Robot 6

The Grumpy Color | Tom and Carla dig into the DC relaunch, Part 1

(Note: costumes and/or secret identities subject to change without notice)

[After three solid weeks of coverage, you’d think we here at Robot 6 would have run out of things to say about September’s all-new, mostly-different DC Universe.

[Okay, maybe we have -- but when fearless leader JK Parkin suggested that DC blogger Tom Bondurant and retailer/Marvel blogger Carla Hoffman could do a back-and-forth about it, we were happy to oblige. The following was conducted via email from June 17 through June 22.]

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Tom: When the relaunch became official, one of the first things it reminded me of was “Heroes Reborn.” Superficially it seems pretty similar, because you have some books virtually unchanged, some big names almost starting from scratch, and the whole superhero line affected. Now, I will admit to buying every issue of the “Reborn” books when they first came out, but that was partly out of curiosity and partly because I was already reading Fantastic Four and Captain America. Afterwards, I bought all four of the post-“Heroes Return” books, again because I had been getting FF and Cap, and because I wanted to read Busiek and Perez’s Avengers and Busiek and Chen’s Iron Man. Today we seem to remember “Heroes Reborn” for Cap’s mighty bosoms and those steampipes on Iron Man’s back, but I still bought ‘em. So the first question is, how much of this is “Heroes Reborn” for the whole DC superhero line, and is that necessarily a bad thing?

Carla: I was going to try and sidestep the whole SIMPSONS DID IT argument with how many Marvel revamps I’ve seen but…

Anything you can do…

Heroes Reborn I think is an entirely different animal than the nuDC. For one, Heroes Reborn was a Hail Mary pass to dig Marvel out of dire financial straits. If I can crib a little from AvengersAssembled!.us, Marvel was desperate to pull up out of a bankruptcy crash and just sort of handed the reigns of their most popular comics to the hot shot comic artist rock stars who wanted more money and control anyway because it was the ‘90s. “Here, take this! You’re with it! What do the kids want?” And yes, we all read it; I actually still really like the Heroes Reborn: Iron Man storyline because it was the first time my tiny little brain could see Iron Man and the Hulk with a shared history. Yay for me!

However, DC isn’t in financial ruin as far as I see, so the only reason I can think of for the re… re… re-whatever is just because they do it every so often, much to the consternation of the fans. “Post-Crisis” is an age demarcation, right? Doesn’t the Silver Age turn on who the Flash is at any given time? It’s just The Way of Things(tm) and it’s certainly terrifying, but not necessarily a “Heroes Reborn” style attempt to show how hip we are to the kids.

Speaking of which, Heroes Reborn books look really really ‘90s. Everyone’s hair is over-moussed, they all have tons of teeth and muscles, it’s a great groan-worthy and nostalgic look back at what we all used to think was cool. Do YOU think (ha ha, tables turned Bondurant!) that people will look back at the new DC line and go “Man, remember when we thought all super-heroines should wear pants? What were we thinking!” Will Jim Lee define yet another modern era of comics?

Tom: You know, I don’t have a problem with the pants edict. I think the new designs tend to be a bit busy, like the little bits of ornamentation on the Superman and Supergirl costumes or that McFarlane-Toys-esque Harley Quinn. (The new Supergirl costume is still an improvement.) If you want to bring in new readers, don’t you want the characters to sport more simple, classically-influenced looks? I mean, for the most part, the Scarlet Witch has looked the same since the ‘60s, and the exception was that weird period in the mid-‘90s when the Avengers had those dopey jackets. What’s more, I only remember those costumes because they were in Mark Waid’s first issue of Captain America, and I remember thinking a) yikes, what happened here? and b) I’m not sure I want to read an Avengers that looks like this. So yeah, even if Jim Lee redefines DC for the next few years, I don’t think it’ll last much beyond that. (Just look at the old-school Wonder Woman costume in the Justice League of Subway Football ads!)

I do think that the costumes and the new #1s are part of DC’s bid for more attention. While the company’s not as bad off as ‘90s Marvel, it is always in second place. Therefore, this to me looks like the company’s big move, trying to take one giant leap forward in the existing market while establishing itself firmly in the digital realm. Unfortunately, as you just reiterated, DC has this perception of trying constantly (and, apparently, without lasting success) to reinvent itself, which really undermines this new move. On the other hand, DC is perceived as this boring old stable of characters, propped up by Batman and (for now) Green Lantern, and if it didn’t do something new it’d just languish in obscurity. Joe Quesada taunted DC for not being able to sell the heck out of Superman, but from what I can tell, a good bit of fans don’t want to read about Superman anyway, because they think he’s dull. In that respect, the Wally West Flash and the Dick and Damien Batman and Robin really hit the sweet spot — familiar costumes and abilities, but more accessible characters (who, in both cases, were consciously aware of the A-listers they replaced).

That brings me to the next question: when the time comes to sell these 52 new issues, what will you emphasize to Metro’s customers? Is it easier to sell the A-listers like the Flash, or characters like Blue Beetle who don’t have so much historical baggage?

Carla: …. I really liked Scarlet Witch’s ‘90s outfit with the Clea-influenced leggings. The belly dancing outfit from the Perez era? Now that had to go.

I’m not sure the costumes really needed that much retooling and “simplification” considering people have been using them as Halloween costumes for years. I don’t think anyone was [avoiding] picking up Superman because ‘Har har, he has his underwear on the outside of his clothes’. A lot of these don’t look classic enough and might have been used better on BRAND NEW HEROES rather than classic heroes with the same names and possibly different histories.

Just sayin’.

I mean, look at who your examples were: Dick and Damien and Wally West. Sure, two sidekicks are there, but they are the ones taking over the legacy of their respective heroes. Take that further (dream with me Tom!) and imagine if we really did set all our classic heroes aside in DC and made Donna Troy Wonder Woman (I MEAN FOR REALS, ALLAN HEINBERG!) and Connor Kent became Superman, second bananas who finally got their shots at the big time and filled their parents’ shoes. I would be interested in an all-new Batgirl more than Barbara Gordon Batgirl. This is a very dangerous leap, my friend, but with a cushion of new characters, the old standards stay safe for future publication. Otherwise, we’re looking at another Red/Blue Superman.

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[Read Part 2, which includes more thoughts on new characters, whither a DCU-ified WildStorm, steering customers to the right books for them, and the one relaunched-universe-comic Tom and Carla are sure to love!]

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37 Comments

What everyone forgets in the complaining about the relaunch is this:

Many, many DC titles were drifting aimlessly with little or no excitement. Also, there were more than half a dozen team books with second and third tier characters, while a good percentage of the A-listers were defunct, in limbo, or dead.

So I am not unhappy about DC shaking up their line and saying, whoa, let’s deal with the basics. For example, make the Justice League important again. The costume changes, the personnel issues, and the question of whether the product after the shakeup is BETTER are all important but secondary. Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely miss the current Superboy and Supergirl, Secret Six, Zatanna, Booster Gold, and so forth. But I’ve heard a lot of people complain about losing Secret Six, and the sales numbers show that it moves about 19 thousand books. I guess I’m hearing from every single Secret Six reader. Those numbers aren’t very good even though the book itself is excellent.

DC can’t afford to become a boutique publisher and they know it.

If DC wanted more attention, they, along with others, should have invested more time and effort into changing their comics from being a niche medium (which they have been for the last several years) back into a mass medium (as it was from the early years to the mid-1980′s).

Regarding Secret Six, it’s a niche title where the biggest character on the team is freakin’ Catman (or I guess Bane). Is it fair to expect it to set the sales charts on fire? The fact that it holds steady and sells consistently given a roster of unknown characters is a testament to its strength, I would think. And that’s more than a lot of DC’s third-string titles.

Loves me some DC and they should have did this years ago.

I’m all for it.

I think your comment about dc being perceived as having a boring stable of characters is on the money and is why geoff johns and jim lee are getting slack for the DCnU because they seemed to be too reliant on nostalgia of their childhoods and not letting DCU grow and move on.

Wildstorm is over and done with. Stop beating a dead horse with Stormwatch Grifter ect.

That youtube vid was great! Those guys are amazing! Love Gypsy haha…! ;)

New Stormwatch by Cornell is a must buy for me!! And it has the only gay males (that I know of so far) starring in a new series.

This would be a perfect time for a Catman series (or mini) by Simone!! She (and some great pencilers) have made him a favorite of mine!

Enough with the pants crap – has it even been mentioned by anyone at DC? – or is it just from the gossip queen over at his Marvel blog. Go have another look at those covers people – not every female is actually wearing pants, which kind of rules out the ‘only pants rule’…..

“If you want to bring in new readers, don’t you want the characters to sport more simple, classically-influenced looks?”

THANK YOU! I love Jim Lee, but the only costume changes I liked were for Batman (the modern armor look works and makes more sense) and Supergirl (I didn’t mind the look before, but I like this way too). Personally, I was offended by the radical decision to take out Superman’s red briefs and to replace the yellow belt with a weird red one. That’s like replacing the white stars on the American flag with yellow circles, it’s something that I don’t think should have been messed with and doesn’t make much sense (What’s the belt holding up now? If it was a utility belt, it would make sense, but it’s Superman not Batman.). His look was too well established outside the comics that I find it to be a bad move.

One of the reasons people follow the comic book characters (like the movies) is for their iconic style. Little changes can work for the time being (For example: Superman’s mullet in the 90s), but we are seeing some pretty big changes. Not even in costumes or ages, but in origin stories and personalities. So I understand why people are debating over the reboot.

I’m in support of the reboot under one condition… They stay true to their old colors.

I didn’t get into comic books until about a couple of months ago, but when I got into them, I fell in deep. The issue with DC being second to Marvel has to do with the accessibility to the stories besides just Superman and Batman. Imagine the idea of a newcomer walking into a comic book store within the last two years trying to figure out where to begin in the DCu with the budget they have? That’s a pretty overwhelming task for any comic book retailer to help them with. So, I agree that the reboot was necessary to let new readers be able to find a place to join in. This is a tell of confidence on DC’s behalf that the current readers will still follow as they once again tell the stories over. Most people seem to be on board to at least see how the first couple of issues turn out.

To some degree, I believe things were getting stale, but only in terms of character development. Over the last couple of years, some really awesome stories have been told by DC in the main line. The problem is that a lot of DC’s best is flooded by their mediocre or cliche stories and issues. How many more times can one address Batman’s sense of loss or Superman’s conflict with being one of the only people of his kind left? This is where the writing should go back to where it started in how there wasn’t a focus on character development or multi-part arcs spanning multiple titles.

For example, in one issue back in the pre-Crisis days, you would have Batman fight the Joker and then the next issue he was fighting the Penguin with Robin. If the writers were able to keep readers back then without having to go into multi-part story arcs, what’s to really say that it couldn’t work today? That’s why I was happy to read the interview with I forgot who exactly yesterday that with the reboot that they are going to do what I just suggested.

Which brings me to my final point(s), I haven’t heard anyone cry over the writers for each title. The choices seem to fit for who they are going to be writing for very well. At this point, you kind of have to just have faith in the writers that if they do make major changes, that they will replace something we loved or hated about this or that character with something we will love or grow to love more. For all the titles I plan on getting, I can say with certainty that I think the stories are going to be fresher and we will get that new energy that DC has needed. Now they can do a new Crisis and no one will roll their eyes…. Okay, maybe only a couple of people will roll their eyes, but less than expected.

If DC wants to get people to buy comic books then they have to convince the reading public that it’s as cool to read comic books for any age as it was back in the 60′s. That’s just a marketing failure not so much a writing failure, but I do think this reboot is the best thing to happen for DC in quite some time. I’m not so much looking at what they currently have in store, but what they can do and what this would and will do.

I liked the belly dancing outfit…

The only people I’ve ever heard make fun of Superman for ‘wearing his undies on the inside’ are rubbish comedians who think they’re the first person ever to make the observation; people who don’t, and won’t, read comics. So good on DC for reaching out to them.

There are good things in the relaunch solicitations, but the partially changed history is just asking for trouble. We’re now in for years of existing readers wondering what’s canon and what’s not. And every piece of changed character history is a domino in a pile. DC should have just left everything as is, but with the new #1s all opening with primer stories – or changed the lot.

I applaud DC’s daring, their embracing of the modern with digital distribution. I like the emphasis on hitting deadlines, even if it sounds as if creators weren’t given enough head start. I like lots of the returned characters and it sounds as if there are interesting new folk on the way.

What I’m not so keen on is the emphasis on darkness and ‘edginess’ in the solicitations. Do I want a Supergirl I shouldn’t piss off? I do not. We had years of confused teen Supergirl before Sterling Gates, Jamal Igle and their successors gave us a Kara to cheer for. And that new costume, with the super-panty shield, is a nightmare.

Actually, most of the costume tweaks don’t look to be improvements. Did you see sleek speedster Barry Allen’s new boots in this week’s Converse ad? Supposedly a lot of the art we’ve seen isn’t showing finished looks. Thank heavens for that (just be better!).

Plus, the benching of Stephanie Brown and continued loss of Wally West is a big hit to DC’s character bank.

People aren’t complaining about a relaunch so much as they are that it’s by the same people who, with all their stunts, risks and gambles during the past ten years, couldn’t gain new readership before.

If these people couldn’t make their work appealing to an outside of the niche audience before, whatever deludes these people into believing they could do it now? Because what they couldn’t do for one single title before, they can do for an entire line?

It’s arrogance at its height: it’s the company stating, ‘The problem isn’t with our staff, it’s with our characters: because what’s repelling a new audience isn’t the story and art we produce, it’s what our characters are wearing and what issue number the comic is.’

I, for one, am excited about the relaunch. I’m an old school Marvel guy (going back to the late 70′s when I first started to learn how to read) but I’m dropping a majority of the $3.99 books that I normally get to pick up a few of the new $2.99 DC titles that I don’t normally buy. I can understand if you’re a long time DC collector and you’re tired of Didio and company “messing up” your comics. I can understand if you’re a Marvel fanboy and you love seeing DC fall all over itself to try and beat Marvel. I just don’t understand why lots of people are offended by DC making this move.

carla, i disagree on one of your picks for next gen jla because connor kent isn’t of the same generation as dick grayson, wally west, donna troy etc so the necessary emotional attachment wouldnt be there the same way it would be if it was tim drake, barry allen the 2nd and cassandra sandsermark.

A better choice would have been power girl or mon-el.

I don’t like renumbering, and some of the costumes and creators are too 90s for me, but DC must make an attempt to appeal to a mass audience again. The past 20 years of superhero comics have been far too focused on the fanboy niche audience, and that’s why outsiders don’t care about them.

DC lost me a long time ago with these reboots, fake deaths, Byzantine storylines that forced one to buy dozens of titles to get the “full” accounting and characters (I’m looking at you Batman) whose histories were so convoluted that I couldn’t be bothered to try and figure out where to start reading again. I mean, how about putting out collections with a number on it so I know, “Read this one first, then this one and then this one so you can catch up”. I would be willing to do that but instead I look on the shelf and see “Batman: Going to Die”, “Batman: Dead”, “Bruce Wayne Is Out To Lunch”, “Where’s Bruce?”, etcetera and I can’t figure out which is which and which one to read first. Maybe it just doesn’t matter because a new writer will change it all anyway.

Heroes reborn had little 90s style in it, unless your talking pre-nirvana.

DC not only needed to modernize their characters and reach out to a new audience, but change their style of storytelling to make the comics accessible to entry point readers. Comics are now written to produce a long lasting and selling graphic novel. Didio has not only stuck with old nostalgic characters like Freedom Fighters, or Jonah Hex, same writing team different result – but would put 70′s writers on a 2011 comics. Paul Levitz makes LOSH like an 80′s read, I just can’t take it. WHy would he do that? He puts himself as writer on titles, – Dan, just run the company better, PLEASE. Marvel gives us recap pages, Didio says that ‘readers did not need them in the 70′s, why do them now?’ So is the modern large story arcs the problem, or is the answer a simple re-cap page? If you don’t get into THUNDER AGENTS or XOMBI at #1, you’re lost and those titles are brilliant – PUT THEM ON VERTIGO, Vertigo readers EXPECT the kinds of challenges those titles give us. ‘Didio has to go’ – it’s a bumper sticker.

DC needs a compete re-imagining, but to only put Jim Lee and one minion on redesign, – that kind of autocracy is unheard of nowadays.

Regardless, the ‘nuDC’ is a product of Johns, Lee, and Didio, and I don’t have a single problem with Johns.

Previous poster wrote that changing the characters and not the writers is arrogance, and that rings true at first, but these writers on these characters are not slouches. NOT AT ALL. So this relaunch, reboot, modernization, whatever you want to call it, is badly needed on multiple fronts, from a character aspect, creative aspect, reader aspect, and comicbook RETAILERS aspect- who are hurting bad.

I applaud DC for a bold move. And I look forward to the 10th crappy Captain America mini or one-shot spin off this year.

If only Marvel would look at itself so closely. There’s the arrogance. They actually believe that they can do what they want, and actually think their quality is better than DC.

Folks are naive to concentrate on content only. Changing distribution is going to change sales.

Moreover, distribution has an influence on content. Casual readers prefer done in ones, compressed stories. But casual readers can’t get to the direct market; it’s not enough of an attraction. For dedicated fans, the direct market will tend to stress longer, more continuity based stories.

That changes if you change distribution methods and get better access to distributed products.

I think an across the line reboot is the way to do a reboot. To be honest, changing superman and not changing everyone around him doesn’t make sense. I dislike the idea of Jim “I will produce an issue of all star Batman (which stunk) once every 9 months and you will still love me” Lee has no business changing classic uniforms that have stood the test of time for fifty years
I don’t think comic artist, character or costume changes will bring in new readers. I think accessability will. The local corner “7-11″ doesn’t carry comics, at least not here.
What I would propose is that in connection with free comic book day somehow the actual readers and fans of comics unite to pass the torch to younger readers. Maybe dropping off some of your issues that you don’t think you will read much anymore could be taken to a local barber shop, your dentist or doctors office. Ask them ahead of time if it would be okay to add some comics to their piles and piles of magazines for moms and dads.
I have wonderful memories of reading when I was young. I asked my dad what “League” meant on a Justice League of america cover and I remember it like it was yesterday. I am fifty. My connection with Captain Amertica kept me from running with my friends when they decided to participate in things that I knew were wrong. Eventually they robbed a convenient store. To this day I make decisions based on lessons I learned.
My love of art came from comics. To this day I am amazed by it and doodle and draw constantly..
We have to take this upon ourselves. Just like the Justice Society passed the torch to the JLA, and someday they will pass it to the Titans. We need to do what we can to give kids at least the opprotunity to try comics and decide if they like them or not.
We read books of people doing heroic things, going out of their way to make things better for someone else even if it means putting themselves into a difficult situation. The least we can do is get off our butts and talk to our local comic shop owners about getting some cheap back issues, and finding a way to pass that word around. Free comic book day is a huge day for retailers. Now as fans we need to take another step.

4 years ago DC tried to advance all the comics ahead one year, for new bold adventures, future move didn’t really work, now they are gonna try moving them to the past, this won’t work either.

Both Marvel and DC have both spent the last 10-15 years doing events instead of telling stories, all their comics are put in a holding pattern due to the events. DC is creating for itself on giant holding pattern with this, they will get some bump in sales for 3 to maybe 6 months but will drop back down to what they are now and probably further down, Just like heroes reborn back in the day for Marvel, the first few issues were selling great but by the end of the first years sales were lower on all the books than before the reboot.

DC is repeating what marvel did on the entire line, because the didn’t learn from Marvels mistake, DC like Marvel both usually put out 3-6 really really good books each a month, a bunch of average books and mostly why did they even bother with this kinds of books. perfect examples from each companies of why did they even do is are, Hawkeye’s recent Mini series and The Outsiders currently.

More doesn’t mean better, streamlining down in hard times and selling more of less comics coming out makes more money than selling less of more books. I read the first issue of Lois lane and the resistance for FlashPoint, there is no reason for this book, except to take up space on the comic shelf.

DC will rue the day that they decided to really “JUMP THE SHARK” with this entire line reboot.

This very topic is why I made t shirt to express my point of view. I will be wearing it proudly at many comic conventions.

http://www.cafepress.com/bulletpoints

You can always judge the state of the DCU by what’s happening in the Flash. Where once the universe and line were a celebration of history and legacy, now there is only stagnation and dumbed-down recycling.

I really want to read some of these new DC books. I’m a Marvel guy and have been so frustrated with what they have been doing for the past five years or so. It’s really sad to see Marvel hype up Spider-man every year after they demolished the character. I read it even after that insulting couple years of broken promises (unmaskings, resurrections, new stuff, Aunt May dying, ASM #545, etc.) and it doesn’t even read like Spider-man anymore. Why didn’t they hire those 10 writers earlier before ruining the reputation of the book. That character doesn’t seems like a new character that has little to do with Spider-man. Just wears the costumes and says dialogue. I wanted to read ‘FF’, but they put Spider-man in it. I want to Avengers, but those books got messed up by the whole Civil War mess. Sure it sold lots of copies, but I doubt it will make sense to have Cap and Iron man working together again. The character’s personalities were changed for that story, then changed back. Or not. It seems they couldn’t make up their minds at Marvel. X-Men was reduced in Mutants probably because of Civil War. Why? That’s a terrible idea and it has no explantion other than a weak magical thing. I feel for the X-writers. Plus, they cancelling Uncanny.

I kind of like the red Hulk strangely enough.

I’ve read some DC stuff the last couple of years and they seem to put a thought into their stories. I just see this as a chance to read DC in a way I haven’t been able to before. This isn’t like Heroes Reborn, this is a big thing. These writers know the characters and they have all these great artists. Sure, a couple of them worked on Heroes Reborn (Lee, Booth, Liefeld). But this will be better put together for sure.

There’s an underlying issue with the way both Marvel and DC do their business and it keeps coming back to haunt them: their characters can never move past a certain point in their stories. This has really come back to haunt Spiderman and Superman. The last in-continuity Superman stories people cared about were The Death of Superman and his wedding. These were storylines that moved his character forward but he’s been stuck in neutral since then. Why? Because to move his story forward would mean moving it towards an ending.

The same thing has been true of Spiderman for many years. The last big storyline anyone cared about was the beginning of the Strazynski run. Peter learned more about himself, Aunt May found out who he was, he took a big leap by joining the Avengers, etc. It went off the rails in short order and the character was stuck yet again.

The answer DC and Marvel had in both of those cases was to regress the both of them back into their older forms people were more comfortable with. The problem is, we’ve been there before so it’s just not exciting.

So here we are with the reboot. Several of these titles look interesting and I will pick them up but DC will find itself in the same boat before too long because they can’t let their characters’ stories progress in a natural way. If they do, it means the story will have to end.

This breaks a fundamental rule of storytelling. Before the Modern Age, it didn’t matter much because readers didn’t look at their stories as a long, continuing narrative. We do now and the end result is a pile up of soap opera tales that bog the characters down Just look at the two main DC titles doing well: Batman and Green Lantern. Both are the stories of their characters progressing and taking things to the next level. But how long until both get put back in their creative status quos? I mean, we can’t have Bruce Wayne ending his career with his new network of operatives in place, can we?

This is partly the fault of the fans, who insist on new and exciting stories but won’t accept the characters changing.

I think the reboot’s a good idea but we’ll see where it sits in six years. At least with their last big reboot in the eighties, Superman and Batman got a finale before it happened (“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” and “The Dark Knight Returns”).

Move the story forward, condense the past.

What Paul fails to realize here is that those “lackluster” books were kept afloat for ridiculously long periods of time by fans who continued to buy them hoping they would improve.There is no relaunching iconic characters that have outlived their useful years. Superman,and the extended family,Wonder Woman,Aquaman,and several others including Titans/Teen Titans and possibly JLA all need to go. Batman down to 2 books only and Green Lantern down to 2 books still have some time left,but overextending either character will kill their potential.Perhaps a decent take on Flash,Green Arrow,and Zatanna may be a success,but certainly not a guarantee.Other characters like Deadman,Martian Manhunter,must be somebody’s idea of a joke.As good as their potential is,will Nightwing,Grifter and Voodoo make it past the 6 issue cut off? Certainly not if the landscape is littered with the dead bodies of iconics and their multiple spinoffs.

I’m still a little confused. Isn’t this whole thing a reboot in name only? DC wants to bring in new readers by making its heroes’ massive history a little less convoluted, but all it’s doing is relaunching its titles while keeping most of the history in place. Am I right, or am I missing something? How is this anything more than a marketing ploy?

I got as far as “handed the reigns”.

Kings have reigns, horses have reins.

I agree with Bullet Points that the Flash book has historically been the best way to judge the state of DC. For them to put Wally on the bench like they have just kind of shows their contempt for moving the narrative forward.We’ve had stories about Barry Allen in the prime of his life for almost fifty years. But hey, everyone wants more of the same, right?

And here’s the thing, a reboot is always an artistic failure. In fact, I would argue that it’s the biggest artistic failure that can be done in superhero comics. It’s admitting that they’ve written themselves into a corner they don’t have the imagination to get out of. Or it’s saying that the creators who came before did something wrong. It’s unimaginative and it’s been done to death already.

But my big complaint is this. If they’re gonna do reboots all the time, why don’t they utilize the opportunities that the reboot creates? What I mean is, they keep doing stories with a beginning and a middle, then they reboot. If the reboot is coming anyway, why not do a beginning, a middle, AN ACTUAL ENDING, then start it over with a reboot.

Stories have beginnings, middles, and endings. If any of those three things are missing, it’s not really a story. It’s just part of a story. It creates an endless narrative where nothing really happens. This kind of “story telling” is why the general public has so little interest in superhero comics. It gets the reader interested and then almost purposely leaves them unsatisfied. In most stories, the ending is the most important part. Once most people figure out that the end will never come, they get bored and loose interest. At least I do.

All of Star Wars was leading to the part where Luke, Darth and the Emperor confronted each other on the second Death Star. Good Luke versus evil Emperor with Darth in the middle. It was the whole point of everything that came before it in the story. It was where everything paid off. Getting to that point and then allowing it to play out is what storytelling is all about. At DC, Luke will never confront the Emperor. We’ll never know why Citizen Kane was going on about Rosebud. We’ll never see Kiddo kill Bill.

Instead, it turns out that the murder of JR was just a dream, over and over again, on every single thing that ever happens. Nothing mattered and nothing ever will matter. Something happened that changes things and you want to know what happens next? Too bad, that interesting thing just got rebooted away.

Barry Allan used to be one of the lucky ones. In his story, he got powers, he used them to be a hero, he inspired others to be heroes too, then he died a noble death saving the universe. He went from a normal human CSI to the only person capable of saving all of existence. Beginning, middle and end. Barry Allan’s story is told and that’s an honor that most superheroes will never get. By bringing him back, they only take away from the story and the character. It’s not something good writers do. People want good, complete stories, not twenty pages of pictures of the same spandex people punching each other over and over, month after month.

I’ve kinda made peace with DC’s embarrassing mish mash of leave it alone and reboot but the Heroes reborn comparison has reopened qualms. I didn’t buy one single issue of HR. Just thinking this could be anything like that makes me shudder!

I would have honestly preferred seeing a total reboot across the line or all the A listers replaced by their legacies…

I find it interesting to read all of these responses. Many are in favor of the relaunch, but concerned, understandably. Others are Marvel fans who probably have trouble reading Dc anyway, so the fact that they are looking into this is a good sign. Some are just jaded on comics in general and don’t know what they want.

In the end, this is the problem. You all mention comics going boutique, but in a world where average sales of a comic book is 20,000, that IS a boutique industry. The problem is the people want these characters in more accessible formats to a wider audience, such as movies, television, games, etc. Comics are having a hard time keeping up with that. The format is just not one that beckons future success.

Expect more desperate moves like this folks. We’re still an industry dependent completely on comic book stores to deliver content. That’s a boutique shop approach. Barnes and Nobles has comics now, but they’ve just tossed them in with the magazines with little forethought. I would expect that experiment to slowly go away.

The future of comics is in differing delivery points. Hard copy comics, books, digital, movies, television, etc. As fans we need to accept these and to help them get started, or we’ll see less and less of our favorite characters in the future. Asking for a Catman series is not changing an industry that is dying.

And don’t get me started on Marvel’s continual bashing of DC – this is a time companies should be working collectively to explore options, so that they gain more ground. Instead, we have Brevoort and others constanty picking at DC’s changes. Fine, comment on them constructively, but realize that you face the same issues at Marvel.

Either work on making the situation better or start assembling your resume when the industry crashes. There’s a good reason why Mike Carlin and others have moved on to animation – it’s because there will be jobs in that industry in 10 years. There may not be any in comics.

I’m glad DC is making this move. I love both DC & Marvel and want them both to succeed because I grew up being a fan of both companies. Wanting any comic company to fail is just plain idiotic if your a fan of the medium.
DC & Marvel Forever.

Have to agree with the posing that talked about how Spider-Man was moving forward. I’ve read since ASM #1 in ’62 and was enjoying the issues leading up to Civil War as much as any time in the run. I loved the move to Avengers Tower and the possible plot lines there–Wolverine on MJ, Aunt May finding a kindred spirit in Steve Rogers, the first time ever Peter Parker/Tony Start relationship and mutual admiration based on Stark’s burgeoning appreciation for Peter’s science potential, the beginning of the Jarvis/Aunt May relationship, so much new ground to mine and to cover and then bam! Civil War. All gone. Dozen’s of wonderfully interesting potential plot threads wasted before ever reaching fruition. I remember J. Michael S. talking about how he was having fun putting 40-year-old characters together who had never interacted before and seeing where it went, as in Aunt May and Captain America. It was a golden vein in a deep and wondrous mine Marvel just boarded up and forgot about. Then Spidey making the deal with the devil, and now Marvel, who said it would never do PR-wise to have a divorced Spidey, instead feels it’s okay to have a Spidey who just lived with and fornicated with MJ and now apparently is doing the same thing with the cop girl and/or the Black Cat. I’m sure parents feel so much better explaining to their kids now, as they introduce them to comics, well Peter and MJ just lived together. And everybody I talk to who’s still reading Spidey says yes, great stories the past years since, but nothing–nothing that wouldn’t have worked just as well or better with a married Spidey. What kind of message is Marvel sending about their feelings on marriage. Walt Disney would be outraged. Much longer and Peter will be making Tony Stark look like a piker; heck, he may be trying to outdo even James Bond! Funny that they have to go back to painting him as the lovable loser he always was (when in stasis) yet he can make time with girls like MJ and all the rest. Doesn’t ring true; easier for me to believe a guy like him got bit by a spider and can climb walls that that he could be the daily-life loser he is and yet keep scoring now with all the various babes. They even have Captain America,
with his supposed 40′s morals, doing it before marriage now with Sharon Carter–really, totally out of character. But they’re pandering to what they think people want, or their own basement-dwelling fanboy fantasies. Peter Parker is not James Bond. Unfortunately, I won’t be introducing/exposing my grandchildren to or encouraging them to purchase the kind of stuff Marvel is putting out these day, which is all the more sad because they’re losing potential customers and the stories that I’ve either borrowed or heard about seem to be some of the best ever but–again–they would have worked even with a married Peter/MJ. Oh, but they did write themselves into a corner with the identity reveal, plain and simple, and I thought so at the time. A more real-life way to have dealt with it, instead of Mephisto/Dr. Strange/Reed Richards etc. would have been to have him have to go underground, maybe dye his hair, maybe live with MJ and May in Avengers Tower permanently until things died down. The Jameson vitriol at the identity reveal I thought was going to make for some of the most interesting Jameson stories ever–but then again bam!–snap of the fingers, deux ex machina, and the writer who wrote himself into a corner is bailed out and no ramifications for anything. When Pete in the black costume confronted the Kingpin in prison, and said if May died he’d die–I’d love to know what all those cons watching the exchange remember now. We forget that the dissolution of the Pete/MJ marriage wasn’t just a crappy move on its own, but the abrupt cancellation of some of the best, most intriguing plot lines in years. Spidey had moved to the top of my list for the first time in decades and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next or how he’d get out of being wanted by the law while stealing May out of the hospital–but bam!-snap. End of story. Makes the shower scene in “Dallas” seem classy by comparison. Maybe sometime a decent writer could pick up the storyline from the shooting of aunt may and carry on the story the way it should have been carried on, like Claremont tried to do with his old X-Men run. That I would definitely read. Apparently nobody at Marvel currently is clever enough to dig out of that corner.

I read both DC and Marvel and I complain about and praise both on occasion.I don’t see Carla bashing here no matter what immature crap Breevoort and Quesada may spout. She isn’t saying anything different than what many fans here locally are saying about DC and Marvel and many of them who also read Marvel are still going to check out DC in September. JW has brought up an interesting point that is close to a complaint I have been making for years “moved on to animation …because there will be jobs in 10 years”.Maybe even digital is a dead end because instead of static pictures we could looking at an explosion of animation if DC /WB ever get their heads out of their hineys.Get off the live action nonsense because this is a drawn medium and we could have had 3-4 top notch animated films for the price of Green Lantern.The Japanese have been churning out both original and adapted animation for years.So far both printed and moving picture Manga have been doing well. The comic may be dead soon but the new animation that hopefully could be produced will keep writers,artists,and companies alive for years to come.Same favorites different media.

omegasaga@aol.com

June 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm

It outrages me that people support this kind of insult.

Lets go back to SEPTEMBER 1994. “ZERO issue MONTH” – it was the kick off of the DCU relaunch/reboot.
nearly everyone was redesigned or had origin tweaks. New titles galore. New status quo across the board. Oh an lets not forget all the various creative teams to sell these titles.

Now fast forward to lets say January 1996:
Every new title that had been introduced in 94 was Canceled.
Every costume change, origin tweak or status quo had faded away.
None of the creative teams even made it out of the first yr.

In all NOT A SINGLE THING proposed worked. The continuity tweaks just added to any confusion and were forgotten about. The good thing though was that everything went back to normal with out alienating people.

2011s half assed reboot is promoting:
1) a convoluted continuity ( because it doesnt truely start fresh but instead absorbs portions of old continuity)
2) Overly stylized costumes that are neither simplistic or Iconic. ( also contradicting their licensed counter parts)
3) An editorialy driven direction thats forced on ALL readers.

As a fan of digital pirated comics i will DL everything for FREE and watch as ZERO HOUR 2011 crashes and burns once again for DC.

omegasaga you have said it all here but try telling that to Chris N on the other page connected to this one.He actually thinks he isn’t one of the “greaseballs” he made fun of.The elitism he spouts is even more counterproductive to the success of this venture.Locally I see an extended fan base inclusive of all types of people.I don’t get an overall vibe from fans other than we all like comics and we all have personal tastes and opinions. Some will support this DC move and others won’t.Your perspective from the 90′s is appreciated.Thank You.

Every MMO company internationally has a staff member utter this one in public, because who doesn’t love a public hanging? Whatever “it” is that’s supposedly working, saying so on a message board is practically a guarantee that the thing in question is horribly broken, or an agility item that improves at the time you buff charisma, or not connected to a drop table despite being a boss mob. I can’t possibly get a link from all bloopers this it makes me wonder been connected to in excess of the years. You’re invited to list your favorites while in the comments!

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