Saturday, September 24, 2011

Scheduling: The Biggest New 52 Problem

A lot is being made about the controversial contents of a few books from DC this week. As with so much in American entertainment, the controversy boils down to sex. Regardless of where you come down on this particular divide, it brings to mind a completely different, yet related problem...


In the previous week, there was the issue of strong similarities between two books that could have been resolved by the schedule for the 52 roll out being over a month long. In fairness, the schedule wasn't so tight that they couldn't have pushed one of these to another week.

But now we have the Starfire and Catwoman controversies that are overshadowing other quality releases. When you want word of mouth, reviews, buzz, etc to influence sales, a comic book Wednesday becomes much like a movie Friday: you don't want your product to get lost in all the attention competing products get. If the competing product is from your own house? Well, you quite simply bump it to a different release date where it can shine on its own.

In releasing two books that, regardless of your personal feelings about, were sure to cause a loud reaction, DC hurt a few of their other books. Ironically, Wonder Woman and (to a lesser extent) Supergirl were two high quality, otherwise-high-profile releases that aren't going to get as much attention as they merited because people will be talking about the sexual issues at play in Red Hood & the Outlaws and Catwoman.

It might be that DC had this as a calculated move, thinking two strong female characters without sexual overtones used would help counterbalance the sturm and drang caused by those otherwise-low-profile books. While you can see the logic behind that (if not, sadly, the effectiveness in use), the better move would have been to stretch out the release schedule a bit more or, at the very least, schedule the two tempests-in-a-teapot to separate weeks so they didn't go all "Wonder Twin Powers Activate! Form of...misogyny accusations! Form of...DC thinks strong women are sluts!"

Controversial works can be good for business. But when they obscure your other worthy products or waste their attention-grabbing ability by being piled up on the same date, it just doesn't make good sense.

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying this book(RHO). I think some of the complaints about Starfire's sexed upness are well founded. The line about 38's just before she makes her first appearance was certainly clumsy. However, to that I would like to add the following in Roy and Kori’s defense.

    I think the memory lapse thing is just an act. She contradicts this herself in issue 3.

    It’s been said that Starfire is sleeping with Roy while sleeping with Jason. But Jason clearly says, “She’s been with me.” not “She is with me.”

    Another telling line is, “ She’s got a lot on her mind…me.”
    Subtle, but I think it is proof that he and Kori were more than just casual bedmates when they were together. They just aren’t now together.

    Roy has hit on Kori a number of times in the past but she was with Grayson and always declined. But she always did so playfully and not with something like, “ I wouldn’t touch you to scratch you!” or “ not now not ever.’

    I do not think she would sleep with just anyone as has been stated.
    Roy, Jason and Grayson are hard just anyone to her.

    As for the offending panel I read it like this:
    Do remember Dick, Vic…(Teen Titans)?

    You’re boring me. // . We already know she doesn’t find he or Jason boring. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Roy’s response is quite brilliant.

    Um…Jason’s over there talking to him self. // This is classic I may want you Starfire but I sure as hell don’t need you. Kori likes this and closes in.

    And we’re here. // I wouldn’t be here bending over you if I didn’t want to.
    She’s direct and in Tamaran fashion she wastes no time on innuendo or euphemisms.

    Do you want to have sex with me? // She knows damn well he does.
    Roy, taken a little buy surprise by he’s good fortune, does take the time to ask the proper question.

    Aren’t you sorta Jasons girl? // And Kori says no I’m not.

    Absurd. If you’re not interested I could probably… // I get the impression most of the critics see that trailing line as ending with, “just go screw whoever.” but why does it have to be? It could end like this, “ take care of it myself.”

    Perhaps I’m being to optimistic but I’ll continue.

    Some will say that when Kori tells Roy that love has nothing to do with it, it’s out of character. Maybe so, but after years pining away on Grayson who dumps her maybe she now wants something else. Maybe she’s trying to find her way in the darkness. Perhaps she wants to give it a try with Roy but doesn’t want to dive in heart first.
    I don't buy that she has no memory. She even jokes about it at Roy’s expense. I like the banter between the three of them. I think it’s new ground for Kori.
    I do like the new fire like tresses that trail along behind her when she flies. It looks cooler than before and I think it makes her look more powerful. I like the idea these three characters have these messed up pasts and that they've all come together to move forward. As they do, I think we'll have a more complex, sexy, likable, albeit more messy Starfire. And I've always had a soft spot for Speedy(Arsenal).


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