DC announced that their latest gimmick month today at ComicPRO, a "Five Years Later" skip month that will tie into their Future's End weekly series. All the comics coming out in September will show characters existing in "the potential future" shown in Future's End, which may or may not come to pass. The event month will spin off yet another major event (probably similar to the still ongoing Forever Evil) that will start in October. Of course, this also marks the return of the infamous 3D covers, which first appeared on last year's "Villains Month" covers. These 3D covers marked a nightmare for retailers, with orders allocated at random due to shortages in the lenticular material needed to produce the covers, and final order cut off dates changed and ultimately dropped.
This is sure to be a money maker for DC. Many comic stores I spoke to about the event noted that the books sold well due to the buzz and scarcity of the 3D covers, despite the fact that most of the books were panned by reviewers.
DC claimed in an interview with Newsarama that they've learned a bit from their past mistakes. DC is making 2D covers available to retailers, giving readers and stores a chance to opt out of the gimmick up front. They also dropped last year's horrendous decision to replace low selling titles with "Point" issues of more popular books, which resulted in several comics "quadruple" shipping last year, although few issues were written by their ongoing creative teams. All books coming out in September will be published under their own titles, although who'll be the creative team attached to them remains to be seen.
Despite this, it's just another gimmick designed to prop up DC's sales, one that forces readers to pick up an unrelated title (Future's End) to understand why their book has suddenly been launched into a dystopian future setting. In the Newsarama interview, Didio mentions that these 3D cover have a new "flicker" effect to them, and holds up the new effect as indicative of the themes of the line-wide jump. Given the quality of past gimmick month comics released by DC in September, I really doubt that the bulk of these comics will have any substance to them.
Make no mistake, these books will sell well, no matter how bumpy the road to getting these books will be. And the industry will die a little when they pick up the books, as readers will pick up these comics because of hype, and then read them and leave disappointed because DC will spend more time promoting a "flicker" on its cover rather than the quality of the story within. At this point, it's hard to even justify much trumped up outrage about this announcement because we all knew it was coming. This is the comic industry we've resigned ourselves to. I only wonder if the comic industry will be in as dire straits as the fictional DC Universe will be in five years.
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