Don’t Fear The Reboot…Baby I’m Your Man

Come with me. I am here to save you.

This is all about the R word. Reboot. I can’t stop the DC Universe digital-wrapped reboot from happening but I can help you come to terms with what it actually means. You are going to go on a vacation from your fears. Let’s tackle the statements I have seen thrown around since all this hullabaloo began. They all tie in together so let’s just get them out in the open.

The stories I have read don’t count.

The books I love now are going away.

They are just going to reset the universe in a couple years anyway.

Do not panic, they count the same as they always have. The basics won't change all that much and no one can make you forget your favorite Batman story. The story also can’t just be erased. It exists, you remember it. Someone else is going to read it. It will become their favorite story. There is nothing that DC Comics can do stop that process. In fact, their future success depends on the continuation of that process. Trust me; they want to continue to sell Showcase reprints and Deluxe Hardcovers of the Killing Joke.

I love DC continuity as much as anyone. A large amount of my free time is spent shining a light on the weirder moments of DC Comics lore. (Topo’s hammy nature ruins circuses, etc.) Continuity fascinates and tickles the old history bug I have in my brain. Continuity is not what got me to read comics. I read a couple imaginative and exciting stories, wanted to read more, and got sucked into a bigger universe. Many of us have been reading comics for years and we may have lost a bit of that explorer nature. That feeling usually blooms when you first start reading comics and you are just absorbing everything like a sponge. That is exactly what the Big 2 are good at, catching your eye then giving you more than you can handle (in a good way.)

Continuity is a thin veneer that we as fans through over the stories to give them a cohesion that appeals to “the inner kid who wants to be older” in all of us. Almost all events that happen to a comic book character are forgotten or willfully ignored by creators. To which I say: THANK YOU! Mopee  was a terrible idea. It all ties into one big history, because we as fans want to look at it that way. Continuity makes our fantasy stories seem just a touch more real. It also wasn’t meant to last for years on end with characters being worked on by a multitude of creators.

There used to be a time where the fan base refreshed itself every five years. There would be all new kids who hadn’t read the last 20 years of Superman stories. No reboot was necessary because no one was all that bothered with exactly what happened in the past. Supes fought Luthor but the exact details weren’t terribly important. Writers could cherry pick the best parts of the past and draw them into the light to dazzle the kids. There would be a quick justification and BOOM! You have continuity  Modern comic fandom and the creators have thrown that technique out of whack. It is now expected that creators seamlessly tie everything together. At times our evaluation of their work hinges solely on that rather boring and wasteful exercise. Continuity was a loose network of explanations to justify different takes on characters and explain exciting twists. Now it is baggage that every DC character carries around from story to story, If Hawkman shows up at your house without his bag, you ask why he hasn't got anything with him. I think a reboot is probably in order. A change of numbering doesn’t really have any direct correlation to the quality of the book. But, a number one may be a good opportunity to start fresh. It is just an opportunity not a guarantee.

Intermission

While we are speaking of reboots I have to mention that Pre-Crisis continuity isn’t quite the mess that it is perceived to be. It is a trope that fans throw around, just like how Marvel is more like the real world. How many talking ducks have you seen walking around?

It wasn’t like the DC writers were attempting to trick you at every turn with Earth-2 Superman pretending to be Earth-1 Superman. In fact the first time I read a story with Earth-2 Superman I was completely blown away. THERE WERE TWO SUPERMEN! Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Why does he have grey hair?

End Intermission

There will be books that you love that are going to get shuffled off. As a fan I can sympathize, but the book wasn’t going to last forever and neither were you. You can be comforted by the possibility that maybe the new DC will have a book that scratches that itch, or maybe two books that can get into those nooks. There might not be any, but that is life in the world of comics. Enjoy what you can get when you can get it.  Also don’ worry because everything that is old becomes new again!

Of course another reboot will happen. If you read long enough everything will be reset again. Your favorite character will die and come back. So will your least favorite character. That is the name of the game and is the healthiest state for the Big 2.

If that last paragraph irks you then you need to have a hard look at why you read Big 2 comics and if you should stick with them. If the shifting sands of Superman and Spider-Man bother you then it is time to look towards the world of creator owned comics. You will find titles like Savage Dragon and Invincible where there isn’t going to be reset when the creative winds change. Don’t order the hamburger every time you go to a restaurant hoping it turns into a steak. Learn to love both for what they are. It will be more fun, I promise.

The books you love count because you love them; whether it is Batman, Walking Dead, or the Muppets.  If you have been reading comics for any other reason than you enjoy the content between the covers then you have been conned. Enjoyment is all that counts.

I have cautious optimism for DC’s plan. If executed properly it could mean a revitalization of the fan base. It could mean the eventual breaking of the worse restraints of the direct market. No longer would comic sales be a function of convincing a comic store owner that a book will be IMPORTANT in three months. The book will just be there to download, to be judged on its own merits and not against the expectations stoked to generate pre-orders. It might signal a return to a time where the best way to guarantee sales on the next issue was to tell a really good story in your current issue. It means that the Big 2 are starting to realize that the Direct Market isn’t the future of the industry, but that industry actually does have a future. 

 


Doug Ramsey is Tom Katers's favorite mutant. Happy Ron?
 

Comments

  1. WeaklyRoll WeaklyRoll says:

    I don’t think reboot is the best word for what DC is doing. It’s not what ultimate comics were to Marvel in 2000, which i would consider a reboot. I don’t know the best word to use though, maybe a shuffle? not sure.

    I was disapointed at first with all this, but the more i thought about potentially missing out on a snyder/jock/’villa Tec, i realized that i would go back and re read it. I’ve done that with plenty of comics, and this shouldn’t stop now.

  2. IroncladMerc says:

    It’s a refreshing change actually. Now I don’t have to catch up on the 6 months of DC books anymore, all I need do is read Flashpoint (and Green Lantern books I guess) and then start with the new #1s in September. No need to find out what Batman is up to, no need to read about Superman walking around.  It’s all going away, it’s like those few months back in the 80s when Crisis was coming out, they still published the regular books, but then everything was rebooted when Crisis ended (except Batman I think).

  3. IroncladMerc says:

    I really hope they get rid of the Lex Luthor in the battle suit. He’s back to where he was pre-crisis, but I liked him better as the evil business man that he was in the John Byrne reboot. 

  4. As long as Detective Chip in Detective comics happens its all good (i kid, i kid….or am i?)

    Very well stated article…a solid voice of reason where so much passionate overreaction exists.

    I was thinking about this last night. The Gold, Silver and Bronze ages ended at some point. Maybe we’re witnessing the end of whatever current age this is an moving on to the next? 

  5. Excellent article Tom. I have optimistic thoughts towards the DC reboot. People tend to over-react to things before thy even happen. I think this can lead to some great stories.

  6. Slow clap

  7. edger says:

    A big cheer for reason. It is supposed to be fun … And I for one can’t wait. Great article.

  8. well done, Tom. I was formulating my own article on this over at PopTards, but you said everything I was gonna say, and said it better.

    I’ve been having this exact conversation over and over again since the news hit, with every pissed off customer that comes into my shop..

  9. JNewcomb JNewcomb says:

    Great article!

  10. redlibertyx redlibertyx says:

    I am most happy about Tom’s tagline at the end. I feel the DC news has overshadowed poor Ron’s glorious X-Men week.

    Also Tom continues to write the best column on the site, though I miss his villainous misadventures that started the column.

  11. Spike1138 says:

    Having seen the new Issue Ones, I don’t have a problem with any of those – most are characters that have recently been revived / worked over by the events of Blackest Night/Brightest Day/Generation Lost etc., ones that had lost their way to a greater or lesser extent and really needed a shot in the arm. After several recent relaunches in the last couple of years that have come up short (Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash being the key ones), a back to basics approach, acknowledge continuity but start with a clean sheet of paper and just tell the best stories is the way forward.

    I think that there is plenty of opportunity for this to go wrong ( as with something like One Year Later, its just an editorial nightmare to have that many new directions kicking off and keeping them consistent, I think a streamlining, rather than a reboot is what’s called for.

    When people say reboot, the analogy they usually mean or a have in mind is more like reformat – start again from scratch and none of it ever happened, as with the Ultimates, Smallville or Earth One model. That’s unfulfilling for the fans and throws the baby out with the bathwater and after tweaking, adding to and referring back to Hal Jordan’s origin for the last 7 years now, no one is in the mood to have it told again the same year the movie comes out.

    But that aside, other than messing with or retelling the origin, what Geoff Johns has done in cherry picking characters and storylines from the previously overlooked stories of the 70s, 80s and 90s of Green Lantern has to be the best way forward. Kevin Smith’s relaunches of both Oliver Queen as Green Arrow and Daredevil have also set the high water mark for encapsulating the fun, well-remembered or likewise obscure and oft-overlooked aspects of continuity whilst mocking the bits that seem corny or ridiculous now, like Nightwing’s disco collars or that giant typewriter. 

    Personally, I can swallow a relaunch of that kind, provided it can provide some tongue-in-cheek mockery of those silly bits of continuity, questionable retcons of the past (Bart Allen and Conner Kent’s return to the Titans stand out, as does *ahem* Countdown). 

    Mark Waid cited it in his commentary for 52 as a piece of writing theory called “hang a hat on it”, i.e., when the characters directly question the inconsistencies and plot-holes.

    Basically, it’s all fine provided someone just walks straight up to Batman says “Why the hell haven’t you done a damn thing to help Barbara walk again? “

    (Although, the same question applied to Reed Richards as regards restoring Ben’s human form gets answered differently by ever writer, so who knows what answer will really satisfy people…) 

  12. stuclach stuclach says:

    “The books you love count because you love them”
    Tom Katers has a knack for making an incredibly important point in an incredibly concise fashion.  I love it. 

  13. Funcrusher Funcrusher says:

    Nice article and perspective. My problem, however, is that unfinished stories don’t count. For instance if my favorite book, Batman Inc. doesn’t keep going it will have a negative impact on the entire run and I will be pissed/heartbroken. Batman Inc. is one of the best selling books they have and it would be unjust for it to be ruined at the expense of of other books that DC allowed to deteriorate. Why would I belive that it will not happen all over again? Here’s hoping they do this right…

  14. Gerry Lopez nudebuddha says:

    Yes to everything you said, Doug. YES! Although, to me contunity and a comprehensive universe in which all these stories exist speaks to our human need to understand that which we will never understand in the real world. Having a whole universe that makes sense on such a grand scale like comics give us is the closest we can get to omniscience, rather than just an eppeal to our inner children. So on that note, I welcome an abandoning of continuity, but also the opportunity to explore a new continuity as well. Man, that was a lot more flowery than I intended. . . .

  15. Thomas Katers ThomasKaters says:

    @Funcrusher It will happen again. It is just something you have to come to terms with.

  16. Manos210 says:

    I appreciate your perspective on this, Tom. “If you have been reading comics for any other reason than you enjoy the content between the covers then you have been conned.” I agree. All I want is good stories.

  17. midwinter midwinter says:

    Cautious optimism is best.

    The thing I worry most about is the mentions of Jim Lee doing costume redesigns. I know I’m going to be a lone voice but Jim Lee can’t be allowed to do character designs. Equally, let’s hope that the Green Lantern costumes aren’t the movie ones – WITH TOES (check out the Abin Sur Flashpoint #1 to see what the movie costumes look like in print).

    Also, I wonder if the reboot is also some form of corporate simplification of the DCU branding. If you’ve played the DCU online MMO you’ll know that there are different “Houses” (like metas, Speedsters, Magics etc) all a bit Moore-Twilight of the Superheroes. You get the feeling that this has been slowly creeping into DC corporate planning for a long time and now seems to be very evident in Flashpoint.

    I’m in favour of regularly resetting comics back to zero. For some reason I’m more inclined to pick up a series if it’s just starting. I realise it’s a bit weird. But it also stops me from dropping a title because I have a “completest” sensibility.

    In terms of digital: digital comics need to be no more than HALF the price of paper copies. I can’t see the attraction of buying a comic digitally otherwise. A comic is also the medium as well as being the message: a physical art object and very different from movies and music in which discs and packaging only deliver the content. 

  18. Gerry Lopez nudebuddha says:

    Did I address my comment to Doug? Did the byline read Doug before? Did I lose my mind?

  19. Thomas Katers ThomasKaters says:

    @nudebuddha  There is no Doug.

  20. Gerry Lopez nudebuddha says:

    @ThomasKaters  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. dezrah dezrah says:

    I think the last paragraph is the most rational and optimistic thought I’ve heard on this whole “controversy”. Anything that makes it possible to financially reward creativity and quality over hype is a win. 

    Well said sir, slow clap indeed.  

  22. tazz says:

    Every industry needs to adpat and change in order to survive.  Kudos to DC for trying..

  23. DWarren DWarren says:

    My favorite part was the last paragraph. A new age is starting.

  24. kennyg kennyg says:

    Wow, Tom, thanks for talking me down off the ledge. Deep breaths, it’s all gonna be OK…

  25. midwinter midwinter says:

    I’ve just read on Major Spoilers that DC are going to charge same price for digital as paper copy ($3.99 is quoted) or $5.99 for a combo pack of comic with code for digital download.

    Are DC serious? They’ve fundamentally failed if they’re doing this to widen readership. Haven’t they watched what’s been happening in the music business? Surely the point of this is to get new readers… cheap mass comics primarily delivered digitally is the answer.

    What looked on first inspection as something game changing now looks pretty uninteresting. (And once you see what the titles are it’s becoming less and less interesting).

    Willing to bet that the number of pages in each issue is going to be reduced, too…

  26. AlanRob AlanRob says:

    Mopee, huh? I had never heard of him before this article, but I definetly agree with your sentiments Tom!  Now, to reasses the way I look at continuity!

  27. Crucio Crucio says:

    My worries are the stories that are being put to the side if Barbara is Batgirl then Stephanie is probably done and being put to the side. All the stuff of the past is great and set in stone, it’s the stories I was looking forward too that worries me, if characters are being de-aged will we lose Damian? I’m optimistic and paranoid, I think it’ll all turn out though.

  28. paulc51 says:

    Great point Tom.
    One small gripe–
    then–next
    than–comparative

    I will wake up, then brush my teeth.
    The new DC Digital model will be bettern than the old one. 
    (I’m an English teacher and can’t help it–sorry) 

  29. Thomas Katers ThomasKaters says:

    @midwinter  Extra long issues are 3.99 and regular issues are 2.99 digitally for one month, after that month they drop a dollar in price to 2.99 and 1.99.

  30. Tom I stand and salut you. Well said sir. On a side note, did you ever post the Aquaman drinking game? For those of you who want to know what that is for, go listen to Tom vs Aquaman. Now! Go!

  31. Thomas Katers ThomasKaters says:

    @paulc51  No problem. Some day i will tell you the epic story of my then and thans for this column. I must have just broke my brain at some point. I think I have it fixed now.

  32. peekay peekay says:

    Excellent article and comments. Echoing the comments above: digital should not have been the same price as physical; between the mindset of digital equals free many have and the taking out of distribution/print costs DC have completely bodged on the value proposition. I’ll buy some, probably not many. That said if they’d sold all 52 number 1 issues for 99c with all future issues at 1.99 i’d've been in like Flynn.

    Also Jim Lee is just the wrong person to do a universe wide revamp. Whereas GJ is the right sort of person. JL has never struck me as a sticker, flitting about from one thing to another, having the (all caps) big idea but not the depth to turn it into a good idea. Also also he only draws from a limited vocabulary – three types of colar for everyone, three male faces, three female, everyone the same height, give or take an inch… So, at least maybe he is the one to do consistency :) I love the idea that the Wonder Woman controversy is going to be magnified 52 times, as of they were saying “that was good press, how can we build on that…”

    Me I don’t really follow any title or creative team – the craziness of current digital distribution tends to do that and every time I see ‘originally released in 2003′ I get a bit more grumpy (Marvel I’m looking at you and your Fear Itself freebies/no comics to buy online in the series yet). The only comic I do follow throughout are the excellent Invincible and Irredeemable (cough day/date). Maybe DC will help see more money escape my wallet :( but the creative team and price discussion don’t fill me with pre-hope).

  33. Well said, Tom (especially the last paragraph). Here’s to good stories and good comics, all the rules and continuity are just distraction.

  34. positronic says:

    I understand the reasoning behind the reboot. DC wants to provide an easy point-of-entry for new readers who are familiar with their characters through movies, television, and videogames, but may have been put off in the past by confusion over the continuity of the characters.  Fine.  The problem, as I see it, is that by drawing a line in the sand between August and September, DC has made it far too easy and convenient for existing fans put off by the concept to quit the habit.

    They’ve also created a retailer’s nightmare to try to predict which books will sell and which won’t, since their existing subscriber base and monthly DC sales are no longer an accurate gauge by which to order.  Yes, new titles are always a guessing game for retailers, informed by knowledge of the characters and a “feel” for which creative teams will generate interest among the existing customer base.  But now you’ve got to guess on 52 new titles in the space of a month.  If you over-order, will you be stuck with dozens of unsold copies?  If you under-order, will reorders be available or will you have to wait weeks for a second printing, thereby losing potential sales?  DC isn’t just risking its own future with this plan, they are putting the entire comic shop retail industry in a very scary position. If the new DCU is an abject failure, it might result in half the comic shops in America going out of business within a year. DC should put their money where their mouth is, and make all these new titles 100% returnable for a period of no less than 6 months.

    Now that I think of it, given that DC is committed to this plan, here’s what I would have done.  Instead of drawing a line in the sand between August and September, I’d have rolled out the reboot gradually over the course of a year.  Use a special cover design/”New DCU” logo/trade dress to clearly distinguish the books. One new title reboot per week for 52 weeks (in the case of Superman, Batman, and other characters or teams with multiple titles, do those reboots first, while still keeping the old DCU continuity going – say, keep Action Comics and Detective Comics going with the old numbering till the end of the year.  Characters like Aquaman and Hawkman that don’t currently have their own series are no-brainers). At the end of a year the transition would be complete. That way it wouldn’t cause such stress for the retailers all at once, and they could monitor feedback as they go along. Regular DC fans would still be coming into the store to get their “old continuity” DCU books, and would get to see the new reboots as they roll out. Then DC could still backpedal and modify the plan en route.  This way you don’t have the regular DC fans just quitting reading all at once. Worse case scenario, they wind up with two ongoing universes, ala Marvel with their regular Marvel Universe titles vs. Ultimate Marvel titles.

  35. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @positronic  DC has increased their retailer discount from 35-57% to 50-72% and offered 100% returnability, at least in the first month.

    A reboot, by its very nature means to wipe clean and start over. Rolling out a reboot over the course of the year not only renders it meaningless as a reboot but, from a shared universe perspective, is lunacy.

  36. Bravo! I for one am looking forward to the “reboot.” I’ve always been a big fan of DC and I have faith that they won’t completely screw things up. I’m interested to see where they’ll take things…

  37. Vidman Vidman says:

    This site pushes the digital comics way too hard.  I am looking forward to the reboot, but I prefer VERY MUCH, a physical comic that I can hold in my hand, and I don’t think I will ever be interested in the digital comic.  I mean, I prefer to support local businesses, I don’t like the idea that the local comic store is going to get passed by, and go away, because I chose to use the amazon.com of comics, rather than go to the local comic store, that does so much more than just provide comics.

    If people buy into digital comics too much, it will be the ultimate end of comics.  For every digital copy paid for, 50 are downloaded on bit torrent.  Look at what happened to the largest producers of Manga in the US. 

    Support your local Comic shop!!

  38. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Vidman  We like digital comics. You may not. That’s fine too.

  39. yyzKyle yyzKyle says:

    This is a big deal!  Wow!  My guess is Marvel does the same thing next summer.

  40. robbydzwonar robbydzwonar says:

    What program will I need to downlonad and read these digitals, if I decide to go down that route?!

  41. positronic says:

    @conor  Not sure how a slow rollout of titles renders it “meaningless” as a reboot.  Individual books have been rebooted before (Legion of Super-Heroes, I’m looking at you).  This would be more like a domino effect, with each individual old title cancelled/new title rebooted over the course of 52 weeks.  At least it gives them a chance to measure customer reaction as they go along.  The “all at once” approach of course, is more sensational and makes for a bigger splash, but it’s the kind of splash of throwing the regular DC fans and retailers head-first into the deep end of the pool, to find out which ones can swim.

    Returnability for one month is a pretty weak demonstration of faith on DC’s part.  They know that the new #1s, averaged across the board, will probably double or triple DC’s regular monthly sales, if for no other reason than the curiosity factor.  What about #2, 6, and 12?  I’d be willing to bet that DC’s sales by September 2012 will be back at or below current levels.  Based on the fact that they’re making it so easy to jump ship, I’d bank on “below”.

    DC needs two things in order for this to work: 1) new readers and 2) new talent.  If you’re just reshuffling the pile of current DC readers, characters, writers, and artists, what’s the point?  One title will start selling better and another worse.  I can’t say if they’ll get the new readers.  I hope they do. There are a lot of unfamiliar names attached to the FLASHPOINT miniseries, so maybe that is the beginning of an influx of new talent. I hope so, because DC desperately needs it at this point.

  42. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @positronic  One book restarting and entire universe restarting is not the same thing. A line-wide rboot is an all-or-nothing thing. You cannot continue to live in your old world while simultaneously trying to get people to accept your new one.

  43. Apologies mr. katers for not directly commenting on your fine article but rather the DC news you covered in it:

    if the logic behind the reboot+digital= bring in more new readers. then wouldn’t logic also dictate the necessity for a reboot every few years, ad infinitum? wouldn’t the new continuity in 5 years or ten years be too confusing for the future new readers and need another reboot? or sooner? if a civilian won’t buy a comic on issue number 422 will they buy one on issue 27 or 13 even?

    Also couldn’t DC try to get more “new” readers by instead releasing more expanded genres digitally? Couldn’t DC just have reached into its vast history of titles like war and romance and crime books and tried to pitch new versions of those to the many new non comics comsumers who already enjoy those stories in other mediums (tv, movies, novels, radio plays, campfire stories, shadow puppets)?

    i’m sure there are many reasons that DC is doing this though. Astrologists tell people to do wacky things all the time.

  44. positronic says:

    @conor  Funny, Marvel has two ongoing universes.  Now sure, Ultimate Marvel sells like crap these days, and has already had one major status quo change and is about to experience another. It sold pretty good at first. The new DCU might follow the same pattern.

    But DC is forcing people to make a decision.  Get with the program, or go home.  They can’t blame anyone but themselves if people choose option B.  Gee, DC is actually giving lots of options here.  “Time to start buying trade paperbacks”, or “Time to buy an iPad” (the latter is great for DC, lousy for retailers).  People who buy the trade collections are usually less dedicated to the whole universe concept, they just want to follow individual characters or creative teams. So overall, if you’re following stuff in trades, rather than monthlies, you’re probably spending less money.  You don’t tend to look at the weekly releases and buy stuff you hadn’t planned to.

  45. positronic says:

    I’m going to miss BOOSTER GOLD, though.  A new DC universe pretty much undercuts the entire concept of that series.  Come to think of it, if Booster and Rip had been doing their job properly, this kind of thing would never have happened.

  46. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @positronic  Marvel has two on-going universes that are seperate. They didn’t try to fold into the other. It’s not an apt comparison.

    Of course that’s DC is forcing you to make a decision. They are saying, “this is what we are gong ot be now, we are sorry if that doesn’t interest you anymore.” They are fairly clear about that. Of course they don’t WANT to lose any old readers, but I’m sure they expect to. But this move isn’t about old readers. It’s about getting new readers.

    Personally, I buy weekly releases all the time that I hadn’t planned to before walking into the store/looking at the list.

    I also spend A LOT of money on trades. Do not assume that people who read in trades are less invested in the overall story of these shared universe.

  47. positronic says:

    Well, up to this point I have spent a lot of money on trades as well.  Lots and lots of Masterworks, Archives, Omnibuses (Omnibi?), Essentials, Showcases, etc. But I have tended to get monthlies because of the “now” factor and because I was invested in the ongoing universe.  My interest in the DCU has probably peaked during the period in between INFINTE CRISIS and FLASHPOINT. With the new DCU, not only has DC made rendered by encyclopedic knowledge of DCU history irrelevant, they’re making me sort and sift through 52 new titles and creative teams, trying to decide what’s worth buying and at the same time what previous history “still applies” and what doesn’t.  It’s all too much, and now I’m just thinking of tossing it all in as far as monthly DCU titles is concerned.  Probably Marvels too, given that my interest has been fading since the end of DARK REIGN/SIEGE. FEAR ITSELF is just awful. I’ll probably pick up the Green Lantern titles in trades when they come out (the assumption being they haven’t messed with these as much – why would they?), maybe Legion?  Not sure, depends on how “rebooted” it is. Time to jump off the cosmic treadmill. End result, I’m just not that interested in the “universe” aspect any more.  Will wait till the reviews are in and the trades are out, then pick and choose accordingly.

  48. positronic says:

    Sorry, that should have read “not only has DC rendered my encyclopedic knowledge of DCU history irrelevant”…  should proof these things before I hit “submit”.

  49. positronic says:

    I think my point there was that the trades af recent stuff aren’t “now”, they’re sort of “last year”. And crossovers have always been hard to read in trade collections.  The experience just isn’t the same as picking up the books each week as they come out. That “gotta have it this week” (or even more so “the day it comes out” is a lot of what drives the hardcore fan. I guess my heart just isn’t in it any more.

  50. Phosphene Phosphene says:

    The overwhelming consensus on the internet (apart from a few rebels who weren’t buying the books anyway) seems the be – don’t fuck with the Batman continuity. Hopefully DC have picked up on this. We want Dick as Batman. We want Damian. And a lot of us want Morrison to be allowed to finish his run how he intended.  And Synder / Jock need to stay on Detective.

     I have no problem with a reboot – as long as the current story is finished. Inc has only got started. I imagine  Morrison doesn’t want to write Batman forever… so let him finish and THEN reboot if you must… but not halfway through!

  51. I checked — my old comics still exist. We’re cool.

    Anyway, I don’t know how anyone can complain or worry after hearing those creative team announcements? Johns and Lee on Justice League? You could rename Batman “Happyman” for all I care!

  52. positronic says:

    @Phosphene  Funny, I would have thought that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Justice League (and maybe Teen Titans) were the primary things driving this push for a reboot.  Obviously Green Lantern is an example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but Legion and Flash were just rebooted (or “retooled”, whatever) a year or two ago (Wonder Woman too, but nobody seems to be embracing that one).

    I’m reading Batman, Inc.,  and it’s certainly an original take on the character, but I can totally see where all of the above franchises would be confusing as hell to the new reader coming in from the movies and cartoons.

    On the other hand, if these things are being viewed by DC as broken, then who bears the responsibility for breaking them?  Dan DiDio, that’s who. (Well, the writers too I guess, but he’s the boss.) If we hit the refresh button, that just means he gets to break them all over again.

  53. positronic says:

    And Morrison’s on Superman now, from what I read.  Haven’t heard anything about the Bat-books. I’d guess you might expect Batman and Detective Comics to continue as #1 issues. Who knows what the other titles might be,

  54. positronic says:

    And Jim Lee says, “And we’re keeping my AWESOME Wonder Woman costume, so eff you.”

  55. JNewcomb JNewcomb says:

    @positronic  Heh heh. I love it!

  56. Phosphene Phosphene says:

    @positronic

    I agree with you about GL but also feel that the Batbooks are also a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” too. I read somewhere reliable (but I’m too lazy to dig out the source) that the Batbooks are the biggest selling DC books. As I’ve said, whilst browsing forums it seems the vast majority of people want to keep Dick and Damian. I don’t see why Morrison can’t write Inc and Superman at the same time (I’m a huge fan of All-Star, so it’s great news Morrison will be in charge of Superman)

    As for the current runs Superman, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans etc… I think a reboot is exactly what those books need.

  57. Poopmonster Poopmonster says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Katers. The stories will be told either way so I’ll be there to check in. Not sure how many of these 52 titles will be ongoing, but I hope there is at least a New Gods mini in the relaunch.

  58. positronic says:

    @Phosphene 

    I don’t say the Batman books aren’t selling, only that I can see that the whole Morrison era (2 Batmen, Death of Bruce Wayne, Damian, The International Batman Wannabe Squad/Club of Heroes/Batman, Inc.) would be confusing as hell to new readers. 

    Ditto for the whole Superman thing (although those problems go all the way back to the Byrne Man of Steel/Death and Return of Superman/New Krypton/War of the Supermen/Grounded).

    With Green Lantern, short of eliminating the whole emotional spectrum, various Lantern Corps, the GLC itself, the Guardians and 4 earth Lanterns and just paring it down to Hal Jordan, I don’t think you can really simplify the thing for new readers that much. With the new movie and upcoming animated series, most people interested will already be exposed to the basic layout.

    And they’re doing this for the new readers, right?  Not the existing ones.

  59. Cormac Cormac says:

    If DC is really still doing ANYTHING for its existing readers, it is screwed. I interpret this whole initiative as DC smartly recognizing that it probably isn’t gonna make this omelette without breaking a few eggs (upsetting long-term fans and retailers). It was headed towards a whimpering exit; now it is either go out with a bang or find a new audience and thrive.  

  60. positronic says:

    It’s a bold move. I hope for DC’s sake that the gamble pans out. The industry truly does need new readers. I wish I could be as optimistic about the actual chances of luring them in, but that’s just me. I guess at a certain point in time it makes sense for the 50-ish year-old fanboys (of which I am one) to “shuffle off to Buffalo”.

    It’s been nearly a week since the news broke, and I’ve made my peace with it. I’m a trade paperback guy after FLASHPOINT ends.

  61. MaxD MaxD says:

    @positronic,
    I certainly hope it doesn’t pan out for DC’s sake.   This whole reboot thing is tired, and fairly arbitrary.  Geoff Johns is a writer who rather annoys me, and the fact that he seems to  be the creative backbone of DC annoys me even more.  He often fails to justify critical story directions with the narrative, it all just seems, ”oh how neat would it be to throw this in there?”

    The defense of the DC reboot being offered here, ”back in the day fans changed out every five years” is really unimportant, not to mention thin and pathetic.  Back in the day hasn’t been case at least since Claremont’s X-Men days.  The fan base is older and treat comic books more like series characters in novels, and expect some respect for narrative decisions that took place earlier.  So the five year cycle is essentially a thing of the past.  Now readers tend to be long term, expect continuity, and good stories.      

  62. Phosphene Phosphene says:

    @positronic  Not sure I agree. The Morrison books (just Inc now) might be confusing to new readers… but Detectective, Batman & Robin, Batman etc are pretty simple. All new readers need to know is a) Dick is Batman now cos Bruce went missing for a bit and b) Damian is the rapey son of Bruce and Talia. Once you’ve got that basic info down you could easily read the current Batbooks and know what’s going on for the most part.

    @Cormac Was DC really on the way to a whimpering exit? I didn’t realise things were that bad. Suely a world can’t exsist where there are no Batman comics… sounds like summit outta Flashpoint.

  63. Phosphene Phosphene says:

    ^^ I’m not sure why that speech bubble thing keeps happening?

  64. positronic says:

    @MaxD  I feel your pain, Max. But what’s done is done, there’s no turning back at this point. Sure, I guess a year down the road, DC could offer some sort of blanket apology along the lines of “You, the true bosses of DC Comics, have made your wishes known loud and clear, and effective with all books shipping in _____, all DC universe titles will resume under their previous continuity and numbering…” But let’s be realistic, how likely is that to happen, even if the reboot is a resounding flop?  And by then, the damage is already done.  If people have left, they probably aren’t coming back.

  65. yyzKyle yyzKyle says:

    I understand the negativity from those that want to see current plot threads continued, like Batman Incorporated. But to average fans who like the characters this is an exciting time. New variations on classic stories/characters means that creators can tell stories that have impact without the retcon backlash.

  66. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Phosphene  The speech bubble thing happens when you copy and paste the name instead of just hitting reply.

  67. Urthona Urthona says:

    My problem is highlighted by Batman Inc. and Zatanna.  Those books are rolling and are now gonna get hit with the one size fits all reboot.

    One other point, I think the success of JMS’s Superman book and his WW reboot, flawed as it was, really made DC think about rebooting the whole thing.  This is great because if it bombs we can blame JMS.

  68. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Urthona  It was actually supposedly the success of Superman: Earth One. The Superman and Wonder Woman stuff was not that successful.

  69. positronic says:

    AAAAAAAAAND… now it appears the dreaded “reboot” isn’t a reboot after all.  At least according to DC’s Bob Wayne.  And as the news begins to trickle out about titles and creative teams, it’s more of a musical chairs remix, rejiggering, some status quo changes, a bunch of costume changes, some old character relauches.  In short, nothing that you wouldn’t see over the course of a few years from DC anyway.  The only difference seems to be that they’re all renumbered #1 and it’s all happening the same month.

    There seems to have been very little changed about the Green Lantern titles beyond the actual titles and the numbering, and shuffling some characters between different books. And they’re adding the previously announced Red Lantern title.

    Batman, Inc, appears to be gone, as is Morrison. But BATMAN and DETECTIVE merely appear to have swapped creative teams, while Finch’s BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT gets a new #1 (think of the first run as a miniseries).  BATMAN AND ROBIN is Bruce and Damian, Bruce appears to be the only Batman now. BATWOMAN appears to be exactly the same book as previously announced.  They’re adding a NEW Batgirl (doesn’t look like Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown, in fact it looks more like Barbara Gordon…) and reviving the NIGHTWING (Dick Grayson) and CATWOMAN series.

    But they sure got people talking by using the dreaded “REBOOT” word, didn’t they?

  70. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @positronic  Give it time. I also think DC made a statement that Reboot was a strong word. 

  71. positronic says:

    And BATMAN INC. is only on hiatus while Morrison “works on other projects” (SUPERMAN – or is it ACTION COMICS? – and the previously-announced MULTIVERSITY?)  Volume 2 of BATMAN INC is a 12-issue series coming in 2012.

    That just leaves RED ROBIN, then.  No word on Tim Drake yet.

  72. IMO it is inconsistent to say “Support Your LCS” and claim that the digital comic price point will somehow lead to the end of the LCS. 

    Those that say comic downloads should be a dollar assume that the cost of paper and printing runs $1.99 or more. That is not true. You need to account for profit margin for the retailer, cost of the writers/artists/colorists, and so forth.  

    The digital price point was set to support the LCS. Price parity allows the LCS to capture the same margin on a title, whether it is sold electronically or via print. It also strengthens Warner Bros’ legal position to go after pirates who post electronic copies of comics for free. The experiences of the Warner Bros film division have taught them the courts are more receptive if they are able to show a direct economic harm. 

  73. MaxD MaxD says:

    @positronic  
    I actually think that it is likey that they will revert back to old continuity in a year, or less, depending on how badly this flops.  They are doing this with Wonder Woman right now.   Her current story was an easy fix.  Currently there are several big DC stories that they are apparently uninterested in continuing.  The swamp thing returning, the Batman business, etc.  DC needs to quit worrying about the event, and start worrying about writing consistently good comics.  Their best titles right now are mostly confined to their b-list heroes (Power Girl, Zatanna, Supergirl, Superboy, Teen Titans, and the bat-books are at least generally interesting).  Write good stories, and give fans good art and the sales will take care of themselves.