3. Suprise Over Girl Geeks
Are we still having this "girls are geeks too" conversation? Yes, because as long as folks like Tony Harris demand some kind of hard evidence as to a woman's completely unquantifiable geekdom (which a lack thereof is apparently 100% forgivable if she'll just put out), then it's definitely a conversation that still needs to happen.
It's tough for me to evaluate here in Austin, where all of the local comic shops have female employees (and most have more than one!) and any given trip to a store will see a 50/50 gender split. When I hear "girls are geeks too," my knee jerk reaction is to say, "well, duhhh." Girls are sports fans. Girls like roller coasters. Girls enjoy MMA. I don't think any of that is weird. Girls are people, and people like different stuff, to put it moronically.
Sites like The Mary Sue are fighting the good geek fight (and beyond that, providing great content regardless of gender), but I'd like to see the conversation come to an end. Not because I don't think it's a big deal, but because I don't understand why, in 2012, this is still a big deal. Fans come in all forms, with varying degrees of interest in the stuff that interests them. I'm hoping for a future in which "...for a girl" stops ending fanboys' sentences; one where "I'd do her" isn't the Official Dude Seal of Approval for celebratory cos-play. Let's stop being fanboys and start being fanmen. Ahem.
2. Digital Pricing
I can buy an actual, physical comic for $2.99 or I can "rent" a digital copy of the same book for the exact same price. I can't loan this book out, and there's no guarantee that my digital copy will exist in any form if the company that provides the technology to read it either changes the tech or folds entirely. I understand that on one level, the price point is to provide an even playing field between the digital realm and the brick and mortar local comic stores, but in the app world - where sophisticated video games sell for a buck - that $2.99 price tag seems unreasonable.
The bad good news? Comixology boasted that they were the third highest-grossing application of 2012. That means a lot of people are reading digital comics, maybe more than the big two are letting on. That also means that their price points are working, and they have no good reason to drop the price. That's a shame, because in truth, I think I'd be sampling more books, supplementing my regular off-the-rack purchases, a little more often if the price made more sense to me. Surely I can't be alone.
1. DC Comics
There was a lot of behind-closed-doors weirdness at DC this year. I don't know why Karen Berger stepped down from Vertigo. I don't know why Gail Simone was fired (and re-hired). I don't know why a slew of creators, from Rob Liefeld to George Perez (and a handful of others), felt hamstrung by the editorial staff, to the point that they cut ties with the company. I was mortified when Brian Azzarello was informed by an embarrassed podcast host that DC had no interest in continuing his new Vertigo book Spaceman beyond its initial mini-series. I don't know how the cancellation of certain titles was leaked to the press before the public or, worse, even before the books' creators were notified.
What I do know is that Before Watchmen was a middle finger across a burned bridge, with the quality of the books being irrelevant in a greater discussion about a creator saying, "please, don't" and the people in control ignoring those wishes in the pursuit of a cash mountain. I know that "Zero Month" was a bust - a slew of confused, if not downright rancid, origin issues - meant to be a jumping-on point for new readers that actually halted the momentum of their respective titles and provided many readers an excellent opportunity to jump off. I know that the New 52 introduction of Shazam may be one of the most off-putting reboots of all time - transforming eternally wide-eyed orphan Billy Batson into an insufferable shithead.
I've never considered dropping an entire publisher before, but I love DC, I really do. I read at least a half-dozen of their books on a regular monthly basis. But when it comes down to it, I'd choose a smooth-running ship where creative voices are valued to any particular brand loyalty, and DC isn't giving off the appearance of a smooth running ship. My advice? Give up this ludicrous devotion to 52 monthly books. It's a meaningless number now that the re-launch is over, and the market just isn't supporting that number of superhero monthlies from a single publisher. Next step, don't put the properties before the talent. If you put the talent before the properties, then the properties shine (case in point, Grant Morrison on Action, Snyder & Capullo on Batman). If you put the properties first, where it doesn't matter who's on a book - just that the book is getting made every month, you end up with weak, directionless comics that exist only to keep a brand name on life-support.
Note that this isn't a "worst of" list, just a disappointed one. Nothing would please me more than to see DC re-evaluate their current situation, strengthen their line, and come back swinging in 2013. Here's hoping.