DC Comics dropped a bomb on readers and retailers today with a huge announcement that strikes fear in the heart of the fandom — a line-wide reboot. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, in what appears to be an attempt to attract new readers to the comic line while also building mass media notoriety with the public at large with successful animated films, video games, and the upcoming line of DC Universe feature films, DC Comics is setting the comic book clock back to number one!
Not only that, but the most positively exciting thing about this news is the announcement of going day-and-date digital on all of the newly rebooted 52 titles (hopefully each hero will not represent a different Earth in the multiverse) starting with the release of the newly rebooted Justice League, written and drawn by bestselling creators Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, respectively, both of whom hold executive titles within the company.
This part of the news excites me because this is the first major move by one of the big name comics publishers in regards to day-and-date digital releases on their main line of comic books, and that’s a great thing. The publishers are finally realizing the potential of digital and taking it seriously, now how this will affect comic book retailers is still a mystery, and with the fact that DC has recently started releasing issues of Arkham City exclusive to digital, it would not surprise me to see more obscure titles arrive on digital devices such as the iPad.
However, the move to renumber and completely change the landscape of the DC Universe remains a mystery to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clearly a way to draw in readers when there is over twenty years of continuity, which can put off a lot of people, but where do you draw the line? Because rebooting is going to work for only a limited time frame. Two years from now, how many people are going to be put off by the number twenty-four? Maybe that’s an invalid argument, but renumbering simply starts the cycle over and does nothing to actually fix anything unless you plan on reboot after reboot. What would make more sense to me is to just shake up creative teams on titles that aren’t working. Y’know get some writers in there that can tell a story without telling the same story over and over.
It’s pretty much a slap in the face to reader like me who loves the continuity, and continuity is what makes comics interesting to me. It’s a great way to actually know the characters and the stories associated with them, so to say that no longer matters is a tad off-putting. I know that some of my fellow fans of Grant Morrison’s work on Batman since 2005 are pretty upset that his story is just going to end. And many other long-time readers are feeling the same way. Fans of the DC Universe and the wealth of stories that are important to them are also upset because of the time and money they’ve spent on these stories that make up each of the characters at this current point. Yes, DC fans, it seems like it’s all going to be over… in a Flash.
If you’re interested in reading the press release, you can do so here below.
DC Comics Announces
Historic Renumbering of All Superhero Titles
and Landmark Day-and-Date Digital Distribution
This year, change is in the air at DC Comics.
On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.
DC Comics will only publish two comic books on August 31st: the final issue of this summer’s comic book mini-series FLASHPOINT and the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Johns and Lee, two of the most distinguished and popular contemporary comic book creators, who will be collaborating for the first time. Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.
This is definitely interesting. I buy all my stuff in TPB and HCs, so we’ll see.Â
PS: I love anything that Johns does, so I’ll be on board with that!
Comment by Rodolfo Valdes-Castaneda — June 1, 2011 @ 1:34 am
I’m 1000% behind this for me comics should be about compelling stories notÂ convolutedÂ continuity. Of course you wanna have a long history with you’re favorite characters but not to the point where it gonna hurt yourÂ abilityÂ to pick up new readers. The question is since this isn’t the first time they’ve had to do something like this how are they gonna prevent the problem from cropping up again in another 5 to 10 years?Â
Comment by sideshowRaheem — June 1, 2011 @ 2:03 am
I hope they can start now with their horrible outdated website=)
Comment by Diana — May 31, 2011 @ 10:04 pm
The renumbering scheme is just that: a gimmick. Always has been, same as incorporating a title change or death of a character. Most frustrating, I recall, is Justice League. Holy cow! Justice League became Justice League International (volume 1) and then Justice League America (volume 1). Justice League Europe was introduced and then became Justice League International (volume 2). Both were ultimately canceled and later, JLA was released. After nearly 10 years, JLA was canceled and a few months later, reincarnated as Justice League America (volume 2). What next? Think it’ll be relaunched with another #1 and be renamed Justice League International (volume 3)? Yeah, the first transitions from JL to JLI(v1) and JLE to JLI(v2) did not restart with new #1s (I think they kept the sequential numbering, merely changing the title) but everything else was a fresh start with new #1s. Where did those readers go and how many new readers were pulled in by starting over? Probably not as many as they alienated by making so many changes! Funny thing is that the mass produced, increasingly more elaborate special variant covers art-heavy/story-light books that came out in the mid-late ’90s probably drew in the most new “readers,” but only irritated the die hard fans. Well written stories with compelling characters continue to feed the die hard fans but make it hard to attract new readers. As someone who WAS a huge fan but hasn’t opened a comic book in several years, I know it’s true. Who wants to pay $4 (or $2.99, I guess) for a single monthly when it’ll take a few more months worth of TIME to catch up? Or, I can catch up immediately but will need to invest in a few back issues at twice the cover price (or more!). And that’s just one title, that may or may not publish on time or continue being published beyond the first few issues (if support isn’t there). New #1s are a one trick pony, so good luck with that DC! Bottom line is that comics are pricing themselves out of business. $3 or $4 per comic is unsustainable these days. Personally, I think DC stands a far greater chance of increasing readership with their day-and-date digital releases and at that, only if they cut the prices even further. I’d like to see $1 per issue and subscriptions available for the Kindle. Maybe even discount the subscription for Amazon Prime customers? After all, minus the paper, they cut their printing and distribution costs, reduce the retailer’s need for shelf space and they have potential for a global reach. Or DC and Marvel can do better at cross marketing their properties. Perhaps my ticket stub to Green Lantern or Captain America comes with a promo code printed on it, redeemable for a free download (or two) of that characters digital comic? See the movie twice and qualify for an exclusive. Become an annual subscriber and get half off a movie ticket to that characters newest movie! Draw your new readers from complimentary forms of media since someone seeing Green Lantern in theaters is more likely to check out a Green Lantern comic book and vice versa. But I digress. Renumbering comics is dumb and only affects existing readers. I’m not going to check out a comic book just because it’s got a #1 on the cover (those days are over). Day-and-date digital release is on the right track and at that, it needs to be marketed to those outside the current comics industry.
Comment by PAUL — June 1, 2011 @ 12:50 pm