As anyone who gets the New York Times on Sunday knows by now, full spoilers for this wee’s highly anticipated Batman #50 are on the front page of one of the sections. I won’t tell you which one, because I don’t want you to go looking for them. So, obviously the big question is, how did this happen? Followed closely by “why should I care?”
Now, I don’t mean to get super preachy here, because God knows, I go LOOKING for spoilers more often than not. But, in this case, I didn’t want to be spoiled. Before we go any further, just for anyone who didn’t know, Batman #50, aside from being an Anniversary issue, is to play host to one of the most anticipated events in comics, the Wedding of Batman and Catwoman. As such, it was being touted as one of the biggest comics of the Summer.
This was to be Tom King’s masterpiece, after a VERY rocky road to the altar, which included interactions with Talia Al Ghul, a trip to an alternate world, courtesy of Booster Gold, and the return of the Joker, who was VERY miffed that he wasn’t invited. It was a beautifully crafted slow build, by a true master of his art. And the promotion for it was incredible, with DC even going so far as to craft “invitations” that were sent to local comic stores.
Now, as to how this happened, that part is pretty easy. DC routinely sends out advanced review copies of comics. I get them every week. However, those comics always come with a warning that reviews cannot be posted before Wednesday, which, as every fan can tell you, is New Comic Book Day. What I don’t know is whether or not this writer had permission from DC Comics to spoil the book early. I have reached out to DC and the writer for comment, and will update this when I have heard back. My biggest problems with this are 1, it is on the front page of the section, so you can’t really avoid seeing it, and, 2, the spoiler is IN THE HEADLINE! It is as blatant as you can get with a spoiler. I can understand wanting to write about such a landmark issue, but every other publication that has done so has managed to keep the writing ambiguous as to the story’s resolution.
Now, again you may be asking yourself “why should I care?” Well, if, like me, you have followed this story from the beginning, you can and SHOULD feel cheated that someone felt it necessary to tell you how it ends before you’ve had the chance to read it. Being spoiled like this forces you to make up your own mind about how you feel about the story, before you have the context necessary to accurately form that opinion. And what about comic stores, many of whom are planning midnight events to celebrate this issue’s release. How worried must they be about the impact on sales now that the story has been spoiled? Comic shops thrive on big events like this, so when a leak like this happens, it puts their financial well being in jeopardy. But, no one thought about that when this article was written.
For the record, I received a review copy of this issue, and I will not be posting further about, or posting my review of, the issue until Wednesday, the way I have been instructed to. I have a good relationship with DC, and I am happy to follow their rules.
Lost in all of this are the feelings of the creative team. Tom King is an absolutely brilliant writer, and he has done an astounding job in his run on Batman so far. To write 50 issues if a comic isn’t easy in general. To make them all as stellar as Mr. King has is near impossible. I genuinely feel bad for Mr. King. To write as beautiful a storyline as this one between Batman and Catwoman has been, to create the anticipation for an issue the way he has, and then, to have it all spoiled by a writer who should have known better, is a travesty of the highest order. I will say the Batman #50 is a masterpiece in storytelling, which I hope you will all find out for yourselves this Wednesday. I have met Tom King a couple of times at conventions, and he is a genuinely nice guy. This just did not deserve to happen to him.
I know most of you reading this are going to be tempted by the spoiler. It’s in our very nature. But, whether you read it or not, please go to your comic shop in Wednesday and buy the issue anyway. It’s good and it will give the context that the article does not. Plus, it has some gorgeous art in it, and Tom King tells a hell of a story. I’ll thank you. He’ll thank you. And, your local comic store will thank you.