Everything Wrong With Disney Owning Star Wars In One Simple Photo

everythingwrongwithdisneyowningstarwars

Gaze on my works, ye mighty, and shit your pants. This image summarizes PERFECTLY everything that’s wrong with Disney owning Star Wars. Yes, it’s old news, but OH MY GOD THAT’S DONALD DUCK AS A STORMTROOPER. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. Thank you for shitting on my childhood, you heartless corporate bastards. (More than the Lucas already has with the prequels, but that’s old news, too.)

Keep Readin’ Those Funnybooks,

~ILL DIABLO~

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Marvel’s Star Wars.NOW? No!

All good things must come to an end. Sometimes, though, the inevitability of a demise is worse than the demise itself. Today’s case in point: the announcement that Dark Horse has lost the license to Star Wars comics effective next year. It’s been a looming threat since Disney purchased LucasFilm, and to the ire of many a Star Wars comics ubergeek, Marvel (also owned by Disney, duh), will (again) be the curators of George Lucas’s bastard children.

I never read too much of Dark Horse’s Star Wars books myself, mainly because I’m content to watch the original trilogy and feel fulfilled with that story in and of itself. I don’t need to know umpteen centuries of universe-building backstory to feel I know the “whole” story. However, there are plenty of fans who DO, and for them, twenty years of continuity is being chucked out the window violently and suddenly for the sake of… a boardroom deal.

From Disney’s perspective, it of course makes sense to bring the Star Wars comics to Marvel, and thus under its own umbrella. It’s a business move, plain and simple, one that will allow them to milk the golden calf that is Star Wars much more efficiently and effectively, with the added bonus being Marvel’s larger overall market share leading to a higher overall sales percentage.

But back to those forlorn Star Wars comics ubergeeks: for them, it’s the end of an era. And in a larger sense, it is for the entire comics industry.

If you’re an under-thirty fan, you grew up with Dark Horse’s Star Wars line. Period. And since they obtained the license, they have done a stellar job of curating Lucas’s mythos, and building on it with a respect and reverence for the original source material that was, frankly, unmatched up until that point. In other words, Dark Horse set the gold standard for licensed comics. Prior to that, licensed comics were fairly heartless affairs, often written and drawn by uninterested, uninspired creators who were clearly only in it for the paycheck.* Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics, on the other hand, were written and drawn by creators who were fans, and who understood the tone, character, and history of the tales they were attempting to augment.**

For over twenty years, Dark Horse has built upon all things Lucas in that manner. They expanded the mythology forwards and back, printed numerous character-focused miniseries, found ways to make characters from even Phantom Menace seem three-dimensional,*** and even had the balls to kill Chewbacca. And the fans LOVED THEM FOR IT.

Will Marvel’s iteration of the Star Wars line be as good? Worse? A straight-ahead continuation of Dark Horse’s line? It’s too early to tell. Although chances are good it won’t be a continuation of Dark Horse’s saga, since doing so would entail a certain amount of coordination with Dark Horse, which at this point is a non-starter. Surely it will be different, as Marvel will probably bring its own house style to the books. It also bears mentioning that old-school fans looking to Marvel’s original run probably won’t find much guidance; Jim Shooter-Marvel was a vastly different beast than Joe Quesada-Marvel. Marvel will also very likely bring its own brand of top-flight talent to the book, so expect something written by Brian Michael Bendis and/or drawn by Steve McNiven (actually, the latter would be pretty cool). One positive about this is that it IS giving big-name creators a chance to write a Star Wars yarn without the constraints of 20+ years of continuity. The downside is the potential for a Bendis-penned Star Wars comic.****

The other looming question is what the loss of the Star Wars license will do to Dark Horse’s overall market share. Surely it will hurt; the question is how much. I don’t foresee it threatening Dark Horse’s overall existence, as they have too many other strong properties to fall back on, but the loss of the entire Star Wars line will hurt and hurt BAD.

Dark Horse says it has big plans for its final year as stewards of George Lucas’s legacy. I certainly hope so, because their fans deserve it. It may have been inevitable that the Star Wars license would go to Marvel… but that doesn’t mean Dark Horse doesn’t have to cast so large a shadow, Marvel doesn’t have a hope in a Sarlacc pit of succeeding.

Or that it hasn’t already.

 

Keep Readin’ Those Funnybooks,

~ILL DIABLO~

 

*Yes, I’m aware that Alex Ross made his official debut in a Terminator comic. Sue me.

**Check out Dark Horse’s opening salvo, Dark Empire, if you don’t believe me. Boba Fett, represent!!

***All except for YOU, Jar-Jar. May you burn in the fiery pit of abortive supporting character hell for all eternity, along with Orko, H.E.R.B.I.E., Dobby, and any other annoying-sidekick types that have been foisted upon us over the years for cheap and immature laughs.

****Hey, I love the guy, but NO. His style would definitely not mesh with the tone of Star Wars.

Daredevil Lost and Confused Amid Numerous Superfluous Relaunches Like Some Blind Dude Alone in a Secluded Forest

Aaaaaand here we go: the Marvel hype machine prevails again. First it was announced that Daredevil would be ending in February and replaced by some stupid fuckstick cybercomic. And of course, that got my–and many others’–blood boiling. But now today, it’s been announced that additionallyDaredevil will also be relaunched… as a comic!

Yup. As a very stupid man once said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well… heh, ain’t gonna fool me again.” Unfortunately, I and many others like me were the fools in this scenario, for believing Marvel would actually end its print edition of Matt Murdock’s misadventures. Yeah, we got fooled–but it was Marvel who’s guilty of jerking us around. Why bother announcing the end of the comic, its subsequent replacement by an interwebs version, watch everyone get all pissed off and reactionary, and then smooth things over by announcing a relaunch? Oh, wait. That was the point.

Marvel has become evil geniuses when it comes to self-promotion. Whipping up this frenzy over the DD cancellation and deliberately waiting to announce they were playing with our emotions (Smokey) the whole time is, while ultimately very shitty, pretty crafty marketing. Because it means they not only knew fandom would get pissed off, they were banking on it. The question now is: with the ruse exposed, is this going to have any impact on either the relaunched comic or the cyber version? Sadly, the answer is, probably not. Sure, it would be nothing short of astounding if fandom collectively reared up and boycotted Daredevil to teach Marvel an abject lesson for treating them so callously. But it won’t happen, because as I’ve stated before, most of us comic fans are creatures of habit. We might bitch and moan about this, that, or the other when it comes to our favorite characters, but at the end of the day that’s not going to stop us from buying their comical books so we can get a taste of their latest adventure.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but y’know what? I can’t say for sure I won’t be there lined up in March for the latest issue of Daredevil myself. It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. And Marvel knows this, and that’s why their callous marketing tactics work.

Playing the Numbers Game

A couple days ago, I took a look at the overall trend of constant renumbering within the realm of comics, and tried to explain why it’s a negative trend but that it’s clearly not going away anytime soon. Today, I decided, mostly just for shits and giggles, to break down twenty of the biggest offenders when it comes to the numbers game. I was also just genuinely curious what number some of these books should be on had they not been rebranded, relaunched, or renumbered. This took quite a bit of research (thanks, Wiki!) and time, but I had a fun time doing it. It’s really eye-opening to have the sheer wackiness of multiple volumes and new #1s broken down right there all together.

A basic rule, however: I was looking only at comics runs that were published sequentially and uninterrupted. Therefore, the Golden Age Green Lantern book was not tabulated in with the rest of my figures, just to use that book as an example. The one exception to this rule was the Punisher, due to the sheer number of volumes he’s had over the years. Second rule: this is about sequential cover numbering, not the actual number of issues published, so -1 issues, 0.1 issues, 0 issues, and 1,000,000 issues aren’t factored into the count. With that in mind, here we go!

1. UNCANNY X-MEN

Volume 1: 1-545

Volume 2 (Schism era): 20

Volume 3 (post-AvX era, current): 13

SHOULD BE AT: #578

2. INCREDIBLE HULK 

Volume 1 (previously Tales to Astonish until #102): 474

Volume 2 (simply entitled Hulk): 1-11

Volume 2 (retitled Incredible Hulk): 12-112

Volume 3 (again, Hulk, but the red one): 1-25

Volume 1 continued (a.k.a. Incredible Hulks): 600-635

Volume 4 (by Jason Aaron): 1-15

Volume 5 (Indestructible Hulk, current): 1-13

SHOULD BE AT: #663

3. THOR

Volume 1 (as Journey Into Mystery): 1-125

Volume 1 (as Thor): 126-504

Volume 2 (Heroes Return): 1-85

Volume 3 (post-Civil War Straczynski era): 1-12

Volume 1 continued: 600-623

Volume 4 (as The Mighty Thor): 1-22

Volume 5 (current, as Thor: God of Thunder): 14

SHOULD BE AT: #659

4. CAPTAIN AMERICA

Volume 1 (as Tales of Suspense): 1-99

Volume 1 (as Captain America): 100-454

Volume 2 (Heroes Reborn): 1-13

Volume 3 (Heroes Return): 1-50

Volume 4 (jingoistic post-9/11 Marvel Knights edition): 1-32

Volume 5 (Brubaker era) 1-50

Volume 1 continued: 600-619

Volume 6 (second Brubaker volume): 1-19

Volume 7 (Marvel NOW era, current): 1-13

SHOULD BE AT: #651

5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Volume 1: 1-441

Volume 2 (Byrne, then Straczynski era): 1-58

Volume 1 continued: 500-700

Superior Spider-Man: 1-19

SHOULD BE AT: #719

6. IRON MAN

Tales of Suspense: 39-99

Volume 1: 1-332

Volume 2 (Heroes Reborn): 1-13

Volume 3 (Heroes Return): 1-89

Volume 4 (“Extremis”/Director of SHIELD): 1-35

Volume 5 (Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man): 1-33

Volume 1 continued: 500-527

Volume 6 (current): 1-17

SHOULD BE AT: #544

7. FANTASTIC FOUR 

Volume 1: 1-416

Volume 2 (Heroes Reborn): 1-13

Volume 3: (Heroes Return): 1-70

Volume 1 continued: 500-589

FF: 1-11

Volume 1 continued again: 600-611

Volume 4 (current): 14

SHOULD BE AT: #625

8. WOLVERINE (note: volume 1 was the non-sequentially published four-issue miniseries)

Volume 2: 1-189

Volume 3 (Marvel Knights): 1-74

Volume 4 (Weapon X): 1-15

Volume 5: 1-20

Volume 2 continued: 300-317

Volume 5 (current): 12

SHOULD BE AT: #329

9. AVENGERS

Volume 1: 1-402

Volume 2 (Heroes Reborn): 1-13

Volume 3 (Heroes Return): 1-88

Volume 1 continued: 500-503

New Avengers: 1-64

Volume 4 (Heroic Age): 1-36

Volume 5 (current): 1-21

SHOULD BE AT: #624

10. PUNISHER

Volume 1 (miniseries): 1-5

Volume 2: 1-104

Volume 3: 1-18

Volume 4 (1st Marvel Knights mini): 1-4

Volume 5 (1st Ennis mini): 1-12

Volume 6 (1st Ennis ongoing): 1-37

Volume 7 (1st MAX series): 1-75

Volume 8 (2nd MAX series): 1-22

Volume 9 (the Rucka series): 1-16

SHOULD BE AT: #293 (And that’s not counting Punisher War Zone, Punisher War Journal, or Punisher Armory… and there’s a new volume starting in February!)

11. Adjectiveless X-MEN

Volume 1: 1-113

New X-Men: 114-156

Volume 1 continued: 157-207

X-Men Legacy: 208-275

Volume 2: 1-41

Volume 3 (current): 1-6

SHOULD BE AT: #322

12. DAREDEVIL

Volume 1: 1-380

Volume 2 (Marvel Knights): 1-119

Volume 1 continued: 500-512

Volume 3 (current): 1-34

SHOULD BE AT: #546

13. ACTION COMICS

Volume 1: 1-904 (!)

Volume 2 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #929

14. DETECTIVE COMICS

Volume 1: 1-881

Volume 2 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #906

15. WONDER WOMAN

Volume 1: 1-329

Volume 2 (post-Crisis): 1-237

Volume 3: 1-44

Volume 1 continued: 600-615

Volume 4 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #640

16. GREEN LANTERN

Volume 1: 1-199

Volume 1 (as Green Lantern Corps): 200-224

Volume 2 (post-Crisis): 1-181

Volume 3: 1-67

Volume 4 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #597

17. BATMAN

Volume 1: 1-713

Volume 2 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #738

18. THE FLASH

Volume 1: 1-350

Volume 2 (post-CrisisWally West as Flash): 1-247

Volume 3 (Bart Allen as Flash): 1-13

Volume 4 (Barry Allen returns): 1-13

Volume 5 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #647

19. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

Volume 1: 1-261

Volume 2 (Justice League/JLI): 1-94

Volume 3 (JLA): 1-125

Volume 4: 1-60

Volume 5: (New 52, Justice League): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #565

20. GREEN ARROW

Volume 1: 1-137

Volume 2: 1-75

Volume 3: 1-15

Volume 4 (New 52, current): 1-25

SHOULD BE AT: #252

 

And that’s that. There are numerous other offenders which are offered new leases on life via new volumes and new #1s, but that’s because their old series was cancelled due to poor sales, rather than a decision to reboot spurred on by beancounters. (Hello, Ghost Rider!) It’s actually quite nauseating when you look at it. You’d think something like this would lead to publishers saying, “Wow, we’re really pissing off our fan base,” but of course it isn’t. This stupid trend isn’t going away anytime soon, unfortunately, and we’re all stuck suffering for it.

 

Hey, Why Don’t We Just Make EVERY Issue #1?

Like most people, I was floored when I learned yesterday that Marvel is starting Wolverine over with another new volume in February and with a big ol’ guady “#1” slapped on the cover for good measure. Not that this shock tactic is particularly surprising these days coming from the Former House of Ideas. Indeed, it comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Fantastic Four is starting over with yet another new volume/#1 early next year, too. But there’s a key difference.

Some preface first, however. Marvel has, of course, near-perpetually relaunched most if not all of their properties in the last few years with new volumes and first issues: Uncanny X-Men and Captain America twice in less than two years; Thor and the Hulk were lavished with the same treatment but the effect was “hidden” by renaming the new volume in a vain attempt to stave off criticism*, Wolverine has had more volumes and first issues than can be counted; Punisher’s even worse; Fantastic Four was abruptly changed to FF to mark a shift in the then-current storyline’s direction. That lasted twelve issues, just in time for the #600 anniversary issue event to revert to old-school numbering, only to be relaunched last year when writer Matt Fraction took the reigns for the Marvel NOW initiative. Hell, even Daredevil’s on his third volume, which is actually a pretty low number compared to some of Marvel’s other characters. Although he’ll soon be on his fourth if you want to count his upcoming digital-only adventures as a volume (and you might as well since it’s the only way Marvel will be offering new Daredevil comics for the foreseeable future).

Seeing a trend yet?

Sure, it’s callous, and it’s an obvious money- and attention-grab. But up ’til this point, the game, though rigged, was at least predictable: anytime a new writer or writer/artist team comes on board, slap a new #1 on it and hype the hell out of it. Stupid? You bet. Transparent? Hell, yes. But at the end of the day, predictable.

But now we come to the new-new volume of Wolverine. It’s only been a year since the ol’ Canucklehead was relaunched yet again as part of the first wave of Marvel NOW. Writer Paul Cornell took the reigns, and Marvel had a publishing initiative to hype, and who doesn’t like Wolverine, so why the hell not? But now, a year later, they’re doing it again…. and guess what? Paul Cornell’s still writing it. Sure, there’s a new artist, but the man is merely writing the next arc in his ongoing story and they decided to push a new volume for it. This is a shocking new low in the comics numbers game, and it’s unfortunately a sign of things to come.

A year or two ago, I read an article–I forget where–about the then-current state of affairs with comics renumbering. The gist of the article was: do numbers even matter anymore? (No. They do not. Not to the publishers, at least.) The article went on to hypothesize that comics were actually going to shift into a more “season-based” numbering system, with each arc representing a season on a TV show in order to more effectively lure new readers in. I initially scoffed at this idea, but then, as evidence continued to mount in this trend, the smoking gun was finally found: in an article published today regarding the new volume of Wolverine, Paul Cornell actually uses the term “season” when referring to the new volume. So it would seem we traditionalists, who are steeped in decades of comics lore and love and who understand that the large number on the cover is in fact significant**–are being ignored and hung out to dry. All hail the shortening of attention spans, even among comic readers.

Marvel isn’t alone in being guilty of the numbers game. DC, of course, relaunched their entire damn line in 2011 as the New 52 when they “soft-rebooted” their continuity, with new #1s across the board–even on sacrosanct books like Action and Detective Comics. Action Comics was the big daddy of them all amongst American comics and had just crossed the #900 mark; Detective was just shy of the same number; and their third-oldest book, plain ol’ Batman, had recently crossed the #700 line. And yet DC had the balls to go against all conventional wisdom and reboot these books with new #1s, justifiably raising the hackles of fans everywhere. They’ve since gone on to “celebrate” what would have been the next big anniversary issue in the series (Detective #900 was marked in volume two’s super-size #19), but anybody who thinks that’s the same thing is absolutely either fooling themselves or just doesn’t understand the argument. But to DC’s credit, they didn’t use the anniversary as a callous means of reverting to the old numbering just to goose sales as Marvel would have. Also to their credit: they’ve stuck to their guns with their renumbering across the board, despite near-constant online pressure and harping and among numerous creative team changes. Marvel would have certainly used the opportunity of a new writer coming onboard to relaunch with a sexy new #1. (Although, given the number of creative changes some DC books have undergone in the last two years, some comics would be on their fourth or fifth volume already.) So DC isn’t afraid to play the game but at least in their case they only played it once, had the gonads to apply the new rules of engagement line-wide, and have stood buy their decision since, without jumping on the delirious and sickening merry-go-round of relaunched #1s.

The writing’s on the wall: this trend isn’t going away or even lessening anytime soon. If anything, it’s only getting worse. If we numerical traditionalists want our voices to be heard, the only way to do it is to hit Marvel where it hurts most: the wallet. From here on, you can count me out of any new relaunches, no matter how beloved the character, no matter how intriguing the new direction, no matter how great the writer. If there’s a #1 on the cover of a character that’s been around longer than my dad has, my money’s going nowhere near it.

I suspect this means there will be quite a few less Marvel titles in my future, which makes me sad. But at a certain point, we fans have to be willing to send the company a message and say: “Enough. I see what you’re doing, it’s shallow, it’s callous, I’m no starry-eyed mark hypnotized by your meaningless first issue, and I’ll have no part of it.”

~ILL DIABLO~

*Thor has actually had several changes in the last seven years: in 2006 he was relaunched with his own adjectiveless, eponymous title; that book’s numbering changed once it reached the #600 mark under the old, first volume’s numbering (this was the third volume by this point). Fifteen issues into that, and Thor was rebranded (or is it retrograded?) back to its original Journey Into Mystery and continued under the classic numbering while the former title character received a new #1 under the guise of The Mighty Thor. Twenty-odd issues later, that book was changed to Thor: God of Thunder to coincide with the arrival of new writer Jason Aaron, and, of course, to hype the book as a first issue. Poor Hulk has had just about as many volumes in just as short an amount of time. He’s currently running amok under the banner (no pun intended) of Indestrucible Hulk, a book which was preceded by Hulk, which ran a paltry fifteen issues before moving on to the next iteration.

**Why is a large issue number significant? Everyone has their own opinion, but for me, it’s a badge of honor for the particular comic. Having a #600 or #700 on the cover says: “This book has withstood the test of time. It is important, and it matters.” Revisionists like Joe Quesada try to defend the opposite stance by stating that the high number on the cover actually scares away potential new readers, who would fear they needed to buy every single prior issue in order to understand the story. However, I’ve never met anyone stupid enough to believe this. So you can slap as many #1s on your comic as you want, but that in no way makes it special or even mean anything. It’s just a throwback to ’90s collector bubble mentality, which is a dangerous place to go.

New Lows in Character Crossovers

I’m a little late for dinner with this one, as the comic in question started in August and I’m just now discovering its existence. So first of all: thanks to Wes over at Riffing Religion for throwing me a bone on THIS monstrosity:

dcuvsmastersoftheuniverse

…And thus does DC take a giant, steaming dump on my childhood. What. The hell. IS that?! (Besides comics’ most-unwieldy title ever, I mean.) Is that supposed to be Skeletor?!It looks like some unholy cross between Skeletor and Onslaught. With tusks. And some sort of smokey-white-energy stuff wafting off his head and shoulders.* And apparently, he has the power (not of Greyskull, mind you!) to defeat the collective power of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and whole bunch of other folks to would be able to demolish this skull-faced fuck in about three panels flat. The sort of fight that would be equivalent to Ka-Zar taking on Thanos.**

Okay, so inter-property crossovers happen all the time, and have since Superman vs. Spider-Man back in the ’70s. (Although how anybody could have bought into that title at all… Superman vs. Spider-Man? Another example of a fight that would last all of three seconds. “Spider-sense… ting–” *SPLAT*) They generally suck, and they generally involve gratuitous misunderstanding fights between the principle characters, and they also generally involve the principle villains from each respective universe teaming up, which generally results in the heroes teaming up themselves to stop evil.

But for whatever reason, these damn things continue to sell. Which feeds the machine that keeps pumping them out. This latest assembly-line product is written by DC minions Keith Giffen and Tony Bedard, the former of whom at least used to be talented when either writing Lobo or writing in collusion with J.M. DeMatteis. Bedard’s always just been the type of inoffensive slack writer that DC can count on for rendering anything that’s as daring as warm milk. He’s actually the perfect latter-day DC writer: he’s decent enough that he doesn’t outright suck (which means his books sell), and always, always, always steps to the company line like a good little typewriter-monkey (which ensures his continued output of mediocre, decently-selling books). 

But let’s get back to this comic. What’s it about, other than to create a profit? Not much, as it turns out. Here’s Newsarama on the subject, making a typical big deal out of a bullshit comic:

The comic will show what happens when He-Man, Skeletor and other characters from Eternia encounter DC superheroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Wow, don’t put TOO much thought into that, okay? And, ah, not to put too fine a point on it, but isn’t that the premise of EVERY inter-property crossover comic?

It’s actually an outgrowth of a MotU comic Giffen wrote earlier this year, which, of course, redefined and reworked the classic characters for a modern-day audience. What exactly was wrong with the classic renditions? Sure, the men-in-loincloths look is pretty damn dated, but y’know what? Write the comic well, with respect for the source material and the fans, and NO ONE WILL CARE ABOUT ANY DATED ASPECTS. In fact, they’ll revel in the nostalgic aspects of it all! The people who grew up with He-Man, Skeletor, Teela, Battle Cat, etc. don’t want this bullshit. We just want the things we cared about as kids treated with dignity. Trying to rebrand the Masters of the Universe franchise for a modern-day audience is a fool’s errand, because THAT AUDIENCE DOESN’T EXIST. Modern readers have no connection to these characters, and thus could give two shits about them, modern interpretation or no. And trying to promote the reboot by shoehorning them into a crossover with the DCU? Nothing more than a pathetic, transparent attempt on DC’s part to boost interest in a property they shelled out good money for but aren’t getting a return on investment.

Like I said, pathetic. Pretty much a microcosm of DC in general right now. AND THAT’S NOT SKELETOR DAMN IT!!!!!!!

Keep readin’ those funnybooks (but not this one),

~ILL DIABLO~

*Rob Liefeld would be proud.

**This really happened once.

Marvel: “You Want ‘Daredevil’ the Old-Fashioned Way? Screw You.”

Comicdom near and far had a collective heart attack when it was revealed last week that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s highly acclaimed, winner-of-every-industry-award-imaginable Daredevil run was coming to a close as of February, with issue thirty-six. However, this was the only thing the company made clear at the time. There was no mention of a new creative team but, with wave two of Marvel NOW! rolling out soon, it was a fair assumption (especially given Marvel’s track record in recent years with needless renumberings and reboots) that the book was simply being rebooted with a new number one.

Turns out, that assumption was only partially wrong. Yes, Marvel is rebooting Daredevil starting in February, right after the current volume concludes. But the catch is this: it’s not being rebooted as a paper comic. Instead, Marvel’s rolling it out as a weekly feature as part of their Marvel Infinite digital-only initiative. Waid’s still onboard as writer (no surprise given that he’s been a major proponent of digital comics in recent years), and he’s bringing artist Peter Krouse with him to replace Samnee. So, for the first time in the character’s fifty-year history, there will be NO Daredevil comic in print. If you want to stay abreast on the most-current adventures of The Man Without Fear, you’ll have to journey online rather than to your local comic store.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of comics is here. And it’s making me angrier than the Hulk trying to watch Ang Lee’s Hulk.

There is no inherent logic to this move. Daredevil‘s sales have been steady, and the industry awards show no sign of slowing anytime soon. Waid’s work in and of itself is still at a high caliber, despite a couple of too-far-from-left-field recent issues that have gummed the works just a bit. Nor is the move to digital-only a sign of the times: when DC debuted same-day release digital comics back in 2011, many predicted it would be the death blow to the print comic, but in actuality it had little impact on paper comic sales. If anything, it bolstered the industry as a whole by expanding comics to a market less likely to walk into a comic shop every week. 

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is this: like it or not in this age where the business is more and more driven by the film side, the comic industry is still populated with millions of loyal readers such as myself who enjoy going into the comic shop each week to not only purchase our wares, but to interact with the clerks and the other patrons. It builds a sense of community. It forges friendships, and even romantic relationships. And it builds loyalty to a particular shop, building the type of repeat customer base these small businessmen depend and thrive on. Saying that all of this is now at stake by taking Daredevil out of printed circulation may sound a bit like making a mountain out of a molehill, but if it works, there’s no reason to believe more titles won’t follow suit in the future. Again, yes, that’s a slippery slope argument, but there’s some merit to it, too. (Obviously, it’s considerably cheaper to go online, which allows for the digital version of the comic to sell for less than the print edition.)

The other factor in this: dammit, some of us JUST LIKE TO BUY PAPER COMICS THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY!! Not giving fans who DO prefer to walk into a comic store, interact with another human being, talk shop, and hold an actual, PHYSICAL COPY of a comic in their hands the OPTION to continue buying Daredevil is a considerable slap in the face. Marvel is essentially telling these loyal patrons, “Drop dead and screw you. We only care about giving the online crowd new Daredevil goodness.” It’s a cynical play on their part, one that can very realistically be seen as them testing the waters for future rollouts with their other venerable characters. This ain’t Nova we’re talking about, folks. It’s DAREDEVIL. If they’re willing to take one of their biggest-name properties and yank the carpet out from underneath his fans’ collective feet by going digital-only, what’s to stop them from pulling the same trick with the X-Men? Spidey? The Avengers? Dazzler? (Okay, that last one’s a stretch.) Again, this is only speculative, but at this point it seems to be a very legitimate concern.

Now, I don’t see Marvel taking that scenario to its most-extreme endgame and shift their entire line to digital-only anytime soon. As I stated, digital sales never cannibalized print sales as was feared would happen in those bygone days of 2011. Regardless, with this Daredevil move, the writing is clearly on the wall: print’s days are numbered, assuming digital is a success. And if that’s the case, t’s not a question of “if.” It’s a matter of “when.”