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Artistic License: Tricks And Big Treat From DC Comics

DC Comics has a few tricks in their Halloween special, and a treat for all of their readers

With Halloween this coming Sunday, it is definitely the time of year to see all sorts of tricks and treats.

Naturally, comic book companies want to give readers treats, and last week and this week, DC Comics had a couple of special treats for readers.

One thing I like about DC is that they actually do some holiday special editions. Last week, DC released Halloween Special 2010 with six stories from around the DCU. Now, these stories are not set in current continuity, and do not necessarily reflect any ongoing storylines. I think that is a good thing, as the story can focus on the holiday and not be dependent on other factors. Sometimes, these stories are set in the past, and that gives the authors even more freedom.

This year’s stories were very well done, and overall the issue was definitely a treat. While all of the tales are nice, I think the standout story is Medusa Non Grata which stars two of the Teen Titans and Klarion the Witch Boy. Not only is Jaime trying to explain Halloween to M’gann, but they end up helping Klarion along the way. T

hey were able to recognize what upset Klarion and show him that he didn’t have to be an outcast, rather than jumping to the wrong conclusions. This experience seemed to help all of the young characters.

I did, however, see a couple of tricks, or things that I felt that were wrong with this issue. The first story, Trick for the Scarecrow starring Batman, is actually a follow-up story to one from last year. While there is an editor’s note on Page 3 of the story, I think they should have put the note at the beginning. Better yet, I’m not sure why have any link to a previous story, as it may be difficult (or even impossible) for readers to find a copy of last year’s issue.

I would hope that the writers and creators could have come up with entirely new stories and ideas.

The other problem I see with this issue is the cover. I have talked about this before, and I know that covers are often done in advance of the rest of the issue, and by different artists. However, this cover seems to be in glaring conflict with the interior of the book in two major areas.

The story A Night to Remember features Wonder Woman and Deadman. Now, it’s a good story, and is apparently set before the events of Brightest Day, as Deadman is in his previous, ghostly state. Given that, Wonder Woman is in her old costume, which fits the time of the story. The cover, however, clearly shows Wonder Woman in her new outfit. While a minor discrepancy, it is something that I think could have easily been avoided with more communication between all concerned.

The Teen Titans story that I mentioned above includes only two group members, Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle and M’gann M’orzz/Miss Martian. These two members are apparently not going to be members in the new lineup that began with this week’s issue, but that is not a big deal. Since the stories are not connected to currently storylines, it is fine to focus on previous members.

The problem that I have with the cover is that it shows three members of the new team roster, Wonder Girl, Ravager, and Kid Flash, and none of these characters are in this story at all. This is a larger problem in my opinion, as the cover would seem to almost advertise characters that are not used in the issue, and this could be seen as misleading.

While I cannot say for sure, both of these cover problems were likely caused by the cover artist simply being told that Wonder Woman and the Teen Titans were to be used in the stories. Since the issue would be coming out in October, the artist may have decided to use current costumes and team members.

Please, DC editors, start paying a little more attention to these types of issues. Sometimes it is the seemingly little things that can turn away readers.

Now, for the big treat of the day. When I picked up this week’s comics, our copy of Previews was waiting for us, so that we could place our orders for January. Our local comic shop owner excitedly showed me an announcement from DC. The first paragraph of a letter shown in Previews states, Beginning January 2011, DC Comics will implement a line-wide pricing adjustment, lowering the prices of all standard length 32-page ongoing comic book titles currently priced at $3.99 to $2.99.

This announcement was actually first released to news media earlier this month, but finally seeing it in print, and in the hands of the readers directly, is nice. It makes it more real, and something that readers can be sure will actually happen.

This is wonderful news for all concerned. Readers can get the same quality stories, but at lower prices. Retailers and DC themselves should see an upswing in sales as people will be more willing to continue reading a title if the price has been lowered, and they will also be more likely to start picking up new ones. While there may be a temporary loss in revenue, this should result in long term benefits for the industry.

There is a bit of bad news with this, as the number of story pages will be reduced from 22 to 20 pages per issue. However, I don’t think that two pages will really be missed by many readers, and for most it will be worth the savings.

It was also previously announced that Marvel Comics will be setting a price of $3 for new titles starting in 2011, but as of now there is only one new title starting in January. This may be a bad move on Marvel’s part, and perhaps they should consider a similar pricing change. I fear they will lose readers, especially those already making choices between DC and Marvel titles for their hard earned dollars. Marvel, if you want to stay competitive, you may need to reduce your current titles as well.

As that closes the week for me, I want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. May you have many treats and no tricks!

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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