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    Mike Gold on Action Comics Weekly

    How Times Change
    A Q+A with Action Comics Weekly editor Mike Gold

    The most recent attempt at a weekly comic was in 1989 when the popular Superman title Action Comics (DC) changed from a monthly format. The experiment lasted less than a year and went 42 issues deep. We talked with Action Comics Weekly editor Mike Gold about the experience and how he’d do it differently now.

    What was the hardest part about producing a weekly comic?
    Going in we thought it would be hitting our deadlines. But since, in those days, most comics stories came into the office in one-thirds (seven or eight page increments), it really didn’t prove to be a problem. We had back-up material on standby, but I don’t recall our ever having to use it. Maybe in the case of one cover, but our cover coordinator Bobby Greenberger was always well on top of it.

    How did you overcome it?
    By solid organization and, of course, by inducing panic on our production department. But they, too, were cool. Bob Rozakis ran a tight ship.

    How did you enforce deadlines?
    I thought that by spreading out the features to a wide variety of editors would allow each editor to manage each feature’s deadlines. From an organizational standpoint, it worked. From an organizational standpoint.

    From an organizational standpoint it worked, but did it not work so well in other areas?
    Well, I think what worked from an organizational standpoint didn’t work as well from an editorial standpoint. So many editors, each with his or her team’s appropriate vision, lead to a book that was editorially kind of skittish. It didn’t have a firm identity.

    Mind you, it accomplished what we set it out to accomplish. It was an experiment, and from a financial perspective only the very last issue lost money. The publisher was very annoyed when I wanted to cancel it. We set out to accomplish several goals: provide a home for Green Lantern, whose book was getting cancelled, provide a launchpad for several important DC characters like The Demon, Deadman, Black Canary, and Blackhawk, and to provide opportunities for good writers and artists to do something different or get a shot at something they always wanted to do — some of whom were newcomers to DC. Originally we were going to call it Adventure Comics Weekly, but at the last minute I was told we would call it Action Comics Weekly because they wanted to get past the Superman team-up format of Action. So I hurriedly asked Mike Carlin if he could provide us with a regular two-part Superman feature like the old Superman Sunday newspaper strips, and since we thought it would be a great place for Curt Swan to do a little more Man of Steel action, the Big Red S got to stay in his ancestral birthplace.

    So if I had to do it all over again, I think I’d put it in the hands of one very tight editorial team which shared a strong common vision and had no other responsibilities. But I fear that superhero anthology comics are like buggy whips; readers are uncomfortable with the format. Not the “weekly” part, the “anthology” part. That’s a shame. I really loved the original 2000 A.D. comic in Britain, and I’ve kept the first couple hundred issues in my personal collection.

    And, of course, I wouldn’t come out against Marvel’s launch of a bi-weekly Wolverine comic.

    Posted by Tim Leong on May 4th, 2006 filed in Story Archive |

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