Saturday, June 18, 2005

Astonishing Lettering Vs. Astonishing Lateness

For those of you who like to read comics, and like to get them on a regular schedule, you know how frustrating it can be when an issue runs late. And as a retailer I can tell you it hurts the overall sales of the comic book as well. Many people just don't have the patience. They will often just stop picking up that comic book, and at best, wait for it to come out in collected paperback form. Yet publishers big and small let their books get late and fill the time with excuses. The excuse below was so priceless I just had to share it.

This was taken from the Marvel Mailer, a weekly update sent to us comic book retailers:

"Some of you may have been wondering what's holding the book up, and I will tell you in all honesty: it's the lettering! It's taking forever! Mainly... the part where I choose what letters... make up words that are good. We're a little off, okay, but I swear to you the book will be 17% less sucky because of it. I really do appreciate your patience." Joss

I don't know about you, but I've NEVER picked up a comic that I thought wasn't very good and blamed it on the lettering. Nor have I ever said, "boy, what a great story and the art was fantastic too, but that lettering, it was HORRIBLE, who did that?" I have never paged through a book and said, "Yuck, no one will buy this thing, the lettering is horrible."

I guess Joss' clever quote is trying to say that it's also the writing that's taking him a while. To that I say, work on one project at a time Mr. Whedon, you obviously can't handle your work load. The writing is almost never the reason for lateness on a comic book - its usually the artist or something with the printer and/or shipping problems. But almost never the writing, unless the writer is also doing the art, or the writer has some sort of life emergency. Hey Joss, committed to a 12-issue arc, then a break, then another 12-issue arc. Here's an idea, finish your first arc, then do another project, then do your second 12-issue arc, then do something else again. Marvel should be on your tail about the delays with this book, but Marvel seems to be pretty darn easy on lateness (check out the list of delays on the comics page of

I'd trade 17% less sucky for 100% on time, even for 90% closer to being on time. Or how about a compromise, 5% suckage for 95% closer to on time?

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