Jun 2, 2011

Reactions to DC's Linewide Reboot #1: Me

Well, by now, you've heard the news. DC is rebooting its entire line in September, complete with renumberings of many titles to first issues, a mix of new and old continuity, new creative teams, 52 series, a bold new direction, and date-and-day digital.

Now, there's a lot here to sift through, so I'm just gonna give my reactions in a numbered list, in no particular order.

(1) Oh come on, give us a break. Ever since 2005, DC has been pulling big events and reboots every two years. Granted, they started it in 1986 with CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, but it has gotten really bad in the last six years. Every two years, everything you know changes. The more you change your status quo, the less the changes matter. So there's this new direction, yes? How long will it stick? When is your next big event? Will you actually give us time to enjoy this new status quo before you shake it up again? Or is shaking things up your status quo? Honestly, I know DC is trying to be serious, but it is hard to take them seriously at this point.

(2) I simply do not understand how it is possible that DC sees rebooting as a good business decision so often. It seems completely incomprehensible. Starting everything off at number 1 to give new readers a jumping-on point for day-and-date digital? Not only is it extremely shortsighted; it will also be a hoot to see when Marvel goes day-and-date digital and they don't reboot.

(3) After 20 years, I remain convinced that Jim Lee is a bad artist. Not only can he not draw motion or interaction (just look at that promotional piece! They look stiff and look like they're copied and pasted to be next to each other!), but he is also a pretty horrible costume designer. To quote Christopher Moriarty from my Facebook page, "You get a V-neck! YOU get a V-neck! EVERYBODY GETS A V-NECK!!" I have never been a Jim Lee fan and it's things like this that cement that opinion. Plus, is it just me, or is that the Electric Superman logo?

(4) So, there will be continuity changes. Supposedly, characters will be younger, and it's possible that Lois Lane and Superman will break up to give way to a Superman and Wonder Woman relationship, it seems. Okay, sure, if it's a new direction, it's a new direction. I'll respect that even if I don't like it (because unlike with Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, I actually do like Superman and Lois Lane). However, making characters physically younger and having Superman hook up with Wonder Woman makes no sense in any way that doesn't involve the words "publicity stunt" and "gimmick."

(5) Grant Morrison is writing Superman. GRANT MORRISON IS WRITING SUPERMAN! I'm there, I'm sold, but I also want to know why in the world I couldn't have read this without a reboot. I mean, this is like all the reboots. Some stuff's gonna rule. Some stuff's gonna suck. Why did we need a reboot to get to this point that we were at already?

(6) I understand that DC is trying to make this venture very friendly to new readers. My problem with that is this. Simply put, new readers don't care. Who's going to hear about this other than us? Furthermore, how many of them will care enough to try this out? I don't mind being driven away. I honestly don't. It saves me money. But I would hate the thought of being alienated from the medium and characters I love without someone, hopefully a 10-year-old kid, to replace me. And new readers, especially kids, are not afraid of high-numbered issues. I wasn't. You probably weren't. This whole argument that people may be afraid of high-numbered issues really exploded in the last decade, and the only explanation I can see is that writers started writing for TPBs, thus making each individual issue less accessible.

Heck, if I had to guess, I'd say it's harder to figure out what TPB to buy than which single issue to buy. But that's just me.

(7) DC Comics will have a line comprising 52 titles. FIFTY-TWO titles. At $2.99 each! How do you expect to get new readers to fall in love with your line as a whole when you make it so damn big that only the rich ones can possibly do so?

(8) This may be a way for DC to prep the public for new DC movies. In which case, it's everything I hate about comics today. That's if its primary purpose is to prep for new DC movies. The medium has to come first.

(9) And finally, digital. Day-and-date digital. DC is going to release these things for sale online the day of its actual, physical release. I get why DC is doing this. The world is going to change whether I like it or not, whether I like digital or not (and I don't)... but the only thing I can think of is that wow, I am glad the Philippines is lagging behind in technological distribution, because I'm friendly with the local store owners, and I can't even imagine the effect this would have on retailers. A lot of this feels like in an effort to move forward and ahead of the curve while giving the middle finger to the people who got you to where you are in the first place.

That's it for now. More reactions from featured columnists coming in the next few days!


Norby Ela said...

This is a big gamble for DC. I hope Vertigo is 100%-free from this massive endeavor.

Kid said...

Not again. Why can't they just pick one and stick to it?

Anonymous said...

to be fair about jim lee's costume design, the superman logo had to be changed in order for dc to cover their asses from those pesky siegel/shuster kids

Duy Tano said...

Norby: I hope Vertigo continues to just exist as a sort of separate company that never ever ever gets involved in DC proper.

Kid: Like I said, I have no idea why in the world this is a "good business decision" for DC every three years.

Anonymous: That makes little sense. The current symbol is vastly different from the original S-shield to begin with.

Reno said...

The only way the redesigns will stick is if the merchandising for non-comics items will strictly adhere to these designs. But as we've seen from your previous post, DC still uses the JL Garcia Lopez artwork that they've used for years (I myself love them).

One aspect that DC succeeded in is having people talk about them now. Will it translate to sales? I don't know, since it seems the only people talking about it are the existing comic fans. Any info if the non-comics reading public are discussing this? If not, I doubt sales will get better. It could go two ways: longtime fans will see this as a perfect opportunity to drop titles, or they get curious enough to try it. If so, can they sustain interest, or will it wane in time?

Duy Tano said...

Well, DC has three months to get non-comics fans talking about this.

Also, another matter: the back issues and the TPBs will still have the old continuity. What happens when "new" readers go to a bookstore and read those and find out they prefer it?

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