* Recently on Robot 6:
* Did you know that Michael DeForge launched a webcomic last month? I didn’t, and I even linked to one of the episodes. (Which I wouldn’t have posted in its entirety if I’d realized it wasn’t just an excerpt from some other project. Sorry, Michael!) It’s called Ant Comic and there’s a new installment every other Monday. So far it’s been pretty troubling.
* Brigid Alverson interviews Box Brown on his alternative comic book throwback publishing outfit, Retrofit Comics. It’s the most revealing piece I’ve yet read on Retrofit, with lots of interesting details about how the sausage is getting made. The insight on the relative costs of printing versus shipping is worth the price of admission alone.
* All of DC’s “Crisis” mega-events no longer happened in the new DC Universe. Dan DiDio announced this on Twitter over the weekend a month after the relaunch began, which is how things work when you’ve planned a relaunch since October 2010, I guess? To me, more interesting than the continuity questions this raises is what this means for DC’s view of and future marketing of book collections containing the Crisis comics. When the company last rebooted its decades-long storylines this thoroughly, with Crisis on Infinite Earths 25 years ago, book-format collections were basically a non-factor. Now they’re a huge part of DC’s business, and historically the publisher has been better at packaging and promoting (and heck, just keeping in print) its major books from throughout its history. Obviously all those stories still exist just as you remember them, and one’s enjoyment of them has nothing to do with what’s going on now — but comic fans tend not to see things that way. Now, neither DC nor its retail partners can point to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, or Final Crisis as books you “need” to read to understand this or that, or as an intro course to the DCU, and future reprints can’t count on that sense of “this happened!” urgency to get themselves over. I wonder what they’ll do with them.
* The move’s also noteworthy given just how big a part of Dan DiDio’s tenure at the company books with the word “Crisis” in the title have been. The Brad Meltzer-written Identity Crisis served as a sort of statement of purpose for the then-new DiDio regime, reintroducing the “Crisis” concept, injecting a kind of troubling degree of sexualized violence into the DCU, and more or less kicking off the new event-comic era. Infinite Crisis was the first full-fledged line-wide crossover either of the Big Two superhero publishers had done in years, and marked the ascent of writer Geoff Johns to the top of the industry. Final Crisis was a somewhat stickier wicket: Grant Morrison’s take on the line-wide event was one of his most divisive books ever, and though it sold well, by the time it wrapped up DiDio was publicly making fun of it during convention panels. Still, it set up Morrison’s well-received and high-selling Batman run of the past several years, especially the storyline involving Bruce Wayne’s “death” and return; since Morrison has basically been allowed to continue writing Batman with his continuity unchanged, who knows what to make of Final Crisis‘s retconning?
* Lisa Hanawalt reviews Drive. Saving this one for later.
* Finally for the Robot 6 roundup, I posted a few more thoughts on Emily Carroll’s new webcomic, Dash Shaw & Jesse Moynihan’s old Lost comic, and Benjamin Marra’s new Gangsta Rap Posse issue over there.
* Image Comics is going same-day digital with its monthly comics offerings, through the retailer ComiXology. As Tom Spurgeon put it at the link, “the specter of total Direct Market collapse as soon as comics gained same-day availability has been punched in the face and pushed out of the moving car by DC Comics with their New 52 initiative.” That’s a heck of a phrase-turn, but I think at this early juncture it’s only dispositive in terms of retailer jitters, not the long-term health of brick-and-mortar stores and other print outlets.
* Joe “Jog” McCulloch on the comics of David Lynch, plus various new releases of note.