Thursday, June 02, 2011

DC’s Re-Launch – Apollo 11 or The Challenger

The more I read, the more I’m worried about DC’s plan. It feels too much like a marketing stunt and too much like one size fits all approach.

Look at Dan Didio’s history in running the show. At one time he said no one should be on any title for more than a year. Another time he said only Bruce Wayne can be Batman, Barry Allen is the Flash. They killed Ryan Choi as the new Atom, they refused to let go of the past. The original LOSH was sort of brought back and now they hit the reset button once again.

52 new #1s, that corresponds to the number of Earths in the revitalized multi-verse. Remember in 1985 DC got rid of the multiple universes because it was too complicated for fans to jump in and understand the entire back story. 20 plus years later, we are now smart enough to handle multiple universes.

Didio has had a history of screwing with the creative process. Outsiders had one or two writers before it got started again and then eventually Didio took it over and made it into a horrible book. Didio was going to make the Titans the next great franchise and he personally edited the book and drove poor Sean McKeever back to Marvel as soon as his contract expired. The Batwoman book has been a disaster, so bad DC published a preview one week and still never got the number 1 issue on the stand.

The Batwoman book is one reason I believe this plan has been cobbled together rather fast. I think at one point Flashpoint was going to impact some characters and give DC an excuse to play with a bunch of characters, but somewhere along the line they decided to blow up everything and I think it has been a mad rush to pull it all together. Rumors are out that writers have been fired off the new series before they ever get published, which is classic Didio tinkering and interfering as he tries to make everything the way he thinks it should be. Another clue that this has been changing on the fly is Flash (the regular comic) was suppose to continue during Flashpoint and then was cancelled rather abruptly. The whole think smacks of three or four people dictating what should be done and then changing stuff up as they go. No real planning, no creator retreat to generate buy in and other ideas, just the old do it my way and shut up.

When you hire creative people, let them have fun and do their job. Some of the best books are ones the suits never care about and writers go off and do their own thing. Doom Patrol by Arnold Drake, Grant Morrison and recently Keith Giffen jumps to mind. I’m sure some stuff will be good, but I think the bulk of it will be more along the lines of an 11.1 earthquake and a Tsunami as tall as Mt. Everest.

This smacks of hubris of the same type that allowed Quesada to end Spider-Man’s marriage. They (Quesada and Didio) think they know what is wrong with comics. It is too much continuity, it is too many versions of the character and the character needs to be younger, single, drink more, whatever. All of it is wrong. Even what I cry out for with allowing characters to age and change maybe wrong (although Dick and Damian were the best Batman and Robin in decades), but it all comes down to telling good stories.

It is not events, it is not about shared continuity and it is not about anything other than telling good stories with good or even great art. Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams on Batman, Lee/Ditko on Spider-Man, Loeb/Lee on Batman, Peter David on the Hulk, Claremont/Byrne on the X-Men, Morrison/People on the X-Men, Byrne on the FF, Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman on Sandman, Garth Ennis on Preacher and Punisher, Steve Englehart/Frank Brunner on Dr. Strange, the list goes on and on and on. It comes about from strong writers being given some creative freedom and I think a good editor who can point out things that need to be changed.

If DC’s plan is to scrap everything that has gone before and give us a new continuity then I have nothing vested in any of these characters anymore. Marvel has ripped the heart of their characters away from me. As much as Spider-Man has been better, I can drop the book at anytime (Spider Island looks atrocious) because I no longer have a vested interest. I’m not interested in trying to figure out what did or did not happen with every DC character and since they are not all starting from day one I will have to do that. The “One Year Later” jump tried that and failed.

When the Silver Age started it was a new world, Barry Allen, not Jay Garrick, Hal Jordan not Alan Scott, this feels like a half ass attempt to jump in with a new status quo, but not at the beginning, in the middle with fast and loose changes to suit whoever is running this train off the tracks. At least DC got it right with releasing digitally on the same day and date, now if they could allow retailers to do partial returns for a percentage (say 30 cents on the dollar versus the 50 cents on the dollar the retailer pays) then the playing field would be righted.

I’m pretty sure all the good work in the Bat-verse is going to go to hell because it wasn’t supported by Didio and I’m guessing we get a younger Bruce Wayne and who knows what happens to his supporting cast. I hear Babs will be back as Batgirl. I mean how is taking away a paraplegic hero as one of the great people in the DCU and turning the little white girl back into Batgirl going forward.

I will check out stuff, but this feels like Marvels “Heroes Reborn” on steroids and that was some of the worse crap to every come out from Marvel. Goodbye DC, we had a great run, I loved you and I will miss you, your younger sister maybe cute, but I don’t think she even knows who the Beatles are so I’ll say hi on Facebook or something, but I can’t see her and I every having the relationship we once had. I know nothing last forever, but fifty years together was a long time and I will always keep you close to me with the collections I own, just no new adventures for us to go on.


  1. 1985's Crisis worked for me, because I was reading close to zero DC books, except for Firestorm and an occasional Flash. But if they reset the button again, the heroes I've been following are gone. It'll be the perfect jumping off point. You're right, One Year Later WAS a disaster. With 52 earths, you should be able to have a few titles in their own elseworlds world and just let it do it's own thing (like First Wave), why mess with the regular DCU at all.

    Of course you can be pretty forgiving once the stuff actually comes out, Jim! Let's hope you'll be able to print a retraction and everything will be fine.

  2. I hope I can eat my words also. I'd rather feel like I'm getting too many books instead of too few. The proof will be in the books and we have to wait until September for that. Could make Balto-Con interesting.