Whatever happened to comic books? Not so long ago, every kid had a favorite and there were at least a few titles at every newsstand. Now, there aren't even any newsstands.
DC Comics, in yet another attempt to pull kids away from Rugrats, Nintendo and the fireworks they stole from their older brothers, is introducing a one-shot comic that will retail for ... an embarrassing 10 cents, the price of a mini York peppermint pattie at the gas station.
The artist charged with limning this naked plea to our youth is Webster Groves resident Rick Burchett, the veteran known for drawing the stylized heroes of comics in Batman Adventures, Superman Adventures, Batman Beyond and other titles inspired by the look of the recent Warner Bros. cartoons of the same names.
Departing from what he describes as the "iconic, cartoony" style of these works, Burchett returns to the more typical musclebound-guys/boob-heavy-gals technique that comics have employed since day one. Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure, scripted by Greg Rucka, is also the beginning of yet another "crossover" gimmick, in which a single storyline is pursued through a slew of different titles. Those who want to follow each chapter of the unfolding adventure will have to buy a bunch of different comics from the same family.
"There's a storyline coming up at the beginning of this year called Bruce Wayne: Fugitive where there's a murder committed and it looks very much like Bruce Wayne committed it," explains Burchett. "To launch that storyline, they thought it would be a good idea to create a stand-alone issue that would introduce it. So it's also going to be a jumping-on point for people who don't normally read Batman or people who don't normally read comics."
Will kids indeed jump on this bandwagon of good, clean fantasy? Probably not. Yet the comics "are still a very viable, energetic art form," laments Burchett, "that needs a lot more attention than it's getting."