Okay, this will bore the pants off most people, but I thought I’d give it a whack!
It’s about solicit copy for comics at the major publishers.
Solicit copy is the listing in our Diamond Catalog, that is there primarily for retailers to order their comics from, and also for customers of those stores to decide what they want to purchase.
It has to be written well in advance, because Diamond catalogs have a lead time of about three months (in the gathering data stage).
In the past, generally, the writer of the book would write the solicit copy for each issue coming out, and the editor would approve it. It was a pretty simple system. Mistakes could happen, especially if a creator was late for any reason. If a writer changes the script or is late and that makes the artists late, the solicit copy might be wrong, and no one wants that for a number of reasons.
A couple years back, we had to change that system, because of partnerships with book distributors and bookstore purchasers. Those people needed more lead time than comics normally have. And to make the solicits a bit more uniform, there’s an additional step, where the final solicit copy is overseen by one person.
This all sounds pretty obscure, I’m sure, but believe me, overall, it’s a good thing. Additional bookstore sales are important for the industry’s continued health, and some titles that don’t sell well in comics shops do much better at Barnes & Noble, for one thing.
The problem is, that longer lead time means there is MORE opportunity for a book to actually be different by the time the book comes out, for any of a million reasons. It’s not a dark conspiracy, it’s not anyone trying to trick anyone (well, generally…I suppose such a thing is possible, but it’s not good for anyone if the solicit is inaccurate).
An artist can get sick, a writer might be replaced, a story might change…we are often in the position, even with good outlines, of having a book come out a little different from what was hoped. Sometimes it’s story things that have changed.
Usually, these are fairly insignificant things. Not always, but usually. It’s happened to me many times, sometimes it’s a creative change, sometimes an editorial one, but it does happen.
With Batgirl #0, the solicit had an element that wasn’t accurate, it said something about how it would show Barbara fighting back after being shot. That story IS being told, but it’s being told right after the “Death Of The Family” arc (AND it has a completely nifty guest star a LOT of Tumblrs have been asking for!).
I’m not sure how it happened, but when it came out a while back, I did go straight to Tumblr and Twitter to warn people that it was mistaken in the timeline. I know not everyone reads my posts and I totally get people hoping to see that.
The truth is, it was never part of this zero issue, that was a bit of a mix-up. It needs a bit more space. So look for this to be happening right after the Joker story, AND keep an eye out for…well, someone very cool. ;)
Apologies for the confusion, and thanks for all the incredibly kind words about Batgirl zero!