Over the weekend my boys talked me into visiting our local comic shop. It turned out to be one of our largest hauls, and surprisingly the most cost cost effective one to date.
Included in my bag was the complete 4 issue Shot Gun Wedding from Image, which I scored at a generous discount. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it seemed intriguing. An assassin leaves another assassin at the alter and then gets engaged to someone else. I’m guessing not everyone lives through this one.
I’ve certainly bought other titles with less sophisticated concepts. I mean my original reason for buying Ninjak was because the main character is a spy AND a ninja. (Note: there were better reasons for why I kept buying subsequent issues).
I enjoyed Shot Gun Wedding.
But then I checked a few reviews online which basically said I shouldn’t have. Shame on me.
Those negative reviews got me thinking about vanilla ice cream. I mean you can have an ice cream shop with hundreds of flavors including 10 new flavors to replace cancelled flavors and occaisionally re-
bootbrand a few fan favorites to generate some attention. But no matter how amazing the selection is, an ice cream shop will always need to have vanilla and probably a substantial amount of it.
Same holds true with comic books, or really any story telling medium. Readers need a selection of stories that are enjoyable. I mean sometimes after a long day of herding spreadsheets, we just need to read an uncomplicated story about a heartbroken assassin coping with public humiliation the only way she knows how (it’s not knitting).
That’s not to discourage writers and artists from pushing boundaries and telling complex stories about complex characters in their complex worlds struggling against complex villains that are so complicated you wonder if they are the real heros in the story. But man, I spent at least 6 hours the other day figuring out an absurd sequence of vlookups with 8 layers of mind bending conditional logic. Not to mention the 4 hours of meeting about the importance of the spreadsheet that this demon function possessed.
After a day like that, my mind can barely comprehend the straight forward concept of two international assassins getting married in Nebraska. I’m not exactly ready for a literary masterpiece that will take 10 minutes to read but a lifetime to appreciate. (I still want those too. Yes. I want all the ice cream in the shop including vanilla.)
In any case, two criticisms emerged in the reviews that still have me perplexed: 1) it was black and white. 2) it was released weekly.
To me this all fits together very nicely. It’s a quick and enjoyable 4 issue mini-series. But not something you’d want to compete directly against similar titles in the genre Velvet or Thief of Thieves. So it has to compete in some other ways. Like…
- Release it weekly to keep it fresh in the audience’s mind. I’m sure it sold way more as a weekly over the course of 1 month than it would have sold monthly over the course of 4 months.
- Improve the chances of netting a profit by printing in B&W
I don’t understand how either of those things earned the story less favorable reviews.
I honestly wish there were more stories of this quality and in this format available. I’d prefer if the cover price was the more along the lines of what I paid with the discount, but I get it. It goes to #2 and if there were more stories in this format that sold, I’m sure the price would be lower.
The only minor thing that detracted in the story, was an out of place “I love you” in the last issue. Otherwise, it was a really enjoyable story.
Will I read this to my Children
I always end a review with this little conclusion, even for reviews of stories about heartless assassins who ironically have their hearts broken. The answer is still no.