Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Love Annuals

I really love what DC is doing with its Annuals these days.

If you read comics much back in the 90's then you know that the Annuals usually served a very specific purpose. Mostly they were the method by which every monthly would tie into whatever ridiculous or contrived summer event was going on (such as Eclipso: The Darkness Within and Bloodlines). So the creative team of the book had to find some way of making it work. And sometimes it didn't work at all.

But in recent years DC has really shifted gears on their Annuals. Now they're using them smart. Annuals in this day and age serve as "one-shots" that fill in missing pieces in an ongoing story, tell a side story, or kick off something new. They can do it with the annual without interrupting the flow of the main story.

The recent Action Comics Annual was a good example. It told us the origin of the current Nightwing and Flamebird. It was the sort of story that you couldn't tell in one issue of a regular series -- there wouldn't be enough pages. And if you did manage to squeeze it in it would completely sidetrack the main story.

But in the Annual it can work. They've got the pages for a self-contained story that's still connected to the larger tale. And if you don't want to pay the money you don't have to read it to enjoy or understand what's going on in Action. It's really a win/win situation.

DC is trying something a little different with October's Batman Annual #27 and Detective Comics Annual #11.

Here they are using a pair of Annuals to both tell a self-contained story and kick off the Azrael series that begins the following week.

It makes good sense; if you're a Batman fan then chances are you'll pick up the Annuals anyway. If DC is lucky you'll like the story and be tempted to try Azrael #1. I'm still on the fence, but things like this have a way of pulling me in...



At 1:23 PM, Blogger Will Emmons said...

The cover has the new Azrael and Renee on it. I'm pretending it is a cooking and I eating it *nomnomnom*

Maybe I should eat lunch.

At 4:45 PM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

It is quite delicious, isn't it? That's why after I spliced the two pictures together I made it my desktop background...

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Kandou Erik said...

Doesn't Gotham have enough vigilanties already? Batwoman, Batgirl, Question - and now Azrael?

All this means for me is I'm saving $10 by skipping these annuals.

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At 9:42 AM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

And you can skip them without worrying about losing any important story beats precisely because they're not part of the main books (assuming, of course, that you regularly read those books).

The Annual system works!

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Will Emmons said...

You're always so positive, Diamondrock.

RE the other guy -- Gotham needs a ton of vigilantes because its got a ton of crazy criminals and Bruce Wayne is dead. Then there's that Gotham books must account for like a third or more of the books DC sells. Really.

Also, I'd point out that the Question chills in Hub City most of the time.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Derek said...

"Also, I'd point out that the Question chills in Hub City most of the time."

I know that was true of Vic, but Renee's a Gotham girl, right?

It's possible I missed an establishing caption somewhere; Has her most recent investigation been in Hub City?


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