This isn’t the article I wanted to write today. Maybe DC really is worried about this.
Maybe they’re realizing that killing off characters isn’t working. However, since winged primates are not within distance of my backside I kind of doubt it, but the gimmick love is sadly still about. This announcement came from the DC Source blog today.
This year, change is in the air at DC Comics.
On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.
DC Comics will only publish two comic books on August 31st: the final issue of this summer’s comic book mini-series FLASHPOINT and the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Johns and Lee, two of the most distinguished and popular contemporary comic book creators, who will be collaborating for the first time. Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.
Oh dear god, here we go again.
Apparently this has been rumored for a while. Now let’s see, the last cosmic reboot I recall was Infinite Crisis which is about 5 or 6 years ago. There hasn’t really been a status quo since, thanks to both small (title group wide stories) or large (all DCU titles) cases of Eventitis. Now they’re going with the tired, old, damn annoying game of numerical rebooting, which gets screwed up once the anniversaries come along. (Didn’t Action Comics just celebrate #900, and now it’s going to #1 as well?) USA Today reports on the upcoming events during a discussion with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
The first book to be released under this new era: Justice League No. 1, out Aug. 31, a series by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee that reunites the famous lineup of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Can Johns let someone other than himself write Green Lantern and Flash (which is of course Hal and Barry–Kyle and Wally still being tossed in the trash)?
In September, more than 50 more first issues will debut, introducing readers to stories that are grounded in each character’s specific legend but also reflect today’s real-world themes and events. Lee spearheaded the redesign of more than 50 costumes to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old.
Somebody noted that they all have a V-shaped collar. Even Wonder Woman does and she doesn’t have a shirt. (Her outfit not surprisingly resembles the one from the failed TV pilot) I would also note that Superman’s logo is slightly off, and seeing as I’ve been trying to draw thing for a while now in my strips I can tell, even that slightly.
“We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line,” says Dan DiDio, who co-publishes DC with Lee. “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”
“Characters are younger”? Isn’t that what the Earth-1 project was supposed to be? DC’s version of Marvel’s Ultimate universe? And will being younger include ending the Super-marriage? (Superman 2000 wins?) Dick Grayson back in the Robin costume, probably because every extended media appearance seems to do that? What happens to Supergirl or newer characters that have fans who aren’t DiDio and Johns? How much history regression will it take to make the Bad Fanfic Brigade happy?
And what about newer titles, like Secret Six or the relaunched Birds of Prey and Power Girl? What happens to them? What massive changes are going to affect the continuity this time and will it have the same hiccups as Crisis on Infinite Earths? (Ask Donna Troy how well that worked out. Here comes origin #2589.) What will be saved and what won’t?
IGN is promoting the other news, that DC will finally get off their virtual backsides and work to improve their act in the digital distribution field by putting digital copies out at the same time, which is sure to tick off the physical retailers by the way.
“We’re allowing people who have never bought a comic book in their lives to download them on portable media devices and take a look,” Lee says. “Having the ability to give people access to these comics with one button click means we’re going to get a lot of new readers.”
Yeah, they’ll look at what you’re doing and say why bothe…wait wait wait! I just remembered something. All this time the Brigade has been focused on making current DC fans happy, then started regressing to some dark, violent version of the 80’s and now, NOW they care about new readers? After recreating the DC Universe in their own twisted image? The image that turned goofball villains into serial rapists, decided every hero needs a violent Bruce Wayne-ian moment in order to actually be a good hero and killed off little girls and Superman’s daddy? What has been the point of all this nonsense we’ve put up with the past few years if your just going to hit the cosmic reset button and turn the backsliding timeline into a Slip and Slide?
Newsarama has a copy of a letter sent to retailers. So the pain doesn’t end.
In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.
I don’t read DC Comics (that much lately, but that’s besides the point) for “real world situations”. I don’t even read Marvel for that and that’s their thing. DC’s thing is telling great action stories with the occasional or heavy sci-fi bend. DC was an escape from events like 9-11 and other tragedies. Escapism! That’s what I’m asking for from the entertainment industry. Entertainment! You can still have character development, and things make sense, but real world situations would conflict with half of the DC Universe, and that’s even accepting guys in tights flying around punching each other.
So we have “real world situations”, years of continuity tossed out with the trash, uncertainty as to what the new DCU will be like, character regression, and more real world interference. But at least you can let the comic stores close down for the sake of same-day digital since we all hate being tree killers now.
DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.
I’m going to ask the owner of my LCS about this because maybe I’m just in supercynical mode right now. Let me leave you with this last thought from Jim Lee.
He says what makes this plan so ambitious is that it’s not just about changes in characters or costumes but setting the stage for how comic books will be consumed in the future.
“We’re trying to set the table for the DC Universe’s future success and health.”
I’m not feeling very hungry at the moment.