Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DC After Flashpoint – An Opinion

So DC has made their major announcement that they will be re-launching every title in September. Also every book will be available digitally the same day it is released to the comic stores.

Of course this blows up the DC post that Lee and I have coming next week, but opinions are impacted at points and time and I’m willing to let my old viewpoint be published after this new viewpoint.

Much of what I’m thinking is almost random so:

1) Long overdue. DC was languishing with their super hero line with only the Bat books holding my interest. Outside of those books I could have dropped every DC super hero title.

2) The direct market has become an anvil around the neck of the growth of the comic market. With the iPAd and other table style computers the digital age for comics has arrived. Of course charging $3 for a digital version is not going to garner great sales. DC has to realize that the digital market will be more of a new market place and we old print people will migrate slowly to that market place. The brick and mortar stores are in for some rough times and many will not survive.

3) Throwing the baby out with the bath water. I just have a bad gut feeling that Dick is back to being Nightwing and on a personal level I will be bummed. Of course with massive change everyone should be upset because we all have things we liked.

4) Didio is one of the major architects of this change. Isn’t this the same guy who got rid of Connor Hawke, Wally West, Ryan Choi and Kyle Rayner (for the most part) in favor of staying with the same stale characters.

5) The Silver Age started in 1960/1961 after 50 years I think we need to redo everything. It is a bold and daring plan and I applaud DC in taking the gamble. This was desperately needed. Now I only hope they allow their characters to grow and change going forward.

6) I’m glad I’m not a retailer anymore. How the heck do you order this stuff? The creative teams will be all important, but boy the changes better be heavy duty to get people’s attention. So far the announcements and rumors feel a little meek for this type of change. When COIE came out in 1985 they were going to radically shake up the DCU and chickened out. This time they better make it work.

7) Bottom line, tell good stories. Back when Loeb and Lee were on Batman the Hush storyline was a good story (at the start), the book sold like hotcakes. So bravo to all the changes but it will be a major flop if the stories suck.

8) Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on Justice League. My first thoughts, Johns hasn’t written any good stories for awhile, with Superman Secret Origin being his best stuff lately and Lee better be five issues ahead because he can’t make a monthly deadline. This appears to be the centerpiece for the new DCU and if it can’t hit a monthly schedule all the buzz dies in a heartbeat.

9) I bet DC has a trap door to pull the plug on all of this. I’m guessing that they have built in an escape hatch in case the entire idea flops. As an executive I would want to know what they plan to do if the idea is DOA. Let’s read Flashpoint carefully for the escape from this new reality.

10) If this succeeds Marvel will be forced to follow suit.

11) Didio, Harras and Johns track record is unimpressive. Johns is stuck on the Silver Age, Didio has editorially mandated stuff and screwed up titles like no one else (Outsiders jumps to mind as well as Sean McKeever on Teen Titans and McDuffie on the JLA) and Harras has done what exactly?

No matter all these thoughts, what this has done is has me excited about Flashpoint and excited about DC in general. I know they are going to disappoint me with Batman and I’m worried where Grant Morrison is in all of this, but I’m hopeful it will be good. Of course we will probably get a young hip Ollie Queen written by Scott Lobdell and art by generic super hero artist. Instead I want to see a new Green Arrow written by Jeff Lemire with art by Tim Sale, in other words make it different.


  1. The telling thing will be what this does to second-tier characters like Dick, Wally, Time, and Kyle. Rumors are spouting up from Wally back as Kid Flash WITH Bart as Impulse, etc.

    Lee and Johns announcement will more than likely clarify these continuity problems. You cannot de-age Bruce without de-aging Dick, etc.

    I'm more worried about losing the growth I loved in these NON silver age versions of the characters.

    But a Grant Morrison Superman book sounds awesome.

  2. The more I think about this the worse this idea sounds. Grant Morrison on Superman was awesome, but we saw that already.

    Batman Inc I have a feeling is done, Dick as Batman is done, etc. etc.

    I have a gut feeling instead of growth we will just see many of these characters made younger. I'd rather see the characters grow and change.

    Jumping on points are also jumping off points.

    I don't want Teen Titans with Dick, Donna and Wally again. I like Connor, Tim and Cassie. I'm all for growth and change but this all sounds like some dreadful plan to start the DCU over, but make Bruce, Clark and Diana heroes who are just starting out. Save me from the Ultimate DCU.

  3. Another big problem Cyborg as a main player in the DCU, it is lame as the character is lame. Mr. Terrific is a much better character to emphasis to get more color into the DCU. Heck he was the chairman of the JSA for a long time. The more I see, the more I think DC is telling me it is time to go.

  4. I think your comment about the Direct Market being an anvil is misplaced. I think it is the only thing keeping the industry alive... movies too but the ipad is not the key to growth. Most publishers entire stock is available as free bit torret and that hasn't added significant numbers to the stores.

  5. The direct market has actually hurt growth because they have to buy the books. Bookstores can return books and magazines and comics used to be returnable. You would lose some money, but the publisher and seller shared the risk, now the direct market takes all the risk, therefore they are hard pressed to try new stuff and take chances. The model doesn't work anymore.

  6. It's all well and good to say the DM doesn't work but the truth is, there isn't an alternative. There aren't any spinner racks anywhere. The offerings at Borders, B&N, and other stores are a 1/4 of what the local store offers. Getting rid of the DM would effectively kill the hobby.

  7. I didn't say get rid of the direct market, I said the way it operates does not work. Make books returnable for 30 cents on the dollar. A store can pay 50 cents on the dollar, but know if slaes are poor they can cut their losses with returns. Therefore a store can order more books and not be sold out when the store opens on Wednesday with some titles.

    As for other avenues, the digital market is the place that expansion of the market can occur as long as the companies make the price point like a $1 to start and then move up to $2 while print copies are $3.

  8. I'm smirking at the fact the two people who've most contributed comments are Jim and Lee. :-)

    I'm with the "model is broken" argument, btw. The prohibitive cost of monthlies, the aging readership and the waiting for the inevitable trade attitude leads me to believe the American industry should follow the European model: Serialized graphic novels. Strip chapters online, then direct to hardcover or softcover. But I've been beating that dead horse for a while.

  9. Well they've already said that they're keeping the newer Batwoman and Blue Beetle so I'm guessing we're only getting one month of #1 issues and the numbering resumes the following month. Some characters, like Superman, will be drastically changed. (No marriage minus the selling of marriage to Devil. Ahem. Spider-Man.) Some, like the bat-titles, will stay the same.

    I'm still waiting for more information before I condemn it. I expect to love some of the changes and hate others.

    I do understand Superman will be giving Wonder Woman a right good regular rogering.

    There are also rumors that the wildstorm characters will be introduced to the DCU as a result too.

  10. I'm not having the best afternoon with recurring work headaches, and that may color my opinion, but I'm not excited about this at all. I couldn't even bring myself to pick up the first two issues of Flashpoint today and I really, really wanted the Super 8 eight page insert! That movie is gonna be AWESOME!

    Marvel has really been wooing me back lately (although Spider-Island looks horrible) and I think Booster Gold is the only DC monthly I get now, other than the kiddie stuff. I would love to love Superman again, but I've got plenty of back issues to read and back issue HC's to purchase.

    I need good stories, month in and month out with a consistent creative team that gets you hooked, not just story arcs with the creator of the "month". Did you see that Perez couldn't even complete an entire Secret Seven issue and he's not even listed as the artist in issue 3!

    At least I have my movie properties, like PoTA, Godzilla, and Logan's Run. There's even going to be a Bionic Man comic (that may be pushing it). Kirby Genesis is good at least and it's fresh and new!