Once dead, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled from deep within the center of the Earth. The reason behind their rebirth remains a mystery. But it will not be a mystery for long. This is the Brightest Day.
So reads the mission statement which began each issue of the year-long, twice-monthly, just-concluded Brightest Day miniseries (written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, drawn by various artists). One might therefore be forgiven for thinking that BD would have used this premise to mold those characters into an imperfect ensemble, in order to explore collectively what “life after death” meant in a superhero context.
Instead, BD farmed out almost half its potential cast to other titles, thereby transforming itself (rather quickly) into a multi-headed Rebirth-style rejuvenation. From there it reintroduced readers to Aquaman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Firestorm, J’Onn J’Onzz, and Deadman, and used them in turn to reintroduce … well, you probably know by now, but let’s wait a while to talk about that.
News of The Flash’s cancellation has led to speculation that the title, whenever it returns, will pick up its original numbering. Considering that Wonder Woman was renumbered last year to reflect the accumulation of all its various incarnations, and Adventure Comics resumed its original numbering as well, Flash might not be the last title DC renumbers.
Today I’ll look at Flash and several other DC titles which could get this treatment in the next several years.
* * *
First, though, let’s consider Wonder Woman. Last year, the 45th issue of WW Vol. 3 was dubbed issue #600, thereby implicitly treating the current series and its predecessor as direct continuations of the original 1942 series. The math was pretty straightforward: Vol. 1 went to issue #329, and vol. 2 went to #226, so that left the 600th issue to vol. 3′s 45th. (329+226+45 = 600.) Volume 2 did have two irregularly-numbered issues, #0 (part of 1994′s “Zero Month,” which the rest of us called August), and #1,000,000 (for DC One Million, naturally).
With the Green Lantern movie coming out in the middle of the month, June looms big for DC’s superhero line. Since writer/executive Geoff Johns has become so identified with GL, you’d expect it would be a big month for him too — and indeed, between GL-related items and the Flashpoint event, Johns’ influence is felt all around the June solicitations.
Away we go –!
* * *
MORE LIKE “CASHPOINT,” AMIRITE?
Sometimes I think Flashpoint should completely interrupt DC’s superhero line for three to five months. After all, if all of DC history is changed (again), but the ongoing books can still tell current, normal-timeline stories, aren’t readers just waiting for the reset button to be pushed? Still, whatever suspense might be gained from such a setup is probably outweighed by the aggravation it would cause; not just to readers who’d have to wait out those months, but to DC’s professionals themselves, who’d either have to arrange things logistically to avoid disruptions, or risk leaving an ongoing arc hanging. In any case, obviously none of the regular DC books are going on a break to accommodate and/or reflect Flashpoint — except for The Flash, which is eminently appropriate.
What could be worse than a slide show about a stamp collection? Probably a blog post about a comic-book collection….
Among other things, the Vast Bondurant Comic-Book Library now includes over 11,000 single issues spread over 23 long boxes and 15 short boxes. My goal — which seems to recede in the distance the more I consider this project — is to separate all of the newer issues and shorter-run series from the old warhorses like Detective Comics and Fantastic Four. That means bringing the Gotham Centrals and Hourmans out of those big boxes with all the Green Lanterns and Incredible Hulks, into smaller boxes which won’t strain my aging vertebrae.
That scintillating introduction should tell you just how thrilling the past couple of days have been for me (not least because the project is far from over). This is the paper equivalent of defragmenting a hard drive, and it is not the most engaging of topics. Nevertheless, the process has forced me to examine how I use this library. After all, books are for reading, not for taking up space — and the way we read comic books, especially superhero comics, is changing dramatically.
Last week I talked about rediscovering the ‘70s series Secret Society of Super-Villains. As you might have guessed, this was made possible largely by the Internet. Without it, I would have had to scour back-issue boxes at regional comics shops and/or at the occasional convention. After all, that’s what I grew up doing.
Regardless of where or how I bought those back issues, the fact remains that I bought them pretty much sight-unseen. Oh sure, I remembered random scenes from isolated issues, but basically my yen for SSoSV grew out of two things: its concept and its reputation. I knew what it aimed to be, and I figured if Gerry Conway wrote most of it, it couldn’t be all bad.*
What’s more (at the risk of being obvious) I had to track down these back issues because a collected version of Secret Society of Super-Villains is apparently still trapped in royalty-payment limbo. Not that I am especially bitter about that, mind you; because clearly I don’t mind reading the individual issues and they weren’t that hard to find.
As we all know by now, DC is adding “co-features” to (so far) three of its titles: “Blue Beetle” in Booster Gold, “Ravager” in Teen Titans, and the previously-announced “Metal Men” in the new Doom Patrol. Each title will be $3.99, which presumably indicates that each title will contain at least 30 pages of story altogether. Assuming that the headliners will still get 22 pages per issue, this leaves a respectable 8 pages for the “co-feature,” although if it’s just 8 pages we might as well call it a “backup.”
Regardless of what you call it, I like this idea quite a bit. Backup stories expose readers to a greater variety of characters, creative teams, and storytelling styles. Furthermore, as long as DC feels compelled to increase its regular titles’ price point, $3.99 for 30 pages is about the same as (and a thin hair more economical than) $2.99 for 22 pages. This is not exactly a new strategy for DC: for books cover-dated September 1980, it added eight pages of story and art to all its books (going from 17 pages to 25), raised the price 25% (from $0.40 to $0.50), and in most cases used the extra pages for backups. Many of these starred familiar characters like Adam Strange, Aquaman, and the (Earth-2) Huntress, but many were used to spotlight the less familiar (Firestorm, OMAC) or to debut new characters (Nemesis). Since Newsarama indicated that “[m]ore books will have co-features added to them in the coming month,” let’s consider who might be returning in backup form.
* * *
Continue Reading »