Wednesday, June 01, 2011
A new beginning for the DC Universe
The internet was split in half yesterday, then shattered into tiny pieces, and then all the bits were ground into dust, scattered into a black hole, and came out the other side all bewildered, wide eyed and curious as DC Comics confirmed long-running rumours that all of their superhero universe titles would be relaunched in September.
Something like this needed to be done. Many of DC's comics had become new reader unfriendly due to all the baggage of continuity, crossovers and drawn out story arcs. The changes will come as a result of the current Flashpoint event running across the DC universe at present.
Have no doubt about it, this is a major relaunch. Every DC title will end this summer and restart with a new No.1 in September, and many characters will be redesigned and some will face a new status quo. (Rumour has it the Clark Kent/Lois Lane marriage will cease to exist.) As can be seen in the image at the top (promoting the new Justice League No.1) costumes have been tweaked (for better or worse), Superman appears younger (if that is indeed Kal-El), Wonder Woman's gained some muscle, and Green Lantern looks really excited about the whole thing in a Freudian way.
Here's the brief details: in September DC Comics will release 52 all-new No.1 issues, approximately 13 issues each week. (Assuming all the superstar creators can meet their deadlines.) On the same day as each comic is released a digital version will also be available for download. This is the first time a major comics publisher has gone day-and-date digtial across their line.
From our perspective, how will this affect international editions? Titan Magazines currently have the licence to produce DC comics in the UK. Their Batman Legends comic has had fluctuating frequency recently (monthly, then every 6 weeks, then monthly again) and the ailing Superman Legends was replaced by DC Universe Presents last year but that's gone to six-weekly now. A Justice League Legends title didn't fare too well a few years ago and was soon canceled. Will this give Titan the incentive and opportunity to try a few new UK DC titles, confident that the comics will be free of the burden of previous continuity? Or do the previous failures indicate that the UK newsstand readership isn't interested in DC characters other than Batman?
Will this bold move by DC actually work? I'm sure we remember things turned out when Marvel tried a similar thing with Heroes Reborn years ago. (The old continuity was restored a year later.) Will most titles stand alone so that new readers (and older readers returning to the fold) can understand (and afford) the storylines? Or will they make the same mistake of bringing in huge crossovers and confusing anyone who starts reading them later?
Time will tell, but if they really are dumping all the old continuity wouldn't that make their vast range of trade paperbacks redundant? Wouldn't it confuse new readers if, for example, they jump on board with Superman No.1, enjoy what they see, and then they pick up a Superman trade which features a completely different setup to the new comics?
This item just scratches the surface of the story. For more information keep your eyes on the regularly updated news sites such as these:
and of course of DC's own official website:
(Updated 6/6/2011 with new cover images.)