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DC Confirms Company-Wide All-New #1s in September

DC Comics has confirmed that they are, indeed, relaunching their comics with new #1’s in September, including Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee (with the “Big Seven” as the team).

As I’ve said before, I really don’t care what the number says on the comic so long as it is good, so while I certainly would be a bit sad to see Action Comics, Detective Comics and Batman be re-numbered for the first time in those titles’ histories, if the end result is a push for a bunch of good new comic books, it is all good by me. And DC could really use a bunch of good new comic books. In addition, they only say “50 All-New #1s,” so I suppose that could mean Action, Detective, Batman and Superman won’t get re-numbered. That’d be a nice way to throw a bit of a bone to those fans who really hate re-numbering (as you can’t really complain about JLA being re-numbered when it was re-numbered just five years ago).

Honestly, the only part of this news that concerns me at all is that Jim Lee is re-designing/tweaking the costumes of a bunch of DC characters. That could be problematic (although hopefully we’re only talking minor changes), although the Superman and Wonder Woman re-designs above are decent enough.

The part about the comics now being released online the day of their in-store release was also pretty darn significant.

159 Comments

Darth Eradicus

May 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Ballsy to do that to every single comic you publish all at once–even more ballsy to make it stick and not revert back as soon as the novelty wears off and sales return to pre-Flashpoint levels…

Wow, just wow. Well, good luck to them. It will be a breath of fresh air for them perhaps. Sad if they are giving up on seeing Action Comics #1000, but I suppose that would be about 9 years away in any case.

I’ve been predicting a Big 7 JLA return for over a year now on different websites. I also mentioned it on this site back in August:
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/08/30/finally-also-mourning-the-loss-of-the-big-seven-jla/#comment-799311

And in the CSBG message boards:
http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=356044

I also expected Geoff Johns and Jim Lee would be on it, although no way Jim Lee lasts a whole year. He’s just there as a gimmick and a replacement will be announced after numerous fill-ins and delays, much like Quitely was supposed to be the artist on Batman and Robin, then a rotating artist, then eventually just a cover artist, and never did more than one arc for the series. I predict Jim Lee will do two arcs max in 3 years for the book.

Honestly, the only part of this news that concerns me at all is that Jim Lee is re-designing/tweaking the costumes of a bunch of DC characters. That could be problematic (although hopefully we’re only talking minor changes).

It shocks me that DC hasn’t caught on yet that Jim Lee can’t design costumes to save his life.

Also it’s just “Justice League”, no “of America”. SHOCKING.

Oh, good call, Marc.

The renumbering thing is a terrible idea, and enough has been said about it. BUT…!

There’s something interesting in the source article that’s kind of thrown out there without comment, and that’s the idea that one of the opportunities of this reboot is greater diversity. If this initiative allows for more prominent women, LGBTQ heroes, and racial and ethnic minorities, I think that could be a really great step for DC. It’ll likely be controversial, depending on what’s done to which characters, but if there’s one thing DC has done consistently it’s weather storms of its own making. If they do this, and stick by it, good on them.

Oh, and digital simo is a great and necessary idea.

I would be surprised if they didn’t revert to the original numbering in time for the issue 1000, but I am more interested in whether or not this will be a full continuity reboot as well.

I wish writers could focus more on making GOOD NEW STORIES that don’t rely on changing everything forever and reverting characters and plots to a previous version whenever they want to use them again.

For example, if writers had the creativity to NOT rely on using the Joker in every Batman story then the characters would both be stronger for it and less bogged down in continuity issues.

Marv Wolfman wanted to do this in 1986: reset all the collections (and also rebooting them) but the powers that be weren’t happy with that.

Sad that just to pump up the sales (for how many months?) Detective Comics, Action and Batman will revert to the #1s. One thing is to reset Justice League, which was restarted after Infinite Crisis; other thing is to touch the longest running titles.

The bottom line is: nothing of this (including the redesign of costumes) guarantees better stories.

Well, as we know #1’s produce only a one or two month sales spike. Long term trends are unaffected mostly.

In some ways I hate this, particularly Action, Batman and Detective
Personally I’d rather see a dumping of all ongoings in favour of arc based minis that would get solicited when completed, so no more Europa etc, and then just have a new number one every six months or so

The image is interesting, Kal with no underpants, Diana in a mix of old and new costumes

To me, the renumbering will be a good jumping off point for me for a number of iffy titles (legion, titans and especially JSA)
wonder how this will impact the Green Lantern opus, and Batman Incs twwo year plan…

I may even go totally digital if they are doing that many day and date….

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I think the most important bit is print and digital simultaneously. Flashpoint is doing the “Crisis” thing a few years later, but different than before, there are no Frank Millers, George Pérezes and John Byrnes to conceive them modernly. I mean, Johns is hardly a great writer (in spite of selling well, but to me, he sells well because most of the times, DC readers are forced to follow his shenanigans as they are central to understanding the core of DCU). Except for his Green Lantern, all his books for the last few years were either awful (Brightest Day, Blackest Night) or half-baked and half-way-abandoned jobs (Adventure Comics, Legion of 3 Worlds, Flash).

Does anyone know how soft or hard a reboot this will be?

I don’t think this will be the type of hard reboot Wolfman wanted in 1986. I think it’s going to be halfway between a soft reboot like the New Earth concept debuted after Infinite Crisis during One Year Later and the less soft-reboot of the original Crisis. I can’t see DC having the guts to do a hard reboot. Plus a half-ass soft reboot offers the chance for a lot more continuity confusions and awful fixes to do later on, a la Legion and Hawkman, which DC loves.

‘What happened to “only Flashpoint #5 being released on August 31st”?’

They never said that – they said it was the only book they were “currently soliciting”, which was a pretty blatant bit of tricky phrasing.

Looks like DC has finally done what they need to do to compete with Marvel… Too bad it took them 50 years!

Ah, good point. Thanks, Aaron!

Didio says they’re relaunching with younger versions of the characters, which implies that it’s more than simply a coordinated jumping-on point.

Ugh.

Why do monthlies? Monthlies only appeal to the entrenched fanboy. They take this chance, this monumental chance and don’t go all the way.

They should have gone completely Graphic Novel. No more pamphlets, no more advertisements no more cheap looking expensive little parts of a story. Novels. Sell GOD DAMNED NOVELS. Like a book publisher. They are so entrenched in this idea of comics as magazines.

Stupidstupidstupid.

This will go over like a lead balloon amongst the fanboys. It will had almost NO new readers, as part of the problem is THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE FORMAT. Most people who read aren’t reading periodicals they’re reading books. The audience is in books.

New #1 doesn’t mean jack shit anymore. But the idea of ending your monthly comic line to focus on graphic novels featuring your vast catalog of characters…that would have been revolutionary.

Instead…it’s just stupid. Dan DiDio will not be working for DC in 2013. Johns and Lee might be joining him. This is a monumental mistake.

I’m kinda ticked about this. Not the renumbering – I consider the numbers to be useful only for pointing me in the direction the stories flow – but about the implied threat to continuity. There’s a lot of stories going on that are going to be hurt by this – how much of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern planning, or Grant Morrison’s planning, is going to be discarded? Unless this is similar to the Zero issues from post-Zero Hour, where they will go back to the original stories after a bit of rebooting, there’s a lot of stories I’ve gotten invested in that are going to be thrown to the wind (the aforementioned being the most important for me). The only good thing is that I’m getting a recent wish for a Geoff Johns Justice League.

I’m kinda ticked about this. Not the renumbering – I consider the numbers to be useful only for pointing me in the direction the stories flow – but about the implied threat to continuity. There’s a lot of stories going on that are going to be hurt by this – how much of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern planning, or Grant Morrison’s planning, is going to be discarded? Unless this is similar to the Zero issues from post-Zero Hour, where they will go back to the original stories after a bit of rebooting, there’s a lot of stories I’ve gotten invested in that are going to be thrown to the wind (the aforementioned being the most important for me).

I’m sure this was all well planned way in advance and that all the writers will have plenty of time to wrap up their respective series. And since Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison have so much sway at DC I’m sure they played a major role in this and are not that put out by it at all. I could be wrong, but that’s my take on it.

How can we redesign these iconic costumes? Oh, let’s make Hal’s collar a v-cut. Hmmm. Oh, Let’s give Aquaman a v-collar. That’ll be cool. What else? Oh, I know! Let’s give Superman a v-collar. That’ll be awesome.

How can we redesign these iconic costumes?

We should start a running bet. How many comments after a DC article it takes for the word “iconic” to pop up. If any word needs to be retired it’s that one.

Re: Younger DC. The re-designed Supes (no underwear a la Batman) and WW (she seems to have borrowed part of Spider-Woman suit) sure look a whole lot younger than the way Jim Lee used to draw them.

Thing is, DC doesn’t want to age their characters, excepting the old JSAers (Garrick, Scott, Grant) who are forever chained to WW2, even if from time to time they recieve a magic lifting.

Didio says they’re relaunching with younger versions of the characters, which implies that it’s more than simply a coordinated jumping-on point.

I believe you, but where did it say that? I can’t find it.

Looking at the picture by Jim Lee above, i guess I could see it. Superman does have a younger look with a hipper, longer hairstyle I think

I have no problem with a hard reboot of the universe, and have often hoped something like this might happen. But there is a right way to do things and a wrong way, and this is the wrong way. A reboot should have been artist controlled- you get all the best writers together (contracted and otherwise) in a room, tell them you’re planning this, and have them all pitch their best ideas for the characters. The best ones win and you start up a new universe. Unfortunately, this is clearly completely editorially controlled- we now have two egomaniacal people using an entire company and its intellectual property into their personal playthings with no consideration of whether they have good stories to tell or not. Not that this is anything really different from the last decade of the company, but it’s really stunning to see it codified in an official way.

Didio’s quote also caught my eye:
“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.”
Telling stories “for today’s audience” is great, ’cause we want our comics to sell so they’ll be published for years to come. But I do wonder what exactly DC’s definition of “today’s audience” is and where I, at 36, fit into that exactly.
But the comment about the characters being younger? So are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. being transformed into a bunch of teens, tweens and 20-somethings?
I just don’t get DC’s fascination with this “let’s overhaul the entire universe AGAIN, and if THIS doesn’t work, we’ll do it again in a few years.”

As much as I hate to lose the Action and Detective numberings (And would rather see those titles put on hold or even cancelled than a new number 1 for either). the idea of Hellblazer becoming DC’s longest-running title is not without appeal…

And speaking of graphic novels: monthlies are the base of the superhero comics industry, many (most?) times at the expenses of the stories. Don’t think they’re gonna take the European route. The best runs will be colected as trades, and many people will read them that way; that’s the closest we get to a graphic novel instead of monthly approach.

@DrunkJack – The reason no new readers will ever get into reading comics is two-fold. 1) Adults who never read comics before think they’re juvenile. 2) Comic publishers refuse to actively produce affordable all-ages material and make it available where kids – those new readers – will find it. Make comics both kids and adults can read, and put them back where people can find them without a concerted effort. Then you might get some new readers.

I hate those collars a lot.

The new #1s are meaningless unless they’re also scrapping the decades worth of jumbled, contradictory continuity. They say there will be changes, but it remains to be seen how substantive that’ll be. If they’re just shaving slices off on the existing morass but keeping the bulk intact and expecting readers to figure it out on the fly, then I fail to see the improvement.

This is basically the original pitch that was made for Crisis on Infinite Earth’s. It only took 25 years to make it happen.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think I remember hearing that Morrison’s plans in Batman Inc will carry on unaffected by the changes in the DCU. I’m almost positive I heard this, but on the other hand, Morrison likes throwing in nods to current continuity, and his cast of characters includes Tim Drake, Batgirl, and others who will almost certainly be swept up in the reboot, so I really don’t know. I expect the overarching Leviathan plot to remain in place, though.

So why the hell should I care about the end of ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ if all the mythology they’ve been building up for the past 5 years or so is going right out the window in 3 months? What does it matter which of the four main GLs ‘dies’ or gets kicked out or whatever if in all likelihood some of them wont even have ever existed come September?

So why the hell should I care about the end of ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ if all the mythology they’ve been building up for the past 5 years or so is going right out the window in 3 months? What does it matter which of the four main GLs ‘dies’ or gets kicked out or whatever if in all likelihood some of them wont even have ever existed come September?

Because you enjoy the story?

How stupid is it to have all of your comics start at #1 in the same month. You should at least stagger the launches over a year so that when you get to #100 for each issue they would be staggered over a year. Why not set it up to have a centenial year with Action 100 in Jan, Detective 100 in Feb, etc?

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm

It does seem very likely it’s not going to be a “wipe all that came before”, but at the same time, it is still confusing.

From Bob Wayne’s letter to retailers, on Newarama:

“We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.”

I knew I should’ve included that last line: it’s a jumping off point. Whatever GL series starts in September, if it’s utterly disconnected from what I had been reading, I really wont care to continue reading it.

How stupid is it to have all of your comics start at #1 in the same month. You should at least stagger the launches over a year so that when you get to #100 for each issue they would be staggered over a year. Why not set it up to have a centenial year with Action 100 in Jan, Detective 100 in Feb, etc?

Have you seen DC’s publishing strategy since Didio…ID Crisis…Final Crisis…52…One Year Later…Amazons Attack…World War 3…Countdown…Final Crisis…Cry for Justice…The Flash revamp debacles…I don’t think the current regime plans 100 days in advance much less 100 issues. They do 50 #1s because it will make them a lot of money right now. What do they care about what the company is up to in 100 issues? They’ll have been through dozens more harebrained schemes by then.

How stupid is it to have all of your comics start at #1 in the same month. You should at least stagger the launches over a year so that when you get to #100 for each issue they would be staggered over a year. Why not set it up to have a centenial year with Action 100 in Jan, Detective 100 in Feb, etc?

The odds of all of these comics hitting #100 at the same time is slim to none. Whether through cancellation or a return to the original numbering, you will much more likely see only a handful actually reach #100.

I think the question is how long until Jim Lee backs out from being the artist?

Good bye Super-Marriage?

Yeah, but the point still is that with new #1’s across the board, DC wants people to start checking out all their characters. I mean the least you could do is give each new title and creative team a shot right. But releasing them all on the same day would therefore be super retarded, because you’re asking people to by 52 comics on the same day! Or at least in one month. How does that make sense? You’re kinda guarenteing that some a reader will not be giving every title a fair chance.

The odds of all of these comics hitting #100 at the same time is slim to none. Whether through cancellation or a return to the original numbering, you will much more likely see only a handful actually reach #100.

Also don’t forget hot writers and artists making books late…the Smiths, Heinbergs, Quitelys, Finches and Lees of the industry. Numbers will start getting staggered

You mean DC doesn’t have an 8 1/2 year plan?

I’m still amazed they even had an 8 1/2 week plan.

2011 – YEAR OF THE V-NECKS

Good bye Super-Marriage?

I’d say extremely likely.

Thing is, DiDio always worked on short terms plans. Even when it came to long projects like Infinite Crisis-52 (witness the more than ever confusing state of the new earth/multiverse status quo). I hope this will be his last shot at retconning…. neither he or Geoff Johns are in the same league that Giordano, Jeanette Kahn and Marv Wolfman…. take account of the years that passed between every big retcon in previous decades: Crisis 85-86, Zero Hour 94, Hypertime late 90s…

Obviously, this is a diabolical plan to keep Booster Gold from hitting issue 50. I believe that’s the closest comic to a major September landmark: it hits issue 47 in August, and September would have been the 50th issue in this current run, (but only issue 48 thanks to Zero Hour and DC One Million tie ins.)

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm

That’s a pretty good question: is DC editorial ready these days for such a massive change? Their recent years have not proven ANYTHING like that: the All-Star Batman & Robin fiasco, Batman Europa mess, the horrifying case of Jim Shooter’s Legion of Super-Heroes being trampled by Johns’ “Lightning Saga” fiasco, the decision to butcher Ambush Bug #6, the mistakes in editing Doom Patrol as a regular book, the First Wave line, the Milestone Line relaunch fiasco…
Let’s say it’s not a pretty good editorial board…

Good bye Super-Marriage?

I’d be willing to bet money on it.

Also:
– Goodbye Oracle and welcome back to Batgirl 1.0.
– Welcome Back to the Wolfman-Perez era for the Teen Titans

Those are the three safest bets. My big hope is that DC finds a way to weave the Milestone characters into this new continuity, Maybe Icon subs into the Big 7 version of Justice League for the tough to update J’onn J’onzz. That sort of thing would be nice.

My big fear is that we are going to get a lot of legacy characters get minor tweaks that focus mainly on their appearance.

Ricardo – exactly. In most industries, when you fail at doing small test runs and simulations, the last thing you do is try again on an even larger scale. But that’s exactly what DC’s doing. The Didio squad has botched just about every publishing initiative that required long term planning and multi-title coordination. So they’re trying on an even bigger scale. Awesome.

Some of the Twitter commentary is great though. Lots of funny V-neck jokes.

In response to Brian’s question:

Didio’s quote also caught my eye:
“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.”
Telling stories “for today’s audience” is great, ’cause we want our comics to sell so they’ll be published for years to come. But I do wonder what exactly DC’s definition of “today’s audience” is and where I, at 36, fit into that exactly.

I’d suggest listening to the most recent episode of “The Age of Persuasion” from NPR / CBC. It talks about “ageism” in marketing, and which demographics are targeted for messaging vs. which actually have the cash to do something about it.

Obligatory On-Topic comment: Personally, I’m sorely tempted to give up on comics with this news. I’ve enjoyed collecting for almost 40 years (got my first comic – a DC “100 pages for 60 c” Brave & the Bold at age 4 and never really stopped), and this just smacks of hype.

I’ve been in this hobby for 37 years and have historically focused on the DC titles. I’ve been through so damn many reboots at this point that I’m seriously considering taking this as a jumping-off point for the whole thing.
As for the renumbering, well, I’ve put up with an awful lot of crap over the years in the interest of keeping my runs of the big four titles intact (Detective back to 1959, Action to 1964, Batman to ’62 and Superman to ’63). Breaking those runs doesn’t thrill me a whole bunch.
New costumes WILL NOT draw in new readers.
Lower issue numbers WILL NOT draw in new readers.
Lower PRICES MIGHT draw in new readers (cheaper paper at $2.25, anyone?).
I fully realize that I’m not the typical fan (assuming there is such a thing as a “typical fan” anymore), but really–enough already with the reboots, renumberings and re-imaginings. Just WRITE GOOD STORIES and HAVE THEM COME OUT ON TIME.

DC comics…..you have lost me forever

I do actually see three good things coming out of this:
1. Didiot will soon be out of a job
2. Geoff Johns will no longer be the guiding force behind DC
3. No one will ever ask Jim Lee to design another costume

I do actually see three good things coming out of this:
1. Didiot will soon be out of a job
2. Geoff Johns will no longer be the guiding force behind DC
3. No one will ever ask Jim Lee to design another costume

All these seemed pretty evident after the past 4 or 5 DC debacles. Instead they keep failing upwards. So I wouldn’t hold my breath.

I’m willing to give this a shot as a finite experiment or a way to start an Ultimates style subline via big flashy event. If DC honestly expects me to embrace a permanent jettisoning of the characters and titles that I and many others have devoted years to reading, though, they can stop counting on my investment in their books. Not that I really expect that to be the case, mind you. An entire line-wide permanent reboot would cost the company far too significant of a portion of its reader base to ever be considered a financially viable idea.

I can put up with it for a few months, but when that’s over I want to see Robinson’s JLA, Miller’s Batgirl, Levitz’s Legion, both Gail Simone books, the long-delayed Williams Batwoman book, and the new JLI title teased at the end of Generation Lost back on my pull list. If none of those are back, I suspect that I’ll be one of the many hundreds of readers that DC will have driven away for good. Again, I don’t expect that to really be the case, but I’m paranoid enough to be prepping for the worst.

Hmm. It’s possible that this news knocks me out of monthlies altogehter, for approximately the first time ever, and into just trade-collecting Fables and Astro City.

An entire line-wide permanent reboot would cost the company far too significant of a portion of its reader base to ever be considered a financially viable idea.

I severely doubt this. Any DC fan who has put up with the direction of the company since the Identity Crisis days, suffering through Amazon Attacks, Countdown and other bad books…I think it’s safe to say they have an irrational addiction and will put up with anything so long as it has DC on the cover. So this move has nothing but upside for DC comics. Their current fans will stay despite bitching and moaning, while they have a shot at getting new readers from the gimmick.

William O'Brien

May 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm

“New costumes WILL NOT draw in new readers.
Lower issue numbers WILL NOT draw in new readers.
Lower PRICES MIGHT draw in new readers (cheaper paper at $2.25, anyone?).”

I would think they are counting on the day and date digital release to draw in new readers. If you look at it from the standpoint that the digital push is the central goal, then re-starting everything to make the easiest possible jumping on points makes a lot of sense.

Whether this succeeds or not will still rely on the quality of the books and the way they are marketed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of promotion where readers can get X number of first issues free to try and hook people. Or maybe a package deal where if you get Batman #1 you get a discount on Detective #1.

If DC has their act together on this, it could work out very well. That’s a pretty big if.

@T.
Ha, that is true. Maybe I’m still giddy from NBC finally smartening up enough to fire Jeff Zucker.
This actually looks to be as epic a failure for Didio and Co. as the Tonight Show debacle was for Zucker.

My mom started buying comics for me when I was 4 yrs. old that was in 1958. While I read a variety of comics I always stayed true to DC (National Comics back then). In 54 years there have been a lot of revisions, updates, and reboots usually for good reason and usually met with some success, but this time I believe that they have blown it. With some of the best stories having been published in the last few years and the DC Universe crackling with enthusiasm across the spectrum I have to ask why now. No more Clark (Superman) and Lois, no more Batman and family, the heartbreak we felt when Ralph Dibny lost his wife never happened, will the Justice Society ever have existed to be a symbol for these new “younger, more modern version” superheroes. After the lackluster reception that Wonder Woman got for her recent costume redesign it would naturally follow, let’s have the same guy redesign everybody’s costumes. My son, who has followed me into this same wonderful hobby, has a theory that DC is simply launching thei own “Ultimate Universe” and that my DC Universe will be back shortly with the correctly numbered issues and continuing the current dynamic storylines that I’m enjoying. I hope so, I love a good story that progresses naturally but this all stinks of hype, sales, and quick marketing. So to DC I want you to know I’m not jumping ship just yet but to let you know I’m watching and reading and if it doesn’t ring true then after 53 yrs. together I might have to bid a very sad good-bye.

the heartbreak we felt when Ralph Dibny lost his wife never happened,

Wait…this is a bad thing?!

You’re saying one of the downsides to this is that Identity Crisis will be retconned out of existence?

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Identity Crisis being retconned out would be amazing. However, as you can see on every DC Animation video, that’s the pride in Dan DiDio’s life at DC. Which explains a lot.

I have only this to say:

THOSE IDIOT AGE-ISTS!!!!!! THIS is the last straw!!!!!! Once those Retro-Active comics hit and I pick them up, I am DONE with anything new from DC. This is so unfair!!! Do NEW CHARACTERS with new #1’s, NOT RENUMBERINGS!!!!

And now I’m off to sing (in a variation):

So bye, bye, Ms. American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry,
them good ol’ boys were drinking wisky and ry,
singin’ ‘this’ll be the day that I fry….

Identity Crisis being retconned out would be amazing. However, as you can see on every DC Animation video, that’s the pride in Dan DiDio’s life at DC. Which explains a lot.

That is so depressing on so many levels.

I mean, Dan DiDio presided over an era in which DC produced All-Star Superman, New Frontier, Wednesday Comics, the Rucka-JHW3 run on Detective and …. ummm …. some other good stuff that doesn’t spring as readily to mind. If any of those series rank behind freaking Identity Crisis in his mind, then it just makes me sad.

Billy Bissette

May 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Shaun M., I thought the same on first read of “the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age”, but then remembered who was saying it.

I think the “diverse” that DC means is 52 books of different white male heroes. We aren’t going to get any new POC. What we are going to get are the same classic guys that DC repeatedly returns to because they are fans of those guys and/or believe the classic guys sell better.

You know Superman won’t be married.

Maybe Marvel should of done this. I can’t read Amazing Spider-man. I just can’t. All of that stuff was so incredibly bad and we they kept telling the readers they had these big ‘new’ stories that they kept changing around to distract people from the fact they didn’t tell that great Unmasking or explain what the Other was supposed to be about. I read Amazing after it and it doesn’t seem like Spider-man. It just isn’t the same guy anymore. Plus the numbering on a lot of their books is messed up. Constantly, they go back to #1.

DC has put a lot more work into their event titles than Marvel has and this is from a ‘Marvel’ guy. Look how big Green Lantern got. I can actually see them pulling this off.

To be fair, they did have good timing, right before the glut of Flashpoint tie-ins hit, killing my interest just in time for me to avoid buying them altogether. I’m saving over $40 now.

After all the shit that has happened in the DCU the past decade, and the way they have slowly and very confusingly half-way morphed the post-Crisis universe into a strangely gritty version of the Silver Age one, a hard reboot doesn’t sound so bad.

A pity that the people commanding this are the same ones that perpetrated the last decade.

But… “good stories” is a very subjective thing. I’ve found good stories, so-and-so stories, and bad stories in plenty of publishers in all time periods. Even under DiDio.

I suppose I”d be satisfied if they kept the new status quo for at least 5 years. No more Crisis, Hypertimes, reversals, alternate versions, confusing nods at the past continuity, etc. Just make everything clear and keep it that way!

(I don’t get the fetish Quesada and Didio have for younger heroes. Character age isn’t per se a good or a bad thing or a enticement for fans within the same age bracket that the fictional character belongs to. Iron Man was a hit, and Robert Downey Jr. is no teen)

Can we please stop the retcon, tweaking, redesign, whatever you want to call it this time. Its shit.
The last time this fucking happened we got Batman with no underwear and Superman with long hair. (How long did that last?) Looks like this time we get v-necks, young spikey hair, and various other shitty tweaks.
So let me get this straight.

Now that DC has brought back the multiverse, that they got rid of with the first crisis, (“This multiverse is too unweilding”), they have all these new worlds to play with. Wait DC dropped the ball again and thought small with 52. But even then, DC can’t do whatever they want because most of these worlds are spoken for by cool onetime books with good sales turned universes. With more world DC can throw these shitty tweaks there and see if they stick.

And please don’t tell me this is to attract kids. Fuck em’. You want the kids do it with animation. Do I really need to list DC’s accomplishments in animation? Most kids don’t have the attention span of a gnat. Nor do they have the money to spend on the price of books these days. And us adults get to see good stories.

Its the stories stupid. Not the next crisis or someother fucking megacrossover of the six month cycle.
These “stewarts” seem to forget that. DC is not alone in this guilt. Comic books were ment to be a cheap 20 min. thrill. Calm down with the coloring and special effects, put the books on cheaper paper, drop the prices, and for gods sake bring back the spinner racks. Drop the books everywhere! Cheap thrill remember?

DC has decided to rejuvenate their line with sweeping changes across the books, trying to get back to a starting point. This is similar (if more extreme than) what they did with Brightest Day, with Infinite Crisis, and if we’re going by separate sub-franchises, the JMS Superman/Wonder Woman revamps, the Cry for Justice Green Arrow family revamp, the Batman: Reborn set-up, and the Bamtna; Inc. set-up.

I’m rather skeptical that this new line-wide change is going to make any more difference than the previous ones, since the same creators are in charge and, if history is accurate, will eventually derail the line with the same crossover nonsense.

I mean, Dan DiDio presided over an era in which DC produced All-Star Superman, New Frontier, Wednesday Comics, the Rucka-JHW3 run on Detective and …. ummm …. some other good stuff that doesn’t spring as readily to mind. If any of those series rank behind freaking Identity Crisis in his mind, then it just makes me sad.

While I certainly can’t speak to DiDio’s view of things, it is fair to say that of all those projects you mention the one he was most directly involved in was by far Identity Crisis. It would make sense for him to have less of a personal stake in something like “let Grant Morrison do whatever he wants” than with Identity Crisis, which he was heavily involved in personally.

“(I don’t get the fetish Quesada and Didio have for younger heroes. Character age isn’t per se a good or a bad thing or a enticement for fans within the same age bracket that the fictional character belongs to. Iron Man was a hit, and Robert Downey Jr. is no teen)”

And in fact attempts at a Teen Tony didn’t last long.

I’m also considering this as a jumping off point. I realize that history changes are part and parcel with DC, but they happen so frequently now that it’s hard to get a sense of a given timeline before it changes again. And frankly, I’m bored with reading about new continuities all the time. It takes away some of the human element if characters have a very human moment that you know that they’ll soon forget about. With Marvel maybe there’s a greater risk of being bogged down by continuity, but you can still care about them because (usually, not always, but usually) they can recall how things in the past affected them.

Mike Loughlin

May 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm

DC needs new readers. Marvel & the other publishers, too. This isn’t necessarily the way to get them. Sales are down, prices are too high, quality has been iffy, there are too many look-alike titles, deconstructed storytelling still reigns, and kids aren’t habituated to buying comics (if they can find them!). Honestly, I don’t know if super-hero comics in their current form can survive another generation. This whole endeavor smacks of desperation.

I hope it works, though, even if most current Big 2 comics aren’t for me. There’s still plenty for me to read (some of it still Big 2 Universe books) and each generation deserves its own comics.

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I just saw that the biggest change in terms of diversity for Justice League is to get rid of the Martian to add a black character… It’s clearly one of those “Geoff Johns likes Cyborg but not J’onn J’onzz so much, so let’s wipe him”. He loves doing that (Legion, Flash)!

If I hadn’t already stopped buying DC Comics (not talking about the Vertigo ones) I’d be jumping off here. Then again DC already canceled all the books I was getting except for Booster Gold and I just dropped that since I didn’t care for Flashpoint. Essentially I’ve been switching to the trades as it is and I’m just not feeling the direction DC is going (Marvel at least makes it a bit easier by keeping things a bit segregated, i.e. DD not affecting Avengers not affecting the Cosmic stuff if it still existed).

Travis Pelkie

May 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Interesting bits I’ve been pondering lately, before this was announced for sure:

Back around when Final Crisis was coming out, Morrison said that he and Johns were going to write all the multi/52 earths stuff, and it would all finally make sense.

There are 52 new books coming out.

At the Boston Comic Con, Tony Harris said that when the Whistling Skull finally comes out next year, it will be set on the same earth as his Justice Society Liberty Files work, and would introduce that world’s Wildcat.

Soooo…. Not sure what that all means, but I’d say it’s significant that 52 new books are appearing, Flashpoint seems to be a world where only Barry and Zoom have “landed” on, (although I missed the Booster issue), and we never found out what all 52 new earths were post-52.

Maybe every book takes place on a different earth? Maybe long running books like Action and Detective will come back after a few months (‘Tec’s been on hiatus before, maybe Action too).

Maybe this is partly why Batwoman got delayed.

Maybe it’ll suck, but I’m sure out of 52 books, I’ll find a few to read. Just as long as there’s still a Morrison Bat book, I’ll be happy.

I’m as skeptical of the next person, mostly because I wonder if this is all some ploy to set up the next “event” for the summer of 2012. Like these are all part of one big storyline that ends with … I don’t know, BatPoint or SuperEraser or something next August and everything goes back to normal.

A few have already mentioned this as a jumping-off point, so all I can add is:
New costumes designed by Jim Lee = nobody has feet anymore.

Well, on the upside, if I do end up cutting way back, it’ll save me a ton of money.
The Ultimate line from Marvel has been mentioned a lot when discussing this. Here’s the thing: Marvel didn’t cancel the rest of the line when they started up Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate Fantastic Four and the others. If you wanted to stick with the familiar versions, you could (at least until Joe Q. decided Spider-Man needed to be able to go back to chasing tail).
What I’m seeing here is that MY Superman and MY Batman and MY DCU as a whole are going away. I don’t WANT Ultimate Superman and Ultimate Batman and Ultimate Justice League, I want the characters I’ve been reading all these years. They can grow and change and even age (It wouldn’t break my heart to have someone finally say, “Bruce Wayne’s 40, Dick Grayson’s 25, Tim Drake’s 18 because they have to be for the backstory to work”). But even with all the stuff that’s happened since the ’90s, I can still say that this is the Batman I was reading about when I was 12 in 1975 (and, frankly, Morrison has made it clear with his “everything happened” edict that this is in fact the case).
There are a few exceptions. Barry Allen’s a big one. Yeah, he was The Flash when I was a kid, but ultimately he wasn’t terribly interesting out of costume. He was a nice guy who was always late, and two or three times they mentioned that he was a comic-book collector. And that was about it. Now Wally West, HE was interesting. He had a personality, he had a life, he did interesting stuff. And his book lasted 20 years, which was a feat for a title starting in the 1980s. Now, though, Barry’s back, and you know what? He was much more interesting as Jesus of Central City, who sacrificed himself to save the universe.
Anyway.
I can vent all I like and it won’t change a damn thing. All I can do is vote with my cash…

GRANT MORRISON is writing the Superman on-going, gentlemen.

All is well in the world.

Is it the Grant Morrison who wrote Animal Man and All-Star Superman? I liked him. If it’s that other Grant Morrison- the one who wrote Final Crisis and Batman RIP- I thnk I’ll take a pass.

Travis Pelkie

May 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Yeah, Morrison on a Superman ongoing is way cool. Although I saw something about Supes might be involved with Wonder Woman? Ugh.

Also, in my musings above, I forgot about Multiversity, so that’s another suggestion that the multi world concept is still in play.

I just hope Flashpoint gets a little better in the meantime. Issue 1 was a big infodump that wasn’t … info-y enough, somehow. And that reveal…

That reveal is another indication to me that the 52 worlds are in play, since most of them are Elseworlds, and that reveal was a typical Elseworlds-type thing to do.

If DC is releasing 50 #1s in September and they’re going to be publishing 52 books then maybe, just maybe two books will keep their original numbering. I wonder which two? Hmmm…

“That’s a pretty good question: is DC editorial ready these days for such a massive change? Their recent years have not proven ANYTHING like that: the All-Star Batman & Robin fiasco, Batman Europa mess, the horrifying case of Jim Shooter’s Legion of Super-Heroes being trampled by Johns’ “Lightning Saga” fiasco, the decision to butcher Ambush Bug #6, the mistakes in editing Doom Patrol as a regular book, the First Wave line, the Milestone Line relaunch fiasco…
Let’s say it’s not a pretty good editorial board…”

Ricardo, I need to keep this list handy at all times to remind myself why I stopped caring about DC as an overall line and instead only enjoy it in pockets (Johns’ GL, Morrison’s Batman, Snyder’s Detective). Can we add Salvation Run going absolutely nowhere, Countdown counting down to basically nothing, and the way McDuffie’s JLA run was doomed by having most of the team stripped away and then a event crossover tie-in every other month?

Soooo…. Not sure what that all means, but I’d say it’s significant that 52 new books are appearing, Flashpoint seems to be a world where only Barry and Zoom have “landed” on, (although I missed the Booster issue), and we never found out what all 52 new earths were post-52.

Maybe every book takes place on a different earth?

Ok, 52 new #1 titles launching on 52 distinct Earths is an utterly brilliant concept. It would also be a very Geoff Johns thing to do. Whatever his flaws, Johns makes a real effort to give all the various fan communities some version of what they want. That would be the ultimate extension of that spirit.

To paraphrase Apple, we’ve got an Earth for that.

“That’s a pretty good question: is DC editorial ready these days for such a massive change? Their recent years have not proven ANYTHING like that: the All-Star Batman & Robin fiasco, Batman Europa mess, the horrifying case of Jim Shooter’s Legion of Super-Heroes being trampled by Johns’ “Lightning Saga” fiasco, the decision to butcher Ambush Bug #6, the mistakes in editing Doom Patrol as a regular book, the First Wave line, the Milestone Line relaunch fiasco…
Let’s say it’s not a pretty good editorial board…”

Ricardo, I need to keep this list handy at all times to remind myself why I stopped caring about DC as an overall line and instead only enjoy it in pockets (Johns’ GL, Morrison’s Batman, Snyder’s Detective). Can we add Salvation Run going absolutely nowhere, Countdown counting down to basically nothing, and the way McDuffie’s JLA run was doomed by having most of the team stripped away and then a event crossover tie-in every other month?

Ahhh, let me play too!

How about constantly killing Teen Titans members and even their associates like Wendy and Marvin for shock value, the horrible relaunch of Flash as Bart Allen followed by butchering him dead and bringing back Wally and company as Th Incredibles while seriously claiming it was planned all along and wasn’t a backtrack despite Mark Waid’s interview claims to the contrary. Also, the idea that 52 was supposed to fill in the missing year that happened in all of DC’s main titles, and never remembering to actually address that in the series, leading to the need for some hastily rushed miniseries called World War 3 to finally address the missing year. Or how about the fact that One Year Later happened and it became quickly obvious that no one writing the books actually knew yet what happened in the missing year for each title because editorial hadn’t decided themselves yet. How about how DC made moves like bringing back Jason Todd except with zero idea of what do so with him long-term leading to him being proposed to take over the Nightwing mantle after Dick Grayson’s death, then after they decided not to kill DIck Grayson making him a supporting cast memeber in Nightwing to Dick, then making him a part of Countdown to Final Crisis running around alongside Donna Troy and Kyle Rayner in a senseless plot, then making him take the Red Robin mantle for no apparent reason, then making him the Red Hood again, then making him a more traditionally costumed villain with red hair…compare Todd’s return to the long-term vision that Marvel did when they brought back Bucky Barnes…say what you will about Marvel but from House of M to Heroic Age you can at least piece together a linear evolution in the storyline whereas DC is like a pinball frenetically bouncing around from one direction to the other trying to score points wherever it can.

To me the reboot isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that the reboot is being overseen by people who couldn’t pull off way less ambitious goals for the past decade.

@ Brian Cronin:

While I certainly can’t speak to DiDio’s view of things, it is fair to say that of all those projects you mention the one he was most directly involved in was by far Identity Crisis. It would make sense for him to have less of a personal stake in something like “let Grant Morrison do whatever he wants” than with Identity Crisis, which he was heavily involved in personally.

I get that.

It just seems as though Dan DiDio has a poor sense of what his strengths and weaknesses are. His former role as EiC had two aspects: master story-teller and primary huckster. DiDio has (at best) a spotty record as a story-teller. On the other hand, DiDio was a pretty great huckster.

I mean, look at IDENTITY CRISIS. The idea of murder mystery with clues buried in the satellite-era JLA is a nifty one. Bringing in a real mystery writer is a smart seeming decision. When I first heard about it, it did not seem like it could possibly be a bad as everyone was saying. However, it fell apart in the execution. The clues did not organically flow from the satellite-era and, in fact, the mystery was not playing fair. It blew up a fistful of useful B and C-listers. Worse, it set of a string of dumb follow ups.

It worked great as hype, but failed as a story.

DiDio has a ton of great concepts to his credit. Stuff like 52, Wednesday Comics, Solo and the “back from the dead” cross-overs into BLACKEST NIGHT really were smart and bold. When he gave talented creators a forum and got out their way, the past decade at DC could be kind of great. The problem was that he seemed reluctant to get out of the way. As a result, the quality of the regular monthly books has kind of fallen apart.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I’m quite nervous about the impending changes – I’ve gotten into DC in a big way in the last few years, since One Year Later, and to be honest, apart from silly ideas such as Identity Crisis and Cry For Justice, thought their universe was in a pretty good place (even if some titles weren’t).
Morrison and Snyder on Batman, Roberson and Cornell on Superman – I’ve been enjoying the heck out of their books lately.

That said, I’ll be checking damn near most of this relaunch out – it COULD be bad, but it COULD be a whole heap of fun.
The Ultimate Universe ‘done right’, perhaps?
(By ‘done right’ – not having another universe (616) you move all the successful talent of the Ultimate universe onto, whilst the Ultimate universe withers away).

One thing that’s been making me laugh here in the comments is people calling DC idiots for this, and saying they are going to lose all their current readers – I really doubt DC cares.
My totally uneducated guess – the new bosses looked at the numbers comics sell, and decided it wasn’t good enough.
So they are undertaking a brand relaunch to try and net as many new readers as they can.
There’s just not enough current readers to worry about, as the DM isn’t looking sustainable to the suits these days – they could well be putting all their chips on the table in the hope of winning big, but if they don’t win… well, they weren’t exactly making that much from it anyway.

Also it’s just “Justice League”, no “of America”. SHOCKING.

And yet they did promise a new JLI series to follow JL: Generation Lost.

Johns is hardly a great writer (in spite of selling well, but to me, he sells well because most of the times, DC readers are forced to follow his shenanigans as they are central to understanding the core of DCU).

There’s a flaw in your thinking there – if he wasn’t already selling well, that wouldn’t have put him in charge of the direction of their universe.

They should have gone completely Graphic Novel. No more pamphlets, no more advertisements no more cheap looking expensive little parts of a story. Novels. Sell GOD DAMNED NOVELS. Like a book publisher. They are so entrenched in this idea of comics as magazines.

Go to Savage Critics, and find the article where Brian Hibbs compares the amount made by DC off All-Star Superman, versus the amount made off of Superman: Earth One.
Doing single issues first makes much more for the publisher, and for retailers, than an original graphic novel will do.
It’s why Marvel has repeatedly stated they have no interest in OGN’s.

I’m sure this was all well planned way in advance and that all the writers will have plenty of time to wrap up their respective series.

Yup.
A big clue that something was coming, was that the August solicitations featured the end part of a storyline in every book in the DCU.

A reboot should have been artist controlled- you get all the best writers together (contracted and otherwise) in a room, tell them you’re planning this, and have them all pitch their best ideas for the characters. The best ones win and you start up a new universe. Unfortunately, this is clearly completely editorially controlled- we now have two egomaniacal people using an entire company and its intellectual property into their personal playthings with no consideration of whether they have good stories to tell or not.

How do you know how they planned what was going to happen with every character?

Which two egomaniacs do you feel are using an entire company as their play things?
I think that’s way off base – since new management came in at DC, we’ve seen a new EIC put in place, then a new pricing strategy, and now a content and distribution shift.
There’s no way they’ve let anyone run wild with their own ideas on how to do things with this – it’s all very orchestrated.

Have you seen DC’s publishing strategy since Didio…ID Crisis…Final Crisis…52…One Year Later…Amazons Attack…World War 3…Countdown…Final Crisis…Cry for Justice…The Flash revamp debacles…I don’t think the current regime plans 100 days in advance much less 100 issues

But the current regime isn’t the regime that put most of those into action – Dido left the role he was in, and Bob Harras took over, when the new execs came in.
Now, with Hold The Line leading to this relaunch and distribution change – clearly they are planning ahead in a big way.
(Although Brightest Bloody Day better still play into things, as all it turned out to be was a bunch of springboards).

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm

DiDio has a ton of great concepts to his credit. Stuff like 52, Wednesday Comics, Solo and the “back from the dead” cross-overs into BLACKEST NIGHT really were smart and bold. When he gave talented creators a forum and got out their way, the past decade at DC could be kind of great. The problem was that he seemed reluctant to get out of the way. As a result, the quality of the regular monthly books has kind of fallen apart.

Are you talking about Didio, or Bill Jemas?

Because when you phrase it like that, the similarities are uncanny.

DiDio has a ton of great concepts to his credit. Stuff like 52, Wednesday Comics, Solo and the “back from the dead” cross-overs into BLACKEST NIGHT really were smart and bold. When he gave talented creators a forum and got out their way, the past decade at DC could be kind of great. The problem was that he seemed reluctant to get out of the way. As a result, the quality of the regular monthly books has kind of fallen apart.

I think most of the good stuff under Didio’s watch happened in spite of him rather than because of him.

For example in interviews with Mark Waid, Waid said that Didio had almost no involvement in 52, and actually actively hated it, and told anyone who would listen how much he hated it with each new issue he saw. In fact, he hated it so much, he vowed to take more of an active role in the next weekly series, which was Countdown to Final Crisis, a series he referred to around DC offices as “Countdown done right.”

Waid gave a great interview a few years back describing the incompetent of Didio’s editorial:
http://www.comicsalliance.com/2009/04/28/mark-waid-slams-dan-didio-and-dc-comics/

But the current regime isn’t the regime that put most of those into action – Dido left the role he was in, and Bob Harras took over, when the new execs came in.
Now, with Hold The Line leading to this relaunch and distribution change – clearly they are planning ahead in a big way.
(Although Brightest Bloody Day better still play into things, as all it turned out to be was a bunch of springboards).

The reason I’m not encouraged is because all the people making statements are still people who I associate with a lot of the dreck of the past decade….Johns, Berganza and Didio. And even if Bob Harras is the one who’s going to really be overseeing all of this…it’s Bob Harras. Mr. 90s X-Men editorial interference style-over-substance himself. Doesn’t really inspire more confidence in me than Didio. It’s like saying “Don’t worry about Jeph Loeb and Brad Meltzer writing this major mystery story, because we have Chuck Austen coming in to do a major story assist and rewrite the bad parts.”

i think it would have been a better idea just to make the dc earth one a line suited to new readers who are coming into comics because of the movies, tv shows like smallville or animated stuff like young justice in the vein of the ulltimate line.

The pics of Jim Lee’s redesigns have been updated:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=32566

Now with Flash, Cyborg and Batman. The costume designs by Lee are bad of course, as expected, but I’m surprised at how clunky and off the basic figure work seems as well, which IS surprising. I’m guessing he rushed this piece out for the press release.

i rather see a reboot done with newer writers tho.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm

And even if Bob Harras is the one who’s going to really be overseeing all of this…it’s Bob Harras. Mr. 90s X-Men editorial interference style-over-substance himself.

I hears ya there, but when his EIC role was announced, a lot of creators and editors spoke up in his defence, saying a lot of what we fans put on his door step, was a lot more down to the suits of Marvel, than it was editorial.
They wanted the Spider-Clone extended, forced Heroes Reborn onto him, and came up with a lot of the cover gimmicks and such.
So, to give the benefit of the doubt to him, I’m being cautiously optimistic – there was good stuff to come out of his time period: Waid’s Captain America, Marvels, Busiek’s Avengers, the beginnings of Warren Ellis – the gems in the onslaught of shit that was the 90’s.
He also had an eye for talent, bringing in a lot of people who would become super popular – even if some of those people didn’t end up being that great in the long term.
And DC’s trade program was great under his lead.
Yeah, I might be being too optimistic, but I’d rather be disappointed in a few months time, rather than dreading what’s to come for those months.

As I’ve mentioned before, I stopped buying DC comics in 2006 when I realized that they were not going to make the DC universe less grim-and gritty as they had hinted they would (with Infinite Crisis) and indeed made it worse. I didn’t give up on the characters, thought, only on the people in charge of them, and kept in touch (mostly via CBR) hoping that things would eventually improve. While I doubt this is the case yet (Didio and Johns are still involved) at least it seems like they are finally getting their act together, unlike the One Year Later fiasco. Maybe this will be the start of a new direction for DC. One can only hope.

Fabian “New Warriors” Nicieza writing the Teen Titans seems like a good choice.

James Robinson on Hawkman would be a dream come true if it were announced in 1998. Except he already worked in his relaunch in 2002, right? And it wasn’t as awesome as expected. And that was before Robinson had been replaced by an alien impostor that writes horribly off-key JLA stories.

I am glad that they’re getting rid of JMS’s stuff for Wonder Woman, but man, sexism or no sexism, I’d rather have Diana in a star-spamgled swimsuit than the very bland non-costume depicted above. Well, it could’ve been worse, they could’ve kept the 1990’s jacket.

And damn, is there anyone who still thinks Jim Lee is cool?

Ricardo Amaral

May 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I wrote: “Johns is hardly a great writer (in spite of selling well, but to me, he sells well because most of the times, DC readers are forced to follow his shenanigans as they are central to understanding the core of DCU).”

FunkyGreeJerusalem said: “There’s a flaw in your thinking there – if he wasn’t already selling well, that wouldn’t have put him in charge of the direction of their universe.”

Being a best seller does not make one a good writer, or even capable of handling massive amounts of characters. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere: Johns is an ambitious writer, with a solid DC universe grasp. But he is awful in characterization, terrible in wrapping up stories (yeah, he is incapable of doing something as simple as ending a story – it’s all a mess of things happening on top of things, without any clue or reason for events to happen – or isn’t it what Blackest Night became?) and well known for coming up with new ideas on the go, often trampling other’s work. In fact, Johns is better when he sticks for a long time with one or two books tops.

Someone said: “I’m sure this was all well planned way in advance and that all the writers will have plenty of time to wrap up their respective series.”

FunkyGreeJerusalem said: “Yup. A big clue that something was coming, was that the August solicitations featured the end part of a storyline in every book in the DCU.”

Funny. DC cancelled 4 books half way to their ending just to open way for Flashpoint, even though we knew at least Doom Patrol was supposed to wrap up in #24. Moreover, when Flashpoint was announced, it was going to be an event small and similar to Bizarro Corps. My guess? This was a last-minute decision that came with Bob Harras getting into his new role. As most decisions are taken in DCU these days.

Someone said: “DiDio has a ton of great concepts to his credit. Stuff like 52, Wednesday Comics, Solo and the “back from the dead” cross-overs into BLACKEST NIGHT really were smart and bold.”

Most of these concepts were not Didio’s. Wednesday Comics and Solo were Mark Chiarello’s. 52 was from the quartet of writers. I guess the only concept from Dan was “back from the dead”. Which was a gimmick with zero to none consequences.

The stuff I blame Bob Harras for isn’t even things like Clone Saga or other things that happened while he was EIC. I know that marketing was responsible for that.

What I blame him for is what he did on the X-line of books from the late 80s through the 90s. He made them convoluted beyond belief. The franchise stayed #1, but that’s only because he inherited the books with a huge lead over the industry. As Mark Waid points out, Harras made the books so convoluted and diluted that their industry lead was significantly declined by the time he left the X-line, even though it was still number 1. He weakened the brand enough for other franchises to later catch up to and surpass the X-books.

Two of his worst edicts while editor of the X-books include deferring to artists’ story decisions over those of proven writers (a practice he said he still believes in when interviewed about his new DC EiC position) and his other one of never, ever giving readers clear answers to mysteries but rather to just keep layering on red herring after red herring, answer questions with more questions, and keep sowing seeds of further mysteries and conspiracies. According to interviews with writers who worked under him, Harras claimed that readers would lose interest if they ever got any questions answered, so writers were forced to keep inventing conspiracies and mysteries, even if they were making it up as they went along, but expressly forbidden to ever answer any of these mysteries except with teases to the next crossover, which of course would not tie up any loose ends either.

Been at this since I was 8 so 36 years of reading/collecting for me. The only thing that makes me give up comics is crap storytelling – bad writing, poor art. So long as the storytelling is good then I’m in. If Flashpoint is an indication of where DC is going then I’d say it’s looking positive.

Frankly, I’m so glad to see Wonder Woman out of that damn swimsuit that I couldn’t care what else they do. Will happily fight to the death with anyone who wants to keep her in those stupid starry undies. And DC, make sure the new Wonder Woman gets some please – we don’t need her to be a virgin…

The Crazed Spruce

May 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Man, Wonder Woman better hope she doesn’t have to put a heavy box on a high shelf while someone with camera is in the room….

Travis Pelkie

May 31, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ricardo, of course they’d say that Flashpoint was supposed to be small. It let everyone take their eye off the ball and let this big revamp being something more of a surprise. When everything is “this changes EVERYTHING” in the hype, we tune it out (boy who cried wolf). But if they say, oh, this is small, and then BAM, we get this…it’s cooler, in my view.

Glad Dean likes my 52 worlds idea. He am smart. Given that they want this to essentially be a new jumping on point for readers, though, I think I may be wrong.

Although…what if the reason it’s not Justice League “of America” isn’t that it’s International, as that role will be filled, but because it’s Multiworld — it IS the only other book out the day Flashpoint ends — what if this Justice League is handling Crisis style threats every story arc?

And what if this Swamp Thing/Constantine thing is due to the Swamp Thing that came back being “NOT OF THIS WORLD”?

I think one person everyone is leaving out of the discussion is the lady who’s the big boss at DC now, whose name escapes me. I thought when she took over, she said she wanted to streamline the DCU, make it more accessible to “outside readers”, so on, so on. Maybe this strategy is a long term thinking thing on her part.

Given all this, too, I wonder: will Warner advertise the new DCU with ads at the start of the GL movie? “In a world…” Seriously, “hey, if you like this movie, there’ll be more awesome comics like it — watch for all new #1’s in September!!!”

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 1, 2011 at 12:13 am

Being a best seller does not make one a good writer, or even capable of handling massive amounts of characters.

Sure, I never said it did – but it’s not true that he’s only a seller because his books lead to events.
That came off the back of him being a best seller.

But he is awful in characterization, terrible in wrapping up stories (yeah, he is incapable of doing something as simple as ending a story – it’s all a mess of things happening on top of things, without any clue or reason for events to happen – or isn’t it what Blackest Night became?) and well known for coming up with new ideas on the go, often trampling other’s work.

I disagree with you on his character work and story endings, and I’m not sure what your basing the ‘ideas on the go’ and trampling others work.
(I can assume you mean his Legion reboot leading to both Waid and Kitson leaving theirs? I’d put that more down to his editors not checking with the LEgion editors, rather than something he had much say in… and also, there were clues the original Legion were coming back before they did, so he didn’t come up with it on the fly).

And was Flashpoint meant to be small?
The pitch included in the Flash: Rebirth trade hints to everything leading into Flashpoint, and the preview at the back of Flash #1 hinted it would be big.
It didn’t hint line re-launch big, but it was always going to be separate from, and bigger than, the Flash ongoing series.

This was a last-minute decision that came with Bob Harras getting into his new role. As most decisions are taken in DCU these days.

Perhaps, but it is doubtful – I’d say the new suits wanted some changes to happen, and that this was planned at the same time as ‘hold the line’.

T:

Two of his worst edicts while editor of the X-books include deferring to artists’ story decisions over those of proven writers (a practice he said he still believes in when interviewed about his new DC EiC position)

Some of that was wrong – While Portacio got more story say than John Byrne??? – and it all backfired as Lee left soon after, but backing Jim Lee over Chris Claremont was almost certainly the right move.
One still sells books, the other hasn’t had a hit since.
This was the same decision faced by the Daredevil editor who gave Frank Miller his break at writing, so it isn’t by definition the wrong choice.

The mystery angle was a bad call with X-Men though – it could have worked for a bit, and they had me hardcore from 11-14, but once I caught on they were making it up on the fly, my interest died in the franchise until Grant Morrison came on board.

I think one person everyone is leaving out of the discussion is the lady who’s the big boss at DC now, whose name escapes me. I thought when she took over, she said she wanted to streamline the DCU, make it more accessible to “outside readers”, so on, so on. Maybe this strategy is a long term thinking thing on her part.

Whenever I refer to ‘the new bosses’, ‘the suits’ or ‘the execs’ that’s who I’m talking about.
She’s been very quiet publicly since she took over the role, so I can’t remember her name at all… Diane Nelson perhaps?

Travis Pelkie

June 1, 2011 at 12:51 am

Diane Nelson sounds right, funky. Yeah, she’s been quiet, but it seems she’s got a pretty good handle on a long term vision for DC.

Was Harras the one behind picking Jim Lee over Claremont? Long run, yeah, Jim Lee’s the better draw, but the way Marvel pushed Claremont out was pretty shitty for the guy that made the XMen the biggest franchise of the ’80s.

Tragic news. I’ve read here a few times and just to echo an important sentiment: DC, make good stories, not sales gimmicks. “The Killing Joke” was not written to be in continuity. The story was so good, that Barbara was in a wheelchair. “Batman Year One” was the last Batman reboot of any importance. Not because anyone said so, it’s just so good that it can’t be ignored. Elements of “Kingdom Come” have been incorporated into continuity because the story was so good. Important change in the mythos comes from unforgettable stories, not numbers.

Reading “Outsiders” will give you an idea of of Didio’s sense of storytelling. Wonder Woman’s new get-up will give you an example of Jim Lee’s costume design (it doesn’t seem to have changed much since the 90’s). Geoff Johns is marvelous although Blackest Night was not. Grant Morrison seems to use a ouija board to construct his stories. I despair for the oldest and greatest Superheros ever.

Oh great, another reboot. Because that trick ALWAYS works.

Michael Howey

June 1, 2011 at 2:24 am

If each title is on a separarte Earth, this could be a perfect way of running the titles. Only the quality titles will sell and you can drop what you like at any time. DC (and Marvel) must know that the only reason some titles sell is because of their ties, (Emerald Warriors, Avengers Academy whether they are good or not) so this would force a situation where only quality continues. I believe that someone wrote an article about this once, (Brian linked it recently after the authors death. I believe it was McDuffie) that Green Lantern could guest in Superman but it would never be referenced in GL unless the writer wanted it referenced. Every writer has full control of the universe. (Like reading Invincible)

As for the 52 DC Earths, am I the only one who thought that the whole end of Final Crisis with the destruction of the Orrery (spelling please?) meant that there were infinite Earths and infinite possiblitites again?

I sometimes wonder if DC (and Marvel) should just do a complete reboot. Not a half-way reboot like there is here. And do a reboot and take chances. Make Batman an Asian-American. Make Superman gay. Whatever. Make some real changes. It seems like every couple of years continuity is being revamped or retconned, and every there is some new, huge cross-over promising how the status quo is changing FOREVER AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN…at least until the next crossover 1 year later. Seriously, how long was the Martian Manhunter dead, anyway?

If DC wants to reboot it’s characters to make them young, fine, whatever. But can we at least have them stay like this for a good 5 years? You know they will reboot everything again eventually.

As for the new costumes…eh, there have been worse re-designs. But since when was Cyborg one of the JLA’s Big 7?

I don’t really care about the rest of the line, but dammit, the Legion does *not* need another reboot, especially now that Levitz is finally finding his footing on the current run.

Jim Lee’s redesign of Martian Manhunter is pretty drastic.

I also fully expect the rest of the redesigns to stick. This is surely the new image that will adorn Superman bedsheets and lunch boxes.

The high collar and sharp edged S don’t make it look like a fascist dystopian elseworlds story at all.
His old uniform was so passé at this point.

I am going to change tacks and decided to be cautiously optimistic about this rather than negative.

There is a new wild card in the picture, DIane Nelson, and maybe she can be the difference that makes this initiative work where others failed. Also, maybe the fact that some of the current brain trust was behind some real debacles is exactly what qualifies them to get this right. Maybe they’ve learned by making mistakes firsthand, and it’ll keep them from making more.

One thing I don’t get though: why stop 1 person short of the Big 7 reunion? Why not just put Martian Manhunter on the team? Although it is good to see one of the New Teen Titans getting some respect.

Ricardo Amaral

June 1, 2011 at 7:19 am

FunkyGreenJerusalem

Yes, I mean Legion, I mean JLA, I mean Superboy Prime…
Visit Jim Shooter’s blog and read how his run (meaning: not only Mark Waid’s) was ruined by Johns off-the-top-of his-head decision to use Legion in the relaunch of JLA. Or how about the Blackest Night crossover (which was supposed to be a GL-only affair) in the middle of Doom Patrol’s first arch, which practically killed the book?
You give too much credit for DC when we read again and again that things go far from smoothly in there. Dan Didio basically gives carte blanche to Morrison and Johns to decide whatever they want to do and let other figure out how to fit in. I think Giffen is another one who, in his way, shows how things are bizarre at DC these days. One: his refusal to wrap up Ambush Bug #6 (very bold move). Two: the ending of his Doom Patrol run, which was beautiful in his way by not letting Flashpoint ruin his amazing run cheaply.

Ricardo Amaral

June 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

T: It was announced JL will have 14 members on a rotating basis. So the 7 exposed are only part of it.

Yes, I mean Legion, I mean JLA, I mean Superboy Prime…
Visit Jim Shooter’s blog and read how his run (meaning: not only Mark Waid’s) was ruined by Johns off-the-top-of his-head decision to use Legion in the relaunch of JLA. Or how about the Blackest Night crossover (which was supposed to be a GL-only affair) in the middle of Doom Patrol’s first arch, which practically killed the book?
You give too much credit for DC when we read again and again that things go far from smoothly in there.

I agree, these aren’t isolated cases or Mark Waid only cases. My list of debacles was far from exhaustive. For example remember Chuck Dixon’s aborted return to the Robin title. It was all set up and Didio’s excessive heavy handed editorial mandates drove Dixon off, and he discussed it here http://blog.newsarama.com/2008/06/16/chuck-dixon-i-did-not-quit/:

DC, currently, is run from the top down in a way that makes Jim Shooter’s aegis at Marvel look like a hippie commune…

Shooter was very dictatorial with strict rules for writing and drawing superheroes.

The difference between his reign at Marvel and the current one at DC is that Shooter was successful at raising circulation and longterm planning…

Though I saw Shooter in full fledge psychotic editorial rage a couple of times, he did provide leadership at Marvel and didn’t change the company’s direction five times in one day. And the company climbed out of the red and became vital again under his stewardship. I disagreed with many of his ideas when it came to continuity but he was at least consistant and you knew where you stood. And merit was rewarded back then. If you sold well and handed the stuff in on time you’d never go without work…

I’ve worked under tyrants and I can say that I’d prefer to work under a talented, knowledgeable tyrant with a successful plan than a directionless gladhander with a ouija board any day of the week.

Sean McKeever had similar horrible things to say about his tenure under DC editorial once his exclusive contract was up and he was back at Marvel.

I hope wwk5d was joking about making Superman gay.

Jimmy Olsen, on the other hand, would work just as well as a gay character.

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Another great quote on Didio, this time from John Byrne:

In the very first conversation I had with Didio, he described his upcoming plans for DC, and after he said CRISIS, it was all Marvel. “this will be our SECRET WARS! This will be our Kree/Skull War!”. Etc.

I sort of lost hope right about then.

This is kind of funny because if you think about it and look back, you can see what he’s talking about. I’m guessing Salvation Run was their new Secret Wars? Rann/Thanagar was their Kree/Skrull? It all kind of makes sense now. I wonder what else was Marvel-inspired? Was Amazons Attack Didio’s Atlantis Attacks?

Ballsy. I’m not sure how I feel about it. This should have been what happened after CoIE. The rolling reboots undermined a lot of the continuity reducing nature of that event. So I’m torn. This should be a clean break with the past to avoid confusion, but at the same time I’d hate to see Secret Six and Morrison’s Batman get interrupted, an seeing Starman, Swamp Thing, and The Fourth World wiped from continuity would be sadmaking. The one part that I LOVE is the new Superman costume. The other costumes are nice, but Jim Lee once again shows that he is willing to say that an iconic part of a hero’s costume was silly looking and remove it while keeping the overall look the same. It’s like when he took the top of Cyclops’ body condom, but even more ballsy. No pun intended.

Looks like the Justice League is ready to…
~sunglasses~
collar some crooks.
YEEEEAAAHHHH

I’ve tried so hard to avoid company-wide crossovers. I was intrigued by the JLA line up that included Cyborg, Green Arrow, Dr Light, Starfire, Donna Troy, etc. and found the title mired in crossovers so badly that reading them in order as they came out was reminiscent of reading random issues of comics found in a dollar bin. Where did Starfire go? Where did Guardian go? Where did Supergirl and Jade come from? I dropped it and only looked back once and got burned on a dream issue.

So, my thoughts on the relaunch is this: Right now, I read Red Robin, Batgirl, Batman Inc, and Birds of Prey, and plan on Batwoman. If there still is a Red Robin (Tim), Batgirl (Stephanie), and Oracle in the relaunch / reboot, I’ll follow those characters. If Batwoman surfaces, I’ll still pick it up. I’ll probably pick up Teen Titans based on the writer.

But, really, I expect that Tim, Stephanie, and the Oracle version of Barbara will go away. I’m hoping that I’m wrong. But after the return of Barry and Hal, and the rumours that Clark and Lois won’t be married, I can’t trust that Barbara won’t go back to being Batgirl and that Dick won’t go back to being Robin.

Theno

That JL drawing is pretty ugly and the costume redesigns suck. But otherwise, I think a line-wide reboot is a good thing. Probably a few years too late.

Looks like the Justice League is ready to…
~sunglasses~
collar some crooks.
YEEEEAAAHHHH

I for one can’t wait to read Justice League: Pop Yo’ Collars when it comes out.

Actually, the GL costume looks good with a v-neck. But then look at how little Lee messed with the GL and Flash costumes: more proof that those two suits remain the best costumes ever designed for superheroes, even after fifty years?

Why does the Flash now need a chin-guard?

What’s wrong with having a gay Superman?

Why does the Flash now need a chin-guard?

For the same reason Cyclops needs random belts going across his thighs, Rogue and Wonder Woman needed mini-jackets and Kyle Rayner needed a lot of glowing little circles to make his costume look unnecessarily busy.

Jim Lee.

@ Rob Barrett:

Actually, the GL costume looks good with a v-neck. But then look at how little Lee messed with the GL and Flash costumes: more proof that those two suits remain the best costumes ever designed for superheroes, even after fifty years?

Honestly, all the “BIg 5″ members of the Justice League have pretty great designs. There is a lot of whining about Wonder Woman lacking pants, or Superman wearing his underwear on the outside, or whatever. However, every time those costumes get a major revision the result is a downgrade.

What’s wrong with having a gay Superman?

First, it has already been done (and very well). Apollo and Midnighter sort of own that space. Turning Superman into a cheap knock-off of a good pastiche is a terrible idea.

Second, it continues one of the worst tendencies of the DiDio era. The way to achieve diversity is not to take a legacy character and revise it. Fans wind up describing those properties as “the Asian Atom”, “the lesbian Question” or whatever. It is both totally natural and implies that the new character isn’t the “real” one. That approach only works when the previous version of the character has been on the sidelines for decades (i.e. Batwoman). Even well-written, well-drawn diversity retcons tend to flop if the current readership has any living memory of the prior version.

Third, it is a profound misreading of the core of the Superman story, which is a classical comedy. It is a story about men, women and the fools they make of themselves over one another.

Why is the JLA all wearing high collars with the little notch (including obviously forcing one into Wonder Woman’s costume)?

You know what all new #1s mean? It means our books stink so bad we have to flush and start with a clean bowl.

First, it has already been done (and very well). Apollo and Midnighter sort of own that space. Turning Superman into a cheap knock-off of a good pastiche is a terrible idea.

It’s also been done very badly in the mainstream DCU by Jeph Loeb, in Emperor Joker and Batman/Superman. I mean, he was never explicit about it, but the way he writes Superman and Batman stories is REALLY homoerotic. Like all-ages censored slashfic.

Yes, why can’t it be a comedy is a story about men, more men, and the fools they make of themselves over one another?

I was just giving an example. I just sometimes feel DC should just for a more complete reboot and just redo the characters from scratch.

And even if it has been done well before…so what? It’s usually a c-list supporting character or somebody in an ensemble team book. I’d love to see a major, A-list character in a solo title go down this route (Batwoman doesn’t count), if people really want to see diversity.

@ wwk4d:

Why? DC has, like, eight legacy franchises that are meaningful to a large number of people:
1. Batman (which includes Robin, Batgirl, Alfred and the rest)
2. Superman (which includes Lois Lane, the Daily Planet cast and Supergirl)
3. Wonder Woman
4. Green Lantern
5. The Flash
6. Justice League
7. Legion of Super-Heroes
8. Teen Titans

They each have very simple cores and readily identifiable brands. Their relative health tends to indicate that they perform better over time when they are changed the least. Batman has been in basically the same status quo since the sixties. Any change (or even progression) has happened on the margins. That is the healthiest DC franchise. Green Lantern had several decades of progression scrubbed clean about 5-6 years ago. That is the second healthiest franchise. The Teen Titans have seen major progression and roster changes over the years. That franchise is near death.

So fine. DC has eight franchises that need to be essentially fixed and immutable. They also have the capacity to produce between 30 and 50 titles EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.

Those franchises represent between 15 and 25 percent of what DC could be releasing. Even if you expand the list to include properties on the cusp of the A-list (e.g. Green Arrow and Black Canary) and putting secondary characters into their own titles (i.e. Robin, Batgirl, Supergirl, Lois Lane), then you have a hard time filling a third of DC capacity with heterosexual white people with a fairly fixed status quo.

The problem arises when you start diluting those core brands with derivative properties and expanding the number of titles that they are supporting. For example, the Batman Family occupied a ton of real estate prior to Flashpoint. A huge percentage of the capacity DC had to produce comics was occupied by minor variations on the Batman theme. The same thing was true to a lesser extent with the Green Lantern franchise.

Put another way, there are a finite number of pieces that one can pull out of them engine in an attempt to fix a tire before the car stops running all together.

Was Harras the one behind picking Jim Lee over Claremont? Long run, yeah, Jim Lee’s the better draw,

Really? Writingwise all he did was set up terrible conspiracy subplots and introduce a bunch of awful generic new characters with mysterious pasts, zero backstory, and of course secret ties to Wolverine, introduce a bunch of new mysteries, then immediately bail to form Image without ever resolving any of them. The rest of the 90s was largely devoted to trying to sort out all the plot turds Liefeld, Lee, Portacio and company left behind. Long run I don’t see how backing his writing over Claremont’s was a good idea.

Just asked my local shop to stop holding DC books for me after Flashpoint. If continuity is being rebooted and character progression ceased, I see no reason to start buying new versions of the same stories I’ve already read. No interest here in reading what amounts to the Image\Wildstorm version of the DC universe. I’ll move on to something completely new from smaller publishers or creator owned stuff.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Visit Jim Shooter’s blog and read how his run (meaning: not only Mark Waid’s) was ruined by Johns off-the-top-of his-head decision to use Legion in the relaunch of JLA.

Well, Shooter came onto the book knowing there was another Legion about, Waid and Kitson didn’t find out until the LEgion appeared in another book, at which time both decided to leave the title, rather than be the B team.
Also, I doubt it was off the top of John’s head – there were clues planted in the Superman titles before they appeared in Lightning Saga, and then he used them in Action Comics, which tied directly into his Superman: Origins and his Legion Of Three Worlds FC book.
I’m not necessarily saying these are great ideas – Lightning Saga was dreck – but I don’t think things got confusing because he was just making it up on the go.
I’d put the blame squarely on the editors of his books, who approved his plans without telling the Legion editors it was happening.

Or how about the Blackest Night crossover (which was supposed to be a GL-only affair) in the middle of Doom Patrol’s first arch, which practically killed the book?

Was Blackest Night supposed to be a GL only affair?
I don’t remember hearing that.
And if it was, how is it on Johns that it got it’s own title and went line wide?
Seems more likely it would be publishing that would have wanted to do that, to maximise profits (which it successfully did).
Doom Patrol is a concept that has only really had success under Arnold Drake and Grant Morrison, so blaming crossover for killing the book is an odd one – I also honestly can’t remember the last successful book Keith Giffen launched.

Ike:

You know what all new #1s mean? It means our books stink so bad we have to flush and start with a clean bowl.

Or, it means ‘our books aren’t selling enough, so let’s come up with a way to sell more product’.

T:

It’s also been done very badly in the mainstream DCU by Jeph Loeb, in Emperor Joker and Batman/Superman. I mean, he was never explicit about it, but the way he writes Superman and Batman stories is REALLY homoerotic. Like all-ages censored slashfic.

Ha!
I’m re-reading the Loeb Superman/Batman right now, and whilst I wouldn’t go that far at all, I know on the train ride home when I’m reading, I’m going to start seeing some serious man-love in those narration captions.

Anon:

Really? Writingwise all he did was set up terrible conspiracy subplots and introduce a bunch of awful generic new characters with mysterious pasts, zero backstory, and of course secret ties to Wolverine, introduce a bunch of new mysteries, then immediately bail to form Image without ever resolving any of them. The rest of the 90s was largely devoted to trying to sort out all the plot turds Liefeld, Lee, Portacio and company left behind. Long run I don’t see how backing his writing over Claremont’s was a good idea.

Because Claremont’s best days on the book were behind him until Jim Lee came on board and re-energised him.
Lee left for Image after he got picked over Claremont, where he went on to make millions, and dominate the charts for over a decade.
Claremont has struggled with his books ever since, even when he got back on X-Men, and his last book was an average selling title with the hook that he was continuing the run that he left in the 90’s.
So although Lee left, Harras had picked the guy who was going to be the superhero ‘it boy’ for the next decade and a half.

As for the rest of the 90’s… you can’t blame guys who weren’t there for that.
They didn’t set up anything that couldn’t be resolved if the editors had wanted it resolved.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Just asked my local shop to stop holding DC books for me after Flashpoint. If continuity is being rebooted and character progression ceased, I see no reason to start buying new versions of the same stories I’ve already read.

That’s what they said in the 80’s as well.

Nothing Jim Lee has ever done can compare to Chris Claremont’s 17 years in X-Men. Claremont built one of superhero comics greatest franchises from almost nothing. He wasn’t always good, but in those 17 years he had more great and influential stories than pratically all the Image founders together. Now, I don’t blame Bob Harras. He chose who was hotter at that specific point of time. Claremont had been in decadence for a couple of years and Jim Lee was an up-and-coming talent. From a business standpoint, his choice was understandable.

Even though, personally, I still think Claremont’s last couple of years in X-Men with Marc Silvestri, before Jim Lee came around, were better than the stories Jim Lee plotted without Claremont, right after Chris’s departure. Yes, I still prefer the 1991 Claremont than the 1991 Jim Lee. Overblown and melodramatic as he was, at least Claremont had soul. Jim Lee was empty. Is empty even today. But he was an empty man that sold a lot of comics. That’s ultimately the bottom line.

After 1991? Yes, Claremont became a parody of himself. But one has to consider that being uncerimoniously booted out of the franchise he created from almost nothing and worked for 17 years may have something to do with the depressing decline of his work.

@ Dean: Maybe the core needs changing? With your regards to a car analogy…maybe they just need to buy a new car instead of patching up the same old tired model? Healthy franchise these days is relative.

@ wwk5d:

There is much more to a superhero franchise than just the comics these days. Batman supports a major film series and an animated series. If you have encountered the characters in any medium at any point in the last 30 years, then you can pick up the comics already knowing most of the characters and their relationships.

Also, cores are not interchangeable.

These franchises are all pretty simple stories at their bottom. Good stories are about specific things. That means a property is either viable or it isn’t. Their basic story is either relevant to a modern audience, or it is not.

If it isn’t, then better to just let the property die with some dignity. There is something pathetic about people that scramble after the approval of folks who hate them. It is no more becoming in fictional people. If I see one more fifty plus year old character with a mohawk and leather pants snarling like it makes them modern, I may never stop vomiting.

I’ve been loking at lots of bulletin boards and this place seems to be the one that is more in tune with my thinking.

DC editorially does not have the talent to pull this off.

The list of editorial f*ck ups under Didio is inicredible. They’ve lsot so much market share and yet they continue to trust him. Let’s do a quick recap:

Chuck Dixon and Robin
Dwayne McDuffie and JLA
The inability to have a consistent creative team on Super Girl for the first three or so years
Heinberg on Wonder Woman
Picoult on Wonder Woman
Bilson and DeMeo on Flash
The following Incredibles version of the Flash
Countdown
Shooter on Legion
Outsiders beocming batman and the Outsider beocming Outsiders all in the space of a handful of issues
Amazons Attack
First Wave
Milstone
Red Circle

I know there are others like Final Crisis or 52 but some of those are more subjective. you may or may not have liked the story. I think the ones above were clear disasters.

I also have to agree with Ricardo Amaral’s characterisation of Johns. he has some good ideas but his characterization is pretty poor and i really don;t think he can capitalise on interesting ideas like Blackest nights which was almost incomprehensible.

As for Jim lee. Of course he is talented but his style is dated and his deisgns incredibly so.

I’m not a hater. i hope it all works really well and there are great stories (as opposed to great sales) I just don’t think they can do it.

They’ve essentially ultimaized the DC universe proper. Once again they are following Marvel but Marvel made the ultimate universe a laboratory for ideas that influenced the mainstream universe. this is all arse backwards.

oh well

I wouldn’t be surprised if the film and cartoon franchises could survive without the comics. It’s not like there is a huge or long lasting sales increase resulting from the release of the movies , and I doubt these days that many people are being converted to the comic versions.

These concepts may appeal to the masses in movie form, but as far as the general public is concerned, not so much in comic form. And with sales sliding even more each month, it’s hard to what the industry will be like in another 5 to 10 years, and how many people will still be reading these titles.

Maybe the concepts, while still good, have run their course, and new fresh approach is needed. How many times can they keep rebooting/retooling the same character over and over again? Anyway, I was just making a suggestion. I know it would never happen.

If they are going to renumber Action and Detective I hope they ‘double-number’ them so the original numbering still continues as well.

I’m not saying I THINK they will do that, but it would be nice.

Earlier in the thread someone said they shoudl scrap monthly issues and just put out collections.

If they did that, sales would PLUMMET.

Instead they are embracing digital, which means they are actually ahead on something for the first time in… a long time.

“Heinberg on Wonder Woman
Picoult on Wonder Woman”

You forgot:

“ANYONE on Wonder Woman”

I don’t what it is about the character that makes it so hard for writers (great writers normally) to make decent WW comics.

When was the last really good run on WW? Rucka? PEREZ?!?!

You forgot:

“ANYONE on Wonder Woman”

I don’t what it is about the character that makes it so hard for writers (great writers normally) to make decent WW comics.

When was the last really good run on WW? Rucka? PEREZ?!?!

I don’t think he’s talking so much about the quality of those Wonder Woman runs but rather how poorly executed they were, with Piccoult being forced to take over while Heinberg’s first storyline was still unfinished due to repeated lateness. Marvel had similar snafus with Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine, Daredevil Target and others, but to have such a screwup in the first four issues of a major WONDER WOMAN revamp, a flagship character?

Even though, personally, I still think Claremont’s last couple of years in X-Men with Marc Silvestri, before Jim Lee came around, were better than the stories Jim Lee plotted without Claremont, right after Chris’s departure. Yes, I still prefer the 1991 Claremont than the 1991 Jim Lee. Overblown and melodramatic as he was, at least Claremont had soul. Jim Lee was empty. Is empty even today. But he was an empty man that sold a lot of comics. That’s ultimately the bottom line.

I totally agree.

Is it possible that the seeming change to the Superman outfit is simply a coloring error, given that he’s kind of blurred out and in the background? It wouldn’t be the first time a promo image from either of the Big Two was hastily colored and error-ridden.

Ricardo Amaral

June 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “Well, Shooter came onto the book knowing there was another Legion about, Waid and Kitson didn’t find out until the Legion appeared in another book, at which time both decided to leave the title, rather than be the B team.”

Nope, their problem was being shot because of having to retrofit Supergirl into their team, and then having to drop her. And then being trampled over and over, even though they were doing a book that supposedly had NOTHING to do with current timeline.

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “Also, I doubt it was off the top of John’s head – there were clues planted in the Superman titles before they appeared in Lightning Saga, and then he used them in Action Comics, which tied directly into his Superman: Origins and his Legion Of Three Worlds FC book.
I’m not necessarily saying these are great ideas – Lightning Saga was dreck – but I don’t think things got confusing because he was just making it up on the go.”

Those clues were planted AFTER Mark Waid’s run. And after Shooter was hired to write Legion. Check the amount of retconning from stories around that time.

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “I’d put the blame squarely on the editors of his books, who approved his plans without telling the Legion editors it was happening.”

Which was always my point: DC doesn’t have the editorial skills to pull this off.

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote:Was Blackest Night supposed to be a GL only affair?
I don’t remember hearing that.”

I do. And it was – exactly because the idea was that all that went wrong with Countdown/Final Crisis was it got out of hands.

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “And if it was, how is it on Johns that it got it’s own title and went line wide?
Seems more likely it would be publishing that would have wanted to do that, to maximise profits (which it successfully did).”

That’s Dan Didio’s managing style to you. It was so successful that they had to reboot the line.

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “Doom Patrol is a concept that has only really had success under Arnold Drake and Grant Morrison, so blaming crossover for killing the book is an odd one – I also honestly can’t remember the last successful book Keith Giffen launched.”

Well, he got an Eisner a few years ago. And his indie Hero Squared was also a hit. He didn’t have any more hits because DC editorial screwed up his Doom Patrol run from the beginning. And Booster Gold wasn’t exactly bad: its sales levels were above Dan Jurgens’s.

Ricardo Amaral

June 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

As the 12 first books were announced, I once again reinforce how incapable the current DC editorial is. Nothing new (except for Azz and Chiang on Wonder Woman – if they do something on the caliber of Doctor 13, I’ll be a happy person), not a single daring move in terms of artist/writer… It’s just more artists writing books (and not exactly revered artists…), more JT Krul and Dan Jurgens.

I mean, Dan Jurgens, the guy who hated JLI and destroyed the whole thing, is doing JLI. Go figure.

Rusty I agree Wonder Woman is hard but the point I’m trying to make is not whether it is good or bad but that they rebooted it three reboots in 12 issues ( or something).
I figure a reboot should be able to run at least 6 issues.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Nope, their problem was being shot because of having to retrofit Supergirl into their team, and then having to drop her. And then being trampled over and over, even though they were doing a book that supposedly had NOTHING to do with current timeline.

No, it was because of the other Legion popping up.
Waid talks about it here – http://www.aintitcool.com/node/40896 – and there is another interview I cannot find, where I believe he says Kitson left because he couldn’t see the point continuing, so then Waid left as well.
Supergirl was still in the book after they left.

Those clues were planted AFTER Mark Waid’s run. And after Shooter was hired to write Legion. Check the amount of retconning from stories around that time.

After their run began, but before Johns or Meltzer used the Legion – so they had been planning it, not doing it spur of the moment.

I do. And it was – exactly because the idea was that all that went wrong with Countdown/Final Crisis was it got out of hands.

Oh well, they made the right call though – Blackest Night was a big success, and it ran on time.

That’s Dan Didio’s managing style to you. It was so successful that they had to reboot the line.

I don’t think that has anything to do with Blackest Night.

Well, he got an Eisner a few years ago. And his indie Hero Squared was also a hit. He didn’t have any more hits because DC editorial screwed up his Doom Patrol run from the beginning. And Booster Gold wasn’t exactly bad: its sales levels were above Dan Jurgens’s.

He may well have got an Eisner, but that doesn’t mean he’s a sales success these days – he hasn’t had a successful series launch in years, if not longer, at a mainstream publisher.
I’m not trying to knock Giffen, but I’d imagine the Hero Squared books sold below DC’s cut off point.
All I’m saying, is it’s a stretch to blame Blackest Night for killing Doom PAtrol, when Doom Patrol had so many cards stacked against it.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

As the 12 first books were announced, I once again reinforce how incapable the current DC editorial is

I dunno if they are incapable – these are the first announcements of 52 books, and DC are seemingly going to be keeping their cards close with all of this – I think they may just be trying to launch too many books at once without a big enough talent pool.

But yeah, that sure is a lot of Jurgens.

Ricardo Amaral

June 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm

FunkyGreenJerusalem wrote: “He may well have got an Eisner, but that doesn’t mean he’s a sales success these days – he hasn’t had a successful series launch in years, if not longer, at a mainstream publisher.
I’m not trying to knock Giffen, but I’d imagine the Hero Squared books sold below DC’s cut off point.
All I’m saying, is it’s a stretch to blame Blackest Night for killing Doom PAtrol, when Doom Patrol had so many cards stacked against it.”

He singlehandedly revamped the Marvel Galactic Universe with Annihilation, his Booster Gold actually INCREASED sales of a book on its 33rd issue (and left it in a better place than before he left). And Ambush Bug, for all it is, was a hit – except DC didn’t allow him to finish it.
Doom Patrol was a MATURE title and should have been treated as one – but the book was literally doomed from the beginning with wrong choices from editorial: artistic covers were toned down to “poster-style” artwork; two completely different artist with vastly different styles were obliged to work together (!!!) in each issue; the Metal Men 8-page was killed halfway thru its plot and the 24 issue plan was 2 months before completed killed for a bunch of stupid and irrelevant Flashpoint minis. Any questions, you can read Matthew Clark’s comments on twitter or Facebook – it was a nightmare, apparently.

[…] up, DC is going to relaunch 52 titles with new number ones. There's some speculation about whether they're going to renumber the big titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Superman … but to be honest, I think the people that are going to be the most concerned about retaining the […]

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