Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thoughts on the DC reboot

If you have any interest or connection to the world of comic books, then you have no doubt already heard the news about DC's rebooting of their superhero comic books.  Much has been made of this in the last few days, both positive and negative.  Personally, I wanted to wait a few days to give some thought on the matter before commenting.

Before I continue, I recommend you read Greg Hatcher's excellent analysis on the subject.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  Finished?  Good.  I'm pretty much in agreement with everything Greg says, so instead of repeating any of that, I'm just going to throw out a few extra random thoughts:

1)  52 titles?  Hopefully a decent chunk of those will be one-shots or mini-series, because as it currently stands DC simply does not have the talent pool to pull off that many ongoing monthly titles.  For the titles that have been announced so far, only Morrison taking over a Superman title is of any real interest to me, and even then there's the danger that it will wind up a watered-down version of his work on All-Star Superman (I was briefly interested in Teen Titans, until I found out that contrary to rumor Fabien Nieceza will not be writing it).

2)  Bob Wayne says it isn't a reboot, but at least some of the characters appear to be getting their origins rewritten (most notably Firestorm), so... "to-ma-to, to-mah-to".

3)  The books that Geoff Johns have been most closely associated with (Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman) seem to have the least amount of tampering with their backstories.  What a shock.

4)  The online/digital thing is a (potentially) much bigger game-changer that the reboot, but DC is straddling the fence here; they want to step outside of the confines of the direct market, but do not want to abandon the direct market just yet.  If digital sales do well, then DC may well drop the online costs further in hopes of moving beyond the comic book shop.

5)  While Greg notes that this is an excellent opportunity to get rid of some in-comic aspects that wouldn't do well when marketed to a larger audience, it should be noted that any changes to the Superman character are also probably inspired by the fact that Joe Shuster's heirs will be reclaiming some of the aspects of the character that were established in Action Comics #1.

6)  It's utterly hypocritical of me, but while I don't care much one way or the other about most of the changes that might occur, I would just as rather that the Legion of Super-Heroes and Jonah Hex books continue relatively unchanged.  LSH has already been rebooted multiple times to its detriment; if any title deserves to get a pass, it's the Legion ("that's okay, we already gave at the office").  Now that Levitz is finally starting to hit his stride on the book, I'm hoping he can work in any changes with a minimum of fuss.  As for Jonah Hex, there's no guarantee that it will even be among the 52 titles - sales for the book have never been that strong, which only goes to show just how much a large percentage of comic book fans suck - but if it is, hopefully DC will be smart enough not to muck things up too much.  

Finally, these changes don't take place until September.  We've got a good three months to see how things are going to play out; no need to go into a tizzy just yet.  Which doesn't mean some fans aren't doing exactly that...

(wonder what Hitler thinks of the new Mr. Terrific title?)

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