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Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--'Jupiter's Legacy' Revisited

Column by Steve Bennett

Published: 05/15/2013 12:55am
Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett dissects Mark Millar's decision to keep Jupiter's Legacy print-only for a while, and looks at ABC's decision to air a S.H.I.E.L.D. series.
 
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Instant Gratification Vs. The Bubble") being a big supporter of creator owned comics I had been really looking forward to reading Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's Jupiter's Legacy.  But I haven't been able to so far, due to the current distance separating me and the nearest comic book shop and Millar's injunction against day and date digital editions of his "Millarworld" comics.  His intent was to support us direct market retailers and while I appreciate the gesture it seemed to me to be a kind of a "cut off your nose to spite your face" kind of move.  I had to wonder whether this would actually increase sales for us or would just equal a net loss of digital downloads sales.
 
Well, as I'm sure you all know Jupiter's Legacy #1 sold out.  And not just that; it was the first creator owned title to reach the 100K mark since 1999 (see "An Image #1 Tops 100K").  For those whose stores have sold out of #1, the second printing is supposed to be released on June 5th while the digital download continues "To Be Announced."  This by some has been heralded as a great victory for direct sales over digital, and I certainly don't want to minimize this sales achievement.  But, personally, I'm not quite so sure.
 
It's not so much that I mind being wrong.  I've had plenty of experience at that.  It just seems like this belief is based on the assumption all retailers and readers actually knew Jupiter's Legacy wasn’t going to be available for download the day it was released to comic shops.  Ok, sure, Millar had it clear as far back as 2011 that he didn't want his creator owned comics to be available for day and date digital download.  But that didn't stop me from thinking I would be able to download it that Wednesday, and if some of the comments I read online are any indication, I wasn't the only one.
 
So, if it really is true that making a comic book a direct shop exclusive equals higher sales I'd like a little more evidence.  Like, on his next "big" comic Millar should make the fact that it’s a direct sales shop exclusive a major selling point.  Put "Direct Comic Shop Exclusive!" on all of the ads, make it a bullet point in the solicitation, mention it in every interview he does for it and put those words in a big bold letters on the cover.  Then we'll see.
 
I clearly had my doubts that ABC (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--We Are The Droids They're Looking For") would actually allow a merely human looking person such as character actor Clark Gregg (or "Greg Clark" as my persistent "childhood" dyslexia would have it) to headline a drama series.  This was based on my forty years watching prime-time American television where the leader of an elite group of decorative young crimefighters was invariably portrayed by a rugged looking six footer with an impressive stock of hair.
 
But it's actually happened (see "'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Gets Series Order").  And not only has ABC picked up the pilot; they have so much confidence in the program they're scheduled it Tuesday night at 8pm.  That's right, they're putting it up against CBS's NCIS, one of America's most watched shows, one that even in its tenth season is still breaking ratings records.  It is without question a colossal gamble.  Here's a confession; I've seen the three minute trailer for S.H.I.E.L.D. half a dozen times now and every single time it still makes me squee.  But then, I think the producers were pretty much counting on guys like me watching it.
 
As previously established, I don't particularly care if they ever reveal just how "Coulson Lives."  But seeing as how the show is being developed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon, someone known for his use of androids, I have a theory.  I've got a $20 that says the final episode of Season One ends on a cliffhanger revealing Coulson to be a Life Model Decoy.
 
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
 
 
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