DC Comics announced officially this week in its Direct Channel newsletter to retailers that it’s revising the contents of its Final Crisis hardcover collected edition, due out in June. Originally, the publisher planned to include only the seven issues of the core event series, which gave way to reader and retailer complaints that the book will be confusing for readers. The reason: critical chapters of Grant Morrison’s story were published in comics other than Final Crisis — namely in the pages of Final Crisis: Submit and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond. In an e-mail sent out Tuesday, DC announced that the book will now include the Submit one-shot and the two Superman Beyond issues as well, raising the price of the hardcover from $24.99 US to a reasonable $29.99 US.
It’s encouraging to see the publisher taking steps to correct such a clear problem. It’s possible that original solicitation for the book was done in error, that this was the plan all along. It’s also possible that Morrison himself stepped up and pointed out the problems that the omissions would create for the reader. Personally, I’d like to think DC listened to its customers — both at the retailer and reader levels — and took the appropriate steps.
It’s a shame, though, that they didn’t take a couple more steps up that flight of stairs to the Apology Floor.
Here’s the text of the relevant item from newsletter:
“DC COMICS UPDATES CONTENTS OF FINAL CRISIS HC
DC Comics has expanded the contents of the FINAL CRISIS HC, collecting the explosive event written by Grant Morrison.
Now running 352 pages, this title will include FINAL CRISIS #1-7, FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT #1 and FINAL CRISIS: SUPERMAN BEYOND #1-2, all written by Morrison, along with a new cover by J.G. Jones depicting the penultimate scene of the series.
The FINAL CRISIS HC (FEB090203) is advance-solicited in the February Previews and is scheduled to arrive in stores on June 10 with a price of $29.99 U.S. Because of these changes, this title will be made returnable at a later date.”
As I write this, the solicitation copy on DC’s website hasn’t been updated to reflect the change, but it’s safe to assume the revision is coming. As I noted, DC is to be applauded for making these changes, but I’m perplexed by it offered such a brief comment on these necessary additions to the product. The revisions serve as an implied acknowledgement of the concerns and criticisms, so certainly an explicit acknowledgement — even an apology for the error — couldn’t have hurt. I’m not aware of one, anyway; someone please correct me if I’m wrong and point me to where I’d find such a statement, if one exists.
Let’s face it: DC hasn’t fostered much in the way of good will when it comes to its handling of the marketing and production of Final Crisis. First, there was the absolute mess that was Countdown to Final Crisis. DC lured in readers with the promise of a big build-up to Morrison’s super-hero epic, and in the end, the events of Countdown, while thematically similar to Final Crisis, really had nothing to do with the story Morrison had to tell.
Then there was Final Crisis‘s erratic publishing schedule. And then poor marketing, as it wasn’t made completely clear how vital certain spin-off comics were to the flow and understanding of the surreal, disjointed narrative of the main event title. If that weren’t enough, DC sneaked the ending of a seemingly unconnected story — “Batman R.I.P.” — into the pages of Final Crisis #6, much to the annoyance of readers of both storylines.
DC needs to rebuild some bridges with its customers, and one could argue that construction got underway with the announcement of changes to the Final Crisis hardcover. But that alone isn’t going to get the publisher to the other side of the ravine it’s dug for itself.