck-rackers for publishing this comic before its 10th anniversary, now wouldn’t they?
This better be the Picasso’s Guernica of comic books, Image, ‘cause you are on some thin ice there, pal.
* A fun footnote: This was an actual tactic used by a fun comic called Generic Comic Book. NO, not the one from Marvel in 1984…wait, you’ve never heard of that one either? Geez, this footnote is going to need footnotes if I’m not careful.
In 1984 Marvel published a terrible comic book by the name of Generic Comic Book #1 which featured a blank, white cover with a bar code in the center. It was a cute gimmick, but a lousy comic. It featured a bland, boring hero doing bland, boring stuff. The ads were more interesting. What ultimately failed between the clever covers was the lack of love for the subject matter. Jim Shooter probably scraped some comic book creating hopefuls off the floor of the bullpen and told them “Here’s ya’ big break, Kid.”
The creators of Marvel’s Generic Comic book turned out a loveless example of what happens when two people who want to draw Spider-Man are stuck doing a day job.
In 2001 and outfit named Comics Conspiracy had a funny little title called Generic Comic that was the opposite. By this time comics were so full of themselves as an “art form” they were practically spraining their wrists patting themselves on the back. Generic Comic had humor, moxy and enough self reference/deference to make the whole thing a fun trip! The guys doing Generic Comic Book didn’t want to be drawing Spidey, they wanted to pants Spidey and point at his web-shooter and laugh!
The covers were beige, bland yellow, or any other flat monotonous hue that would stand out on a rack filled with preening, computer colored whack-a-doos. Kudos!