Batman #50

Well Batman #50 is here and it’s no surprise people are not happy with how this has all played out. Rightfully so, let’s face it, for the last year this has been building up in the pages of the regular Batman series. Billed as the wedding you never thought you’d see. Which, spoiler alert, you don't actually get to see it.

How did this go so wrong?

DC comics, like most comic publishers are in the business to make money. Large comic publishers make money by moving units. A good rule of thumb, any time DC Comics allows stores to do an exclusive variant cover, that means the print run on the book is going to be huge. If you’re not convinced, feel free to look on Comichron and see for yourself. DK3, Metal, literally any issue #1 of a popular  character. There’s more than enough examples to support this statement.

So, we know that DC wanted to sell as many copies of Batman #50 as possible. DC’s senior vice president of sales, John Cunningham released a statement on Monday. However the statement is just as tone deaf as any other fiasco to hit the 24 hour news cycle. Cunningham lacks an understand of the fundamental problem. While he talks about getting the news out before the On Sale Date what actually would have been helpful was getting the news out before LCS's submitted orders. Cunningham also fails to understand that the ending of the issue is not really the problem… while admittedly after reading it, I just kinda rolled my eyes. I'm not really a fan of Tom King's work, but I know many people are. It's hard to tell if Cunningham is just being obtuse or is a genuine imbecile. So I'll spell it out in bold. It's the fact that Batman and Catwoman do not get married in Batman #50 and that's how DC marketed it! Cunningham's statement does nothing to address the fact that the marketing was intentionally deceptive. Clearly Cunningham needs a reminder of the words strung together that DC used to sell the book, so here they are:

It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City.”

 

Since Cunningham and DC Comics sales department clearly do not understand the meaning of the very words they have used, here's some definitions from www.merriam-webster.com.

Definition of deception

Clearly the “Batrimony” is in fact not real, because they do not get married, which is the very definition of that word!

Definition of matrimony

Matrimony doesn't mean preparing, it means married. So nothing in that solicitation is true… well except that bit about it being a double sized issue. Nobody likes being lied to… There's an old saying, don't piss on my hand and tell me it's rain! This was always going to meet with backlash and rightfully so.

Definition of honestly

The cover A for Batman #50 is also intentionally misleading… while amazingly enough many of the Store Exclusive Variant covers are not. In fact, there was criticism about some of the covers because they did not have the wedding theme. Sure many of them have Selina in the exact same Wedding gown. One that was specifically designed, which in itself could be viewed as misleading. Since, why go to that trouble for something that's not happening? Which also begs the question, did some retailers who ordered store exclusive variants know before hand the wedding wasn't actually going to happen?  In hindsight, it was a smart play for some of these covers not to include anything that pointed directly to a wedding. I’d even go so far to say that might have been a tip off that the wedding might not happen.

There's another possible tip off that Batman #50 wasn't going to play out as expected. Can someone remind me why Selina is getting her own book again? I mean, if they were in fact getting married, why would she need her own book? I could see a Batman and Catwoman title getting launched if they were getting married. Further more, why is she getting her own title debuting on the same day as her wedding issue? Why does this story need to take place right after her wedding? What, no honeymoon?.

Tom King’s Batman story has been building up for a year or two now. It started way back in Batman #24 with the proposal… or Batman #1 depending on how you look at it. Writing an engaging story arc that carried over 26 issues is an incredibly difficult task, much less the 100 issues King would clearly like to write. People shouldn't criticizing King for not giving them the ending they wanted. While admittedly I found Batman #50 to be underwhelming at best and in no way living up to any of the hype. It's clear what King wanted to accomplish and why he approached this the way he did. As he's said on social media, it's not the end.

Let’s face it, this arc was always going to end one of two ways, they get hitched or they don’t… it's that simple. I personally think Batman and Catwoman overcoming the adversary would have made a better story and maybe one day we'll get that. Like with issue #100 of Batman… However today was not that day.

DC editorial knew this wedding wasn't happening and so did the sales department. DC made a deliberate choice not to promote it in an honest manner that reflected that. Which is unfortunate. I'd be mad if I was Tom King too. Had this been marketed based on the will they or won't they rather than the hard sell of them actually tying the knot, the backlash wouldn't be as sever. People feel cheated, which was not Tom King's fault. As I mentioned, the ending is not nearly as exciting as King seems to think. At the end of the day, he doesn't handle the marketing. Which, marketing is the real problem.

Fans upset by the ending is potentially not the worst of it. The train wreck of causality that will follow as a direct result of this deception could have impacts nobody at DC bothered to considered. Make no mistake, unless DC makes any and all copies of Batman #50 fully returnable from retailers you will see an impact on the comic racks. Not on the Batman title, but as it pertains to other DC titles. Instead of your LCS having copies of some books that were already flirting with cancelation. They’ll probably trim ordering to off set the bath they are set to take on Batman #50. That’s how cause and effect works. So books selling under 20K copies per month already, like Batgirl, Redhood and the Outlaws, Hellblazer, Silencer, Batman Beyond, Mera Queen of Atlantis, Sideways and Damage could end up being adversely effected by this short sighted cash grab.

For me, it's pretty simple… I can no longer defend DC Comics as a result of this. Which, up until now I was a strong and vocal supporter of. All I can really say is, I hope it was worth it.

26 comments

  • You really don’t like King? This mishap aside, I think he’s the best writer in the business.

  • Thank you for the write up and the statement that this is not all King’s fault. DC flat out told retailer groups that there “will be a wedding” in Batman 50. They lied to the retailer’s faces and this, to me, is the ultimate sin here. The issue itself was good. I liked the way the story was told and the ending makes you question what was really going on in issues 1-49. Unfortunately, none of that will matter now. The fact that some media have called this bait and switch “Marvelesque” should tell you that DC has lost a lot of clout with retailers as the publisher they can trust.

    • Mike Morello

      Who, specifically, has called this “Marvelesque?”

      • Thanks for the follow up Mike. The Nerdist, CBR, and Io9, for example, have all published articles comparing this “gut punch” (as one article calls it), to the Marvel spoils and bait and switches of the past (including the one they just did in their Wedding issue- at least there was a wedding in that one I suppose). DC has been telling retailers since Rebirth that they were the publisher that was going to fly straight with its retailers. This lie goes against everything they promised they would not do.

        • Mike Morello

          Cool. Thanks very much. I appreciate the specificity and I completely agree that this is an egregious thing to do in any industry. As a matter of fact, it’s actually illegal and I wouldn’t be surprised if some retailers began to toss around the idea of a lawsuit. I doubt it would ever go that far, but it’s the principle of the thing. Shameful business.

          • Skot Whitman

            Matt and Mike, thanks for commenting. One of the things I left out of the article was the fact that editors at the big two do not actually edit anymore, they’re basically glorified production coordinators and gate keepers.

            This fiasco should have never been allow to happen and heads should roll at DC Comics for it. However my suspicion is that the call to hard sell the wedding to retailers and fans came from high up. At best someone will be scapegoated/sacrificed and retailers will be able to return some portion of unsold copies.

  • Juno Beach

    I feel ripped off. I bought a few store variants that I’m going to see if I can cancel.

    • Skot Whitman

      From what i’ve heard from other people who have tried, it hasn’t been possible. Understand, many retailers (if not all) are stuck.

      I’d give it a couple days and see what happens. If retailers are able to return copies they may be more willing to issue refunds/returns once Dc has squared things with them.

  • Tons of respect for Skot Whitman (love your CBSI articles by the way), but because I’m a contrarian by nature I’m going to offer a counterpoint. I’m not going to argue that comic readers didn’t get the royal screw job. We most certainly did. My argument is for not letting Tom King off the hook so easily and explaining why he is the nucleus for the situation that essentially placed DC marketing in a tough spot.

    Tom King is M. Night Shyamalan… By which I mean he can tell a great story but when execs give him too much rope he hangs himself on it. Remember how everyone loved the Sixth Sense? Movie studios threw bags of cash at Shyamalan after that. One of two movies later he made the Village which was the beginning of the end of his career. Shyamalan tanked his own career (for a few years anyhow) by always trying to have a “twist”. It couldn’t be just a well written but he had to try to show he was smarter or more clever than the viewer by conning/slow walking you for 2 hours only to pull the rug out at the end in near-nonsensical fashion for the “twist”. This is currently Tom King’s career and what has become Tom King’s Batman.

    I think if you polled readers about whether or not we’d see a wedding you’d get at least 40% who said no. It’s not the first ruined wedding story line and comics and sadly won’t be the last. Yet King spent about a year playing up this wedding, he was the one who knew all along it wouldn’t happen. DC Marketing is in it to sell books and while they over played their hand, what else were they going to do? They have a writer who was putting on a year long bait and switch to readers. Are they going to out and out say, “Hey guys this arc King is working on amounts to nothing after 25+ books so don’t bother buying Batman books for the next year.” No, DC Marketing merely hyped (well maybe over-hyped) the story that King gave them to hype, with King knowing he would tear it down with a cheap “what a twist” ending.

    Back to the Shyamalan thing, people hated the Village because it was marketed as a creepy something lurks in the woods type thriller. Only that never happens as the viewer is baited into thinking one thing only to have a curve thrown from left field for the “twist”. I’m trying not to spoil too much of Batman 50 here but that’s the same thing King just did. Most people didn’t let Shyamalan off the hook just because Beuna Vista had to polish a turd of a film, why let King off the hook because DC has to polish the turd of a story arc?

    DC wanting the ending spoiled I think says a lot about where they thought King was taking this. I think chances are in the end they will retailers some credit for returns and while they are responsible for the hype machine, I’m not going to let King walk away from his lazy twist ending after a full year. I could give a much more in-depth opinion on Batman 50 and King’s overall arc here but I don’t want to fully go all in on spoilers before anyone who wants to read it hasn’t yet (I don’t work for the New York times after all). Let’s just say King blew his chance at doing something different that shows comic book characters and readers have evolved but instead just fell into a tired trope and did it in a sloppy and lazy way.

    My overall point of the rambling is that Tom King should be absorbing more blame for this fiasco than he currently is.

    • Mike Morello

      J.Max, this is a very lucid and well-thought-out comment. I do agree, to a degree, that King is a portion of the problem. My only caveat would be that he certainly didn’t approve (and get paid for) the dozens of store variants. DC knew, DC lied duplicitously, DC thought they’d get away with it, DC didn’t care about shops or readers. This says a lot about a company. They just pulled a similar stunt with Teen Titans Special #1 a week ago.

      I will be completely boycotting DC from now on and I really hope I am not alone. They have screwed too many people on this one (and quite frankly, their product has been pretty lackluster, anyway). Problem is, I will be in a minority on this and it is a shame. Stores won’t boycott because they depend too heavily on DC product from month to month. Readers won’t either because fans are blind and want their content and will continue to overlook this stuff so they can keep getting Batman. DC knows this; they’re banking on it (literally and figuratively). They know they have their third of the industry by the tail and they’ll laugh all the way to the bank. If this happened in almost any other industry, it would mean the end of a reputation and in many cases the end of a company.

      • Perhaps I view it differently because I never really take a second look at store variants (maybe if it’s an artist I like that is doing something unique). But if the end result of this train wreck is less stores get on the hype train to make store variants I’d probably be more happy than sad about that.

        I have never had a comic business so I won’t pretend but I used to be a buyer for pharmaceuticals. You learn quickly in that game that the distributor or manufacturer (or in comics publisher) will do anything to get you to buy into the hype. I mean they had sales rep that would rationalize deadly side effects better than Don Draper. The only way to not get suckered into overbuying new products was to use what data sets you had and stick with your gut instinct.

        I imagine comics is not all too different from that. Like I said I think many experienced readers knew somehow the wedding would not happen or somehow be short lived if it did. (Though the profoundly lazy way it was done they didn’t see coming). I think those retailers who bought too much inventory or store variants can clearly blame DC for lying. Yet they should also know it’s DC job to sell books at nearly any cost and therefore should have used more gut instinct and taken what DC said with a big grain of salt. Again I’m not in that position and I am rambling out of turn because I can’t really cast much judgement here in a retail venture I know so little of.

        I have to say though I don’t see this as much of an industry threat for DC. As you said most fans just want their content but there’s also the issue of competition and brand loyalty. What happened here is actually not too uncommon in other industries. When you are one of the big dogs in an industry you can unfortunately get away with quite a lot.

        Look at Apple, with nearly every iPhone launch there was some poorly handled glitch by Apple. I think it was iPhone 4 where they told everyone “No it’s not our fault for bad reception you’re just holding your phone wrong!”. But Apple is so big in that industry (not much Android competition then) and people were so engrained into the iOS ecosystem that they just took the hit and most still likely use Apple phones. Movie industry is very similar. Last Jedi may have frustrated a great many people but in the end episode 9 will make mad money and Disney will of course roll along with minimal retweeking of things.

        DC is the same too, besides Marvel there is not much competition and many DC have already given up marcel to just live in the DC ecosystem. So while King’s Batman May suffer some reader loss I don’t see most out and out leaving the brand for Marvel or independents. DC will have to repent somehow to retailers though it will be slight, yet the brand loyalty is just so strong usually there long term effects in this case will be almost non-existent.

    • Skot Whitman

      First off Max, thanks for your thoughtful and lengthy comment. You touch on a few things that I intentionally left out of article and wanted to save for the larger discussion.

      I think your comparison between Tom King and M. Night Shyama’moron is dead on. Truth be told, I never thought The Sixth Sense was a good movie because I figured out Bruce Willis’s character was dead the first time he pulled the doorknob to the basement and found it was locked. The “twist” is a pedestrian writing troupe that is overused and not much of a surprise when it’s used in a 50/50 situation. A twist only really works when there’s more than two possible out comes.

      As I mention in the article, I’m not a fan of Tom King, however I do respect what he attempted to do. That being said, as I mentioned in an earlier reply in the comments, editors don’t edit anymore… atleast not at the big two. They are just glorified production coordinators and the last year of Batman makes a strong argument to support that. I actually know this to be true based on separate discussions I’ve had with creators working at the big two just this year.

      Jamie S. Rich, the current editor on Batman is probably the first person who head should roll, IF Rich didn’t know when he took over as editor. However since this fiasco started during Mark Doyle’s tenure as Batman editor I believe, he’s not without blame either. If neither of them asked Tom King point blank, “where does this end, do they or don’t they?” then they were not doing their job. DC Comics should have known from the word go what King’s plan was. So ultimately the blame falls to them before King. This is a major event involving one of the 4 cash cows of the DCU. Not knowing or at least having some idea was negligent at best and gross incompetence at worst.

      Just to take things a little deeper here, Rich should have known before the solicitation went out for Batman #50 how this was wrapping up. Since a script would have needed to be submitted for approval by that point. Again if Rich didn’t even bother to read it, which is a possibility, that’s shear incompetence and he should be terminated from DC Comics. Since at that point the marketing could have been handled differently. However I suspect Dc Comics was aware of King’s plans at that point, alleviating the blame from both Rich and King.

      As I said, I’m no fan of Tom King. I find his use of cinematic story telling to be dreadfully boring. It’s a crutch. While that may work in TV/Movie screenplays, it makes for awful comic stories. Magnified by the fact in Batman’s case it’s the same slow burn nonsense twice a month.

      Just look at Mister Miracle, the first issue was interesting and a bit edgy. However the 9 panel grid formate is horribly slow and in the end, this 12 issue story only ends one of two ways. Either MM died on the floor of the bathroom in issue one or he didn’t. That’s the only two ways it can go. Tom King has not demonstrated that he possess the ability to devise a third option. If MM did infact die on the floor, King has just wasted everyones time and money. Personally nothing is a more egregious waste of a readers time and money than a stupid dream sequence… which is what Mister Miracle is shaping up to be.

      Sorry if I got a bit off track there, again, thanks for adding to the conversation Max!

  • Topher

    I just went out and bought a copy of Synder’s Batman 50 for a 1.00. It’s a much better read.

  • Count me in the camp as feeling cheated on this one. I spent a fair amount of money on covers featuring Catwoman. The books still look great as far as that goes but are they going to be worth anything considering that the wedding didn’t happen? I doubt it. This is after Marvel already pulled their swerve with Gambit and Rogue getting married instead of Colossus and Kittye. Those pretty Granov covers that I pre-ordered (non-refundable btw) aren’t looking like a good investment now either.

    You know sometimes it’s just ok for things to happen without having to pull deception in some way. Sure the bat and the cat may get married in issue 100 or whatever but will we even care by then? We sure won’t trust that it’s actually going to happen if it is build up as such. Been there and done that.

    So ok that last panel of Batman 50 features a bunch of characters together and raises some questions. I wish I could feel more excited about getting those answers. Instead of I just feel cheated.

    • Skot Whitman

      Thanks for commenting. To try and answer some of these questions, a good rule of thumb. When DC let’s retailers do a store exclusive, the issue will be worthless in most cases. DC only allows this on books with a massive print run to start with. Really the best you can hope for is that there was an issue with one of the books that causes the print run to be lower than advertised. Or that one of the many covers available garners some attention and becomes sought after. This is why store variants are buy for the PC and not to flip, the buy in and risk is too high to take that gamble typically. You’re better off investing in keys at that point.

      I think had they gotten married it would have provided fans with something new to some extent. I agree that people probably won’t care IF it ever does happen. Only time will tell.

      The last panel in the issue does feel like a let down. While it provides an answer to who’s been orchestrating this, it was a really long road to get there. After the the big let down, even though it might make sense that is was **** the whole time. The volume is turned down on it. It’s more like a whisper than the bang King thinks it is… and it’s defiantly not enough to offset feeling cheated.

  • As a reader, I don’t feel let down. Over the years I have read many a book where what was supposed to happen doesn’t. If I was an comic book store owner who commissioned an exclusive variant, the question becomes can I sell what stock I had? With what some stores are charging, I believe the answer is definitely no. Even if the event didn’t occur, if the cover is good it will sell at the right price. Maybe they just need to re-evaluate their price and still unload their inventory just not at as high a profit as they wanted. I, in no way am condoning straight up lying though. So if retailers were told it was indeed happening and it didn’t, DC should do something to make it right. Maybe they should do a one per store “I’m sorry” variant for the stores that went wild on ordering.

    • Skot Whitman

      Thanks for commenting and you raise two great question here.

      For people who enjoyed it and don’t feel ripped off or let down, that’s great to know. Many people don’t feel that way, so the counter point should be voiced.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with ‘if the cover is good it will sell at the right price” and that speaks to a larger problem on the other side of the fence. Most of the time, these store exclusive variants are not at the right price to move.

      There should be a distinction between retailers who ordered “store exclusive variants’ and those who did not. Shops that potentially are stuck with copies they can not move due to cancelations by customers days before the issue hit , on non store exclusives, should have them made fully returnable by DC. Shops who did order a store variant should probably lower the prices to move them first… depending on the individual situations.

      I’m not sure how I feel about the one per store “sorry” idea… I’ll have to think on that.

      Again, great comment and thanks for adding to the larger conversation.

  • Matthew King

    Wow Skot ! Nice job on the write up, you hit all the key points and concerns. I myself suspected, the marriage would never happen because of all the foreshadowing of the Jokers involvement on everything. I truly Believed DC was gonna let him go down in history as the most Infamous Villain ever… by Killing the Bride, at the altar.
    “Kill Bill” Style…Yes, I realize that one was rehearsal but I digress. People would have been pissed and the Jokers Legend would’ve have grown that much larger. ( If that’s even possible. ) But I GUESS that would have been to obvious…NOT to me, but again… I digress. I mean, in essence… the Joker did win. ( I did read the issue and will not discuss to much more, for obvious reasons.) Here’s another thought on the matter though. WHAT IF…and I know this is a big IF, DC intentional leaked that article to the NY Times in order for them ( NY TIMES ) to catch a lot of this backlash. ( Soften the blow, if you will.) I would hate to think someone could be that manipulative but Maybe the Man is smarter than we all give him credit for… He knew a shit storm was coming and passed the buck. ( I’m purely speculating here, BTW, but hear me out. ) Sooooo… after the Dust has settled, let them actually get married. Pumps up sales even more and the Media has another frenzy, PROMISING a real Wedding. Seems like a lot of work, I know but maybe this was the plan all along. Hard to tell nowadays. I truly feel for everyone, with all my heart, that wanted this…a new dynamic for Batman, Hell a new Dynamic Duo, a New Happier Batman and a possible Bat/Cat Family with kids and the whole 9. ( Think about all the Great Stories you could write with that Dynamic. )
    Ultimately it could still happen. Batman can’t stay hard and miserable forever and I think Tom King realizes that. Now… is DC gonna let him write HIS story, is the question… Only time will tell. If there is one constant in life that is unavoidable ( other the death & Taxes of course ) it’s that EVERYTHING changes, Eventually. I for one am ready for a change in Bruce Wayne’s life. I’m sure my opinion is not that popular in this regard but, He deserves some happiness in his life.
    Thanks ! If i keep writing I’m just gonna Ramble some more. Appreciate you !

    • Skot Whitman

      Thanks for reading and commenting Matthew!

      Ok, lot to unpack with this. I think you may be on to something with the “passing the buck” for the Batman #50 dumpster fire. DC was in cahoots with the NYT on the spoiler article, no question. I “think” the idea of, there’s no such thing as bad press was probably a factor. Shifting the heat to someone else was probably another. I don’t buy John Cunningham’s BS about getting the news out to help retailers for one second, since if the goal was really to help retailers they’ve had three months do that rather than 3 days.

      I think they pulled the wedding swerve before with Superman, then they get married later in another issue. They chickened out with the Batwoman marriage back in the new 52.

      I think you’re right that Tom King has been leaving bread crumbs that they would not get hitched. However something I left out of the article was, What the Hell was the point of the Batman annual #2 then? Why go to that trouble writing some BS death of Batman story, where he’s clearly married to Selina and they have a kid that grows up to take on the Batwoman mantle? Looking back that seems more like an intentional misdirection.

      Maybe one day we’ll get some different Batman stories that change the dynamic a bit rather than the rinse and repeat and interchangeable stories we’ve all grown far too accustom too.

      At the end of the day, personally I don’t really care if they do or don’t ever get married. It was just a bad scene the way DC marketed it. I only ordered one store exclusive and a couple blanks. Based on DC’s track record with marriages, it was 99% it wasn’t going to happen.

  • jason jones

    Spot on article (and great comment section).

  • Don’t retailers and speculators have to accept some blame here too? This was all about greed and chance to make some quick bucks on all ends on all fronts from the Publisher (DC), to the Shops (Retailers), to the Buyers (Flippers). To all of a sudden say the past fifty Batman issues suck because the most recent issue let you down seems like sour grapes. I can understand feeling somewhat duped by the promotions DC put out, but this isn’t everyone’s first rodeo. Countless characters have died and come back from the grave or experienced some sort of tragedy only to rise again and yet the comics are still coming out and we’re still buying them. Publishers wouldn’t be releasing all of these variants if there weren’t a market for them.

    Barring if you love the cover art or if you’re a completest, variants are pretty much purchased as an investment purely on speculation. If I end up paying $25.00 for cover and then a year later find it in a dollar box, that was my risk to take. Comics aren’t printed to maintain value, that’s the secondary market. There have been plenty of “Hot Books” mentioned here over the years that have not held up in value. God Country comes to mind. When it came out, everyone loved it and flocked to secure variants and such. People loved the story and the art and spent many dollars. But when they found out the title was a limited series with a finite story, people felt betrayed and that the money they “invested” was blown. But that’s the thing, the investment was all based on speculation.

    If you approach comics from a fan’s standpoint then you simply buy what you like and any value that accrues is a bonus. And if you really want a certain cover and are willing to spend money for it, that’s what it’s worth to you. But if you’re first in the shop on a Wednesday and buy 5 copies of a particular issue on speculation and then end up taking a bath, that’s the risk you take and it’s on you (Let’s not even bring up the rampant eBay bid shilling, especially on pre-sales). You can’t bat a thousand every single time. Comic readers are a fickle bunch and there are no guarantees when it comes to instant collectibles.

    This site is mainly about speculation which is at an all-time high. It seems pretty much daily that some character or even a simple concept or theme gets floated as the next big thing. How many titles have been optioned over the past decade only to languish in development? There’s no way that every option will see the light of day, let alone even get past the initial meeting and/or development stage. Yes, it’s a great time for comics in tv/film and there are a ton of great reads on the racks and that’s where my focus lays. Others might be more concerned about making a profit on flips. To each his/her own. All I’m saying is just make sure you’re prepared for the outcome good or bad. You’re the one who has the final say where your money is spent.

    • Skot Whitman

      Couple things here, first being I’m actually getting tired of people who what to defend Batman 50 ignoring the fact the Dc’s marketing of the book is where the real problem lies. Omission of facts is no different than lying no matter how you slices it. Also turing a blind eye to deception doesn’t strengthen an argument.

      Speculators are not without blame to some degree when looking at the larger picture. However how can people properly speculate or invest in comics if they are being lied to by a publisher? While the last 25-26 issues of the book were leading up to this big event that did not happen and King did leave bread crumbs that they would in fact not get married. That still doesn’t change the fact that the marketing for Batman #50 intentional lead people to believe something completely different.

      I’d agree that speculators need to take some responsibility for their actions. Ultimately as I’ve said countless times in the column over the last two years. Nobody is holding a gun to anyones head to buy anything. There is no such thing as a risk free investment. It’s asinine to think that comic companies are even still profitable right now for any other reason than speculators. Without them, the comic market will take a huge tumble. So vilifying them and trying to point the finger as they are the sole problem is just being obtuse. Much like in the 90’s when card guys moved into comics, there was a massive increase in sales/printruns. When they left, the bottom feel out and companies struggled till about 2008. when of all things a movie called Iron Man cause a resurgence in interest in the comic market.

      I do like your God Country example, you are correct about speculators abandoning that ship once they found out it was a mini series. Since it seems to me a mini series like that could be turned into entertainment on either size screen. Also since Donny Cates has been hinting that the series is going to start up again makes those who jump ship look shortsighted. Which, if we are being honest, many are.

      Personally I think anyone who went deep as a speculator on Batman #50 should take a bath. DC has a track record of bitchin out on weddings. So in all likelihood it wasn’t going to happen. I think is was stupid for shops doing a store exclusive to buy into that, as i’ve said numerous times in the comments already. A store exclusive for any DC book is a bad idea because the print runs will be huge, comparatively speaking.

      I would also agree that comics should be from a fan stand point. Which is how I approach it first and for most. Flipping books will always be a distant second for me. I’d also agree that when it comes to any variant cover it should only be purchased because you really like that cover for whatever reason.

      However, none of this changes the fact that DC Comics intentionally mislead everyone with how they marketed this issue. There is nothing ANYONE can say to change the fact that DC waited till 3 days before the issue hit the stands to come clean. Used a proxy to do it in the hopes that they would take some of the heat. Once people learned that the wedding wasn’t going to happen, retailers were screwed.

      Batman 50 should have NEVER been marketed in a way that lead people to think that they would in fact get married, unless they actually planned to have that happen. Which based on their track record, anyone paying attention shouldn’t have known better. It should have been marketed as “will they or won’t they” and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that.

      Saying that people are just sour that the story didn’t turn out the way wanted it to, I think is fair to a point. I’d agree there’s a lot of that right now. It still doesn’t change the fact that DC Comics knowingly engaged in a intentionally false marketing strategy and that will always be the core problem with Batman #50. Anything else is just subterfuge.

      Thanks for commenting.

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