Hey kids – Alice checked in with the following last week and I should have posted it sooner but I didn’t. But now I have . . .
Alice Malice checking in: For those of you not already in the know, DC has made their latest addition to their dramatic continuity…by completely rebooting it. Starting August 31st DC will have a slew of 52 new “#1” comics. This decision was made to keep the characters and universe fresh and new to modern readers, and potentially reach new readers. Their reasoning is to captivate the readers who might have been intimidated by years of complicated continuity. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns are leading the new direction.
To start, there are some benefits of this surprising bit of news. After this change, DC comics would be released online on the same day they hit shelves. Ebooks are a vastly popular market, and seem to be on the rise. Financially it is a good move for DC, as it makes impulse purchases of comic books a lot more convenient for readers.
As previously mentioned, there is also the potential to draw in new potential readers (especially with the focus on digital media). Pop culture is at an interesting moment currently. Comic book characters are very in style, and every summer we are now bombarded with epic superhero movies and the numbers show that audiences are digging this. Animated shows based on comics are also showing a good degree of success, gaining viewership of younger audiences and many casual watchers. With that being said, this still isn’t greatly affecting the numbers of sales on comics. People in general really have various reasons why they aren’t buying, like the years of continuity, prices, store convenience, or due to the social stereotype. With this bold change, it has a chance to overcome these issues.
I see a lot of issues with this bold direction as well.
To loyal DC comic book consumers, this news has come across as frustrating. They’ve spent years reading these titles. So many characters in the DC universe have very diverse and dramatic histories, and many are feeling that all of this is being swept away. It comes across as abandoning it’s loyal fanbase, and any long-term plans the comic writers themselves had in store. It’s nearly unfathomable that all of these comic lines will have to draw an end, and for many it’s likely to feel abrupt and incomplete.
“Costume re-designs” have not been the most successful part of comics as of late. Our main example is the recent Wonder Woman costume re-design. It made headlines and many fans were annoyed by the change. The head of the new costume designers is Jim Lee, the very same who designed the new WW costume. It is also shown prominently on the new Justice League cover,. Superman’s iconic costume is also going through some major changes, with the design of the “S”, losing the red briefs, and gaining a high collar (anyone else snickering at all the high collars? What did every League member get a hickie?).
I’ve become concerned on what DC thinks “modernizing” means. This is because of the use of Cyborg as being a big part of the Justice League. In this new continuity he may not be like the Teen Titan we know and love. Their claim is to connect him with our technology-driven society today. But it comes across as the “token black guy.” If this the definition for keeping these comics up to date…this might not be the best sign.
Out of all of this, DC is definitely getting attention for this news. Is this really going to be a good new direction for the universe? In the long run will it actually bring in new paying readers? Some have even thought this might be a huge publicity stunt. It feels like too rash of a decision. I’ve had issues with some of the storylines in DC comics and changes in characters, but it was nowhere near the point where it needed to be completely rebooted. It could have even taken inspiration from the good Marvel’s Ultimate comics did, and just created a new universe. They also could have made it a point to not always honor their own continuity. It happens sometimes, especially when a comic has been going on for decades. Alright DC, you’ve got my attention. Let’s see where you go from here.
Alice Malice Checking out . . .