Comic Rack: Hellblazer CANCELLED, Marvel NOW! On the Radio, & Image Teases ‘Arrow’?

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Hellblazer is CANCELLED, but Constantine lives on in the New 52!

I knew this was only a matter of time once the New 52 came around. While I haven’t read Hellblazer regularly since Warren Ellis was last writing for it, I knew his character stood alone in his universe that was decidedly separate from the main old DCU. Once everything reset, and Constantine started showing up in Justice League Dark, I figured its days were numbered. I am pretty sad to see it go, since Hellblazer is by far my favorite horror comic of all time, and Constantine is probably the most badass and awesome character in the entire Vertigo lineup, and possibly in all of DC. Yes, even more badass than Batman. Suck it.

While the printing of Constantine as a new ongoing doesn’t surprise me, I’m probably still going to end up reading it, if only to get back into the John Constantine fray. He’s a character I truly adore, and despite being royally mistreated by one of the worst adaptations into film ever, I think he’s resilient enough to hold onto public interest. That’s not to say that Keanu Reeves Constantine* is a bad movie, it’s just a terrible adaptation of a nearly perfect story arc from Hellblazer. If you can divorce it from its source material, it’s actually pretty enjoyable. That being said, I hope this doesn’t mean the death knell for the possibility of any comic series actually getting high up in numbers before a reset is due, since everyone seems so afraid of high numbered issues now. Pretty soon we’ll get an ALL NEW WALKING DEAD #1, where Rick has an axe for a hand now, and T-Dog suddenly and miraculously has been in the comic all this time!

Find out more here.

*which is the title, everywhere you look on posters or DVD’s you’ll see the title is Keanu Reeves Constantine, which proves it’s not meant to be a true Hellblazer or Constantine movie. The movie should be literally titled “Keanu Reeves Constantine” which would be accurate, because it is definitely NOT John Constantine, or Hellblazer. Thus I still hold out hope for a Hellblazer movie. I know, I’m dumb. [ED. NOTE: I don’t agree with this statement, however I do agree that Adam is dumb.]

DC Is Looking to Scale Back Variant Covers. Fans Say Thanks. World Moves On.

Being a comics fan, I love me a good cover. However one thing I’ve never really been is a comics collector. I’m not that guy who will spend time trying to hunt down a single issue to complete a set, or find one particularly rare issue to add to a themed collection, nor have I ever collected for profit. While I personally may have never had any attraction to variant covers, I can understand the allure of them. Frankly, I always thought they were a bit of a waste, especially since I know the whole litany of trouble local comic shops have to go through in order to get some of those covers. I collect my comics because I want to read the stories, and I just end up storing them, not necessarily “collecting” them. Sure, I may have 2 long boxes and need about 4 more, but If it was up to me, I’d rather archive all of my singles into trade form. Even that gets to be a hassle, and I’d rather purchase all of my trades digitally. I know that sounds like sacrilege to some people, but I’m the kind of guy who’d like to reduce my need for shelf space.

An interesting side note, that along with “pulling back” on variant covers, DC is also going to be releasing 52 variants for Justice League Of America #1. Which aside from being insane, really seems to go against their entire point of “pulling back”. Whatever DC, shine on you crazy diamond.

Find out more here.

Marvel NOW! Is Advertising On the Radio. Also Teletype Machines, Telegraph, and Carrier Pigeons!

In a strange example of Marvel really trying hard to get the word out there for Marvel NOW!, they’re resorting to buying air time on radio in order to advertise for comics. First and foremost, who the hell even listens to the radio anymore? Almost everybody I know listens to podcasts, custom streaming radio stations, or their own mobile phones, which almost assuredly have music on them. The thought of advertising on radio seems so archaic, backwards, and desperate to me. It makes Marvel look desperate to try to one up DC’s success with the New 52. I imagine some upper exec asking about how they can advertise where nobody else is right now, and some timid advertising client quietly speaks up about radio. The Upper Exec’s eyes widen and he’s all KID YOU’RE A GENIUS!

That’s the only explanation I can think of right now, but I suppose it’ll be interesting to hear an audio ad for a comic book. Will they have voice actors play Marvel characters? Will Stan Lee be doing them? I guess it could be kind of cool if Stan Lee did them and interrupted whatever tripe Lady Gaga or Rihanna are ravaging the airwaves with, to talk for a few minutes about how much he loves the Avengers and Spider-Man and call you his own personal Spider-Friend. You could close your eyes and pretend you’re in the ’50s or something, back when radio was a viable medium to advertise in. It’d work perfectly right until some terrible throbbing club song came on and brought you back to horrible reality.

Find out more here.

Image Has a Teaser for an ‘Arrow’ of Their Own, Kind Of

Guys shooting arrows seems to be pretty popular right now. What with Jeff Lemire taking over Green Arrow, that whole Arrow show on The CW, and Hawkeye finding newfound popularity due to The Avengers, archery is IN. Not that I’m suggesting Image is following a trend or anything, because I’m sure the comic this ad is teasing was long planned, and by the nature of it’s title I doubt that arrows being shot at bad guys is the sole focus. The book is called Five Weapons, and from this teaser I think we’re meant to infer that it’s some sort of team book, and the bow and arrow toting “Darryl The Arrow” is one of 5 members who presumably each have their own weapon. That’s my guess anyway. Whether the rest will end up with a hammer, metal suit of armor, or a giant shield is yet to be seen. As it is, I’m intrigued.

Find out more here.

DC Digital Sales Up Close to 200% From Last Year!

I’m going to try to stay impartial, but it’s hard to not note the dichotomy between The Big Two when one is improving their forward thinking, dynamic digital sales plan that’s embracing technology and the future of the medium, and the other decides that they should advertise on f*%#ing radio. Regardless of that inanity, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. When it comes down to it, for a lot of people buying your singles digitally is far easier, convenient, and cheaper. Especially since most digital comics are now out day and date, and eventually decrease in price as time goes on, unlike a book on a shelf that always remains cover price unless the store holding it changes the price.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the spike in digital sales increased when DC released large groups of classic trades for download on Android platforms last year, and has continued to do so. I’ve personally bought trades digitally for $10 that I would have never gambled on at a physical store, simply because of the ease and convenience. Not to mention that if the trade I bought sucked, it’s not taking up precious space on my shelf. I see the future of comics as maintaining this direction, and while I WILL mourn the slow and painful death of the traditional brick and mortal Local Comic Shop, it’s something that’s inevitable. They’ll either have to adapt by allowing some sort of digital pass/keycode sale, or provide services that you can get from simply buying a digital file online. Either way, innovation is going to happen, and we’ll see how it ends up, for better or worse.

Find out more here.

That’s all for this week’s edition! We’ll see you next time at the Comic Rack!

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