Retailers are going to be hit hardest, as Brian Hibbs explains, but really, why is anyone surprised? I enjoy Mark Millar’s writing, but come on: he is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS late. Chalk it up to perfectionism, slacking, his chronic illness (which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, let alone a writer I like) or his practice of only working with comics’ slowest artists – whatever the case, Millar comics ALWAYS fall behind schedule.* Why the Hell Marvel didn’t notice this and plan accordingly is beyond my comprehension. I know everyone was excited by this new story, and were all rarin' to go, but somebody really should have been pulling on the reins.
The retailers…well, the retailers are screwed, but the worst thing that happens to us rank and file fans is Delayed Gratification. I can live with that. I won’t even pretend to be so upset that I’m going to “boycott Marvel” or whatever. Of course I’ll be back for CW#4, then 5-7 whenever they get around to releasing those. If I was going to quit comics over lateness, I would’ve done so in 1985, when it took over a year to get the last couple of issues of Camelot 3000.
Fans like myself will ultimately, grudgingly, accept delays, and protestations to the contrary ring hollow. No, the lost sales are going to come from new and lapsed readers, who will be disinclined to return to the comic shop when told “Sorry, #4 isn’t out yet.” For the 3rd time in as many months. That’s a major outreach opportunity squandered. But all is not lost! You see, you don’t have to go through a two-month drought of new comics! There are actually other companies that publish comics too! Try something different while you’re waiting for Civil War. Here are some suggestions:
Hero Squared: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis deliver the funny, with art by rapidly improving newcomer Joe Abraham.
Fallen Angel: Peter David’s supernatural horror story continues at IDW. I’ve been following it since the says when DC published it, and I think it’s improved since its migration.
Gødland: Joe Casey and Tom Scioli are cooking up a mind-blowing stew of Kirby, cosmic, and psychedelia that’s not to be missed!
True Story, Swear To God: Tom Beland’s funny and endearing autobiographical comic is relaunching at Image next month, but he has 17 issues in the can from his previous run, and two trade paperbacks from AIT-Planetlar.
Invincible: Robert Kirkman’s original teen superhero offers plenty of action, twists, and starling reveals. With 7 trade paperbacks extant, there's plenty of Invincible goodness to be had, even if the newest issue is late!
And there’s more, more, more! Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, BOOM! Studios, Image, IDW, Devil Due, and a legion of other small publishers offer a stunning array of books for different tastes! VIZ, Tokyopop, Antarctic Press and others offer a ton of Manga, if that’s your thing. Check out Previews this month and order something different to fill the Civil-War shaped hole in your life. The talent will thank you, your retailer will thank you, and Again With the Comics thanks you.
*To be fair, I think his recent run on Ultimate Fantastic Four was punctual. If there were delays, I didn’t notice.