Wednesday Comics is DC's latest entry into the weekly comics following on from 52, Countdown and Trinity.  It's an impressive looking book with each of its 15 stories getting a page a piece, a page 4 times the size of the average comic.  Each piece is cleverly put together so it lies within continuity but is not built on knowing continuity.  If all you know about Batman is the bare minimum you will find a story you can enjoy and the same goes for all the other characters from Hawkman to Kamandi to Adam Strange et al.  In essence it's like a big All Star comic or Ultimate DC.  Not only that but each page is written and drawn by an eclectic mix of "new" and established writers and artists with their own unique voices.  Paul Pope's Strange Adventures and Gibbons and Sook's Kamandi look so beautiful I'd happily frame them and hang them on my living room wall.  Ultimately though Wednesday Comics is a failure.  It's an ideal tool for outreach, for reaching non comic buyers and drawing them into the diverse worlds comics can offer, but it won't do that because the only place you can get it is in comics shops and casual buyers don't go into comics shops.  Even worse, if you are a casual buyer, you wander into a comic shop and pick up a copy of Wednesday Comics, perhaps after it's USA Today write up, Wednesday Comics is a dead end.  Out of 15 stories only two have anything accesible to anyone not versed in the arcana of DC continuity.  Sgt Rock has a couple of very classy mini series collected as books and two Showcase collections, Adam Strange has the Planet Heist collection.  That's it.  Everything else is either a fan favourite only appearing in Wednesday Comics or so swamped and drowned in continuity that no one has a hope in hell of coming to it.  Wednesday Comics is, I believe, what comics would have been if it had avoided the influx of fan writers that began in the 1970's.  It is essentially 1960's DC reaching a degree of family oriented maturity, focussing on story rather than continuity.

The sad thing is that in someways it could have been perfect.  A couple of years ago, in answer to a challenge by Dez Skinn of Comics International, I wrote a long and impassioned op ed piece on comics outreach.  In it I said I believed we had found the perfect format for outeach nearly a hundred years ago with the comics section in newspapers and needed to make best use of it.  I posited that, with the cutbacks newspapers were making on the comic front, if DC or someone were to produce their own Sunday Comics pull out, with short stories suitable for the papers demographic and funded by ads so the cost to papers was negligible they would have a way to increase readership.  Two years on Sunday Comics is Wednesday Comics and instead of finding someway to get it out to a mass audience DC are making it a 12 week experiment that will be a pleasant memory to a handful of readers a few years down the line. 

or ignoring the papers for a moment imagine this as an ongoing book.  Make it available on the newsstands or through bookshops, push one easily available book each week.  For DC it's about keeping your trademarks in the public eye and moving books.  Through newstands, newspapers or bookstores you could, potentially and if you were prepared to put the effort into it, move a hell of a lot of copies, much higher numbers than Wednesday Comics is currently moving.  Say you moved 200,000 copies advertising Paul Popes' Batman Year 100 and 5% picked up a copy, that's 10,000 books, imagine that with All Star Superman, Planet Heist, maybe you advertise a book like "The Losers" to tie in with the film if it comes out, Maybe a book like the Neal Adams Batman collections, anything connected to Wednesday comics somehow and available as a graphic novel, it all starts to add up.  Someone inside needs to do the math but DC get hi level advertisers for books selling less than 30,000 copies so getting Nike or someone in on this doesn't seem impossible