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.
Those of you who pick up your comics on Wednesdays have no doubt already noticed: Although Francis Manapul was scheduled to draw both Flash #11 and Flash #12, his art only appeared on the cover of this week’s issue. Instead, Scott Kolins provides the interior artwork this time around.
The one-time regular Flash artist explains on Twitter:
Sorry guys I didn’t do flash 11 and only came back to help on 12. Editorial decided to get me started on the next project
Clearly Editorial wanted to get those last two issues of The Flash out before Flashpoint, and the clock was ticking. Manapul doesn’t say what the “next project” is, but I’m guessing it’s either not tied to DC’s event schedule or has a lot of lead time.
My guess: Someone else will pick up the inevitable post-Flashpoint Flash relaunch, but we may see Francis Manapul back for the equally-inevitable Flash: Secret Origin.
Personally I’m sad to see him go. His art was a big part of what I enjoyed about this run, and I do think that “The Road to Flashpoint” will ultimately suffer a bit for being split between two artists with different styles. It really makes me wish DC and/or Geoff Johns hadn’t tied the series to another event with its own deadlines.
One last note: It’s not clear whether Scott Kolins is doing the art for next month’s series finale (except for the 5 pages that Francis Manapul mentions elsewhere on Twitter), but after the two Rogue Profiles and #11, it seems like a safe bet.
UPDATE: Francis Manapul writes more about the move on his blog, saying: Continue reading
It used to be a joke, “As long as you keep buying late books, we’ll keep making ’em.” It’s not a joke anymore: you stopped buying ’em. We need to get our schedule under control.
— Dan Didio at DC Nation, C2E2 (as reported by CBR).
According to DC’s website, Flash #9 and Flash #10 have each slipped two weeks to February 9 and March 9, respectively. So far, Flash #11 is still on for March 30.
When DC Comics released its solicitations for February, it announced The Flash #11 would be arriving on February 23, 2011…even though they had already scheduled The Flash #10 for that date. Now, DC’s website shows the more realistic date of March 30, 2011.
No changes have been made to any other upcoming Flash issues. Flash #8 is still scheduled for December 29, #9 for January 26, and #10 for February 23.
This is probably a crazy idea, but it’s something I thought about while writing up my thoughts on Flash #6:
DC should plan for the book to get delayed.
I really like Francis Manapul’s art, and Geoff Johns, when he’s at the top of his game, can be a great writer. I’d rather not lose this team on the book right now. But it’s been a while since The Flash managed to release twelve issues a year. To catch up, they’ve planned a couple of Rogue Profiles before the next story arc: done-in-one issues that tie into the ongoing mythology but focus on a different point of view, namely one of the Flash’s villains. These were great during Geoff Johns’ run on the Wally West Flash series, and I’m glad we’re seeing more.
Meanwhile, the pacing of the series seems a little bit more decompressed than it needs to be. As much as I enjoyed it, “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues” felt like it could have been told as effectively in four or five parts instead of six. Flash: Rebirth definitely could have – it seemed like half of the final issue was epilogue. But six issues is the standard length for a collection, so that seems to be the story length that they’re shooting for.
My suggestion: Make the story arcs five issues long instead of six, and schedule a Rogue Profile in between. Put another artist on the profile, one suited to the villain getting the spotlight. If Geoff Johns is busy, let another writer work from his outline, or hand it outright to someone who understands the current take on the Rogues.
That way, the star creative team is only committed to ten issues a year instead of twelve, and we get some great stand-alone stories that DC can either include with the main story collections or save up for a couple of years and put in a collection as “The Flash: Rogues Gallery.”
What do you think?