Originally I was just going to go through the solicits for September and call it good. Then Bleeding Cool comes along and posts this article from DC’s roadshow and screws up my plans. Maybe tomorrow. (Oh, god, don’t make devote another week to just Flushpoint.) Yeah, DC actually has to go on the road to convince people that the New DCU will be awesome. That’s sad. OK, so what nonsense are we getting this time?

First, our cast of players:

  • John Rood (Executive VP-Sales, Marketing and Business Development)
  • Bob Wayne (Senior VP-Sales)
  • Vince Letterio (Director-Direct Sales)
  • Co-Publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee

As we join our villains, Rood has just given the mike to Didio and Lee to tell us how awesome the fresh slate will be, starting with why they’re doing it.

DC had taken a look at the comics industry as a whole and felt that the industry needed a shot in the arm.  They felt that the stories had gotten stale and too talky.  Dan recounted a book he read recently from ‘another publisher’ that had 15 pages of 9 panels of exposition [Link added by Bleeding Cool]. He felt comics used to be able to do stories that movies couldn’t. Lately, comic book movies have been doing comics better than comics have.  Dan felt that DC needed to work harder across the board to improve the product.

At what point does this suggest that the only way to do this is with a reboot? Hell, I could have done that on my first story with everything the way it was. Drop a giant robot in the middle of Metropolis, have Superman beat it up, and then intersplice Clark and Lois trying to track the manufacturer down with Superman having to stop other ones. Lead it to an alien who figured with all the heck Earth has been going through lately it was easy pickings. No reboot required, and you get a mix of action and talking/investigating. Easy.

As an example, Dan emphatically stated that he was embarrassed, really embarrassed about late books.  He said that some times because of the their love of the medium, talent would treat their jobs like it was a hobby and not, well, a job.  Editorial has been tasked with delivering books on time.  Dan even went so far as to use the G word.  He guaranteed that the books in the new 52 will come out on time.

That’s from the “Believe It When I See It” department. Here’s a thought: HIRE A FEW PEOPLE! How many DC books are being written by Geoff Johns alone, who also has to fulfill his duties as Creative Director (whatever that is) and he took time out to work on episodes of Smallville. Also try finding people with a history of getting stuff out on time and, name or not, letting go folks who can’t. How do Kevin Smith and J. Michael Straczynski keep getting work in comics when they’re so focused on their non-comic projects? Because they’re Names.

Another change DC is making is that they won’t be ‘writing for the trade’ anymore.  Writers have been told to write the story they want to write and not worry about the trade collecting.  If they can tell a well-paced story in 4 issues, they’ve been told not to pad it to make it 6 issues.  Editorial can worry about how it’s going to be collected.  Going forward, books will be trade-collected depending on how the story fits.

I would still rather push the narrative style comics are good for, and trade waiters have their reasons, fine. This is a step in the right direction, however. Padded stories can get boring in parts, and it’s probably worse in trade (or rereading the individual issues) than it is monthly. Also they need to do it right, especially in crossovers like Civil War or Amazons Attack, where the trades require you to keep switching between books to get the full story chronologically for the tie-ins. That’s a pain by itself, but if you don’t have the other books it becomes impossible to follow.

DC realized that some things were working fine.  Based on sales, critical response and fan comments, they knew that Green Lantern and Batman weren’t ‘broken’.  In approaching the re-launch, DC didn’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  They knew some things needed to be changed, but they didn’t want to lose the excitement behind what was working.  Instead of a re-boot, they opted for a sliding re-launch.  Continuity would be preserved and only where things weren’t working would there be changes.  As such, there are are little to no changes in the Batman and Green Lantern books.

As I’ve written before, this is where Crisis On Infinite Earths failed as a project. Picking and choosing which continuity you’re going to keep instead of a full fresh start causes more continuity headaches than it solves, especially to those characters who can’t exist in both continuities like Power Girl and Donna Troy. Although the #1s are flashback stories meant to describe how characters got to where they are in “modern day”, you’re still looking as some major fallout. For a bunch talking about how being a slave to continuity is part of the problem they’re not going for the right solution.

Based on sales, fan interest and a desire to branch out and try new things, DC has broken the New 52 into 7 distinctive families.  Those families are: Superman, Batman, Justice League, Green Lantern, Young Justice, The Edge and The Dark.

If I ever had the chance to do my “How I’d Run DC” article series, this would have been one of the things I advocated. So I’m going to stop here. Tomorrow I’m going to go over these groups and put them through the ringer. Good ideas? Bad ideas? What I would have done differently? All revealed tomorrow.

This is going to become another Flushpoint week, isn’t it?

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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