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Episode 183

TBUCP E183 Pic

Apologies for the delayed episode, but we make up for it with almost an hour discussion related to TBU by the Numbers for January and the initial announcement of what Rebirth is. We also have in-depth reviews for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 and Batman and Robin Eternal #20-21. After covering Greater Gotham and going through the comments in The Bat Signal, we round out the episode looking for more staff. If you are interested in getting on board with TBU, be sure to email us at tbu@thebatmanuniverse.net. And be sure to leave your comment below! We will be back in just one week!


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  • Ian Miller

    A comment on pricing (that took me more time and math than probably warranted 🙂 – since late 2010, with the Draw the Line at 2.99 campaign (http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/10/dc-comics-to-lower-cover-prices-for-ongoing-titles-drop-co-features/), DC’s comics have had 20 pages of story (not including covers). I did a spot-check of story pages in the current Batgirl run and the Stephanie Brown Batgirl run (from 2009-2011) – both of them are running 20 pages of story per month, and are priced at 2.99, an average price per page of 15 cents per page (all calculations do not include covers). I don’t have the numbers for Snyder’s Batman run as precisely calculated, but I would say they are roughly 16 cents per page (basing page count on Comixology numbers), at the 3.99 per month price point. If DC keeps the page count at 20 pages of story (so 21 including the cover), it’s actually a tiny bit cheaper per page if they maintain the 20 pages per issue (or 40 pages per month) than the 22-26 pages at 3.99 per month.

    However, if they drop to 18-19 pages of story plus cover per month, it will jump to about 17 cents per page, which is an increase, as well as a decrease in storytelling space. However, I don’t think that’s the case, based on the Bleeding Cool analysis of the announcement (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/03/05/dc-comics-rebirth-the-bi-weekly-comics-will-still-be-20-pages-long-instorekickoff/). I think Jim Lee’s comments indicate that they’re staying at 20 pages, not dropping pages.

    Heck yeah to Dustin’s comment about Lobdell and Red Hood. Ugh. So terrible.

    Regarding Mother: I actually completely agree about issue 21 – I’ve loved Tynion’s other issues – 1, 6, 13, and 14 – especially 13, but 21 felt really unnecessary. Batman villains, instead of having superpowers, are generally supposed to represent some kind of psychological archtype. Mother is clearly trying to fit into that pattern, but isn’t as compelling as others. I really loved Roge Antonio’s art for Tim Seeley’s last issue (which is a big part of why my rating for that issue was so high). Tony Daniel’s involvement with the series has been pretty spotty, as you point out. And he’s not even the main artist for the final issue – Carlo Pagulayan is solicited as the main artist, but there are “others” listed, just like the final issue of the first Eternal series. Based on Pagulayan’s covers for the series (particularly #13, 22 and 23), I’m really excited to see what he does for the finale.

  • Owlman

    Hey, guys! Another great episode.

    I feel the same as you on the DK III storyline; that it’s not a Batstory, seemingly. We’ll see, I suppose. I’m
    thinking it’ll end up being a ‘gods versus men’ type of story. It might be bleak, but a city of Candor Supermen destroying all of the higher powers, to be defeated by the Cult of the Bat could really redeem some of the respect I lost after DK Strikes Again.

    I’d really hate to see Gleason lose his book. Son of Batman has been one of my favorites, and he’s done a terrific job of picking up Tomasi’s tenure, even managing to keep it in a kind of self-contained universe (the recurring silly Bat-fail villains from the original Nobody storyline). Btw, did you catch Tomasi’s nod to his former partner in Detective 50?

    Speaking of Detective, I think the artist forgot he was drawing Batman, and went for Daredevil….was Gordon wearing horns?!

    I have an idea for a discussion point I’d love to hear about. I’ve recently started branching out and started reading other titles from Bat-creators. I’ve read Tynion’s Memetic and Cognetic. In B&R Eternal and, to a lesser degree, the first Eternal, I noticed that Tynion seems to have a fascination with mind-altering reality (the Mother Mind Meld Method and the convenient Spyral Sattelite Memory Wipe in the current Eternal, the Gordon Gotcha in the first, and the events in Memetic/Cognetic). So now I’m on the lookout for writer tropes. Has this been discussed before? Have there been writers who seem to hone in on specific themes in the Batman Universe? Such as, I don’t know….Tomasi/Gleason’s emotional throughlines? Snyder’s trust issues with the BatFamily? Finch’s bad writing? If I’ve missed tropes like these, I would really love to hear about them so I can check them out.

    Thanks, guys


    P.S. Am I missing an inside joke with Stella? She frequently introduces herself with different names. What’s the story here?

  • Hey guys,

    I haven’t even finished the episode yet but a few comments.


    I don’t have a problem with any type of relaunch concept. To be honest in this day and age I think its probably healthy for a lot of books to do something like this. For a couple reasons: While we represent what has probably become the dominant market, being folks who’ve grown up with these characters and continued enjoying comic books into our 20’s and 30’s (40’s? Definitely!…not me though..quite yet), the major companies are in pretty big trouble as far as a wide fanbase. When the #1 selling book month after month is in the range of 120-150k, that’s not a very wide reach. If they want to get people on board, they need to provide jumping on points as well as keep characters updated for incoming generations of readers. That requires at the very least soft reboots from time to time. I’m a continuity fan, so I DON’T like seeing the slates completely wiped clean, but updating status quos, re-designs, stuff like that, I think it makes for compelling art from writers and pencilers and allows us not to be the last generation to follow these characters. In fact, I think it would make a lot of sense to just move to a year-long volume system for a lot of characters. 12 issues a volume, new #1’s every year. Just own it! Marvel is practically there already and DC, while they’ve painted themselves into a corner trying to reinforce their own mythology when they said that the New52 “would be here forever, we’re never going back” has clearly had some changes of heart. So I’m at least interested to see where Rebirth can take us, and here’s another reason why.

    Make no mistake about it, DC is fighting for their life.

    This episode you guys ran the numbers for January I believe. As an excercise I did a write-up for January’s books analysing the top 10 (I’ll post it if anyone is interested even though you’re own writer is doing an amazing job) but DC’s top 5 books in January didn’t sell as many copies COMBINED as Marvel’s top book. Also, DC only had two books in the top 25 and only 1 in the top 10. That’s fighting for your life numbers. In an industry that sold millions of copies of number 1’s in the 90’s that has been diminshed to single digits percent numbers from that time, if you want your company to be considered as part of the “Big 2” (and let’s face it, should be Big 3 at this point) then you’ve just got to do better than that.

    What bothers me is that DC isn’t putting up much of a fight. I’m a DC outsider, my DC-reading list consists exclusively of TBU books and an occasional Vertigo title. And even within the TBU books, as Dustin pointed out, we’ve got delays, fill-in artists, a Batman who’s spent the last year “deconstructed” and not knowing he’s Batman, don’t get me started on Construction-Worker-Chic Superman… Where’s the next issue of DKIII? And what, honestly, was the point of Batman Europa???? Even when they do release books on time and on-solicit-authentic, they’re acting as if it’s business as usual over there. I’ll grant that they’ve clearly noticed there is some sort of problem so they’re doing another Relaunch. And don’t get it twisted, it’s a relaunch. But they’ve got to start with the fundamentals. Make sure I get my books on time, make sure the artist you’ve told me is on the book is…and just do some consistent quality work! THEN we can talk about relaunches and new costumes and other stuff. But at this rate, I think the few people who are still reading are gonna be seriously considering not reading anymore. They’ve got to get things on an even keel.

    Just some thoughts.


    • Does Star Wars really count, though?

      • From a strictly sales standpoint? I think it does. But what are you referring to exactly… count how?

        • Ian Miller

          I don’t think it’s logical to compare a title which is tied to a different market – Batman and the Justice League are competing against Spiderman and the Avengers, not Star Wars. Different demographics – even moreso than the usual DC vs Marvel demographics. So when you say that DC’s titles don’t sell as well as Marvel’s top title, I think it’s not a terribly useful comparison. In terms of how well the companies are doing, sure, it’s important, but in terms of what DC could do to compete, there’s literally no property that DC could acquire at this time (that I can think of) which would compete with Star Wars.

          • I’m not trying to cut anyone down specifically, I could go into a rant about my issues with Marvel just as quickly, so if you like I could keep Star Wars out of it, but by that logic you almost have to keep DKIII out of it which sold an astounding 400k+ copies of issue 1. You can insert another Marvel title there if you like but it doesn’t change the facts really. And I guarantee that when Jim Lee and Geoff Johns see the numbers, they don’t leave Star Wars out of it…which incidentally, is here to stay. It’s been over a year Marvel’s been putting out Star Wars titles and they are killing it, both from a DC perspective and from where Marvel’s “home” properties are concerned. If Batman v Superman isn’t DC’s closest thing to Star Wars (and I’m not saying it’s the same, but closest) then I don’t know what is.

  • Ian Miller

    You have a solid point with Star Wars vs. DKIII, except Star Wars is a property whose latest film make 2 billion worldwide, while Dark Knight’s last two films (Man of Steel and Dark Knight Rises) made less than half that (600 million and 1 billion respectively). Plus, as Dustin has pointed out, DKIII’s ridiculously high sales largely come from variants, and while Star Wars definitely benefitted from variants, it’s still maintaining much higher numbers than DKIII (or any DC property). I don’t think you can compare the two – the person who started buying comics for Star Wars is not the same person who will buy comics because of Batman v Superman. There will be a bit of overlap, but not a huge amount.

    You’re also right that Marvel’s non-Star Wars titles are doing better than DC’s in general, but while I do think that’s largely because they’ve gotten a better marketing strategy than DC (their reboot vs. DC’s Convergence/DC You fiasco), I still think the more useful comparison is Spider-man and The Avengers. (Also, looking at Comichron for January, I’m not seeing the “Marvel’s top book outselling DC’s top five books combined” – which title is that?)

    • You know what, I apologize for the “top 5 vs #1” comment, its not quite the case and I was looking at December and January at the same time and mixing up some of the information, so I take that back. But it is just about right to say that DC’s top 3 books are just a slight margin of sales higher than Marvel’s top book (again, I’m not trying to say that Marvel is doing something better here, its just the example that makes sense to use) and that’s only if you count Batman/Turtles which must have some kind of split on revenue with IDW. I apologize for giving misleading numbers but I think my overall point is still valid; DC has some intrensic issues when they only have one book in the top ten (that’s definitely a January statistic;))

      Also for the record, you would think Star Wars is getting an unnatural boost right now. Turns out the main book has been in the top ten all of last year and hasn’t dipped under 140k sold until just now, oddly enough; in January they clocked 118k.

      Sorry again for the misleading info. It wasn’t my intention.

  • Bill Heuer

    Great podcast as usual. A few things I wanted to bring up:
    -Is there any chance that the rise in Titan’s Hunt’s numbers being due to the release of season 2 of Young Justice on Netflix? Not to mention the big push to get the third season underway at Netflix.
    -Dustin, great prediction with Snyder on Trinity. I was going to say on the last podcast that him being on Wonder Woman seemed to be a likely move with how much he talks about a great story he has for her. He’s proven to sell Batman and Superman stories individually so it would be a natural fit for DC to put him there.
    -I was actually disappointed in Tony Daniel’s issue…not because of his art..but because it was a random filler/flashback issue about Mother. I like the way Daniel draws both Batman and Robin and other Gotham characters and this issue felt like a waste of his talent in an already minimal (Dustin said it best with “piss-poor”) showing in this year of Eternal. For a writer to headline a major story like Eternal series, how many issues should they actually pencil for do you think?

    • Ian Miller

      Bill, I completely agree with you. The issue was a rare misfire for Tynion – usually his issues are a highlight of the series, but this one just felt really unnecessary, except perhaps for finding out why Batman left Harper alone.

      I would say that if you are the “lead” artist for a weekly series, either you should do the first issue, the last issue, and several issues to start out the series (requiring a fairly intense lead-time – at least three months), like they started to do with Jason Fabok in the first Eternal, who did the first three issues pretty much solo, and did a couple more, but unfortunately, he was on Justice League when the series ended, so the final issue didn’t have his work, which was a big disappointment for me. The other way I can see someone being a “lead” artist on a series is having them do the first issue of each month, and the final issue – that way every month starts out with the art style defined. In terms of schedulling, a comic a month is pretty much what most professional comic artists have to do anyway, so I don’t think that would be a problem. However, being able to draw an issue every four issues without having your head explode from all the missing story between your issues might be very challenging, which is why I think DC tried to go with the first model I proposed.

      Sadly, neither model seems to be working very well at all for the weekly. Which does not bode well for the bi-weeklies.