I just finished reading three volumes of Trinity by DC Comics collected in trade paperback format. I’m glad I read it this way instead of getting the individual issues when they came out in June 2008. This was DC Comics third weekly limited series since 52 garnered interest two years prior. The whole concept of weekly comic books isn’t new but it’s a monumental task to undertake.

When 52 was announced to be the next “big event” immediately following Infinite Crisis in 2006, many, many people didn’t think it would be successful and fall apart midstream. I honestly thought it could be accomplished because of the creative team involved with the project. Four of the biggest writers in the comic book industry—Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid— pooled their talents together to make this happen. The story chronicles the “missing year” between the end of Infinite Crisis and the beginning of One Year Later. More importantly, it showed a world with the absence of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Many second and third tier characters stepped up to the plate and it showed the versatility of the DC Universe. I really think it elevated the roles of Black Adam, Lex Luthor, the new Batwoman, and surprisingly Booster Gold. For all intent and purpose, I feel it was a very successful endeavour. That doesn’t mean lightning can strike twice all the time.

Countdown followed after as the next weekly limited series leading to the events of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis. With Paul Dini at the helm, it should have been magnificent but it quickly showed the signs of falling apart early on. Continuity problems arose with much of the storyline retconned. In fact a lot of what happened was ignored. I feel sorry for the fans that invested a year into this debacle.

Trinity followed suit as the next weekly series from DC Comics. Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley focused on DC’s big three heroes—Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Each book was split into two features: a 12-page lead story by Busiek and Bagley and a 10-page back-up feature by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza with various artwork by Scott McDaniel, Tom Derenick, Mike Norton, and others. I didn’t mind the storyline though I did feel it went on too long.

I find the current “weekly” experiment to be an interesting take with Brightest Day by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi and Justice League: Generation Lost by Keith Giffen and Judd Winick. Each title will alternate every other week with both titles producing 26 issues each.

So why the sudden interest the weekly format? I know fans have clamored for this quite often but don’t understand the work that goes into each comic book. A lot of technological advances have enhanced illustrations, colouring, and even lettering. But there is a give and take to all of this. Meeting monthly deadlines is becoming a harder task to keep. Even more, having multiple artists working on one book already shows the state of a title. This is one of the reasons why story arcs come into play, usually lasting with five or six issues, before a new artist comes on board. I can understand having a fill-in artist from time-to-time but not for every second issue. With these concerns in mind, I can understand why many were skeptical with the announcement of 52 as a weekly installment.

Believe it or not, this is not the first time weekly comic books have been in effect. For less than a year in 1988-1989, Action Comics changed its format from monthly to weekly becoming Action Comics Weekly, starting with issue #601 and lasting until issue #642. It also become an anthology book with stories starring different characters such as Green Lantern, Black Canary, the Blackhawks, Deadman, Phantom Lady, Wild Dog, and others done by different creative teams. I actually didn’t mind this at all and loved the anthology format.

But I think the best example of a weekly format came in the 1990s with the Superman titles. The best thing is that it wasn’t designed to be a weekly format, at least not in the beginning. Superman: The Man of Steel became the fourth monthly Superman title to the published starting in 1991. All of a sudden, there was a Superman title being published every week with Superman (vol. 2), The Adventures of Superman (formerly Superman, vol. 1), and Action Comics rounding up the other three. Under the editorial guidance of Mike Carlin, all of these titles started to synch up with each other and eventually became a cohesive storytelling force. While it may have been restrictive in some sense, it allowed readers to feel as if they were reading a weekly format. This worked very well with major storylines such as “The Death of Superman” and “The Reign of the Supermen.” The triangle numbering on the cover helped readers figure out in what sequence to read these titles.

With the resurrection of the weekly comic book format, DC Comics doesn’t need to look too far for a model to emulate; they already did it very well with Superman.