Posted by Don MacPherson on June 26th, 2011
I’ve written before about the smart public-relations campaign that DC Comics has run and continues to run so as to promote its fall relaunch of its entire super-hero line (save for a couple of younger-readers’ titles). DC has dominated the niche world of North American comic-book news since its initial announcement at the end of May, and all signs are that it’ll continue to do so for the rest of the summer. With 52 new titles, most of which boast new creative teams, the publisher can keep providing teases to its readership, ramping up anticipation. And honestly, I think it’s working. I wasn’t all that interested in the new O.M.A.C. book by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen, for example, until I saw some interior art previews in recent days.
The only real complaint I had about the initiative, and more specifically, with the PR campaign, but the lack of a slogan or brand name for such a bold publishing plan. Well, it was my only main complaint until now, as I’ve recently made my way through DC’s website listings and solicitation information for the new 52 first issues. Some instances of sloppy promotional writing might point to just how rushed and chaotic things have been at DC since it first began to gear up for a summer of sensationalism.
The first gaffe comes with the solicitation copy for the first title in the relaunch, Justice League #1. The promotional text for the team book, to debut Aug. 31, promises the following story: “In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!” Apparently, it’s a universe in which apostrophes are strange and new as well. Otherwise, Batman would be uniting the World’s Greatest Heroes.
Speaking of the afore-mentioned O.M.A.C., it would seem that either DiDio and Giffen plan to really tinker with the concept or that the person writing the solicitation copy needs to bone up on spelling. It reads: “The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!”
Are we meant to believe that Kevin Kho is transformed into a One Man Army Corporation? A One Man Army Corporal? Isn’t every army corporal one man (or woman)? I’m guessing this is a spelling gaffe and that the writer(s) and editor(s) responsible for this paragraph of text missed the fact that the singular and plural of “corps” is “corps.” Oops.
Meanwhile, the copy for Stormwatch #1 reads as follows: “They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Directly following the ominous events of Superman #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…”
Stormwatch #1 is slated for release Sept. 7. Superman #1… Sept. 28. Spoilers, ahoy – unless the editors of Stormwatch plan to redact information from the comic book as well. Maybe these two titles ought to switch places in the release schedule. Of course, that would mean Superman #1 and Action Comics #1 would hit the stands the same week, and DC probably should avoid playing both of its Kryptonian cards at once.
Among the new titles being released Sept. 14 is Green Lantern, though this new incarnation of the comic is still being handled by the same creative team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke. The cover image for this first issue is a striking one. Artist Dave Johnson (his signature is visible in the image) illustrates the title hero’s gloved and ring-adorned hand rising up, shining a light to fight against evil. The problem is that the solicitation copy lists the artists for the regular-edition cover as Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, while Greg Capullo is credited with the art for the variant-cover edition. Someone’s going to have to revise his curriculum vitae.
All-Star Western is one of the few titles in the new line that will cost $3.99 US (48 of the 52 titles will cost $2.99). The reason for the higher price in the case of the Jonah Hex-starring western series is that the title will also feature backup stories depicting the adventures of other western-genre characters. Unfortunately, the promotional copy for the first issue fails to inform the reader which character will be featured in the first backup segment and which creators will craft the short story.
To be fair to the folks at DC, I cite only five gaffes here. A couple are obviously the result of typos, one is a sin of omission, another is a misstep in scheduling and another is a case of misidentification or miscommunication. Most of these aren’t major mistakes, but they do show a lack of an eye for detail on the part of some of those involved (at least in a small part) in DC’s big push to get new and existing comics readers to buy into its relaunched line. The publisher is trying to convince buyers in the marketplace that it’s a whole new ballgame in the DC Universe, that there’s a new energy and dedication to be found in its offerings. To a certain extent, it’s been successful in that campaign, but these types of mistakes in its solicitations and publishing schedule run contrary to that effort.
Now, before I post this commentary, I have to proofread the living shit out of it. Irony allergy, dontcha know.
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