Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
You might remember earlier this month when DC announced that Flashpoint #5, which wraps up the series, would be the only title they planned to release that week. As it turns out, that isn’t entirely true.
According to the USA Today article that announced the line-wide relaunch, the first comic out the gates will be Justice League #1 by Flashpoint writer Geoff Johns and co-publisher Jim Lee. According to a post on DC’s The Source blog, “Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.”
This of course is one piece of the bigger story, i.e. the relaunch, the renumbering, the rebooting, the 52 titles. It has been rumored for awhile now, and Tom sort of discussed it in his column last week. A letter to retailers from Bob Wayne, senior vice president of sales, has been posted on the Sidekick Comics site, which adds a few more details. Among them, the following quote jumped out at me:
We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.
I guess the thing that jumps out at my first in all this is the fact that DC will have 52 first issues in September. Looking at their August solicitations, I count 35 ongoing series; assuming all 52 titles are indeed ongoings, that means they are increasing their line by roughly 50 percent. That’s a lot of comics to publish in a given month, but more importantly, that’s a lot of first issues to try out in a given month if you’re already a DC fan and want to take a look at all of these titles to see if you’re interested. I’ll probably take the approach I’m taking with the Flashpoint minis — try out the first issues by creative teams I know I already dig. But if I was so inclined to purchase them all, just to see if I’m interested in them, that would be more than $150 for September alone.
My next question, then, would be “Who are the creative teams?” we know one, obviously, and I can say I’m excited to see Johns and Lee on Justice League. But what about the rest? Can we expect to see the same folks on Detective, Zatanna and Secret Six (just to name three titles I’m currently enjoying), or will we see reshuffling of creative teams? Will these titles even still be around? If they’re rebooting in September, should I stop buying them now and wait for the “new” version? What seems to be a good “jumping on” point for readers could serve just as well as a “jumping off” point.
And lastly, it seems like this is an effort to make DC more new reader friendly. The digital element, the reboot … obviously they’re trying to make it easy for folks to find their comics and easy to understand them once they do. Will this work to drive new folks into comic shops or at the very least to download a comic? I’m skeptical, but I do appreciate the fact that they’re taking a big risk at a time when the old ways of doing business don’t seem to be working anymore. Will this attempt to attract new and lapsed readers (which this clearly is) offset any possible revolt by long-term readers who’ll feel left behind with this massive change? Obviously continuing to appeal just to this rapidly dwindling group is an easy way to spell your own publishing company’s death, but will this move attract a significant number of new readers? I guess time will tell, but let’s hope they don’t end up shooting themselves in the foot.