Funnybook Babylon

August 3, 2010

Number Crunching: Why Spider-Man Needed a Brand New Day

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:08 am

By now I assume most of our readers have heard about the upcoming changes on Amazing Spider-Man: “Brand New Day” will be replaced with “Big Time“, in a clear power-shift from Sting to Peter Gabriel on Steve Wacker’s iPod.

“Big Time” sees Dan Slott take over as sole Amazing writer, and the book’s frequency will drop from thrice-monthly to twice-monthly. Some have seen this as a repudiation of the whole “Brand New Day” paradigm, whether that means “a thrice monthly book doesn’t work” or “the creative teams have disappointed” or, most colorfully, “JOE QUESADA IS A BIG DUMMY AND PETER WOULD NEVER MAKE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL AND I AM VERY ANGRY ABOUT EITHER THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE OR POSSIBLY ALSO SPIDER-GIRL BUT MAINLY I JUST HATE MARVEL”.

I can’t speak to the last group, but personally I think BND has resulted in some very enjoyable characters, and several of the main BND players (Slott, Marcos Martin, Zeb Wells) are sticking around, so I can’t imagine this change was spurred by a perceived failure of the creative teams. Many people have pointed to the sales numbers on Amazing this year as proof of that, as sales are down considerably from the lofty heights of a few years ago. Brand New Day, they have argued, has seen Amazing drop from selling over 100,000 copies a month to under 60,000.

While that isolated data point is true, it doesn’t give you the whole picture. Sales have dropped considerably from the point they were at immediately before BND, but there are many factors:
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September 18, 2009

Jamaal Reviews Amazing Spider-Man #604

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 7:00 pm

Amazing Spider-Man #604Amazing Spider-Man #604
“Red-Headed Stranger pt. 3: The Ancient Gallery”
by Fred Van Lente & Barry Kitson

I’m one of those fans who opposed the One More Day storyline because I think that characters should always be allowed to develop and grow. In the great conflict between those who view mainstream superhero comics as a continuing narrative and those who view them primarily as part of a broader strategy to manage valuable intellectual property, I thought OMD was a victory for the latter camp: a victory of commerce over art. Why? It’s not the decision to end the marriage between the characters of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, but the rationales offered, many of which were based on returning to a more ‘classic’ portrayal of the character (that would also make him easier to market and package on different platforms). Although there have been a handful of strong arcs in the months following the “Brand New Day” soft reboot of the Spider-Man family of titles, they only reinforced my ambivalence about the new direction. Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Mark Waid, and Joe Kelly’s fun take on the book would have been equally effective before the reboot. However, with the three-part “Red-Headed Stranger” arc, I think that Fred Van Lente has written a fun, light, compelling story that actually benefits from the new status quo.
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January 23, 2009

Waited for the Trade: Spider-Man – New Ways to Die

New Ways to Die Cover
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die
collects Amazing Spider-Man #568-573
written by Dan Slott & Mark Waid
art by John Romita Jr. & Adi Granov
Marvel Comics

Fair warning: This review contains some spoilers, but nothing that will really ruin your enjoyment of the story. Be forewarned.

I’m in love with Harry Osborn. Not the Harry Osborn of the movies, although James Franco is a pretty funny guy. Not even the old Harry Osborn, the one who died back in 1993. I was seven when that story happened; I bought the comic because it had a shiny cover but the greater significance of it was totally lost on me. Catching up on Spider-Man through Essential volumes has given me a greater grasp on the character, but to be perfectly frank, old Harry pales in comparison to the current Harry written by Dan Slott.

He’s a nuanced character now, with fully realized relationships with Norman Osborn (another resurrected villain), Peter Parker, Spider-Man (in a completely different sense than his relationship with Peter) and the rest of the supporting cast. If you haven’t been following Amazing Spider-Man for the past few years this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but stay with me.

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January 11, 2008

Rambling and Linkblogging

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 4:24 pm

Here at Funnybook Babylon, we try to avoid linkblogging in favor of middlebrow thinkpieces about the comics industry (or if we’re being honest with ourselves, the superhero genre). We try to educate as well as entertain. But sometimes we break our own rules. Plus, I’m distracted by the presidential campaign and new gadgets, so I haven’t had the chance to finish Countdown…pt. 2 (which is eagerly awaited by the two three people who read the first one!)
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