DC Comics announced today that the current ”Flashpoint” event series (you know, the one with sixteen different tie-in mini-series?) will end on August 31. On that same day, a new “Justice League” series by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee (nice!) starts at #1.
The following month, however, DC will unleash 52 new #1 titles as they set out to reboot the entire DC Universe.
Action Comics (currently at 900+ issues)? Detective Comics (currently at 875+ issues)? Wonder Woman? Green Lantern? ALL of them are starting over.
Those new #1s include costume redesigns for more than 50 superheroes (look to your left for an idea) and - get this - “a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph,” according to DC's Senior Vice President-Sales Bob Wayne.
Which, according to Wayne, also means - you betcha! - "Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes.”
So how, exactly, does DC justify throwing away 77 years of history like Ah-nuld ditching a Kennedy for a dumpy middle-aged Hispanic chick? Here’s Co-Publisher Dan DiDio to explain (via USA Today): "We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."
In other words, they’re going to pull an Ultimate Marvel (go look it up). The only difference is, when Marvel did this sort of thing, it was to attract readers who had seen the X-Men and Spider-Man movies and give them a latching on point without scaring the hell out of them with several decades of ongoing plotlines that would turn them right off. They made a line of comics that new readers could jump right in to if they wanted to, but were still smart enough to leave in place their established line for those fans who had invested all of their time, money, and effort in to following those stories.
Not DC, jack! No way! They’re tossing out EVERYTHING! And the sick, sad part of it is...they’re doing it for no good reason.
Let’s torpedo the whole “All stories will be grounded in each character's legend - but will relate to real world situations” right the hell now. Superman recently announced his US Citizenship to become more of a global hero (among several other logical reasons). That was met with a knee-jerk, ignorant response from people who hadn’t read these books since the days of Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson (and that’s being generous) that Sooperman’s an Uh-murh-kin, Gawd demmit! You don’t like it, you kin git out! Hence, DC rescinded the move - and asshats like the guy who wrote the article at the other end of the previous link celebrated, feeling safe that a fictional alien comic book character was back on the side of the “good guys”, not realizing that he’d never left in the first place. So, out goes the “real world situations” argument.
Next? Oh yeah - "We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line.” WHY?? You have the Green Lantern movie coming out. You have Batman: The Brave and the Bold as well as Young Justice on the Cartoon Network. You have DC’s animated movies making a pretty good killing at a pretty good pace. Where can you possibly see where they need to be “freshened up” when people around the world know and recognize these characters and where they came from?
Marvel didn’t feel the need to relaunch their entire comics line when Iron Man made bank at the box office, did they? No - because they were well aware of the marketplace and their fans. They didn’t try to shove down consumers’ throats the idea of starting all over because the core fans wouldn’t have stood for it and, I’m sorry to have to break the bad news here but, if newer fans were coming in to buy the books based on the movies, they would have already shown up. Instead, DC is out to alienate both sides. Stupendeous.
This argument and several other tangents and examples pointing out how monumentally idiotic of an idea this is could continue for days. At the end of the day, DC has inexplicably done what they do best...when the train is rolling with full momentum, they’ve decided to slam on the brakes and attempt to make a left turn right off the track. As a lifelong DC fan, it hurts to say...and they wonder why Marvel keeps kicking their asses.
WCW - one of many examples of why ”rebooting the product” doesn’t work.