Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cover Review: Doctor Tom Brent -- Young Intern #2

Charlton put out a lot of comics I liked.  They weren't always good comics, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.  My guess, however, is that in 1963 there wasn't a single sane person who ever uttered this phrase: "Oh boy!  It's the new issue of Doctor Tom Brent -- Young Intern!"  Not a single one.

How many things can you count wrong with this cover?  Let's start with the obvious -- the title. 

Doctor Tom Brent -- Young Intern sounds about as exciting as watching Lawrence Welk on PBS with your grandmother as she starts to nod off.  There is really nothing about the title that says, "Read me."  If your parents hated you, this is the comic they bought you.  "I know you wanted Detective Comics, but you've been a little bastard.  Read this instead."  Even Ned Flanders finds this boring.

A cover's job is to sell readers on the comic.  The artists, of course, would have no control over the title or the story inside (in this case, the yawn-fest "A Doctor Heals in Many Ways"), so they had to make the artwork engaging on some level.  They have, obviously, failed here.  Instead of drawing a cover that pulls you, they decided to come up with something even more boring than the title.  One doctor at a microscope, another one telling him that they had 12 hours to come up with some way of keeping a boy from going home to die.  Our hero, Young Intern Brent, has no clue how to do this.  Way to sell a book.  The only thing that could have made it worse was a cover blurb stating, "Now with ten MORE pages of TEXT inside!!!"  What were they thinking?  Who was the audience for this?  Who bought it?  Tom Brent probably doesn't know.

I have none of these issues in my collection, and I doubt I ever will unless someone sends me the wrong item when I win something on eBay.  This series could be the most exciting young intern series ever written for all I know.  You can't tell by the cover, however.  What you can tell is that there were probably quite a few kids who spent their twelve cents elsewhere.

Confession is Good For the Soul

I have a confession to make, one that when made before seemed to take some people by surprise.  I haven't read a single copy of the new DC relaunch, and I have really have no plans to do so at this current time.

I hear shrieks of "blasphemy" and general wonderment.  How could I, a comics fan and writers of such stuff, not have read any of the relaunch and how could I not be planning on doing so?

Easy.  I don't care.

I've been around long enough to know when a publisher is pulling off a promotional stunt or is engaged in outright desperation.  This reeks of both, and I really don't want much to do with it.

I know all the reasons behind it, and some of them are actually valid.  Discarding decades of history not only of characters but of titles is not only insulting to audiences both old and new, it's also a death blow to people who liked that sense of establishment.  I was one of those people.  With a business plan that seemed a tad more thought out than Marvel's Silent Month, DC invalidated me as a reader.  So I returned the favor.  That's not to say I'll never read any of the relaunches, but it is saying that as of right now I couldn't care less about them.

What's even more surprising is what I've heard about them.  Some are winners.  Some are losers.  That is to be expected.  In the good new titles, however, people are telling me there are good stories, but not a single one has been described as something that could only be done under the guise of a relaunch.  So not only does this move seem like a gimmick and desperate, but it also seems lazy.  Lazy in the sense that the publishers and writers (most likely just the publishers) couldn't think of any other way of bringing in new readers and having a major shake-up other than this bit of carefree nonsense.  And those readers recommending the titles?  They all tell me they think the numbering and titles will revert back to normal sometime in the near future.  (No kidding.)  So, yes, DC, not even your fans believe it, though the mainstream news medias seem to have bought it as they usually do.

DC's move to seem less isolationist has sort of ended up seeming that very thing in a sense.  Unfortunately, it has also worked, with DC dominating sales charts.  I can't picture that will be the case for much longer (and it may have already started to wane; I have yet to see current numbers for the past month).  It's a short-term fix to a long-time problem, which is: attracting new readers.  This was a half-hearted good idea.  You can attract all kinds of new readers, but if you lose the old ones, you're sunk.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wolverine and the X-Men #1

This title got added to my pull list when Uncanny X-Men looked like it was no longer going to be published.  (Yeah, that lasted long.)  I decided to keep it on the pull list ... knowing nothing about it ... because I like Wolverine, and I like the X-Men.  Plus, it added to amount of comics I needed to get to the next discount tier.

When the first issue arrived I looked at the cover and immediately thought I had made a mistake.  Hideous.  Luckily there was truth in advertising, as the story was just as stupid.

The premise is that Wolverine has taken over the job of running Professor Xavier's school.  That is a good premise, which has promise.  That said, the crux of the issue involves an inspection to make sure the school is safe for young mutants ... and it's all handled with comedy -- mostly of the slapstick variety.

Wow.  That's all I can say.  Wow.

Wolverine heading the school actually makes sense for his character, and it shows some good growth.  Handling the situation as a comedy is a huge mistake.  It really doesn't even make sense, and I doubt it will last all that long.  I hope it won't last that long.

I may have issue two by now.  (I think it's in my stack.)  I'm in no rush to read it.  I will, however, stick with it a few issues until I make the final decision on it.  I think the premise has promise, so I'm willing to give it a chance.  All it needs to do to fix the problems is get a new artist and writer team ... and keep Frank Miller away from it.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: I paid for this garbage.