Rebooting a Comic Universe

As some of you may have heard down the grapevine, DC Comics is set to remodel it’s entire universe this coming September with 52 series issues all starting with numerically at number 1. This one caught me by surprise when I first noticed the news and have had a lot of time to kind of go over the decision and get my thoughts in order. All I can really come up with though is DC….you suck balls. Now I have collected comics since I was a wee little child and ventured into both the DC  and the Marvel universes. I quite enjoy both really however I tenended to gravitate more towards DC as it was more traditional superheroes. It was more colorful and never really tried to get out of it’s way to seem like the cool kid on the block with matching costumes and attitudes. Everything at DC while at times very serious could also been seen lightheartedly.

But that just brings me back to why the decision was made. Typically in the comic universe you have events which aim to shake up the status quo of a title or the universe in general. It introduces either new villains, hereoes, locations, items, etc that will inevitably change how we see things. In fact this is what the companies typically do as well to get people buying again. Everyone loves a major plot point. Take DC Comics Blackest Night story arc which spawned other arcs and seemed to steamrole through tons of sales. Green Lantern had suddenly become even more relevant then he had been and the status quo was changed. However not very long after we have Flashpoint which stars Barry Allen in another timeline. We can only assume this will lead into what will be the new status quo but here is where the rub comes in.

We are even told that some of the iconic events like Blackest Night, Death of Superman, Zero Hour and many others have still happened yet certain teams or characters within these stories never existed or existed in this new re-imagining. This is my biggest beef I think concerning the changes. It tears apart the legitimacy of those past events because certain characters were involved, they had a certain relationship which had an impact onto the story and what might have made a scene poignant is now gone yet still there somehow. I am sure some of this will be addressed via upcoming issues and attempts at explaining these events via flashbacks but it seem’s very sloppy at best and horrible PR to those who have invested for many years more then even myself.

I agree that yes, maybe the universe has to change a bit to make it fresh however I don’t think it needs to be done as drastically as it’s being done. I’m very torn about this but I will be honest with you that some of my apprenhension is someone who is used to the status quo. Some already I am slightly jaded.

With this new remodelling of the universe, literally all your iconic characters are changing permanently in some fashion. Now this can be both good and bad. It’s good that it changes what we know and add’s new elements to a character. Things will seem fresh and new however what you knew about your favorite character will be gone and all that was previously established with him. DC has been saying that they are doing this to make things accessible to new readers and providing interesting concepts for the older readers. This is where I have to kind of take a stand. This seem’s to be a recurring theme society wise today that things of old cannot possibly be accessible to new readers so let’s make them younger and more hip. This is especially evident when you look at the new DC universe. All the characters look like their are either in college or filled with teenage angst. Attitude for the new era so to speak.

I think this has to be a message to all companies that yes, there is a younger generation but just because they are younger does not mean they cannot understand nor recognize things from the past. I jumped into comics when I was young and I learned (by reading) about the histories of these characters. Movie companies do the same mistake sometimes. They remake movies but try to add a hip new element, make the character more modern for the kids because that will hopefully equate to dollars. And yes, I get that money does factor in their decision. If sales are not good in an already dwindling paper medium then things have to change.

If I look at DC Comics online strategy they are lightyears behind. They attempt to charge for one thing the same amount for a PDF of a comic as an actual issue. This negates any collectability associated with their comics. Your paper medium should be more expensive because it’s physical. It’s a premium and not a digital file with no real value. The kicker to all this is generally you have to read these titles online via their respective viewer thereby making you not really the owner. Maybe this will change by September and hopefully it does but it’s a symptom of another publisher who does not know how to handle the modern era yet aims to market in on it.

But like it or hate it we know what is coming. I obviously have my reservations about it however I do have some hope that their advertised new concepts concerning the characters will indeed pay off and revive the industry. But if it doesn’t though and thing stagnate, then I have to ask was it really worth trampling over years of history to be the cool kid on the block again or wouldn’t have it been better to be creative with what has existed already and do something fresh there. That would mean writers had run out of ideas for an existing world which to me is scary in itself.

 

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Carl

Was recruited back in the first year of high school to play this odd game called Dungeons & Dragons by his friends who would become his family. Tending more towards darker themed games like Call of Cthulhu, Ravenloft, Gemini and other such titles; he has also ventured into other genres as his interest has developed. If there is something cool to play out there, he will play it even if it hurts his brain.

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