During this past week’s new comic book day DC Comics released two major comics in the form of Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes. Both were tapped to be the comic books that explored the fallout of two major events in the DC Universe. Those events were the death of Alfred Pennyworth during the “City of Bane” storyline and Superman revealing to the world he and Clark Kent are the same person. The problem is that both Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes highlighted DC Comics biggest problems. That problem is timing.
Whatever your opinions are on the death of Alfred Pennyworth and Superman revealing his secret identity there is no doubting they are major moments in the Dc Universe’s history. These are events that change a lot of things in terms of the status quo. For the Batman Family it could be said that they lost the heart of their family with Alfred’s passing. With the Superman reveal, Clark created a lot of questions for the direction of the superhero community and DC Universe at large.
Because of that it should be expected that they would be two of the most impactful things that have happened. Sadly that is not the case. The reason that is because DC Comics did not properly time the release of both Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes in relation to when these events took place.
First, taking a look at Alfred Pennyworth’s death that took place back in Batman #77, released on August 21, 2019. That is just under six months ago with eleven issues of Batman published during that period. Sure you could say that DC Comics wanted to wait until “City of Bane” was completed to release Batman: Pennyworth RIP. But why did we have to wait almost two months to get a comic book dedicated to the Batman Family dealing with the impact of Alfred’s death?
If that was not DC Comics also waited two months after Superman revealed to the world that he and Clark Kent are one and the same to the world in Superman #18 on December 11, 2019. This is after DC Comics and Brian Bendis heavily promoted this reveal the month prior. They made no secrets about this happening. While comics have touched on Superman’s big reveal since it happened Superman: Heroes was the first comic to be dedicated to all the reactions.
On their respective premises both Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes should’ve been two of the most important comic books to build out the future for DC Comics two most well-known heroes. But that just was not the case when both comic books released this past Wednesday. The fact is, DC Comics allowed too much time between what happened and when both Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes released. During that time the majority of fans already became accustomed to the new status quo for both the Batman and Superman franchise. So there was no way either comic book would have the same impact if say Batman: Pennyworth RIP came out on January 1st, the first Wednesday of the year and two weeks after Batman #85.
Now I fully understand that comic book publishing is not an easy job. There are many comic books that DC Comics are publishing every month. At the same time, when it comes to big moments like Alfred Pennyworth’s death and Superman’s identity reveal you must maximize their impact. That means having comics ready to enhance the major impact these stories have to the Batman and Superman franchises. Tapping into those emotions while they are still fresh with Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes would’ve added to how memorable these events are. But waiting several months to show their impact gave the opportunity for all those emotions that were felt to settle and the new normal to be already created with these status quo shifts.
At the end of the day Batman: Pennyworth RIP and Superman: Heroes are examples of how timing is everything. Both should’ve been much more meaningful comic books to enhance two of the biggest moments in the modern DC Universe. While there is no going back now hopefully we can see these types of comic books be positioned better on DC Comics release calendar in the future.
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