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Thoughts on DC Comics’ Rebirth Announcement

Let’s talk a bit about DC Comics’ Rebirth announcement today

-Doing two issues of their main titles a month but at a smaller price point? That’s a clever strategy by DC that seems designed to appeal to the direct market (“Hey? You know how we have a certain amount of books that do well for you? How about two of them a month?”). However, doing it with seventeen titles is an awfully big risk. Can Aquaman and Cyborg really support two issues a month shipping? That said, if there ever was a chance for this to work, doing it this way is the way (releasing them all at once as a hyped event).

-I totally understand why you would want to stay generally tight-lipped about future events, but I don’t know, I think this is one of those rare occasions where I think it would have worked better for Geoff Johns to spell out more what their plan is for this event than what he was allowed to say today. I am still royally confused by what this is supposed to be and I think that sort of hurts the hype factor of the event.

-What Johns DID say, though, was obviously quite encouraging. Acknowledging that things were lost in the New 52 was refreshing and specifically pointing out the importance of LEGACY is great, as that was such a nice aspect of the DC Universe for years that the New 52 just wiped out pretty much entirely.

-Johns’ response to people saying that they’re going to make the comics too much like the movies was awesome. He handled this question BEAUTIFULLY:

I know people have been talking about, “They’re going to make the comics like the TV shows or the films!” Why would we do that? These aren’t licensed comics. That’s boring. We already have TV and the films. And those are great. But comics are their own thing. We talked about “Green Arrow’ with the writer; all we talked about were comics. We talked about “Longbow Hunters,” Neal Adams’ work, all the great “Green Arrow'” runs that have happened — there have been a lot of them. If there’s something interesting that we see in film or TV that we want to nod to or bring over, we do it, but it’s really much more focused on the comic books.

He really nailed it.

-Something that always irked me about the New 52 was something that Grant Morrison has always talked about, the idea that you want your comic book universe to be as inclusive of stories as you possibly can. That was his idea for Hypertime – he hated what he felt was a constrictive nature of the Post-Crisis DC Universe. However, the Post-Crisis DC Universe was FAR more inclusive than the New 52. People would highlight the notable examples of where the Post-Crisis DC Universe would limit your storytelling with regards to the overall DC Universe, but New 52 DRASTICALLY limited storytelling with regards to the overall DC Universe. No Teen Titans, no Hard Travelin’ Heroes, No Justice Society of America. It was crazy. So the fact that Johns specifically quotes Morrison in discussing Rebirth makes me happy (although the quote is, “DC is a living, breathing universe that’s truly alive,” which is a bit less on point).

-I like the return of the numbering for Action Comics and Detective Comics, but it only works if there’s an actual connection to the legacy of the titles. I believe DiDio made a comment back in 2011, which I did agree with at the time, which was to say that they would be unlikely to renumber just for the sake of renumbering. THAT I agree with, I just hope that Rebirth is something where it makes sense to renumber.

-Finally, it is not a reboot…and it never was. The only thing that comes to my mind based on that is perhaps some sort of further integration of the Pre-New 52 DC Universe? You know, like “That DCU is still around, we’re just seeing a different aspect of it – and not the weird Convergence thing, but more like the Titans Hunt seepage in of the past” stuff. HOW this will be achieved will be fascinating.

-Sorry, I know I said finally, but it just occurred to me – you know who could fix all of this? Mopee. Get on it, DC!

44 Comments

I think these are really smart, positive changes that they’ve announced. I’m not the world’s biggest DC continuity buff, but I’m old school enough to appreciate the legacy and enjoy this history-inclusive approach.

But even more so than that, I’m loving the double shipping and price point reduction! I know a series like Aquaman is unlikely to last twice monthly for long, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Now if they’d only let me pitch a Plastic Man book…

The thing that stands out the most to me is that Blue Beetle is pretty much the only thing there that hasn’t already been running a good long while or is an obvious spin off of something that has, so I have to assume this is a clue that the rumored Blue Beetle TV show is back on track.

Just wishing….here it goes.

I hope DC Comics realize that great writers and/or artists should be less hassled by the editors. Editors should “guide” the writers/creators/artists in sentence constructions, moral boosting, constructive criticism (adding good ideas), etc; not to dictate the latter to change abruptly in the last minute or so or acting like they (the editors) are better than the writers/creators. Today’s creators do gone nuts on those moments. Gone is the years of in-house art style.

And two-weeks shipping on some titles? That means plenty of artists around. Readers want consistency in illustrations. I expect tons of names in the cover art credits.

I hope Scott’s Detective Comics picks up where Dick Grayson’s Batman ended back then. I just love how Snyder narrated Dick’s Batman as haunting as ever.

I hope Geoff Johns gets his Mojo back as the DC alpha writer. Granted, that’s being called “selfish” but let’s face it, Johns knows the concept “REBIRTH” in superhero comics more than anyone else than him.

I know it’s not even close to being possible but I wish they would just reboot to the time before green lantern rebirth and the like. Heck, just wipe out everything since Geoff Jones got in. He’s one of those kids that wanted things how they were when he was reading as a kid and reverted things back, to hell with any story advancements since. Spoiled kid attitude really.

This is, what, the third? Fourth? DC reboot Didiot and Johns have done. Has it occurred to anyone that THEY might be the problem?

I also dislike Geoff johns!

Green Lantern is my favorite character and I couldn’t be less interested in him at this point, mostly because of Johns but also because of whatever DC is doing these days. I don’t read any DC books at this point, and they actually have one of my favorite writers (Cullen Bunn) writing my favorite characters (GLs). I mean, I bought Bunn’s Magneto run and I’ve only read a handful of xmen stories! I can’t even be bothered to buy Green Lantern?
DC, you screwed up. You stink. You are garbage. I have no interest in your books and your movies are laughable.
I’ll pick up the GL I’m missing if they are ever a buck on comixology. I hope Hal Jordan isn’t still some stupid long hair trench coat bounty hunter. Ugh. You guys are the worst. You make terrible comic books. It bums me out.

I loved Morrison’s Action Comics, Azzarellos Wonder Woman and Demon Knights. I enjoyed the beginning of Snyder’s Batman. But basically, the earth is so scorched and salted at this point that I can’t see my way back to you. And I was always a “DC guy.”

Ugh. Now I’m bummed out.

I’ll reserve judgement (and my wallet) until I see who’s writing what.

Too old and too cynical to feel any enthusiasm for this. Particularly with Didio and Johns still at the helm.

Brian, didn’t Mark Waid come up with hypertime?

Johns’ GL run does not age well (I’m rereading now) as everything after about issue 25 is geared to the Big Story Arc and every story arc just leads into another arc, and it never really goes anywhere (Look, the Guardians did something rotten … again.).

Rene,I have some of the same reaction—it sounds good, but how will it play out in actuality?

I don’t care about the overarching DCU – they were running it into the ground pre-52 and the reboot didn’t help- but I’ll pick up any titles with good creative teams. Hell, I don’t care about the Hanna-Barbera characters but I’m going to pick up Future Quest because it’s by Jeff Parker & Doc Shaner. It’s all about the people making the comic rather than the characters and setting.

The DC Universe used to be my primary comic book entertainment, I think at one point I was only buying one non-DC title.

Then they released Superman Birthright, which randomly reworked Superman. I tried to ignore that, but books like Superman/Batman and Supergirl made it hard. Then Infinite Crisis happened, changing Wonder Woman and Superman (again). I hung on for a little bit, but then when a book hit a rough spot I would think “the characters I followed have been ‘revised’ out of existence, so why bother” and dropped the title. Johns horrible Superman is still a bit of a stand out to me.

So when the Nu52 started, leaving DC was pretty easy. I think I was down to three books anyway.

I would like to come back to DC, but I think that would only happen if the Byrne and Perez Superman and Wonder Woman continuity returned, or DiDio left.

@Fraser

I just got done with my post and saw your post, and I agree. Johns’ Green Lantern was great until ‘Secret Origins’ rewrote Hal’s origin and set up the ‘next big thing.’ After that all the title did was ‘set up big thing’ or ‘spin wheels during big thing.’

Fraser –

I had the exact same reaction when reading Bendis’s work in the Avengers. Setting up big event -> big event that sets up the next big event -> repeat. It really doesn’t read well as conventional stories.

Very disappointed in this news. All I wanted was the pre-Flashpoint DC back. They’ve failed again! :-/

-I totally understand why you would want to stay generally tight-lipped about future events, but I don’t know, I think this is one of those rare occasions where I think it would have worked better for Geoff Johns to spell out more what their plan is for this event than what he was allowed to say today. I am still royally confused by what this is supposed to be and I think that sort of hurts the hype factor of the event.

Geoff Johns probably can’t say much because the powers that be themselves haven’t even made up their minds on a lot of this stuff yet. Remember, this is the company where up until a week before the New 52 was making changes on major elements, like whether Wonder Woman would have long pants or not.

This all sounds so botched and easily avoidable. How any one of you guys feels these guys have earned any amount of goodwill to the point where you can even be CAUTIOUSLY optimistic about this is beyond me. It will be abysmal like everything they’ve done linewide since Identity Crisis onward.

Too old and too cynical to feel any enthusiasm for this. Particularly with Didio and Johns still at the helm.

Don’t forget Harras and Lee. The guys who ruined DC in the aughts join forces with the guys who ruined X-Men and Marvel in the 90s….and I’m supposed to get excited by anything they announce?

There were rumors that DC was cancelling all existing planned projects. I’m curious what this means for MULTIVERSITY TOO (which we’ve heard jack about since its announcement) and EARTH ONE. Although Teen Titans Earth One vol. 2 is solicited for August, I think…

Count me in the old and cynical crowd. I haven’t regularly read a DC or Marvel title in several years. They just weren’t interesting me. Too many things felt either like retreads of the 80s, with more violence, or the characters just seemed too removed from what I liked about them. So, I moved on to other books.

I have kept an eye on the publishing side of DC and Marvel, looking to see if they offer up something interesting. One thing is clear, in terms of DC; current management isn’t working. I mean from the very top down. Once it became clear that DC existed solely to maintain trademarks and generate content for the other Warner media divisions, it became obvious that they weren’t likely to create the same atmosphere they had in the mid to late 80s. The movies and tv aren’t bringing anyone to read the comics and the comics aren’t attracting an audience on their own. They used to. They need a management that can foster a creative environment that can produce books that will attract readers, old or new. DC has to stand on its own. Johns, Didio and Lee just don’t seem cut out for executive positions, regardless of their skills as comic writers and artists. It was rare when someone was equally good at both. Those were people like Archie Goodwin, Stan Lee, and Roy Thomas.

The proof will be in the pudding; but, no matter how creative an individual title will be, the same hands will be guiding the entire line. Their track record isn’t good. It doesn’t create a lot of hope for success, here.

Johns made these announcements on my birthday yesterday, so I’ll take it as a sign to at least be cautiously optimistic about this :P. I’m not much of a line wide/or character driven guy in my purchases, so as long as there is a handful of books I’m interested in I’m good. Normally don’t care much about continuity either unless its for trivia or the foundation for some potentially great stories, but yeah, I’ll echo everyone else and say that the aspect of legacy was a part of what made the DCU appealing, as well as giving it that archetypal flair. I also share in the opinion that some revision on editorial’s side would be more beneficial long term than whatever talent they can get at this point.

I agree with Fraser I’d heard Hypertime was mainly Waid.

Specifically the first time I ever heard the term was in the Kingdom Come sequel by Waid.

Johns can frame it however he wants, but it’s just another stunt to drive up sales for a few months. The fact that no creative teams were announced for books supposedly beginning in May is telling. “Don’t get excited for the creators, get excited for new #1 issues again!” And the fact that the same brain trust- Johns, Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Bob Harris- are still running the show does not fill me with excitement.

Yeah, what they say SOUNDS like it could only be an improvement over how badly these same guys have messed up DC Comics in the past, but they’re like Lucy holding the football at this point. How many times are we going to fall for it?

The fact that they’re announcing these big initiatives every year or two is the problem, not the solution to anything. These guys just keep rebooting and relaunching and mucking things up with one line-wide event after another because it’s all they know. The only thing that might make things better over there is entirely new management.

I’m beyond cynical with the Big Two at this point, but I know that Geoff Johns can write. He just hasn’t had his feet to the fire to produce something of depth in a good long while. Nothing in these announcements is giving me hope for change; at this point, DC will have to prove themselves again to their former loyal readers before they can expect any kind of big sales. Renumberings and shuffling around of existing creative talent doesn’t sound like significant change.

They had me at Superwoman. And the renumbering.

I mean, what’s to get excited or get mad about? There’s tons of words from them saying NOTHING. Except “new #1’s!” OK. I don’t get it…is it a new reboot? Is it going back to pre Nu52? Is it integrating elements of both, and movies? (Boy, that would be confusing.) You’re not going to have Green Arrow be like TV Green Arrow, even though that’s all you’ve done in Nu52…so he’s going to be what? Older goatee Ollie? Why not spell it all out, unless it’s like T said, they don’t actually know. They just figure out the relaunch before they figure out the concept.

You want to get me back? Say oops, we’re going back to all the old titles and numbering BEFORE Nu52. That would probably get me back. Or give me a guarantee whatever you’re doing next will be the status quo for a minimum of 20 years, or my money back. That might.

I feel bad for DC. Everyone seems to be pretty critical of the editorial regime for bringing about the failure of the New 52 (and it was a failure), but I don’t know if it’s fair to lay all or even most of the blame on their shoulders. Yes, they changed some icons’ character traits for seemingly no reason and ended up forcing each sub-line of comics into a series of crappy crossovers – but those crappy crossovers sold. The books that everyone claimed to have wanted to see more of – fun, offbeat books like I, Vampire, OMAC, Frankenstein, All-Star Western, and Demon Knights were all there at the outset and were of pretty high quality, but actual readers who spent money bought way more copies of the torture porn Batman issues where the Joker cut his own face off and wore it as a mask. It just didn’t make financial sense to publish that first wave of standalone, outside-the-box books after a few months of low sales, nor did it make sense to publish their replacement titles for too long (oh, how I miss you, Dial H). The same thing happened with DC You – Martian Manhunter, Midnighter, Gotham by Midnight, and Omega Men were quite good (as were Prez and All-Star Section 8, but those were miniseries) yet failed to move a lot of units (as did Dr. Fate, a book with great art and the potential to become great in the story department if Levitz can get the pacing under control).

Sadly, it looks like DC has learned their lesson for now since I don’t see any weird surprises in this list of titles. Of course, if the creative teams are good, I’d still be excited to buy yet another Batman story or get back into The Flash, but I’ll wait and see and hope this works out for DC to the point where they’re willing to take a chance on some oddball stuff again. Til then, the new DC title I’m looking forward to the most by far is the Jeff Parker/Doc Shaner Hanna-Barbera action book (and with covers by Darwyn Cooke and Steve Rude? It’s like they read my mind!)

I like Geoff Johns. He is a talented writer and seems like a decent human being. Like Jim Lee, he does one thing very well. Also like Lee, I am not sure that I want his one thing spread across the whole DCU.

Still, that is the good news.

The bad news is that we are getting yet another reboot/relaunch/rebirth with the same damn names attached attached to it. Between Marvel and DC, the same half dozen guys have in various configurations “reimagined” those universes, like, fifty times.

Seriously, we know what Dan DiDio, Bob Harras, Eddie Berganza, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, David Goyer and the gang bring to the table at this stage. We have read Heroes Reborn, Heroes Return, Infinite Crisis and nu52. We have seen the Green Lantern movie and Man of Steel. The odds that those guys are going to talk with each other and come up with something new is … remote.

My problem is that I don’t actually like any of that stuff, or (to the extent that I do) the parts that I like have very little to do with story that was being told. The creative work that I like best from Geoff Johns and Jim Lee is furthest away from their “show-running”. The parts of “Man of Steel” that I enjoyed were about performances and action, which had very little to do with the totally incoherent script.

Hell, I would bet that Dan DiDio is perfectly nice guy with whom to have lunch.

The problem is that they are a terrible team. They have collectively failed over-and-over-and-over at these big projects. It is really hard to believe that the millionth time is the charm.

Man, I’m seeing a lot of cynicism in these comments. Look, if you think about it, you can be positive about this because —
Look out! There’s a massive distraction behind you!

I Was a ghoul for a real long time (mid-70’s up) But DCs kinda lost me at the end of the 90’s

– Barry Allen return, Jordan’s .. all those passeist stories

The final blow was Flashpoint and the New 52…

Johns isn’t a bad writer, he only lives in his childhood, wanting to be the wrting hero he craved in the 70’s, Didio isnt a bad person or a bad publisher.. he only compares sales figures of the 70’s to the ones of the 90’s and 00’s.. and that leads to short term stories, engagemens, views.

Those announcements doesnt do me no chiver… after the utterly futile convergence (and what was the point Future’s End?? send Tim in the future to be the batman of tomorrow?? a long convoluted story only for that ??) ..i will stay abroad from DC this year.

What Image announced = long term thinking: planning / stories bring me much internal heat.(for the last 15 years or more, image , dh and idw are my principal picks)

And even if i was pretty disapointed by Secret Wars, Marvel proposes a real neat set of interesting stories
– Don’t care about steve rogers status.. but Squirrel girl, Spider gwen, Hawkeye, PW & IF are some fine books, and some others are eyeing me regularly

Still too vague for me to come to any conclusions.
All we’ve got is a list of the series and know some writers involved but not who is on which titles or what their approach to the series is going to be. (or who is in which teams or what some of the new series will be about)

Vision at Marvel is currently great but it’s a finite storylline and does not indicate the quality of a series by the same writer on an unspecified series with a yet-to-be-identified approach for an unknown length of time.

The twice-a-month schedule is a cause for concern as to whether they will be able to sustain any quality, would writers constantly be changing, alternating issues or story-arcs? I believe I would be less likely to follow such a series unless I had good confidence in it (and after new 52 there is very little at DC I do have confidence in)

The twice-a-month schedule is a cause for concern as to whether they will be able to sustain any quality, would writers constantly be changing, alternating issues or story-arcs? 

I believe they’re basically copying the format of Dan Slott’s successful Amazing Spider-Man run, which he writes two issues a month for.

T. –

Yeah, there is also Harras and Lee. Sigh…

You know, at this point in time there is slightly more reason to believe that M. Night Shyamalan will turn his career around and return to the days of Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (or even Signs) than to believe that Didio, Johns, Lee, and Harras will finally fix the DCU, when they’re the dudes that broke it over and over again.

When you’re at your fourth reboot, it’s time to fall on your sword. DC Comics really deserves something better than the people they have. Nothing against the people personally, but it’s obvious that the next step for the DC Universe is a complete editorial change. At this point, they could sell the whole thing to Disney and be better off, that’s the point we’re at right now.

I’m more worried about the artists than the writers on the bi-monthlies.

@Zbu, ha, just joked with someone that if Deadpool makes more money than Batman v. Superman WB should sell everything to Disney. Not just their DC/superhero stuff, their whole movie production company. (Not that Disney did Deadpool, but if even a minor Marvel character can beat the big two, it’s time to give up).

What I’m getting from these comment is, other than the weatherman, is there any other job you can fail at so many times and keep your job? Even sports teams at least fire and rehire to other teams their coaches, not just keep a losing guy around forever. Comic exec must be the best pay to results ratio in the business world.

I was thinking that I don’t have a problem with nostalgia per se. So, Geoff Johns and Didio want to return to the status quo of when they were reading as kids. That is okay by me. But the stories should still be engaging, there must be an overall plan, and it would be great if this nostalgia could cohere into a consistent style.

One of the problems is that Johns and Didio have nostalgia for the Silver Age but with an obsession with hyper-violence and seriousness that is very un-Silver Age, Lee and Harras have nostalgia for the nineties that is an awkward marriage with Johns and Didio’s SA nostalgia, and all of them are trapped into a cycle of summer events 90s-style that is incompatible with a long-range plan. And add to that ill-conceived attempts to attract new readership (for instance, de-aging the characters).

All of these elements make for a unholy mix if you don’t watch it.

if this were cinema, you’d have one producer nostalgic for the 1940s wanting to remake Casablanca, the other producer nostalgic for the 1970s makes Rick into a unstable, violent, mohawk-wearing malcontent like Travis Bickle, there would be big explosions because both producers are also sort of nostalgic for 1980s action movies, and finally they’d get Zack Efron to play Rick, because they expect his youth would attract new viewers.

Rene – I 100% agree. I don’t care if they bring back 40s characters, 50s characters, 60s characters, 90s characters or make brand new characters…just show some vision and competence.

And just like that any interest has turned to fear and loathing…

http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/dan-didio-teases-single-most-controversial-scene-his-dc-comics-tenure

Dan DiDio, master marketer, that one.

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Who’s gonna get raped? Who’s gonna get maimed? Who’s gonna get killed and/or resurrected? And why do I feel like DC/Marvel comics have turned into a gladiator arena?

And that’s why I haven’t bought any DC comics for years. Simply a mess, like over at Marvel.

The New52 was the perfect point to cancel all my subscriptions. More money in the bank, thank you very much.

You can reboot, retcon, rebirth all you want. It won’t change a thing about the real problems the Big 2 have.

Lack of consistency and of diversity.
Even if every book is part of the same universe, each book has to have its own flavor. I don’t need a whole theme or plan that includes every book. Quite the opposite.
What I need though is a creative team that stays on a book for more than a few issues. For 12 issue runs at least.
Less editorial bs, less ego, better art, better story telling. No re-telling the same 20 stories over and over again. No more annual big events. Get you continuity straight.

Look at what Image (who would have thought…) or Dark Horse have been doing these last few years. Now that’s quality.

The hardest thing to do is attracting new readers while keeping the old ones. Don’t ask me for a simple solution for that but it’s definitely not a reboot or rebirth. If your books sucked before, they’ll still suck afterwards.

PS I like Johns as a writer. I blame the current state on the Morrisson and Bendis glorification. But that’s just a matter of taste I guess.

Terminalsanity

April 4, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Too damn little too damn late. The continuity, the world building, and talk of legacy is something they should have done out of the gate and instead they ploughed ahead piling up more and more ill advised bad character decisions one after another until at last they said “f_ck continuity, f_ck legacy, f_ck these character’s, f_ck our established readership we do what we want” an the they gave us DC You to which the long suffering readership responded with “F_ck You DC” and dropped that pile of fail in the tens of thousands. And now they have the gall to think they can take the steaming pile of crap they turned the DCU into and polish it up and that we’ll buy it and eat NO not going to happen the New 52 needs to be flushed completely like turd that it is along with the current editorial staff that produced it. The New 52 is beyond saying, destroy it wholsale and start anew with set of better editors who respect the medium, the readership, and the legacy of the characters they’re charged with being stewards of.

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