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May 14, 2007

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Matt

The overall impression that I got wasn't so much that he was embarassed, moreso lamenting the fact that a lot of people - fans and editors alike - don't feel that there's much room for "fun" in the comics medium anymore.

And I think it IS possible that that could have contributed a bit to the drop in sales, but I also thought that B&B #2 was weaker than the preceding issue, so I can totally see a little buck-passing going on, which IS kind of disappointing.

-M

Mark Engblom

Waid: "To my mind, "Brave and Bold" isn't "fun." It can be funny, but so could "Firefly" or "Buffy." Interweaving your drama and shock with humor doesn't lessen the drama and shock - it heightens it because it keeps the readers off-balance."

This is the quote that, to me, seems like he's embarrassed by the "fun" label.

After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) the first several issues, there's really nothing in it that's heart-stoppingly dramatic or shocking (not in the sense of, say, someone getting bit in half, ala "52") and that's perfectly fine. Rather than try to link it to Buffy or Firefly, why not just say "It's a fun book, Perez and I meant for it to be fun, and if people are looking for a fun book....here it is".

The modern comic book market is a complex and volitile stew, and pinning a sales spike or decline on a single phenomenon isn't especially helpful. Yeah, in the case of a title being late for five or six months, you can probably pin it on the tardy creative team. But in the case of Brave and the Bold, it's not quite that simple.

For example, what else might have come out the same month as B & B #2 that could have stolen some of the spotlight away from it? That was when Marvel's Civil War mega-event was building toward its climax, with dozens of tie-ins and spin-offs hitting the stands. Naturally, fans have a limited budget and some things fall through the cracks to allow for the month's "hot books", and maybe B & B #2 was a casualty of that...having little (or nothing) to do with its perceived "fun" quality.

It's a young title. It's a team-up title (something we haven't seen in awhile). It's published in the midst of mega-events as far as the eye can see from BOTH companies, etc, etc, etc.

I think there's a whole constellation of factors responsible for the dip in B & B #2's sales, and I resist the knee-jerk reaction on Waid's part to pin it almost exclusively on the old "there's no market for fun comics" canard.

It's just too easy.

Bill S.

Couldn't the drop in sales have just as much to do with (a), it not being a first issue, and (b), the issue not featuring Batman?

Mark Engblom

"Couldn't the drop in sales have just as much to do with (a), it not being a first issue, and (b), the issue not featuring Batman?"

Exactly my point...and part of that whole "constellation" of factors that likely contributed to the sales decrease.

Did the perception of it being a "fun" book detour some from buying it? Of course....but I dispute Waid's view that it was the primary reason for the drop.

cinephile

I haven't read B&B (although these blog posts make me curious), but there's certainly nothing wrong with linking his work to Buffy-- not only because there's a lot of buffy/comics crossover in terms of fandom, but because almost no one in popular culture seems to capture the spirit of those classic marvel comics (i.e., 1963-1987, or thereabouts) like Joss Whedon. Buffy is spectacular fun, and also "dark" and "serious"-- at once a superhero tale of extraordinary wit and beauty and a moving statement that makes its points without being annoyingly haggis-like and didactic. That's why i was less bothered by waid's comments than you-- to me, he seems to be saying that "fun" and "serious" are not mutually exclusive, which seems like the most important stylistic/narrative breakthrough those silver and bronze age comics achieved.

Mark Engblom

Cinephile-

I think your definition of fun comics, echoing Waid's comments at the end of the quote, is right on the money...and, I would maintain, is how most people would define "fun" comics. Just like a summer blockbuster, it can run a wide spectrum of emotions...and I can't for the life of me figure out why Waid would view that perception as a liability.

Quite the contrary, most fans I know (either personally or from their internet comments) have grown weary of the darker or bloodier elements in modern comics (a good example being Geoff Johns' recent infatuation with mutilation), so if anything, the "fun factor" in Brave and the Bold should be a sustaining factor, rather than a black eye, on its sales performance.

Siskoid

I definitely attribute the lower sales to the lack of Batman. Or indeed to the inclusion of two of the most mishandled characters in recent years. I really liked the issue, but GL and Supergirl are not really enjoying enormous popularity at the moment, certainly not on the order of Batman.

Did issue 3 do better? I'm sure it did. Will the Supergirl/Lobo one do worst. Again, I bet it will.

Mark Engblom

That's what's so odd about the whole thing: Waid applying meta-trend theories to a series that's barely four issues old in the midst of an extremely busy mega-event jag. I think he should just relax and keep cranking out the so-called "fun comics"....to hell with what he thinks the numbers are whispering to him.

Rick

I have to re-read issue one. I picked it and read it, but I remember thinking that I didn't want to read any of the continuing issues. The thing is, I don't really remember *why*. I do know it wasn't because I thought it was "fun".

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