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Are Delays a Good or Bad Thing?

We take a look at both sides of the "delayed comic" debate.

There's no better feeling than walking into the comic book store on a Wednesday afternoon, finding your favorite books, buying them, and reading them in your favorite chair. Like many readers, I have a few books I like more than any of the other books I read. Those are the books I get excited for most of all. The fans of these books are usually extremely supportive of the writers, artists, and the companies that publish the comics, but what happens when the comics don't come out when they are scheduled to come out?
There's nothing worse than walking into the comic book store and realizing your favorite book isn't coming out this week. On occasion, for many reasons, a comic book can be delayed. It affects the reader in many different ways. Of course, you'll be bummed out if you don't get your book on time, but some people get so mad that they'll stop reading a book altogether. It's a bit harsh, but comic book fans are passionate about reading. Delays are not a new thing, and they're not on the rise anymore than they have been for the past 10 years, but they're just as aggravating as ever. What causes these delays though? 

== TEASER ==
There are numerous possible reasons for delays. The one reason most fans are used to is that a writer or artist isn't meeting his or her deadline. This is probably the most common of the all the reasons. Most times, it's understandable. I'm not trying, in any way, to underplay the amount of work writers and arists put into a book, especially since their is so much detail within a piece of writing or art.
Before we get all up-in-arms about artists, do something for me. Take a current book, any one will do, and compare the art to early Marvel or DC books, even something Jack Kirby did. The amount of detail going into art now-a-days makes older books look archaic, even though it's from roughly 40 years ago. It's essentially comparing "the wheel" to a Dodge Challenger. As for the writing side of things, stories are infinity more complex than they used to be. In stead of one-issue stories, we have arcs that span years now with a deep, deep continuity. It's a lot for writers to think about. That being said, many delays can be forgivable overall because the workload for both writers and artists can be great.

 Which picture of Cap (from pencils to inking to color) do you think took longer to complete?
 Which picture of Cap (from pencils to inking to color) do you think took longer to complete?
There are a few other factors in the delay world that aren't as normal. The first is a problem at the printers. This happens very rarely, and sometimes, the company will still put the book out if the problem at the printer is small. The other bigger problem is shipping. Sometimes the distribution of the book never makes it to the comic book store. Usually, it's just a problem at that individual store, but sometimes it can affect a whole region. There are some other delay scenarios, but these four are your main ones.

 3 year delay... Strangely enough, it was worth it.
 3 year delay... Strangely enough, it was worth it.
Here's my number one problem with massive delays. When it comes to the writer or artist delaying a book. It seems like the person responsible for said delays is never punished. Yes, I'm condoning punishing people that delay comic books, and here's why. Like many people around the world, I go to work every single day, and on occasions I get sick. I may take a day off, or at worst, two days off of work. No big deal, but if I took a month off or even more, I'd be fired and someone else would take my job. Sometimes you'll see books get delayed months, and on a few rare occasions ( Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk), the delay can be years.
Putting aside situations where there is either a family or health crisis, I've heard numerous times of something minor coming up in a writer or artists' life (moving, new baby, marriage) and the book will be delayed for quite a long time. The thing that gets me is in the digital age, you can draw, ink, color, and write books all from your own home. You really don't have to go anywhere to do your job, assuming you have a home studio if you're an artist. Aside from that, many people that work have these same problems, yet they still get to work every single day without a problem. What has bugged me more than anything was a few years back when an artist for a popular DC book was tweeting that he didn't have time to meet deadlines for a book because he was playing Xbox. A giant facepalm moment.
When it comes down to it, I despise delays, and my first reaction is to stomp my feet about it, like a child, and scream about it on the intrawebs, but overall, they can be seen as a positive thing. As you saw above, art is a lot more complex than it used to be and so is writing. Would you rather have some poorly put together fill-in story for a couple issues (which does happen more than you think) while waiting for your book to come out, or would you rather wait through a delay to get the same quality of book you're accustomed to? Personally, I'd rather wait because I hate rushed fill-in issues. However, if it comes down to massive delays that are more than 2-3 months, I'd rather take the fill-in issues to get me by, even if they are sub-par. What do you guys think about delays? Are they worth it? What delayed book moment sticks out in your mind the most?
Mat "InferiorEgo" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, writer, and comic store employee
Follow his madness on twitter: @ inferiorego
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Avatar image for leokearon
Posted by leokearon

I don't like delays, either comics or video games, but they do happen so I get mad and then move on and wait for it to come out. What I hate though is when something is delayed with out reason given.
Avatar image for edwardwindsor
Edited by EdwardWindsor

Depends on the result of the delay, i would rather have something solid and wait then get a rushed half assed job. For example the new league of extraordinary gentlemen book has been delayed twice. Am i worried no since its being fine tuned  am i unhappy that i have to wait sure but its part of the system.

Avatar image for dh69
Edited by DH69

when its an american holiday i get pretty pissed off that they delay comic books. also i've been waiting on about 5 games that should have been out months/years ago and they all keep getting delay


and right now they delayed avengers children crusade issue 5 till april so they could release a side story in march of them in the future which bored the crap out of me and really added nothing to the experience, what makes it even worse is the fact that childrens crusade is bi-monthly so they're just adding to the torment

Avatar image for soldier_zero
Posted by soldier_zero

Delays are part of the game, as such one can't do much about them. Still some publisher abouse this status delaying their titles time and time again, up to the point that the audince became sick with it (remeber what Image was used to do in the 90s).
Obviously the delay can be caused by tons of factors, both foreseen and unforseen, some understandable and controllable, others not so much. The work of a good publisher is also to check in and reduce the foreseen favotr to a minimum.

Avatar image for _o0johnny0o_
Posted by .o0Johnny0o.

This is why I don't have a pull list.  I know when I go in every week I'm gonna look at a list of everything that's just come in and pick from that list.  I know if I knew something was coming a month or so in advance I'd get bummed it's not there. 

Avatar image for duo_forbidden
Edited by Duo_forbidden

I'm looking at Batwoman.  -_-*
But seriously, most of the time, comic book delays are something I don't stress over as much as other things. I think it's because I'm a little bit older/have other things to do with my time/delays help me save money lol. Now, if one series was delayed multiple times (Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk) I can understand people being upset. I usually get upset when a series that I like get canceled and it's not because of delays.

Avatar image for tdk_1997
Posted by TDK_1997

I hate delays but if my book is delayed it will not make stop reading the book.

Avatar image for eyz
Posted by Eyz

Isn't the current record for delays hold by the Batwoman title? XD

Avatar image for out_of_space
Posted by Out_of_Space

I don't like delays but sometimes there a good thing.

Avatar image for nightfang3
Posted by NightFang3
@leokearon said:
" I don't like delays, either comics or video games, but they do happen so I get mad and then move on and wait for it to come out. What I hate though is when something is delayed with out reason given. "
Avatar image for jlea244
Posted by jlea244

i ordered kick ass 2 #2 in novembers and its still not been drawn, mainly because john romita jr is so bust with the avengers (i hate his art on the avengers)

Avatar image for billy_batson
Posted by Billy Batson
I don't like delays but if they improve what they are doing then it's ok.
Avatar image for dh69
Posted by DH69
@jlea244 said:
"i ordered kick ass 2 #2 in novembers and its still not been drawn, mainly because john romita jr is so bust with the avengers (i hate his art on the avengers) "

well it comes out tmrw so atleast you have that to look forward to :), excluding the romita artwork :p
Avatar image for frobin
Posted by Frobin

When the output is amazing like for example in case of The Ultimates 1 & 2 (which always had delays) -> it's totally ok, as long as the next issue is within range and not canceled or delayed somewhere down the road.
In fact there's too much stuff out there at the moment that lets me think: could have been done better - should have been thought out better - done in a hurry, needs a revision. 
There's nothing out there at the moment that comes close to the quality of the early Ultimate Marvel comics like The Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men or the early issues of Ultimate FF, like first 20 issues of New Avengers, the first volume of The Authority (Wildstorm), Civil War (though I've hated the finish), Secret Invasion (though it had its flaws), Dark Avengers, JLA of Morrison/Porter/Dell, Cry of Justice ... 
... stuff like this allows delays ... 
So, more delays please!

Avatar image for darkjayven
Posted by Darkjayven

I think it odd that in this post about delays in comics no one was has mention All-Star Batman and Robin. More than 5 years for two issues? At this why hasn't anybody said anything about finishing that series yet?

Avatar image for sevangrim
Posted by SevanGrim

 Delays are only good if the title hasnt started yet.letting them build up so there wont be more delays later, and allowing titles when everyone else is taking a break: good. damn good.
 starting a comic and then making the public wait weeks or months or.... YEARS..... with no or poor explanation: very bad.

Avatar image for kungnima
Edited by kungnima

Delays are crappy.
And I agree. It's their job. If they are really busy with alot of books, they could always give one of the titles to someone else.

Avatar image for haydenclaireheroes
Posted by haydenclaireheroes

i hate delays. 

Avatar image for craigbo180
Posted by craigbo180

They don't really affect me because I mostly read trades because I don't have any local comic shops. Speaking of which I have never read ultimate wolverine vs hulk... that sounds right up my alley!

Avatar image for hahamanhv
Posted by HaHaManHV

Okay, I was totally with you until you said that having a baby is something minor in a writer's life. Having a child is anything but minor

Avatar image for haloking343
Posted by HaloKing343

I mean delays can be annoying. Sometimes when things are delayed too long they lose the excitement so it isn't as good, you know? But most of the time, I mean, it doesn't really effect the story, just the anticipation for it.
Avatar image for starkiller809
Posted by StarKiller809

Batman: The Dark Knight delay was very annoying and Batwoman's delay is mking me a little upset. There was a whole month where Batman Inc and Batman: The Dark Knight whern't coming out.
Avatar image for zao_89
Posted by zao_89

Ultimate X. Enough said.

Avatar image for innervenom123
Posted by InnerVenom123

This post has been delayed. It should be here next month.

Avatar image for silverzeo
Posted by SilverZeo

As long as they're not over hype or something part of a promotional gimick. After all, Superman "Last Son"'s finale  took months to finish, and it provided Chris some extra time on earth.

Avatar image for inferiorego
Posted by inferiorego
@HaHaManHV said:
" Okay, I was totally with you until you said that having a baby is something minor in a writer's life. Having a child is anything but minor "
minor compared to death or sickness that isn't the common cold.
Avatar image for jloneblackheart
Posted by jloneblackheart

I was just thinking the other day: Anyone remember Image United?

Avatar image for doctor_____
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

depends if its a game.... I want my games!

Avatar image for irishx
Posted by IrishX

These guys are extremely lucky to be making money doing something that I have a hard time calling work. Their excuses for delays are garbage most of the time. No need for us to make excuses for them either. They have a job to do and plenty of time to do it imo.    
Avatar image for mercy_
Posted by Mercy_
@inferiorego said:
" @HaHaManHV said:
" Okay, I was totally with you until you said that having a baby is something minor in a writer's life. Having a child is anything but minor "
minor compared to death or sickness that isn't the common cold. "
For the man maybe.
Avatar image for tensor
Posted by tensor

i hate delays the bad parts is that time limit pass an when the finish product is out it sucks but when the finish product of the delay puts a big darn smile an i am happy who even remember it was delayed

Avatar image for asymmetrical
Posted by Asymmetrical

delays ruin a comic...I almost forgot Joe the Barbarian existed until the final issue came out last month (which was never re-solicited on the DC website)...and seeing as it was the writing that was lacking in that final issue and it was Morrison who caused the delay, I don't think it was okay 
I think you should be able to keep a book on a set schedule once you've kicked it off, it's part of the job...delays should happen before the book launches (like Batwoman) so people don't have to wait on the edge of their seat for years

Avatar image for shadow_thief
Posted by Shadow_Thief

My patience with a delay depends on the reasons behind it. I'd rather wait a bit for a polished product than pay for something that was obviously a rush job, so if the delay is owing to a quality control issue like that, no biggie. 
However, when an "artist" is openly admitting he's not meeting his deadlines because he's playing Xbox, he can write me off as a fan. Someone who obviously doesn't care about the fans who are paying for his work doesn't deserve my patronage.

Avatar image for sobe_cin
Posted by Sobe Cin

Delays are annoying, but what I don't get is why can have delays with some books- while others like Amazing Spider-Man comes out 3 times a month and sometimes more. Recently I have been getting two issues a month for X-Factor, Thunderbolts and Uncanny X-Men. I love the amount of books that I am getting- but that does not make up for the fact that I am only now getting issue 5 of Avengers: Children's Crusade. Granted it is set up as an every other month comic book. But honestly, I could have read 9 issues of the story. It is very confusing for continuity sake. There is a Captain America in the book, but I don't know if it's Steven Rogers or if its Bucky. <---- yeah that's a bit of tangent of the subject matter.
Avatar image for radread
Posted by Radread

  It drives me nuts too but I think it's worse when no one talks about why a book is delayed. A great example was with Guarding the Globe, we wanted almost 3 months for issue 3 because the artist bailed on another project but no one knew why until that issue came out. It should have been explained a while ago and they should have pulled the previews until it was fixed. Instead 3 months later, there was the missing issue and then they just left the solicitations the same even though the book wasn't even close to being finished yet. DC is notorious for it, I rather have a good comic that is late than no comic at all but they don't need to act like it's some big cover up when someone gets sick, leaves in the middle of the project or is just slow.

Avatar image for zombietag
Posted by zombietag
Avatar image for eisforextinction
Posted by EisforExtinction

Frank Quitely is my favorite artist by far but he isn't very fast. I'd be fine if he and Grant Morrison did another All Star book and it took five years to come out. It wouldn't be in continuity anyway. All Star JLA maybe?

Avatar image for mumbles
Posted by Mumbles

delays are bad when you've started a book. it batwoman's case, the book hasn't yet. so you could just bump it back, and start when DC is ready.

Avatar image for agentofanarchy
Posted by AgentOfAnarchy

I don't like delays but tolerate them but when I see a comic advertised to come out in say feb and it is now end of march and no signs of it, I get pretty annyoed. Dare I say Batman Europa & Batwoman?

Avatar image for the_impersonator
Posted by The Impersonator

Playing Xbox? That's the reason for his delay? Wow.
Avatar image for spidershamrock
Posted by spidershamrock

Slowpoke WIN

Avatar image for nexusoflight
Posted by NexusOfLight

The only thing I don't like about delays is forgetting what happened over the past few issues that led up to the new comic. Part of the reason I prefer trades over single issues.

Avatar image for goldenkey
Posted by goldenkey

There is no reason for  a delay of any kind. NOT After what I went thru with Millars double double issue ending with the Ultimates.  Wasn't as long as Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine, but I planned on getting the trade so I never read it til it was done.  The Ultimates was brutal.  Every six months it took for the last two books to come out.  What a ride that story was too.
Avatar image for jonesdeini
Posted by JonesDeini

Can't do anything about them, but damn well don't like them. No excuses to me. In this day and age no reason a writer/artists can't work from home. It's an editor's job to stay on these guys and make them deliver the product (looking at you Axel Alonso). So when that fails to happen I say kick the editor to the curb, because he can't do his job. If I go to work and don't produce I get fired...personal issue be damned. And honestly, rarely do I read a title with big/frequent delays that I find to be worth the inconvenience. 

Avatar image for jonesdeini
Posted by JonesDeini
tabernacle, preach!!! Nail on the head, good sir!
Avatar image for fireflare153
Posted by FireFlare153

Delays happen all the time. Things take time, so I don't mind. Something that's rushed turns out pretty sloppy.
Avatar image for sirsparkington
Posted by SirSparkington
This is a bit of a copout but I think it's entirely dependent on the length of the delay. A couple of months? No problem. But if your book is delayed for more than 4 months? Get some new talent. I'm not stupid and I understand that life happens but like everything else writing/drawing a comic is a job. If you can't meet your deadlines then you should be replaced by someone who can. 
"my first reaction is to stomp my feet about it, like a child, and scream about it on the intrawebs" - Unfortunately that is where 90% of people begin and stop. 
Avatar image for adamocracy
Posted by ADAMocracy

I just hate it when they delay video games, for reasons like 
"Oh we're trying to make it better." 
Then it comes out and sucks.

Avatar image for darkmount1
Posted by Darkmount1

Ay, yi, yi, there's only two simple solutions to solve the problem of comic book delays: 
1. Impose limits on companywide events. 
2. Bring back one-issue or two-issue stories. 
That's all.
Avatar image for cbishop
Posted by cbishop

The most stand-out delayed book to me is Savage Dragon.  Erik Larsen was delayed by his duties as Image's publisher.  When he quit being the publisher, his book went back to a regular schedule (somewhat - #170 didn't come out this month). 
The thing that got me about that was that on the Image messageboards, he was excusing it with statements like, "I have ten books in the can, ready to be published."  My response was, "I'm sorry, but that's not the same as ten books on the shelves."   Simply put: if a book purports to be monthly, it needs to come out once a month. 
When Image was first trying to overcome its release date problems, one of their solutions was, "We won't solicit a book until at least four issues are in the can and ready to go," like this was some grand new plan.  Shouldn't you always know that the product is going to be available, before trying to sell it to the public?  My thought was: don't even tell me that you're going to solicit a book, until you have it ready to be shipped.  Then solicit the book, sell it, and because it was ready, it will ship on time. 
I think apologies are in order when a monthly book doesn't come out on time - I think they should be mandatory.  They'd surely be a trifling pain in the rear for those having to write them, and like any grade school punishment, if you have to do it enough times, you'll likely change the way you do things, so you don't have to write annoying apologies again. 
I've heard arguments that many writers/artists depend on the previous month's sales to be able to afford the next month's book production.  I'm sorry, but BOO HOO for them.  I'm in the process of trying to put my first novel together, and guess what?  No one cares.  I still have to have a means of paying my bills in the meantime, and the book gets put together on my own time, until it's ready to go to an editor or publisher.  If you're already known in the industry, and you can't afford to put out your next book unless your last one sells well, guess what?  Get another job!  Do what the rest of us do - struggle to make your product inbetween the hours of your bill paying job, and don't promise me a new book until you actually have a new book to sell. 
I have no sympathy for delayed books.  I've come to accept them as part of the industry now, but it reflects poorly on a genre trying to sell itself as something more than kiddie fare.  You want to be taken seriously?  Do what everyone else does - meet your deadlines.

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