Villains Month starring DC Comics

The Joker, Harley Quinn and Lex Luthor among others to get their own issues during DC Comics’ Villains Month.

Where to begin? The creative teams flipping coins for who gets to leave a DC title next? The overly-aggressive talent hunt which is trying to make suicide sexy? Or the fact that you need to buy 16 comics instead of your usual four during September? Whatever the answer, it’s clear that one of the Big Two isn’t having a very nice time of it at the moment.

DC Comics New 52

If I have this correct – and I think I do – whatever title you’re shelling out money for every month will not happen in September due to Villains Month. So say for example, you’re all into buying the BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT title, and have been doing so since The New 52 launched two years ago. In the month of September 2013 you won’t receive your issue 24; instead you’ll get a 23.1 in week one. Then you’ll have to buy 23.2 the week after, and then 23.3 and 23.4.

Stay with me on this. These four issues of this Batman title…won’t star Batman. Instead, each one will focus on a different villain within the storyline. Right? And then next month you can get back on track.

So you can either buy four comics instead of one during the month – and pay a pound extra for each if you really must have the 3D cover (which you won’t get because they’ve been MASSIVELY under-produced) – or you can miss out entirely on this special event. Now think about how much this is going to cost you if you happen to buy more than one title. Basically, DC Comics has quadrupled your monthly spend on comics without breaking a sweat. Nice job.

Here’s an open letter from Leeds-based shop OK Comics to DC which makes a few suggestions for next year. It’s good readin’.

Of course, if the sudden raft of creative departures from DC keeps up, they won’t need to take Jared’s above suggestions on board because there won’t be anyone left to implement them.

This rather excellent timeline from Gutters And Panels illustrates just how many talented creators have decided they no longer wish to be aboard the good ship DC. Most recently, the Batwoman team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have expressed frustration at the “eleventh-hour nature” of the order not to see Kate and Maggie married – not because there’s anything wrong with that, but just because they didn’t want to see anyone happy; including their readers and writers, presumably. On top of so many others too, add to this Earth 2’s James Robinson, Mike Johnson on Supergirl (who ended up leaving even sooner than planned) and the triple-whammy of Grant Morrison, Andy Diggle and James S. Daniel on Action Comics happening within a week. Speculation is rife as to why this has all gone down but the old adage of “editorial interference” doesn’t seem to tell the whole story.

And how about that talent hunt? Want to draw a page of the upcoming Harley Quinn zero issue? Sure, all you have to do is draw a naked woman about to commit suicide. Is this not a bit…completely messed up? Kate Kane can’t find true love…but let’s have Harley kill herself with no clothes on. I understand it’s not actually going to happen (it would be a completely stupid way for a popular character to go…hmm, maybe we should warn DC not to try anything silly) but it certainly doesn’t help the whole “objectifying women” problem we’re going through in geek culture right now.

So. Big month for DC. Until we get details on those September sales it’s going to be a nervy wait for the top brass!

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