Is a Cry for Justice Fix on the Way?

May 3rd, 2010 by | Tags: ,

For the last few years, DC has had a ‘Sunday Conversation’ panel at the end of Wonder-Con.  Although by that time I’m usually fishing around in my back for snacks I might have forgotten about last week and stealing extra paper towels from the bathrooms to use as tissues due to the first ugly stirrings of that year’s Con Crud, I always go. 

Basically, it’s a random assortment of DC people to come by and talk about comics.  No announcements.  No selling anything.  They just sit around and talk about the old comic book stores they used to haunt, what parts of comics they love, and some banter with the audience.  It’s just yakking about comics, which is why most of us go to cons in the first place.

This year, however, I heard JT Krul talk about fan involvement, and how they try to work out the best stories.  He mentioned that at a previous con, Dan Didio had come to him and told him that the Cry for Justice story reaction really wasn’t what they had wanted, and that they had worked for five hours on how to respond, story-wise.

As someone who has grown out of her juvenile, “They all just sit around, stroking white cats and laughing and figuring out how to piss off the fans,” phase, but is still plenty juvenile enough to throw tantrums about storylines, especially that one, the remark caught my attention.

I know that comics creators want to write a good story, and also a popular story.  Although I’ve seen gallows humor from people who had made some unpopular calls, everyone wants their work, and their vision, to be enjoyed by everyone.  I also no that they never get that.  There is no story so safe, so brilliant, and so popular that it doesn’t have a few people frothing at the mouth.

While Cry for Justice continuity had more than its share of detractors, I’ve seen at least some support for it almost everywhere.  I wonder, what is it that makes creators decide to ‘work’ on a story they’ve already planned?  It can’t be just fan reaction.  Spend the entire day measuring that, and you won’t get anything else done.  Trust me. 

Is it the overall scale of the reaction, or the vehemence?  Is it how long it’s sustained?  Or whether stop the usual tongue baths that they give out at conventions and start complaining when they meet creators face-to-face?  Is it the way people point the finger of blame at different people, or is it whether or not they use that old, “I’m not buying DC/Marvel/Boom/comics anymore!” 

. . . Oh, let’s face it.  If I knew, there’s no way that I’d use that knowledge wisely.

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17 comments to “Is a Cry for Justice Fix on the Way?”

  1. Are you sure he said New York Con? There hasn’t been one since Cry for Justice started.

    Me, even when the story’s terrible, I say creators should never change course mid-stream. Write your story, and if people hate it, suck it up. Either pick a new direction when it’s done or keep on keeping on.

  2. @david brothers: Damnit, I’ll change it to ‘previous con.’ I know he said ‘con’ and that they were talking about Cry for Justice for five hours. By the timing it looks like Emerald, but I can’t say for sure.

    And I have to disagree with you. If you’re not getting the reaction you want, it seems dumb to just keep going. Some stories are just for the creator, but most are aimed at sharing a story with people. If something isn’t coming across the way you want it to, it’s time to take a look at what you can do to make it work the way you want it to.

  3. I’m betting Oliver Queen becomes a White Lantern and zaps Prometheus back to life.

  4. I can only imagine that any “Fix” for JUSTICE would work the same way the Spoiler “fix” worked–“Oh, never mind then. Here, everything’s back to normal.”

  5. I don’t know if I’m misreading, but his statements seem to infer that the fix came about during the writing of Cry for Justice itself, and maybe the initial comments about the comic made the creative team tweak the story so there would stronger reactions rather than mild apathy, thus leading to the events of the last issue.

    Please clarify if I am mistaken.

  6. Considering Didio has publicly stated that they are happy with Cry for Justice and the reaction that the finale received, either Krul was referring to something else about the series (like what @Discount Lad was saying), or Krul is soon to be out of work at DC for speaking out of turn. I’m guessing @Discount Lad is on to something.

    That said, obviously DC isn’t listening that much since their numbers continue to drop and many fans have expressed their displeasure with DC online.

  7. @david brothers: That seems an odd statement for someone who has said they liked Miller’s DKR sequel…

  8. @Discount Lad: It was my impression that it was after the last issue of Cry for Justice. Krul wasn’t working directly on the Cry for Justice story, just the Rise and Fall series.

    I did contact DC regarding what he said, but they declined an interview.

    @KentL: Well, it did get nominated for an Eisner.

    That would kind of depress me, since the entire story made me feel warmer towards the story. I like that creators want to make stories that please their fans.

    I’ve seen more than a few throw a tantrum all, “I don’t *care* what you think! You’re just *fans*.” It’s not endearing.

  9. @OnimaruXLR: I would actually be perfectly happy with that.

  10. @LurkerWithout: Why is it odd? It’s clear that Miller told the story he wanted to tell in DKR and DKSA, which were two separate, but related, tales. The difference between the two is in style and approach. He didn’t write DKSA like he did because some dude online hated DKR.

    @Esther Inglis-Arkell: I think that all stories are aimed at sharing a story with people, but the authors don’t have a responsibility to make stories people like. Their responsibility begins and ends with “telling a story.” After that, it is up to the fans to interpret and enjoy as they will. But, fans should never, ever have any input on the direction of the story, barring the old “Who am I writing for?” thing.

    It seems like every time someone has changed lanes mid-stream in comics, the story has suffered for it. The most common example is Armageddon 2001, where the identity of the big villain changed after someone leaked it early and word got around. I hate that that happens. If a writer starts a certain story, let him finish it and clean up after. I guess it’s kind of how in journalism, the editorial and advertising departments stay segregated. I think editorial and fandom in comics should do the same.

  11. @david brothers: Well, there are some technicalities. What if ‘your’ story is actually editorial mandate? And in a serial, where does one story end and another begin?

    But I still disagree with you on principle. Sticking to your guns is sometimes the right option, and of course you shouldn’t listen to every bag of nuts out there, but everyone needs a little editing once in a while, and fans can do that.

    If people overwhelmingly tell you that you haven’t established something as a tragic event, or a plausible explanation, or an interesting development, then it seems silly to proceed as if you had.

  12. I think Lurker may be referring to the tweaking Miller did to the story after 9/11, which affected him so much he completely rewrote issue #3, IIRC. That’s the only reasoning I can guess at there.

    I maintain the only real “fix” to CFJ is for James Robinson and his editors to be told their services are no longer needed. On any DC book.

  13. @Dan Coyle: Man you sure like demanding people be fired from companies for the “crime” of bad writing. But, anyway yes I was referring to the fact that Miller supposedly rewrote the entire last act of DKSA, though the “because of 9/11” is a new one to me. I’d heard it was just because he wasn’t liking the reaction the earlier issues were getting…

  14. @david brothers: The difference is, authors who work for a living do have a responsibility to make stories people like. The responsibility to the bottom line. People don’t buy their stuff, sales start dropping, and the big bosses start looking to change things up. Combine that with an unpopular storyline, and you’d see a new writer in short order.

  15. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: All stories in corporate comics are editorial mandate to a certain degree. While some are like McDuffie’s run on JLA, where it’s more like musical chairs, my understanding is that Cry for Justice was the more reasonable “Hey, hit these story points, we need to setup a storyline for 2010.” I think that the editing of authors should come from editors.

    The only input fans should get is “I like this, and I paid 2.99 for it” or “I don’t like this, and thus did not read it.” I think once you start trying to actively please a specific subset of fans, beyond going “I think fans will like this,” you’re going to end up running aground. For every fan who doesn’t like something, there is another who does. Who do you listen to? Some people like the overdone, overdrawn Arsenal book. I think Blackest Night has some story-breaking problems. I think Mark Millar is wack. Both of them do very well commercially and tons of people like them. The Arsenal book did good numbers for a Green Arrow title. Who do you listen to? Us or them? Me or you?

    @PMMDJ: “Stories people like” and “stories that sell” are often two different things, and both DC and Marvel have demonstrated that they publish what makes money, not what people like. How long did Chuck Austen write Uncanny X-Men/X-Men? Jeph Loeb is still a high profile writer. If sales drop, things will change, but if it’s just people going “This sucks, why do they do this, I hate this” at the register while buying the book, no one is going to listen.

  16. Lurker without: Miller said in an NPR interview that when 9/11 hit, he had drawn the scene where the bomb went off in Metropolis, and it became very difficult to continue with what he had planned, understandably. TBH, I think the time he took to rewrite #3 resulted in a better comic book. #3 is more focused and interesting than the previous 2 (which focus on Superman’s humiliaton to an almost pornographic degree). I still think it’s a failure- I’m incapable of seeing what guys like David and Sean Collins see in it- but it’s not a complete failure.

  17. Not to start any arguments, but what exactly needs to be “fixed” in Cry for Justice? It’s a story, not some framework model! I hear that all the time coming from people, and my perplexed thoughts never change.

    For the record, I just read it today (I was out of comics all last year) and loved it! I’m 95% DC in my comic tastes, and I loved every issue of it. The story was interesting, the Prometheus swerve in issue 6 was shocking, the fight was exhilarating, Lian’s death was tragic, and the conclusion has had me daydreaming all day. This is what good fiction is always trying to accomplish.

    I can’t wait to see the aftermath of this on the JLA & Green Arrow. In this era of retroactive creativity & “Resurrection Central”, I’d like to see things happen in the comic stories that can be built upon…rather than everything needing to be “fixed” somehow (reconning has become tired and irritating).