Wednesday, June 01, 2011

DC’s At It Again

The web is a buzz with stories about the upcoming shake-up at DC Comics.  According to this story, DC plans to restart all of their titles on August 31st.

From the story –
DC will re-number its entire line of superhero titles, beginning with all-new No. 1 issues starting Aug. 31 — 52 in all, including a new Justice League No. 1. Fittingly, the publisher put its creative superteam on its trademark superhero superteam.

Guided by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee, Justice League will begin its first year with an updated secret origin reflecting DC's new initiative, giving the group a reason for coming together that it lacked when the league first appeared in 1960. And while it will ultimately boast 14 members, at its core will be DC's A-list do-gooders: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman.


In the rollout of the revamped DC Universe, some titles will return, a lot of titles won't, and DC will have a wider range of books starting in September, DiDio says. In addition, three-quarters of the creative teams will be shuffled around — series that are successful and writer/artist combinations that work well together won't be tweaked too much, he says.


The characters also are getting a makeover. While most of the specifics are still top secret, Lee says he worked with both staff and freelance artists to redesign costumes in a contemporary way as well as alter the physicality of many heroes and villains to modernize the DC Universe.

"You're trying to have your cake and eat it, too," Lee says. "You're trying to keep the iconic elements there, but at the same time freshen up the look so that people are intrigued by what they're seeing and hopefully come and sample the wares."

The recent emphasis on diverse characters such as lesbian superheroine Batwoman, Hispanic hero Blue Beetle and African-American adventurer Cyborg (who will be a core member of Johns and Lee's new Justice League) also will continue.

"He's a character I really see as the modern-day, 21st-century superhero," Johns says of Cyborg. "He represents all of us in a lot of ways. If we have a cellphone and we're texting on it, we are a cyborg — that's what a cyborg is, using technology as an extension of ourselves."

There will also be a lot of diversity in the products as well, DiDio promises. "It's not just about straight superhero characters and stories. We're going to use war comics, we have stories set in mystery and horror, we've got Westerns."

While Lee allows that this kind of wholesale change is risky for DC, it's far more perilous to play it safe and not periodically examine these characters and how they relate to the readership.

"It's part of our jobs to make sure that these characters stay dynamic and relevant," Lee says. "And that's what drove us on a creative level to make these kinds of changes."
My initial reaction is WTF?!?  Seriously, how can they renumber titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics?  Sure, go to town with the rest of them but those two are sacred. 

My next thought is that in the past half decade Geoff Johns and company have worked really hard at rebooting the DC Universe with Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, Blackest Night, and Brightest Day so why in the heck would you completely undo all of that work and throw away those great stories?  Sure with a multiverse you have tons of possibilities but if this change is going to be nothing more than what’s happening on some other Earth, why not just say that?  Marvel did just that with the Ultimates line and was very successful with it.  George Gene Gustines discusses this very thing in his piece Comic Book Math: DC to Renumber Series, Starting Again With No. 1.  Much of this reboot will be a result of the events in the Flashpoint miniseries (Wikipedia), which based solely on how it is described on Wikipedia, sounds a bit convoluted to me.

The only thing that is keeping me from completely freaking out is the fact that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are the minds behind this adventure.  To date, Johns has never produced anything less than a great story (most have been spectacular) and so far the information released by DC has been extremely limited.  Needless to say the CD Comics Message Boards have been lighting up with threads from many a livid fan. 

At this point I’m going to take a wait-and-see stance.  This could be something really cool or it could suck balls but at this point there isn’t enough information to go on.  DC certainly did one thing with this announcement…they got people talking. 

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