Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comics Rapture

Hunker down, this is going to be a long one!

August 31st is the day it all changes. Or was that June 1st?

Anywho, the news has begun to officially trickle out that come September, DC Comics is relaunching 52 of their super hero titles with new number ones. Currently, DC publishes 56 super hero books which includes 20 Flashpoint tie ins, the impetus for this change.

Quickie for Flashpoint: Professor Zoom does something that changes the entire world as we know it! Only Barry Allen (the Silver Age Flash) knows our world existed. When he mentions the Flash or Superman to the other heroes, they have never heard of these people. When he confronts Batman about what's going on, Batman is now Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father? Essentially, it's the DC version of Age of Apocalypse, a Marvel Comics X-Men storyline from the late 90’s. And I'm quite alright with that.

Once this storyline is said and done on August 31st, the DC Universe will change as we know it forever! People are going to be younger! Men will have collars and women will have pants! The comic book reading world will be in an uproar! For a variety of reasons:

- By restarting everything, all my old comics mean nothing! Such a silly statement. My comics mean a lot to me, especially the good ones. If I read an out of continuity story like Thor: the Mighty Avenger, does that make it any less valuable than his in continuity appearances in Avengers? If it stinks it does! Is there a chance that some of these relaunches could stink? Certainly. That will have no bearing on the past stories I have read.

- Renumbering everything from one is a cheap stunt! Everything in comics is a cheap stunt and has been since the mid-80's. In this day and age, just having a great story is not enough. If it was, Secret Six would sell over 100,000 issue a month. Renumbering happens quite a bit with all companies and, as sad as it is, a number one issue sells better than a number twenty-one. The true test will be how the following issues sell and if they just go back to the old numbering in four months, a year or whenever. You ask me, do away with issue numbers all together, just include a cover date and the storyline title on the cover and call it a day.

- Digital comics will kill the Local Comic Book Shops! Another part of this big relaunch by DC is going "day and date" will all these books as well. That means, the same day you can purchase Justice League #1 in your local comic shop, you can also purchase it online through comixology, iTunes, or however people get comics online. While this is a huge move, the easier it is for people to get the most of your product is a no-brainer, but the death of the brick and mortar stores? Probably not in my lifetime.

I freely admit I am a DC apologist (but not a Marvel hater) and when it boils down to it, I follow a creator more than a character in most cases than not. However, every form of entertainment is constantly changing, for better or for worse. At this point, it seems the majority of people are already calling for impending doom. This is before we've even read one since issue from the relaunch and only seen one fifth of the creative teams.

This move by DC is very. very risky. The pay off could be huge. Or it could be a monumental failure. I highly doubt any critic, pundit, expert or otherwise can say as of this point, it's just too soon to tell. My feeling on this is their will be no middle ground, this is the definition of "all in" by DC.

As of June 14th, we will know the creative teams on all fifty-two new books. Eleven have already been announced, many other are purely speculation at this point. Once all are announced, I will have another blog entry with my thoughts.

I'm hoping on the side of success.

Or at the very least awesome stories.

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