I haven’t really looked at Wednesday Comics that closely, I have to admit…basically because it’s too much of a time and money commitment. I am interested in some of the creators (Kyle Baker definitely; Neil Gaiman and Brian Azzarello sort of; the Wonder Woman strip a little bit.) But there’s no way I’m going to the comics shop every week and spending $4 for a couple of pages of a couple of comics I might be interested in. Cost/benefit wise, it just doesn’t even come close. I sort of hope the Baker Hawkman comes out in a trade I guess…but otherwise, eh, I’ll live without it.
In general, I also find the whole project a little depressing. And the reason I find it depressing is precisely because, you know, this really is innovative. It’s a fairly ballsy effort to get a bunch of top notch creators working in an unusual format. It’s kind of going out on a limb in terms of delivery and marketing and aesthetics. By the standards of mainstream comics, it’s fairly visionary, I guess.
And yet…it’s also just incredibly staid. You’ve got all these folks who are supposed to be the best in the bizness with an exciting new format…and yet they’re using the same damn characters that are in all the other titles. And you’ve got the same kind of stories, pretty much, without much effort to adapt to the different medium — that is, serialized pulp, which, personally, I think is a pretty dumb way to go when you’ve only got a single page at a time. (It sounds like they’re trying to do something somewhat different with WW; more power to them.) And the gimmick, the hook, the nifty twist, is entirely aimed at the most insular audience possible. It’s all for people who are already obsessed with comics, right? People who go to the store every week, without fail. Even the title is a lame inside nudge — “Wednesday Comics — get it? Because comics come out every Wednesday!” I don’t know…I mean the old anthology titles (“Action! Amazing! Awesome Sauce!”) were kind of ridiculous, obviously, but at least they were trying to pander to a broad audience. Kids like action; kids like amazing; kids like awesome sauce. Who the hell likes Wednesdays especially? And, yes, I know the answer to that one, and, as I said, it’s depressing.
In short, for DC, “innovative and exciting!” doesn’t mean reaching out to a new audience. Instead it means taking a chance on crawling further up their own navels. And I’ll give them this; Wednesday comics looks infinitely better than Blackest Night or Marvel Zombies. Chalk one up for innovation. Yay team.