Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Ten from 2011, ten for 2012

Red underwear makes a comeback in 2965

Before we jump into 2012, I have one last bit of business to take care of: toting up my 2011 predictions, and offering a set for the new year.

2011

1. The Green Lantern movie. Last year I predicted that GL would be “more lucrative than Captain America, not as much as Thor.  It ended up making $116 million domestically ($219 million worldwide), well behind Cap’s $176 million ($368M globally) and Thor’s $181 million ($449M globally). Also, it wasn’t as good. I liked it well enough (and from what I hear I may like the Blu-Ray version more), but apparently I was in the minority.

2. Superman and Wonder Woman after JMS. I just had questions for this entry: will Roberson and Barrows stay on Superman? (No.) Will Diana keep the jacket and pants? (No jacket, pants optional.) Finally, I asked “[w]ill sales improve once ‘Grounded’ ends?” Guess that depends on how you define “ends,” because “Grounded” closed out that Superman series; and the next issue of Superman was a New-52 No. 1 which sold almost 100,000 more copies than its predecessor. We may never know what might have happened to Superman without the New 52, but probably not that.

3. Batman: Earth One. I was looking forward to the next “Earth One” release in 2011, and I’m still looking.  [Edited to add:  Of course, DC picked this morning, well after I'd finished this post, to preview both Batman:  Earth One and Superman:  Earth One Volume 2.]

4. All Star Batman/Multiversity/Teen Titans: Games. Last year I had hoped to see all three of these long-delayed projects finally published. However, only Games, started in the late ‘80s and finished over 25 years later, made it across the finish line. Of the remaining two, I suppose we’re most likely to see Multiversity, although its Earth-4 installment may have to compete with an actual Watchmen follow-up.

5. The United Colors of Batman. I was “curious to see what [Batman Incorporated] look[ed] like at the end of 2011,” and now I know: a gigundo $7.99 special issue, a brief appearance from the Batman of Moscow in Batman and Robin, and the ongoing Batwing series. That’s actually not bad for a concept which grew out of Grant Morrison’s conceit that “every Batman story counts,” considering that all those Batman stories must now fit into an arbitrary-seeming five-year history.

6. End of the Archives? Last year I thought the Archives line was being phased out in favor of the hardcover Omnibii, paperback Chronicles, and black-and-white Showcase Presents reprints. Not so fast, my friend — there are more on the way.

7. Reprint floodgates. Were the Sugar & Spike Archives and the Flex Mentallo hardcover (coming in February) really “the first crack in the dam holding back collections of Suicide Squad, Captain Carrot, Secret Society of Super-Villains, and Jonah Hex?” Hmm — kind of. Suicide Squad got one paperback (although the second is at least in limbo) and Secret Society got a Volume 1 hardcover (with Vol. 2 coming in the spring), but still no Captain Carrot or Jonah Hex Volume 2. Still, among semi-obscure ‘70s and ‘80s fare, there was that Firestorm paperback; and collections of I … Vampire! and Night Force are apparently on the way. Good news for the 300 of us on the Internet who care about such things.

8. The changing shape of Events. Last January I thought Flashpoint and the Wonder Woman storyline “Odyssey” contained the seeds of a stealth crossover, and they’d eventually intersect in some kind of big-event way. That didn’t really happen, at least not how I pictured it.

9. The spirit of ‘86. Last year I wanted to see “a behind-the-scenes look at what went into that seminal year,” especially focusing on the revamps of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman supposedly called the “Metropolis Line.” That didn’t happen either, but we did get a whole slew of revamps.

10. DC on TV. I thought things looked good for “Human Target,” “Wonder Woman,” and the proposed “Raven” series. 0-for-3.

* * *

So, for 2012:

1. The Dark Knight Rises. Can it make a skillion dollars? Will it have Robin? Will it have subtitles?

2. The New 52, one year later. The more I think about it, the more I believe the New-52 books will each get at least twelve issues, regardless of sales. If any books are cancelled (and you have to think some of them will be), it’ll be in such a way that DC can claim they “told their stories,” not that readers grew tired of them.

3. The Next 52 (or however many). This is where I mention the promised-but-not-solicited Justice Society series and its Earth-2 setting. More to the point, here DC has a chance to expand the scope of its main line beyond that which made the New 52 a little too familiar. I got into this a little a few weeks back, but that was based on conventional wisdom and a little tea-leaf reading. Maybe a little more originality will work into the next batch of books.

4. Pandora’s playlist. Part of the reason I think the initial New-52 books will all get their twelve issues is this notion that they’re all building to some line-wide event involving the Hooded Woman from the No. 1 issues. DC says to call her Pandora, and she dresses like the Phantom Stranger’s aunt. From her I’m expecting some insight on the fate of the pre-relaunch timeline. Not that I care, of course.

5. More Watchmen. Really, what more is there to say? If the prequel rumors turn out to be true, whatever merits the stories themselves may have will surely be outweighed by the project’s inherent irrelevance. Also, the phrase “naked cash grab” won’t stop popping into my head. Still, there’s time for DC to repurpose the art which has been leaked thus far, and claim it’s all part of some commemorative portfolio. A big part of Watchmen deals with the nature of superhero comics themselves, so naturally it continually risks further exploitation. For characters reworked from their Charlton beginnings, so that DC could subsequently put out Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, et al., this is somehow ironic, sad, and inevitable, all at once.

6. More multimedia expansion. For various reasons, I haven’t owned a videogame system since my faithful Super Nintendo (almost twenty years ago — yikes!), and haven’t played a game-system kind of game regularly since X-Wing Alliance. Nevertheless, last year I heard nothing but accolades for Batman: Arkham City, which followed the similarly-praised Batman: Arkham Asylum, and which helped cement the Dark Knight’s insertion into another non-comics entertainment area. Although the DC Universe Online game doesn’t seem to have captured the gaming world’s collective heart, it’s still out there too, now free to play. Even if DCUO fades away, surely more Arkham-style games are in development. As for TV, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” ended its Cartoon Network run, but “Young Justice” and “Green Lantern” will anchor CN’s DC Nation block of … well, a whole lot of different things, perhaps enough to warrant another new show just through the law of averages. Oh, and there have been announcements about new live-action TV series featuring Deadman and The Spectre. I got burned last year on DC’s TV prospects, so I’m not predicting anything about them. One thing’s for sure, though — DC is trying its darnedest to establish footholds in non-comics venues, even if that doesn’t translate into more comics sales.

7. Man of Steel and Green Lantern 2. Carla and I talked about these over the weekend, but I think we’ll learn a lot about the prospects of each by the end of 2012. Specifically, we should know more about whether either of those can replace the Batman (and/or Harry Potter) series as Warner Brothers’ go-to movie franchises. Now, this isn’t quite fair, because there will be another set of Batman movies after Christian Bale takes off his cape. Still, 2013′s Man of Steel is yet another chance for Warners to prove that Superman can be successful without either Christopher Reeve or the particular charms of “Smallville.” From what I have seen, I am hopeful but not optimistic. In fact, if the animated GL series does well enough, it could boost the chances of a live-action sequel, and it’s easier to replace a Green Lantern than it is a Superman.

8. Market share. December’s sales numbers show Marvel reclaiming the largest share of the Direct Market, after four months of coming in second to DC’s superhero titles. This doesn’t shock me, because Marvel just publishes more titles than DC does, and as the initial enthusiasm for the New-52 fades, the numbers tend not to be in DC’s favor. Still, now that DC has had a taste of the top spot, I wonder whether the publisher will start chasing it. Maybe it has started already.

9. Digital effects. Barring some unforeseen collapse, 2012 should provide a year’s worth of insight into DC’s day-and-date digital sales. Whether DC decides to share that with the public at large is another matter. If nothing else, though, digital sales help enforce a stricter shipping schedule for the print books. That could mean more changes in creative teams, whether temporary or permanent, but it could also help foster some every-Wednesday comics-shop habits in those coveted new readers. Of course, digital comics don’t need to conform to standard pamphlet lengths, and if DC decides to offer more digital-only (or at least digital-first) stories, it might open up new avenues for both readers and creators.

And that brings us to …

10. A return to storytelling. I have complained to various degrees about the problems the New-52 relaunch created for us longtime fans. I have also tried hard to be understanding, and to embrace the spirit of freedom and creativity a relaunch encourages. Accordingly, to the extent the New-52 books haven’t themselves embraced that spirit, I’ve been disappointed. If you have the chance to do what you want, you probably need to justify why you do the same old things. Here’s hoping that in 2012, the superhero line uses its still-new freedom wisely, as books like Animal Man, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, and Batwoman have, and that it cultivates an atmosphere of experimentation. If the DC of 2012 is built on solid fundamentals and good comics, that’ll be the best news I get all year.

News From Our Partners

Comments

22 Comments

Although it is a somewhat flawed film, I really enjoyed the Green Lantern movie. The bluray, especially the special features incorporate on the disc are excellent as well.

Amazon cancelled my preorder of Suicide Squad vol. 2–are you sure it’s still been published?

While I’m 50-50 on the Green Lantern movie as a whole, and appreciated some of its special features on Blu-ray, the extended edition is ridiculous. It basically adds a prologue, which is a little over the top, but fine…until they turn around and literally re-hash the exact same prologue not 10 minutes later in the scene where Hal is almost crashing (from the theatrical cut). Either they shouldn’t have bothered with adding the scene, or did some judicious editing to one scene or the other. Then again, it’s a film that needed far more than that…like say, a better soundtrack for instance.

I can see DC doing these comics like seasons. They’ll last 12 issues then the comics that aren’t so popular get cancelled and replaced with new series (like the aforementioned Justice Society)

As for the Green Lantern film: it was probably the worst film I saw in the cinema in 2011. Awful. Badly made, poorly acted, terrible storytelling. You do not start a film with a ten minute info-dump of alien characters and worlds that aren’t even the focus of the film’s story. Lord of the Rings just about managed it but that was done more as a fable and was cleverly expanded on later in the film.

It would have worked much better had they kept Hal on Earth, brought Sinestro in to give him basic training (and therefore a more substantial role) and had a more inexperienced Hal throughout. Then, at the end, bring him to Oa for advanced training and set up the sequel with an Evil Dead II-style ending!

But the fanboys wouldn’t allow that. They wanted their Kilowog toys.

The Suicide Squad situation really gets my goat. I refuse to buy the first volume without knowing for sure that I can get the following volumes. Just put out the damn Showcase and be done with it. DC doesn’t want my money anymore.

I thought the Green Lantern movie was good. Not great, but good. As good as, say, Star Wars. As good as the Harry Potter movies. It was certainly as good as the better Batman movies and better than the Superman movies. But the GL movie wasn’t as good as the Spider-Man movies or the first two X-Men movies.

I think the movie’s biggest fault was bringing in all the Guardians of Oa, the entire GL corps and Sinestro. They should have saved all that stuff for the sequel. His introductory movie should have been kept simpler and earthbound. After firmly establishing the character in the first movie, introducing GL’s cosmic backstory in the sequel would have been a wow-ing follow-up.

There’s no reason to force every super-hero movie to contain his entire origin, his entire supporting cast, plus all his major villains. Over-kill! There’s only so much you can squeeze into one movie and there’s only so much you can expect an audience to absorb.

Hollywood still suffers from the Joel Schumacher way of thinking: That all super-hero movies need to be effects-laden “extravaganzas”. Like having Batman driving his tank over the rooftops of Gotham! God help us! But the truth is, super-hero movies only have the same requirements as “normal” movies: a good story, with interesting characters in an interesting milieu.

I hope DC keeps those archives coming! I bought Sugar and Spike, and I bought Lois Lane.

I want to see the first ten issues of Sea Devils archived! All that wonderful Russ Heath art! And those “gray-tone” covers! (But I’d have to trust they won’t screw it up with garish re-coloring, like some of the other archives.)

I thought that the GL movie absolutely sucked, but I do agree with Jake. They should have kept the first movie completely earthbound and maybe saved a “big reveal” for the end, or maybe an after-credits scene (which Marvel has trained audiences to expect, thus being a disappointment when there isn’t one in a comic book-related movie) that revealed what the Green Lanterns actually were, and thus moved the sequel off-world. Pretty much everything with the Corps in the movie was pointless and served very little purpose.

Amen to number 10!!!

What about the Marvel Boycott?

There’s plenty of storytelling in comics, what we need more of is GOOD storytelling.

How do the economics of publishing collections work? I’m with many others in being beyond frustrated with the Suicide Squad reprinting follies…I waited years for the Showcase, got excited and immediately bought the first trade and have now seen publication plans for the second trade disappear. It seems like Marvel collects everything and then lets things that don’t sell well go out of print. I also get a sense that books that might not sell as well are priced higher. The latter may be a self -fulfilling prophecy, as I said, I’m admitting ignorance of the publishing business. But it seems evident that there is some demand for these stories…why not print the smallest profitable print run? Or sell at a higher than normal $20 for 6 issues? Or something? Are Ostrander and McDonnell’s royalty deals so sweet that collections have to sell like gangbusters for the math to work? Don’t tell me Suicide Squad Vol 2 wouldn’t sell as well as the New52 Resurrection Man and Grifter trades…

Also, I liked the part of the Green Lantern movie where the space cop with the magic ring punched the fear monster into the Sun.

Green Lantern had the best visual effects, but Thor had the best story by far. Put me in charge of the next GL film and in the first fifteen minutes I will kill Hal Jordan and give the ring to John Stewart.

Green Lantern, while not a tragically flawed movie, was a less than stellar and considering that this has always been my hands down favorite character / franchise, I had hoped for more. I tried not to get myself overly excited as to avoid let down, that only worked with mixed results. As for future GL movies, let’s go for it. Let’s also ditch Reynolds, he’s great but was miscast. Don’t bother recasting, go for a GL Corps movie instead and use the previously rumored Common as John Stewart, bring in Guy and maybe even Kyle and go from there. Please WB, don’t abandon GL, just fix it. Look toward the Dark Knight for guidance.

Do people still not get that the 5 year thing doesn’t apply to the Batman books?

@Bryan The Marvel Boycott is still on as far as I’m concerned because of the whole OMD/BND debacle.

Storytelling? Yikes. Look no futher then Justice League. Every Justice League re-boot, from Detroit to Meltzer, has focused on a philosophical mission for the team. Not so with the new series. I feel like I am watching an 8 year old bang his Super Powers toys against in each other in an epic war for control of the toy chest. Hey DC, Michael Bay called and said he’s upset by the lack of character development (thanks Dennis Miller!). As much as I love Lee, I don’t know how much longer I can take this comic.

I’m calling it now for 2012: “Bart” the Kid Flash from Teen Titans is revealed as an amnesiac Wally West. Course, I’m probably wrong.

@trav–That sounds like the same problem I had with Fear Itself.

@Rod G.–Holding a grudge is fun, but forgiveness is better for you in the long run. And Dan Slott is writing some great Spider-man comics right now.

Zor-El – so your movie pitch is, “In the first 15 minutes let’s kill off the most popular version of the comic character, and the character featured in all our marketing and branding, plus the last film. All so I can substitute in my pet favorite, who’s pretty much always been a guest star and supporting cast member.”.

Yeah, that pitch would go over REAL well. They might even listen to you…for 5 minutes or so.

I_Captain Blanco

January 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

Ahh, don’t listen to Zor-El. He’s probably not in continuity any more anyway…

“whatever merits the stories themselves may have will surely be outweighed by the project’s inherent irrelevance”

Do you read comics for good stories or for relevant stories? Personally, I read them for the former, so I don’t care how unnecessary or irrelevant such a story might be if it’s a good story.

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives