Ben Grimm and Alicia masters are to finally tie the knot in Fantastic Four #5. Dan Slott has hit the ground running as he starts his tenure on Marvel’s flagship title – the first two issues were a great read and it felt like my old friends were back. This upcoming wedding is a double edged sword as we all want the pair to wed, but part of the soap opera drama has been Ben feeling that he could never marry Alicia as he was too ugly in his monstrous form. How the story develops from here will be interesting.
Over at DC, after Clark Kent married Lois Lane a lot of the fun disappeared from the eternal dynamic that had kept readers entertained for 58 years – just one year longer than Ben Grimm and Alicia whose relationship clocks in at 57 years. I used to look forward to the DC ‘imaginary stories’ in which Lois and Clark were married. This satisfied the urge to see them wed while keeping the dynamic going in the day-to-day comic stories.
Marvel did marry Peter Parker to Mary Jane Watson back in Amazing Spider-man Annual #21 in 1987, but 20 years later decided to abandon that ‘happy ending’ and forced the 2007 Spider-Man: One More Day storyline on to writer Michael J Straczynski. In this tale Mephisto struck a deal with Peter in which Aunt May was saved, but his marriage was erased from history. Marvel felt they needed the added drama of a single-life for Peter, rather than the happily married Parkers. I say ‘forced’ as Straczynski was keen fort Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage to end, just not in the way that Marvel demanded. Still, Marvel have kept Reed and Sue Storm together after all these years, so maybe there will be a happy and long relationship fro Ben and Alicia. Romantic that I am, this is what I am rooting for.
Batman: The Damned
Well, what a to do? In this adult, large-format comic Batman appears naked and a penis is seen! Hysteria has followed as comic collectors have scrambled to get hold of copies of issue #1. Due to the large-format presentation, it seems most comic book stores, like Ace Comics, opted to order very few copies above the levels preordered by their customers resulting in only a few comics reaching the shelves. Based on past experience, large-format books do not fit well among the regular releases and usually sell poorly. That is until a Bat-penis pops-up (no pun intended!).
Dr Manhattan has been walking around in blue nakedness for 22 years, since 1986 to be precise, when Alan Moore introduced him in the Watchmen mini-series. No hysteria followed that event, and when a nude Dr Manhattan appears to the main DC Universe in Doomsday Clock #7, no-one batted an eyelid.
On the day of Batman: The Damned #1‘s release, our phones were ringing red-hot and, sadly, we had to turn down scores of requests. I can only assume that DC did not realise the content of the comic or, if they did know, they did not expect the furore that would follow. They certainly did not over-print the run and, as of this moment, they are not intending a second printing.
The hysteria has created an increased interest in issues #2 and #3 of this mini-series with initial orders for #2 up 20% on #1.
It is a source of frustration that whenever there is a comic published that takes hold of the wider public’s interest, the publishers never seem to be prepared and no over-print has been available for comic stores to stock up with. By the time a second print is released, the initial interest has usually waned and the moment to capitalise – and potentially welcome curious new readers to the wonderful world of comics – has been lost.
Robert Kirkman’s Die! Die! Die!
To date, this series has not been given any pre-release hype and does not appear in the Previews catalogue or within comic retailer’s order forms. Comic stores just get a last minute notice that it is due to be published and we have to make a snap-estimate of how many to order for our shops. Orders for #3 and #4 have been placed and we still have stock of #1 and #2. If you missed out on the first two issues and want copies, contact us and we can supply them for you (while stocks last). As the title suggests, it involves death and mayhem and at the time of this Biff’s Bit, Comicbook Roundup have issue #1 rating at 8.1 among the critics.
Tip for the month
Start preparing for Halloween and cull a few comics from your collections to give out to Trick-or-Treaters instead of sweets. Plus, for this month at least, make yours a Fantastic Four month.