Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Denial and Other Rivers in Egypt

Is there a policy at Comic Book Resources against interview questions that might be misconstrued as coming from a journalistically tainted perspective? Or is it one of the conditions imposed by DC Comics on fan sites seeking to talk to talent through official channels that no such questions be asked?

In an article posted today, CBR's Kiel Phegley talks to writer Ian Edginton about the WildStorm Universe series StormWatch: PHD.* As usual, the plot is discussed a lot, as are Edginton's long-term plans for StormWatch. "We'll get there by my twelfth or fourteenth issue," he says about an upcoming plot point. Phegley closes the interview observing that, "with so much going on, nothing seems off the table for the future of Stormwatch: PHD."

Now, that's all good and well. The piece might as well have been produced by DC's marketing department, of course, but that's hardly a new development for the big comics news sites.

Even so, I'm still baffled. With all this talk about the book's "future" and what's going to come up nine months down the road, not once does the question of sales arise. From the look of things, plainly, StormWatch: PHD won't be around nine months down the road. The November issue sold an estimated 6,824 units, and at the present rate of its sales decline, literally no one would be left reading the book in a year's time.

I'm not suggesting that this is something Edginton should be grilled about. But surely, he must be aware of the situation. Surely, this is a point of concern if you're even remotely interested in the book. Addressing the big white elefant in the room would at least give its writer the opportunity to share his thoughts on how it affects his approach to his work. Cheerfully talking about all kinds of possible future storylines while it's very plain that the next issue might as well be the last just strikes me as bizarre and morbid, in this context; not to mention insulting - not only to the website's audience, but also to Edginton himself.

)* I should clarify that you can't tell whether it really was a conversation, though, thanks to CBR's tendency of running quotations randomly interspersed with paraphrasing by their writers, instead of straight-up question/answer pieces.

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