iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #220 – Comic Book Reboots

Show Notes

Comics have been rebooted before, and comics will be rebooted again. Which ones made an impact and stuck around? Which were any good?

For that matter, just what is a reboot?

DC has dabbled before, beginning in the ’50’s, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, and more. Marvel made an attempt, but also played it safe, Ultimately.

If you’ve watch our show on the DC Reboot already, here’s a little more. Try and get along, everyone.


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  1. I don’t have audio at work, so I’ll have to watch this later.

    But there is a world of difference between REBOOT and RELAUNCH and I think you comic bloggers got this DC thing all wrong.

    A reboot is a complete RESET.  In all ways, not just the physical comic.  It suggests all-new story, tweaks to canon and origins.  Leave out past events and re-create the entire product all over again.  It might still look exactly like the old product, but its still re-starting from day one.

    A Relaunch is simply starting up a new book.  A new Volume of an ongoing series is a relaunch, and thats all DC is really doing here.

    If Sam Rami did a new Spider-man movie, with most of the same crew, and called it ‘Spider-Man Volume 2 Number 1’, no one would call that a reboot.
    A brand new movie w/ new origins not by Sam Raimi and with all new cast is called a reboot.

    I don’t see any further debate really as far as defining the term ‘reboot’.  Its obvious that everyone agrees w/ the definition I just described or else people would not have been so upset and critical of DC when the words ‘DC Reboot’ come in to play.  If you could go back in time and change every blogpost from ‘DC Reboot’ to ‘DC Relaunch’, you’d see a lot less negativity. 

  2. I don’t know guys.  I have to agree with Josh.  I think you’re makin’ up these “rules” as you go.  A re-boot can be anything a writer wants it to be.  It’s all subjective.  You can throw around terms like “ret-con” all you wan’t, but if they’d called One More Day a re-boot and done the exact same thing I wouldn’t questioned it for a second.  Re-boot, ret con, blah blah blah…  Call it whatever you wan’t.

  3. The other day I realized that four of my five favorite runs in comics were DC books that start with a new #1. Giffen/Demattes Justice League, Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, Keith Giffen’s Legion of Superheroes v3, and Morrison’s JLA. This really is something they’ve been doing for decades.  

  4. Man, I was expecting Josh to starting cutting some throats. Josh is right though, the “it doesn’t matter” thing is utterly stupid.

  5. Don’t you believe that the problem with the reboot not fixing helping a new reader in 8 months or 2 years is fixed by being day-and-date digital? Day-and-date digital also helps a lot with the long form storytelling. If I want to see what happened I am just a few clicks away and not stuck trying to hunt down trades and back issues.

  6. There’s only one way to settle this: Fight Club.

  7. I really wish I had photoshop skills so I could make an “I’m with Steve” banner.

  8. The should have been renumbered episode +1, and Ron should have shaved his head.

  9. This Steve dude is way too argumentative. I hope they roll back this reboot of iFanboy back to the old Josh continuity. 

  10. I could watch you three argue for hours.

  11. I thought reboot is when a story to the main character is altered. like in ultimaqte spiderman man peter’s first love was mary not gwen. gwen dying was a huge event in spiderman’s life. But yet, I’m not good with the reading. I hate going against coner and ron but i think josh is right. please don’t hate me. great show guys

  12. By the definition of reboot provided by Ron and Conor, I’d argue that we haven’t had a legit reboot since Barry’s arrival on the scene (if then).  Josh has a legit point.  The definition of reboot seems looser (more subjective) than Ron and Conor made it out to be.  

    Regardless, if the stories are good you can call it whatever you want and I’ll read it. 

  13. @stuclach  True that.

  14. Why were Josh and Ron sitting on pillows on top of the sofa cushions? Behind the back is common for support, but underneath…that’s just plain awkward.

  15. Good show, I agree with Stuclach and Josh also, its definately subjective

  16. Wow. Why do a show if no one knows what ‘reboot’ means?

  17. @TheNextChampion  Ron and I know.

  18. @conor: Sorry, but that shouting match was not entertaining. Had to turn the video off.

  19. @TheNextChampion  So people can learn what reboot means or so they can debate/discuss it?  I enjoyed the hell out of it.  And it made me stop and consider the term and how it applies to this INCREDIBLY important change at DC.

  20. @stuclach I’m sorry I just thought it was not informative at all, but I’m glad you were able to learn something from it.

  21. @conor  I will cut you.

  22. @TheNextChampion  You should watch the rest of it.  It might give you want you want.

  23. That argument was crazy awesome.

  24. this show made me want to re-watch the hawkman mini-podcast lol

  25. Avatar photo Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I really enjoy discussions about semantics. Language is important! Defining your terms is always a necessary start to these types of conversations. Good work, fellas!

    Oh, and I have to side with Ron and Conor on their definition of reboot. Conor was right to point to John Bryne’s Superman and George Perez’s Wonder Woman as full-on reboots. We’ll see if anything in September will live up to that definition.

    Sidenote: Would you count JLA: Year One as a reboot or a recon? The same goes for Superman: Secret Origin.

  26. I have to agree with Josh.  The notion of simplyfying the way books are done eventually will lead to the reader being less challenged than he/she is now.  It caters to a lazy reader.  Half the fun is learning about a characters backstory and other appearances, by continuously re-starting and eventually re-telling the sazme story the hobby will stagnate.  And Ron is wrong, numbers DO matter.  I would bet that most people on the site can recite a certain book if they were asked “What happened in issue number ### of (any title)”, the numbers do matter because they build up the continuity of story in a serialized format.

  27. @josh  Prag.

  28. @conor  That’s a nice watch.

  29. @josh  Wanna see my tattoos?

  30. I love Josh in this.

  31. ;D I loved the video, and I love the comment banter xD
    @stuclach: Right on! Their debate made me think about it too. Also made me think about which cases I would  felt something closer to my subjective idea of a retcon(and to what degree) or a reboot would have been prefered in the treatment of certain characters. Personally I’ve really enjoyed the recent hawkman stuff I’ve read, though I am aware that there has been a whole lot of mess in his backstory. @TheNextChampion: I don’t wanna tell you what to do… But I will. LIGHTEN UP. Don’t make me link you to Josh’s “negativity is too damn high!” article, because if you force my hand, I will. ;P
    I partly see your point in that you you seem to have been expecting or would have liked an episode of just straight down breakdowns of reboots and ‘compare & contrast’ between marvel/DC maybe?
    But their disscussion illustraits that it isn’t clear cut in that manner, and they do nonetheless cover the ‘compare & contrast’ between the big too and the way they have treated/implimented reboots and how often.

  32. “Tastes Great!/Less Filling!” kinda argument that can only be settled in the THUNDERDOME!

    i think its all very subjective.

  33. @conor  Happy birthday.

  34. IT crowd fan steve?

  35. @Ainslo  Just for you.

  36. @josh  Hold on, let me get my spoon.

  37. @TheNextChampion: I can’t speak for the boys, but they’re not here to teach you anything. I see you complain about this a lot and it’s just silly. This episode was a discussion about comic reboots. This is a comic book discussion website. Not an instructional video. If you learn something from the various discussions that occur here throughout each week, I’m sure the boys would be pleased. If you’re just entertained and it serves as a nice, humrous distraction, also great. If you’re entertained and educated, even better. If you’re neither, well maybe next time.

    The guys have never declared themselves the scholars of all things comics, sent from the gods to teach us all about the wonders of pictures and words. They just like talkin about ’em. This is why we’re all here. To discuss comics in a friendly, respectful, and somewhat exclusive environment. And honestly, if they tried to teach you something each week, they’d fail every time. You already seem to know it all.

  38. If the DC relaunch doesn’t come with a dip in the quality of storytelling, I can’t understand why people would be upset about it. All-Star Superman was amazing, it was deep and it was accessible, I wouldn’t say no to more like that.

  39. Have to side with Josh in this.

    These terms are not set in stone rules. Thats just the comic geeks in each of us wanting to define things.

    The only solid fact is that ReBoot was a fun TV show.

  40. @WheelHands  I’m sorry, but this discussion just turned into a shouting match that was getting more irrating then anything else.

    Having said that I did watch the rest of the video, it did quiet down and got more sensible after the 9min mark. I do have to side with josh when it’s all said and done though. The rules seems very flimsy at best and while I get what conor/ron are saying I just sided with josh a bit more on the subject.

  41. God, it’s like watching my parents fight.

  42. @Conor @Ron The major flaw in your “Amazing Spider-Man did not reboot with ‘One More Day'” argument is that not just one aspect of the character’s past was changed: the unmasking, the web-shooters, the living situation, the return of Harry Osborn. It’s not an all-encompassing reboot, but a reboot nonetheless. Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn being together and having kids is a retcon.

  43. Josh made sense

  44. I have to go with Josh on this too. Reboot and Retcon are pretty modern and still loosely defined ideas. The real trouble is that these two things lie along a continuum and we each have a slightly different idea of where each sits along that continuum. Worse is that the line in between the two is very blurry.

    Part of the problem is that a true reboot almost never happens in any medium and I would argue has never happened at either Marvel or DC. Even Crisis kept more continuity then it left out (ultimately), so was it a reboot or just a massive retcon and status quo change?

    How many sticks do you have on ground to have before they consitute a pile or a heap? How many retcons before it is a reboot? 

  45. Steve is correct.

    Also; I hate Liefeld’s tiny feet people.

  46. It wasn’t till I heard the terms that I got confused.  I remember writing in feeling dumb when I asked if Moore’s Swamp Thing was a retcon or reboot.  It is what it is.

    And I agree with the fellas…  Just because the prequel trilogy sucked, it shouldn’t take away any of the splendor of the original Star WArs trilogy….IV, V, and VI still matter..  (well, VI not so much)

  47. Best quote of the episode: “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with Batman,” by Connor. I was hoping he’d follow that phrase with, “I pity the fools who be sayin’ somethin’ wrong with Batman.”

  48. @Ron & Connor (I give extra N!?  You take extra N!)  I think you guys lost.  The only people agreeing with your “rules” are Mr. first post’s “Everyone agrees with the definition I just described,” and JeffR, but by my experience you can’t trust anything a Jeff says.  You hear that JeffR!?  I’m on to you!

    For some reason Mr. 1st post assuming everyone agreed with him made me picture him as Zach Morris from Saved By The Bell, the rich kid from Mourning Glories, or that smarmy richer kid from the Little Rascals movie in the 90’s with the spaceship looking mini-race car thing.

  49. Re, reboot semantics:

    See, there is a noticeable difference between reboot and retcon. But to Josh’s point, that difference is not measurable. How do you measure “one aspect” and “essence of the character”. Yes, you can tell when it’s one or the other, but you can’t measure it. So it is subjective but there is a difference.

  50. People who argue over the sementics of a creative decision are part of the reason there’s a reboot in the first place.

    *folds arms smugly*

  51. Haven’t watched the episode yet, but reading the comments made me really excited to watch it. I’ll have to remember to do that after work tonight. 

    From the sounds of it though, I think I’ll be agreeing with Josh. While I view a reboot most commonly as a major overhaul of the character’s origin, it’s really subjective as to how much you change in order to consider it “major”. This is a very complicated topic and to try and layout solid definitions of the terms is just crazy. 

    For example, Let’s say that the Superman: Red Son storyline was in continuity. Really the only thing they changed about the character of Superman was that he landed in Soviet Russia. The core of the character was still there but the fact that he was raised Soviet instead of American is pretty major. So would you call that a reboot or a retcon? He’s still the Superman we know and love (same powers, same patriotism, same basic ideals) just with a communist upbringing.  

  52. I think Ron and Conor’s “hard and fast” rules are just made up to cover the 1000s of past issues they are way too emotionally invested in, they won’t admit that but. . . . the past is the past, look towards the light of the future!!!  ha ha!  😉

  53. @LostArtist  Seeing as how Ron and I are big supporters of the DC reboot that makes no sense. It also makes no sense in regards to just about everything I’ve ever said about continuity.

  54. @LostArtist  Actually, the one thing everybody agreed on was that no reboot (no matter how you define it) in any way affects your emotional response to past stories.

  55. uh huh   

  56. Just finished watching this. I stand by my previous comments. I agree with Josh. 

  57. Josh is sooo right!

  58. People agreeing with Josh? This really is a reboot!


  59. Josh deserves something.  Being talked down to for half the episode only to come out on top.  I think this calls for an extra week of vacation days!  Graphicly!  Get on that shit! 

  60. I think part of the reason everyone is having a hard time defining a reboot is because (like the guys point out in the episode) wholesale, back-to-one reboots are kind of rare in comics.

    In TV and movies we’ve got the Nolan Batman films, Battlestar Galactica, the upcoming Spider-man and (maybe) Superman films and maybe even BBC’s Sherlock. These are reboots because they tell stories with preexisting characters without reference to the previous incarnations (fan service in jokes notwithstanding). I guess, as far as Hollywood goes,”reboot” is synonymous with “remake”.

    It’s been a few days since I watched the episode, but I don’t think the Legion of Super-heroes was brought up. Their relaunch after Zero Hour (without renumbering, incidentally) was my first encounter with the word reboot. The Legion might actually be the most rebooted characters in comics.

  61. nice IT crowd reference

  62. That got very ridiculous, very quickly…I’m taking a break at five and half minutes into it, but I have to side with Steve at this point.  

    That said, Just like some people decide their own continuity for long running books(wink, wink, nudge, nudge), I think it only follows that one can decide whether or not something is a ‘true’ re-boot on their own terms as well.

  63. I’m with Ron and Conner on the definitions but I empathize with Josh because I really love long form narrative storytelling. Regardless, I’ll still be buying books as long as they are good and hope DC keeps Vertigo around and launches some new series.

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