JSA All-Stars


Missy
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Coming this fall, there will be two JSA comics: JSA and JSA All-Stars. There's zero chance I'll be buying the core JSA book, as it will be written by Bill Willingham, who has failed me time and time again. However, I'm going to give All-Stars a shot if only for the artist: Freddie E. Williams II. He had an awesome run on Robin, and though his style is very cartoony, it feels like it could be set in the real world. (A bright, bubbly real world, but a real world nonetheless.) And I'd like to see what he can do with a team book, especially the JSA.

However, I'm a tad fearful, because what little I've read of Matt Sturges writing has not impressed me. Plus, I know next to nothing about most of the team members: Power Girl, Magog, Stargirl, Hourman, Cyclone, Wildcat (the young one), Damage, Citizen Steel, Judomaster, and King Chimera. Also, when I hear "all-stars" my first thought is that the team will be comprised of, you know, all-stars like The Flash (Barry), Green Lantern (Jay), Wonder Woman, and Black Canary with a few youngsters thrown in for good measure.

Regardless, I'll give the first one a shot.

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I think JSA can do with that cartoony style, it needs to be more fun and less gritty than the JLA and be able to stand on it's own.

Sturges and Williams run on FCA: Run has been getting good reviews, as a fun book.

Anyway, I just heard that one will feature the old JSA'ers will have one book, and the youngsters the other. I think all star is the older members.

But, I'll wait for someone to get the trade, say it was awesome or bollocks, then get it on their recommendation.

Also, how can you not know anything about Power Girl, she has great knockers, what else is their to know!?

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I dropped it when Johns left and won't be coming back. I don't like the idea of two teams. It kind of ruins what they were going for. This isn't the JLA, unless one book is all the youngsters doing crazy shit and the other is all the old-timers showing them how to do good, I'm uninterested.

Plus Willingham is :no: for me.

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I'll probably pick up the first trade, but I agree, this should be the JSA team with the best of the best.

They should probably have given Willingham the All Stars book and make it a big deal, leaving the dregs for the main book with the lesser known creators. The fact that its the main book will boost sales above what those guys could usually attract but the fact that the All Stars has the big writer and the big characters means it will sell well for its limited run, like Astonishing did for the X-men when it started out. The best period in recent X-history was when Carey's X-men was made up of random b-listers going nuts whilst Whedon was racking up sales in Astonishing.

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I see what you're saying there, Stav, but there's a problem with your logic: Bill Willingham doesn't have name power. You have to remember, though Fables has a lot of hype and is the top-selling Vertigo book at the moment, it doesn't pull great numbers (see below). Furthermore, a lot of those who read his Vertigo books won't make the jump to his superhero work, so he isn't bringing a huge audience with him.

According to the June 2009 sales chart, Fables #85 sold 23,430 units, Jack of Fables #35 sold 19,563, and 10 of the 11 Fables trades sold a combined 5524 units. Granted, that comes to a total of 48,517 comics with Willingham's name on them, but compare that to products by Geoff Johns during the same period: Green Lantern #42 sold 84,099, Flash: Rebirth #3 did 83,054, the second volume of Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War moved 5132 units, and Green Lantern: Tales of the Sinestro Corps sold 4367 copies. That's 176,652 books in total.

Moving beyond Johns, let's look at the five books on either side of Fables #85:

91. Walking Dead #62: 23,901

92. Star Wars Legacy #37: 23,695

93. War of Kings Ascension #3: 23,671

94. Incognito #4: 23,575

95. The Boys: Herogasm #2: 23,491

96. Fables #85: 23,430

97. Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1: 23,421

98. Booster Gold #21: 23,213

99. Agents of Atlas #6: 22,570

100. Wolverine Noir #3: 22,538

101. Dark Reign: Zodiac #1: 22,067

Now let's remove the following books:

92. Star Wars Legacy #37 - Star Wars sells no matter what.

94. Incognito #4 - Ed Brubaker is super-hot right now.

95. The Boys: Herogasm #2 - Ennis will always have his followers.

97. Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1 - "Dark Reign" is on the cover.

100. Wolverine Noir #3 - It's a Wolverine comic.

101. Dark Reign: Zodiac #1 - "Dark Reign" is on the cover.

That leaves:

91. Walking Dead #62

93. War of Kings: Ascension #3

96. Fables #85

98. Booster Gold #21

99. Agents of Atlas #6

If you want proof that Willingham simply isn't a "big writer," that should do it. A zombie comic and a tie-in to Marvel's overlooked cosmic event sold more copies than Fables, and a Booster Gold comic and a book about the 1950s Avengers are just under it.

Now you might be saying, "But you're comparing a Vertigo comic to superhero books. That's not totally fair." And you'd be right. But if you dig around the site I linked you to, you'll see that his Robin run (#121-147) hovered around 27,500 units each month. The only time it spiked was when Spoiler debuted as Robin and it crossed into an event, such as Infinite Crisis. So even when he's on a Batman comic, one that stars one of DC's biggest names, he's still struggling to break 30,000.

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Fair enough, but I think you can still push a book with his name on to a greater degree than you can the one with Struges name on it. To me JSA All-Stars looks like a reject squad barring Powergirl and Stargirl, who are long-time JSA stalwarts (in fact I pretty much consider Stargirl the heart of the JSA since they were brought back in the 90's).

Besides, sales of Fables in individual issues is only a small part of that book's target market. In trade form Fables has sold neck and neck with Y: The Last Man through Diamond, making it Vertigo's most successful current ongoing title. Whilst I don't rate its influence up there with Sandman or anything I will state that I know 3 people who did read Sandman back in the day, stopped reading comics when it was done and only came back when I introduced them to Fables. Its a successful book in trade form, I don't think Willinghams a superstar or anything but you can't judge a Vertigo title by its issue sales nowadays. Most bookshops have a trade section, very few sell individual issues.

In fact checking through the monthly trade sales on diamond on ICv2 the top four books last year in the month of June were, in order-

1 Y THE LAST MAN TP VOL 10 WHYS & WHEREFORES $14.99 DC 14,730

2 FABLES TP VOL 10 THE GOOD PRINCE $17.99 DC 13,164

3 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 08 MADE TO SUFFER $14.99 IMA 13,042

4 ASTONISHING X-MEN TP VOL 04 UNSTOPPABLE $19.99 MAR 9,202

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Besides, sales of Fables in individual issues is only a small part of that book's target market. In trade form Fables has sold neck and neck with Y: The Last Man through Diamond, making it Vertigo's most successful current ongoing title.

Right, that's why I said, "10 of the 11 Fables trades sold a combined 5524 units." (For some reason volume nine wasn't in the Top 300.) The entire Vertigo line survives on trade sales, and is pretty much the reason we have such a robust trade market today.

Whilst I don't rate its influence up there with Sandman or anything I will state that I know 3 people who did read Sandman back in the day, stopped reading comics when it was done and only came back when I introduced them to Fables.

Are they now buying other books that Willingham writes, excluding his other Vertigo work?

Its a successful book in trade form, I don't think Willinghams a superstar or anything but you can't judge a Vertigo title by its issue sales nowadays. Most bookshops have a trade section, very few sell individual issues.

The numbers I quoted are from Diamond, and bookstores go through different vendors, so I can't say how well it sells outside of comic shops. But it obviously sells well in bookstores, that I can't deny.

My point was, though, that you called him a "big writer" and suggested he would bring readers to it, but I don't see that happening based on the numbers I quoted.

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My point was, though, that you called him a "big writer" and suggested he would bring readers to it, but I don't see that happening based on the numbers I quoted.

I called him a big writer in the context of him being the writer of one of the most successful books in trade format being written today. He's not Alex Ross or Grant Morrison but he's on a par with Brian Vaughn or Kirkman, and that's not bad company. I don't think he's a superstar whose name attracts big business but I know that I bought his first issue of JSA and that wasn't because I wanted continuity of my run, I didn't buy the second Ordway fill-in issue that preceded it.

Name value crossover does occur, a lot of Invincible's current success has been credited to Walking Dead readers checking out Kirkman's other stuff. Why can't that happen here to some degree?

I think that DC comics readers who already buy Fables in trade will be more likely to give JSA a shot with him writing it. If DC went out of their way to push All-Stars with his name on it I think the joint effect of a genuine All-Star team and Willinghams name would push sales more than simply having Willingham on the main book and Sturges writing the rejects book.

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I called him a big writer in the context of him being the writer of one of the most successful books in trade format being written today. He's not Alex Ross or Grant Morrison but he's on a par with Brian Vaughn or Kirkman, and that's not bad company.

Ah, I see your point.

I don't think he's a superstar whose name attracts big business but I know that I bought his first issue of JSA and that wasn't because I wanted continuity of my run, I didn't buy the second Ordway fill-in issue that preceded it.

Did you buy JSA #29 because Willingham wrote it, or because there was a new ongoing creative team?

Name value crossover does occur, a lot of Invincible's current success has been credited to Walking Dead readers checking out Kirkman's other stuff. Why can't that happen here to some degree?

I think that DC comics readers who already buy Fables in trade will be more likely to give JSA a shot with him writing it. If DC went out of their way to push All-Stars with his name on it I think the joint effect of a genuine All-Star team and Willinghams name would push sales more than simply having Willingham on the main book and Sturges writing the rejects book.

Note the part in bold. People who are already reading DC comics and Fables might try it, sure. However, people who read Fables but not comics in DC's core line, chances are they won't. And it comes down to snobbery; a lot of people who read Vertigo comics won't even consider looking at superhero comics, no matter who the writer is.

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I don't think he's a superstar whose name attracts big business but I know that I bought his first issue of JSA and that wasn't because I wanted continuity of my run, I didn't buy the second Ordway fill-in issue that preceded it.

Did you buy JSA #29 because Willingham wrote it, or because there was a new ongoing creative team?

Because Willingham was writing it. I'm a JSA fan but a lot of that is due to Johns. Willingham is a good choice for a successor on that title.

Name value crossover does occur, a lot of Invincible's current success has been credited to Walking Dead readers checking out Kirkman's other stuff. Why can't that happen here to some degree?

I think that DC comics readers who already buy Fables in trade will be more likely to give JSA a shot with him writing it. If DC went out of their way to push All-Stars with his name on it I think the joint effect of a genuine All-Star team and Willinghams name would push sales more than simply having Willingham on the main book and Sturges writing the rejects book.

Note the part in bold. People who are already reading DC comics and Fables might try it, sure. However, people who read Fables but not comics in DC's core line, chances are they won't. And it comes down to snobbery; a lot of people who read Vertigo comics won't even consider looking at superhero comics, no matter who the writer is.

True, but those people weren't going to buy JSA anyway, and its doubtful that any name currently writing non Marvel or DC main comics could change that unless DC managed to contract Alan Moore.

Re: vertigo snobbery, I think you're right there but I also think its fear. Self-contained stories are easy. I've converted people to reading Walking Dead, Invincible, Fables, Watchmen, etc because there is little or no baggage with them. I've even got Exiles converts based on its relatively exterior position in the Marvel universe. JSA is slap bang in there with 40 team members and 100's of villains and supporting characters and that VERY hard to write for the uninitiated. I wouldn't even bother recommending it, even with Willingham writing. Those sorts of fans will want more self contained stories like DMZ or 100 bullets, and its tough to change that because mainstream comics is so dependant on its own continuity.

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Just going to add in that my comic shop (pretty much the only proper one left in my city) has a display devoted to the top 100 graphic novels determined by sales. Of those 100 spots 11 are occupied by the 11 current Fables trades. That's more books than Moore, Kirkman, Gaiman, Miller, Loeb or Morrison. Granted if there were 11 Scott Pilgrim or Walking Dead trades thing might look different but that's how it stands right now.

You can also bet that the 12th trade that comes out a couple of weeks from now will go straight to the top of the pile.

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