Wayback Wednesday: Keeping Comics on Schedule

With the New 52, DC Comics is making a point to get all their comics released on time. In recent years, scheduling delays had become a joke, with even high-profile series like Final Crisis shipping weeks or even months late. And let’s not even get started on the Flash schedule from Rebirth through “The Road to Flashpoint,” which changed on an almost-weekly basis.*

A few years back, I wrote about different ways to keep comics on schedule. The solutions I came up with at the time were:

  • Alternating artists with each new storyline. (Batwoman is taking this approach, alternating between J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder.)
  • Series-of-miniseries with enough lead time that each mini stays on time. (Hellboy and BPRD.)
  • Fill-in artists within a story. (DC’s preferred method on event books.)
  • Fill-in issues. (Back in the Silver Age, this was the standard approach. These days, readers tend to see them as an interruption.)

I go into these in a lot more detail in the original post.

These days, DC seems to be changing creative teams left and right, some for editorial reasons, others now doubt because they’d already fallen behind. That seems a little drastic to me, but I’m sure there are those who would disagree.

My personal preference is still alternating artists per story. With proper planning, it keeps any ongoing arcs moving smoothly, while still preserving a consistent artistic statement within each story. Though I also think planning one-shots ahead of time that can be written or drawn by a guest but still fit into the overall arc has its advantages as well.

How about you? What’s your preferred method of keeping comics on schedule?

*I actually wrote a program to retrieve DC’s listing for upcoming issues of Flash: Rebirth once a day and notify me if the date had changed.

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2 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Keeping Comics on Schedule

  1. Kyer

    *sigh* Well, I’m still waiting for my favorite (concept) book to *have* a schedule….but, yeah, alternate the artists. I hate that teams get dropped. Just looking at my own workplace there are coworkers that have fallen temporarily sick or were injured. If they were fired because of that it would cast a pall over the workplace like none other. People would be afraid to not come in even if contagious. Would get sick from mentally worrying about getting sick and being laid off. That kind of thing bothers the heck out of me. Reminds me of a sweatshop.

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  2. Chris White

    I have always felt that having a few up-to-date one-offs, or planning scheduled guest arcs is completely reasonable. Fill-in artists (and occaisionally writers) are also acceptable in cases where there is an extenuating circumstance.

    I’ve read many a guest fill-in that was shockingly good. Writers and artists should look at them as an opportunity to audition for when the current team moves on and new names are needed for the credits.

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