I fondly remember April 2012. I was 28 years old at the time and life was ripe with interest and promise. Rick Remender’s Venom was rocking my socks off. Batman, Incorporated had just been announced to be coming out with the new batch of New 52 comics. Things were happy and optimistic. It was around this time that I picked up America’s Got Powers #1.
America’s Got Powers is a fun little comic book that has a very promising concept. Teenagers become imbued with powers (think X-Men) and fight on TV (think American Gladiators) whilst being controlled by a shady, all-powerful military-industrial complex (think about the USA as it is). So all of these great things come together conceptually to make a fun series with Jonathan Ross writing as hard as he can to make it big, but also personal. Throw on top of that, Bryan Hitch’s giant-sized art and you have a recipe for success right?
That’s a great question. I can’t tell you because it hasn’t concluded yet. A six issue miniseries that started over a year ago has not concluded yet. Talk about writing for the trade! But seriously, most people forget this is coming out. The in-store release dates for the issues have been as follows:
Issue 1 – 4/11/12
Issue 2 – 5/30/12
Issue 3 – 8/22/12
Issue 4 – 12/19/12
Issue 5 – 2/13/13
Issue 6 – 7/10/13
Issue 7 – 9/04/13
So if you look at that release schedule, you might be surprised, nay shocked to see giant lapses of time between issues and ultimately a very unorganized release pattern for a team that must have had some intense personal struggles to be so sporadic. It’s surprising to see the release schedule fall this far out of whack in an industry where it is so important to capitalize on the initial buzz and the release of each issue to keep readers hooked. America’s Got Powers had good buzz on it at the beginning, heck, we wrote two posts on it here, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about this in a positive way in a long time.
You could just blame Hitch, I guess. This whole blog post could be a big clomping hatefest on Hitch since this isn’t his first incredibly delayed series. For that, you can look no further than The Ultimates 2, where Hitch described generating the art for Mark Millar’s epic Avengers re-telling as “The bane of my life for the last five years,” in an old interview that Newsarama has since taken off of it’s website. We could discuss the irregular release schedule and name call people as “lazy,” (my goodness when I get pen to paper to complain about Kevin Smith, you will see that clearly…) but America’s Got Powers has raised a much more interesting question to me. That question is this: “How much slack can comic book creators be given?” This question is raised in regard to the final awkward thing about America’s Got Powers…Issue Number 7.
“But Scott, you said it was a six issue miniseries!?!” I did. It was. But if you look at the cover of your very own copy of America’s Got Powers, issue #6, you will see that it is now “#6 of 7.” Wait what?! I guess after a year of incubation, this monster has grown another issue. Issue #7 is scheduled to come to your local comic store on September 4th of this year.
“Ok, that’s not really a big deal,” you might say, but I contend that it is. Comic book people are, on the whole, obsessive collector-types. This was born out of fanboys growing up during the time of speculation in the 90s and deciding that comics need to be bagged and boarded “properly” and organized “correctly.” Most comic book fanmen have an idea of what to expect of there serialized hero stories, much like soap operas. This is why people still buy Detective Comics, even though it is not good. Try to change these formulas and routines just a little bit and even Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons will “nerd-rage” all over you. Change the numbering system on a comic series with over a hundred pre-existing issues and your average comic book reader will be on a ledge, ready to jump.
So that brings us to some very interesting questions that America’s Got Powers #7 raises. Is it ok for a writer to add an issue to the end of a pre-established miniseries? If America’s Got Powers still has any fans, are the nails going to go across the chalkboard when they look at the cover of “issue #5 of 6” and then flip to the cover of “issue #6 of 7” whilst grooming their collection? If there is more story to tell, wouldn’t you like your author to tell it? Why can’t comics professionals stick to schedules? Is America’s Got Powers going to end well for Tommy?
Hopefully we get some answers to all of these questions in a month, when issue #7 drops. In the meantime, I would be interested in your thoughts. Feel free to post them in the comments section and then share this post with friends. I think that there is a lot of room for discussion.
~ Scott Deaux ~