Jul
16

Doubleshipping Gone Good: Jeff Parker on Hulk

Posted by Chris Eckert on Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 07:39:21 PM

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As I mentioned <a href=last week, I’ve been doing some research about Marvel’s recent headlong dive into doubleshipping many of their titles. As has been discussed elsewhere, the accelerated scheduling is most often noticed when it derails a book someone is enjoying with an inconsistent revolving door of creators. But if you’re not a regular Weekly Wednesday Shopper, it’s easy to overlook situations where everything falls into place.

Assuming no last minute derails in the production of the final two issues, Jeff Parker will have written thirty-four issues of Hulk before the title switches over to She-Hulk in October. By the time the final issues ships (scheduled for August 29) there will have been twenty-three months between the first and last issues of the run. That’s eleven extra issues above and beyond the standard monthly output.

This sort of frequency is increasingly less unusual at Marvel, but what does seem unusual is the consistency at work: every single issue has shipped with the solicited artist on board, and the changeovers between artists has occured at logical storyline endpoints. With only a few exceptions, even the inkers, colorists, and letterers have remained consistent and worked on all the same issues as their associated pencillers. And to top it off, there have only been six pencillers — Elena Casagrande, Dale Eaglesham, Gabriel Hardman, Ed McGuinness, Carlo Pagulayan, and Patrick Zircher — across nearly three dozen issues. The recently relaunched Daredevil hit that number within twelve issues, Ultimates had EIGHT artists on itsfirst dozen issues.

All of the creators and editors involved deserve kudos, and beyond simple logistics and work ethic, Hulk has continued to be an entertaining read, performing the seemingly impossible trick of taking an incredibly goofy and gimmicky Jeph Loeb “creation“/murder mystery and turning it into a compelling story I look forward to reading.

All joking aside, I am still pulling together information on the doubleshipping, and I wanted to work on my chart making. More to come!

Posted in Blurbs · Read more by Chris Eckert

5 Responses

  1. Yeah, sometimes doubleshipping does go good. The series has been a bit uneven in 2012, but in 2011 I was extremely happy to get 20 issues of Uncanny X-Force. Even at $3.99. I liked the artists they had, and aside from one or two issues that seemed rushed/extraneous, I’d give every one about four stars. Given all that the series was working with and doing, it stayed remarkably consistent.

    And, so far at least, the same goes for Wolverine & The X-Men. I’m happy to pay $3.99 every other week for Chris Bachalo or Nick Bradshaw doing neat artwork and following a Jason Aaron script that builds off of the aesthetics that Morrison developed on New X-Men. And even though the last five issues have been AvX tie-ins, it hasn’t bothered me.

    When a series is good and when the rotating artists are utilized well, I’m glad to get it more frequently.

  2. Does double-shipped mean that they sold and/or shipped twice what was ordered? I know that this site has info on comic sales: http://www.comichron.com/

    I love Red Hulk and am on the fence with the changes. I never bought the comic but I have every Graphic Novel. I love what Jeff Parker has done to Rulk. I look forward to seeing where he lands next.

  3. I have to disagree on Uncanny X-Force.

    While Opena and Ribic’s artwork brought me to the book, it was the shoehorning Mark Brooks’ wildly incongruous and slapdash looking art that made me leave it. It could have been handled better much like Parker’s Hulk artist change-over. Brooks was brought into the middle of the nine part Dark Angel Saga to pinch hit for Opena with no discernable reasoning for his placement on certain issues other than he could meet the deadline.

    It would have been smoother if Brooks illustrated only the portions of the story where the characters went to the Age of Apocalypse world with Opena doing a page or two as transitional bookends. It would have given a greater appearance of the AoA world being a different reality than the one that the team had entered from, which would have been consistently depicted by Opena during the story.

    Parker and his team have the right idea to combat double shipping by having shorter arcs per artist while working far enough ahead to supply everyone with scripts. He has done the same on Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers by alternating Kev Walker and Declan Shavley on arcs or to depict different members of the teams separated in time within the same issue.

  4. This is really interesting Chris. The chart looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them. As you post more, I hope you’ll name the editors for each book. I am interested to see if there are certain editors who are able to keep the consistent creative teams for arcs. The key responsibility of the editor is to get the books produced and keep the trains running on time, so which editors are handling the pressure of doubleshipping better than others?

    It might be worth comparing the rotating artists of 52. Granted it’s not a direct correlation (weekly, a single artist doing the breakdowns and a team of rotating finishers) but it could be illuminating considering the common personalities.

    @Craig, “doubleshipping” means two issues in a month instead of a single one. In the comments of the second link in Chris’ article, the editor of Daredevil said, “I promised Marvel 14-15 issues a year.”

  5. Indeed, I think there was a month with 3 new issues of Daredevil, even, thanks to a .1. I’ve ranted a bit about Daredevil’s rotating artists (Add Mike Allred to the list in August!), but the story has been consistently good, so it’s still on my pull list.

    FF shipped twice a month multiple times, until they settled into two separate titles (which means we still ship twice a month, but it at least feels different…)

    I know that changes in art quality and a general listlessness caused me to drop UXF and Wolverine and the X-men. It’s not that they were bad, but the art got disappointing. They pulled me in with artists I liked and then switched them out for ones that couldn’t really compare.

    Having the Dark Angel Saga span ~8 issues was just unnecessary, too.

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