Off My Mind: Should DC Have Taken Bigger Risks With 'The New 52'?

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Posted by G-Man (30676 posts) - - Show Bio

We are now three months into DC Comic's 'The New 52.' It's hard to believe that just a few months ago we were all sitting around waiting to see what was going to happen. There was excitement along with plenty of fear and trepidation. DC's idea was to make things fresh and to bring in new readers. These were things the comic industry did indeed need.

For long time readers, many felt they were being alienated. We had given years of commitment and knew the characters inside and out. Many of the stories we loved were going to go away and some of the characters bore little resemblance to the heroes we followed.

What we ended up with a mix of old and new. Some characters reverted to their original roots, some have gone through some big changes and others haven't changed a bit. If the idea was for DC to really shake things up, should they have taken bigger risks with their characters?

== TEASER ==

Since the relaunch, it's been Starfire's portrayal in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS that has been the center of some controversy. Long time readers have expressed their outrage towards writer Scott Lobdell's first issue. Starfire has a new attitude and many were offended at her casual views on certain...intimate matters. Starfire has never been an extremely bashful individual but her bold statement and acts, along with conversation with Roy Harper enough to get people talking.

It's possible there may be more to the story of Starfire than we've been allowed to see in the first couple issues. The fact that a bold move was made is something to think about. Lobdell took a risk and isn't that what 'The New 52' was supposed to be about? We don't necessarily need all comics to go straight for sexual content but it was an unexpected scene.

Many characters haven't gone through any changes. Looking at BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN and some others, the books pick up pretty much where they left off before 'The New 52.' For long time readers, that's a good thing. But the point of this was to make things stand out in order to bring in new readers.

As much as comic book readers have been enjoying the stories, clearly they weren't enough. Prior to 'The New 52,' sales were in a slump. Something needed to be done to entice new readership.

That's where the double edge sword comes in. DC could have given a mandate and told everyone to shake things up to the core. For some of the characters, we're seeing them for the first time once again. There is some excitement in that. We're familiar with the characters but we don't know what might happen next.

If we believe everything we know about the characters is safe, there's no need to be concerned. Readers could even step away from a title for a period and come back, believing nothing truly major would happen.

We have seen some bold moves besides Starfire's new attitude. Barbara Gordon can walk once again and we still don't really know how. Wonder Woman now has a father. The relationships/marriages between Clark Kent and Lois Lane as well as Barry Allen and Iris West have been wiped out. Were these moves enough for the new readers to get excited about comics?

Change for change's sake isn't always a good thing. Other drastic differences could have been made. I recently talked to someone who suggest Guy Gardner should have been reverted to a teenager. Imagine a teenage Green Lantern Guy possessing one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. Long time readers would hate that but there would be new and different stories that could be told.

Bold and risky or just awkward?

Don't get me wrong. I am not advocating that every character should have been flipped upside down. It's no secret I am enjoying books like BATMAN, ANIMAL MAN, GREEN LANTERN and so on. These books, and others, haven't necessarily completely re-written who the characters are. We're just getting some really kick-ass stories out of those writers. But we have had kick-ass stories many times in the past. They never were enough to fully rejuvenate the industry and bring in hordes of new readers.

It was the introduction of the black symbiote suit for Spider-Man that caused me to start reading comics. Making the news was a great way to get me to find a comic shop and find out what was going on. I'm even willing to admit that I enjoyed Rick Remender's FrankenCastle storyline because I knew things would go back to normal. I enjoyed the story and appreciated the risk he was willing to take.

Big changes can attract new readers. They just have to be well-written so long time readers don't get angry.

With comic books, even the biggest changes can be reverted. This is why the time is perfect for taking risks. We may not like change but sometimes it can be for the better. How many people thought Dick Grayson replacing Batman could turn out as awesome as it did? If a big change was made and it failed, there's always a loop hole in comic book logic.

Let's hope writers will continue to push themselves as they currently are and make this an exciting time to be reading comics.

Staff
#1 Posted by TheMinister707 (103 posts) - - Show Bio

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

#2 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree, its a perfect time for writers to be pushing the envelope right now and trying to bring on creative changes. I'm always willing to look to new horizons when reading a new direction in a comic book and New 52 has definitely done so thus far with its titles (especially the ones I get). Frankly I don't understand all the anger toward Starfire in Lobdell's Red Hood/Outlaws series. She's always been oversexualized to me so for something like this to happen...water off a duck's @$$ to me. Same with Bats and Catwoman and the oversexualized content in the latter's title. Big deal. I guess to a point you can say I'm a little upset that a "One More Day" was pulled on Lois and Clark's and Iris and Barry's marriages, but who's to say they won't get together in the future? Hell, at this point I say all we have to do is be patient and perhaps a lot of the status quo will be maintained once more if that's what us, the fans, want. Bring on change, and remember people, if these bigger risks are not what you want...try this novel idea...DON'T PURCHASE THE COMIC! Simple as that.

#3 Posted by Grim (2079 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

This. The new 52 are epic in some places, and horrible in others. But the thing that will never make me a major fan is that they just tossed out stories that readers have been waiting years to come to fruition.

my not so common problem is that ALL of my faves are second/ third generation characters. Its apparent to me that they set Tim Drake back several steps just by making him that 2 or 3 years younger. This Superboy will never be the great leather jacket wearing clone he once was. And all the relationships they were developing, and the hints to the future that were dropped... gone.

Relationships that people loved can never be the same again (Nightwing and all of his lady loves are a prime example) because there is no longer any room for some of their more prominent relationship building moments to have happened.

idk. I love Superman now (i used to hate his guts) and Aquaman is top of the line. But i feel like this indeed could have been done with an All-Star Universe, or even in the old continuity (i dont see why Aquman wouldn't have worked back then). I feel like thise wholle reboot is so DC can get edgier. More sex. More gore. More current. And its working for now. but i just feel like this could have been done in a more tactful manner than just restarting everything.

#4 Posted by trinity_stormbreaker (29 posts) - - Show Bio

One thing I didn't understand when I first started reading comics and stopped reading novels was ... how come fans have so much control over these stories and characters? All the whinging and complaining about Stepanie Brown being killed off just as she became Robin; about Wonder Woman's new costume a year or so ago; about Dick Grayson becoming Batman (even Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl again would be a good example). I've lived my life reading novels with stories that I have no control over. It's not like I can write to Stephanie Meyer and say "I don't like the way you portrayed Edward here, it needs to change or I won't buy your work". Becoming a fan of this industry and its characters, I've kind of tried to get used to it, but it's still a bit weird to me (three quarters of my life reading novels where what happens is what happens, no matter what I have to say). But at this point I'm just happy to hear that these companies main goal is to create fantastic stories, and that's what I'm going to look forward to.

#5 Edited by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

^This! A thousand times, this!!! >__<

I miss Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol, and Secret Six, a Stephanie Brown's Batgirl title, and...and...and..

#6 Posted by xkoenig (393 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say they have been about as brave as they could have been without going into total fan outrage territory. I mean, almost all the characters have essentially been rebooted and continuity is straight out the window. That's pretty brave right there! They have been able to get away with this for the minor characters and even Superman, but I think Superman stories had been struggling for a while to get anywhere decent so that was not too surprising. But to be more daring than this they would have had to wipe the Green Lantern stories and Batman too, and having only just done a massive Blackest Night/Brightest Day event that probably would have been a bridge too far.

#7 Posted by lorex (949 posts) - - Show Bio

The continuity that DC said they would be leaving behind in order to free up the creative opportunities and allow new readers to jump on. Well some new readers may have jumped on but most characters seemed to be confined to their pre relaunch boundaries. So now Wonder Woman has a father big deal, it dosent change much really except maybe put her on a more equal footing with other gods. Batman and Catwoman had sex, big deal not like that has not happened before. Starfire is a free agent comfortable playing the field without human moral or relationship baggage slowing her down. Not really that much of a change. I really did not like thet they threw away the recient Supergirl introduction story. Clark and Lois are not together, meh. Perhaps the writers will take a new stab at the nerd winning the overachieving hot babe. For me the setting and characters are still the same and the personalities have been tweaked slightly but not really changed. Wonder how long till the next "Blackest Crisis on Infinite Brightest Days" or something like that.

#8 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3549 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it all is summed up by what was DC's goal. Was it to get people talking or get more people to buy? You can do some pretty controversial things to get people to talk, but that hardly means they'll buy. Go too far out, and you're likely to offend more than you bring in.

If the stated goal is to get more new readers. New readers are almost exclusively younger readers. You kind of shoot yourself in the foot by making the content of the stories more mature. Babs posted something of Twitter that was hilarious and so true. It talks about how Teen Titans had millions of viewers, but comics a few thousands. The punch line was "DC, Bad with Math".

I'm not following this new Batgirl, I remember that as Oracle, Barbra stepped out from being just another member of the Bat Family, and she was a power broker as leader of the Bird of Prey. In this reboot, she's lost a lot of that power she once had and is starting from scratch again.

@Eyz said:

^This! A thousand times, this!!! >__<

I miss Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol, and Secret Six, a Stephanie Brown's Batgirl title, and...and...and..

And a series where Cassandra Cain actually appears with some frequency. For some reason, that has been asking too much of DC.

#9 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

@trinity_stormbreaker said:

One thing I didn't understand when I first started reading comics and stopped reading novels was ... how come fans have so much control over these stories and characters? All the whinging and complaining about Stepanie Brown being killed off just as she became Robin; about Wonder Woman's new costume a year or so ago; about Dick Grayson becoming Batman (even Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl again would be a good example). I've lived my life reading novels with stories that I have no control over. It's not like I can write to Stephanie Meyer and say "I don't like the way you portrayed Edward here, it needs to change or I won't buy your work". Becoming a fan of this industry and its characters, I've kind of tried to get used to it, but it's still a bit weird to me (three quarters of my life reading novels where what happens is what happens, no matter what I have to say). But at this point I'm just happy to hear that these companies main goal is to create fantastic stories, and that's what I'm going to look forward to.

From all different mediums of entertainment (video games, movies, theater, music, tv, comics, books..), comic books in general have always been the closest to fans. I mean you can cry at Michael Bay all you want, chances are he, his producers and his writers won't even care about your opinions.

It's maybe because comics don't make as much money at the end of the day, so they need this proximity to their audience. Also the various festival and conventions (be it in the US, or in Europe for bande dessinées or in Japan with mangas, etc..) always helped build this bridge between creative teams and fans...joining the other side is always a possiblity, on both sides. More so than for Hollywood movies for examplle.

And finally from their newstands days to their current webcomics genre, comic books have always been more "rural" if you get the idea I mean. They're not something only people equipped with a TV can enjoy (well, "back then", these days people always get 2-3 tvs in their home...), or that you have to get out and spend over 10-20 bucks for like movies, or that you even need to know how to read actually! Kids can enjoy comics as they learn to read, you can subscribe to have them directly send you home, and pay them pretty cheap per issue. (even with the increases, it's still less than a TV Show's episode on itunes, but a bit more than a song nonetheless!)

For all these reason, it's easily influenced by the customer/audience's reactions, choices and inputs. From Jason Todd!Robin's death in the 80s to the direction plots can take currently. After all, we buy a series, they continue to publish it or even expand it. (Green Lantern had only 1 on-going 10 years ago, there's currently 4 GL related series out!)

#10 Posted by ComicMan24 (147042 posts) - - Show Bio

@Grim said:

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

This. The new 52 are epic in some places, and horrible in others. But the thing that will never make me a major fan is that they just tossed out stories that readers have been waiting years to come to fruition.

my not so common problem is that ALL of my faves are second/ third generation characters. Its apparent to me that they set Tim Drake back several steps just by making him that 2 or 3 years younger. This Superboy will never be the great leather jacket wearing clone he once was. And all the relationships they were developing, and the hints to the future that were dropped... gone.

Relationships that people loved can never be the same again (Nightwing and all of his lady loves are a prime example) because there is no longer any room for some of their more prominent relationship building moments to have happened.

idk. I love Superman now (i used to hate his guts) and Aquaman is top of the line. But i feel like this indeed could have been done with an All-Star Universe, or even in the old continuity (i dont see why Aquman wouldn't have worked back then). I feel like thise wholle reboot is so DC can get edgier. More sex. More gore. More current. And its working for now. but i just feel like this could have been done in a more tactful manner than just restarting everything.

I have to agree with this.

Online
#11 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3549 posts) - - Show Bio

@Grim:

That's been one of my biggest complaints against comics. They will build up to something and get you excited for how this may effect something in the future, but it just gets either dropped or forgotten. It wasn't that it was a bad pay off. There's none.

I remember when I read X-Men Manifest Destiny. I was really excited at the end of Iceman and Mystique's story. It really hinted at something for Mystique in the future and she went missing in the comics for several months. Well, she reappears in X-Men Utopia with not even a comment to what they promised when she disappeared. All my months of anticipation deflated in an instant.

In the case of breaking up the marriage of Lois and Clark. They broke them up just so they can put them back together again. Wiping out the most iconic marriage in comics just so you can end up where you started, Now the biggest comic marriage is Reed and Susan Richards. The husband is a workaholic, and the wife keeps flirting with a fish.

I just find the idea that DC is desperately trying to be darker and edgier is the wrong way to go. Doesn't anyone remember that this is what Image Comics was all about. Making darker and more brooding versions of heroes. It was big for the time, but where are a lot of those books and characters now? Currently merged with DC.

#12 Posted by batflasharrow96 (445 posts) - - Show Bio

It was a good and successful business risk but an extremely disrespectful move. If they want to make things accessible they don't have to retcon all over the place. They just need good talent. It's just lazy if you retcon stuff.

#13 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

The New 52 is an improvement but I still wish they had just restarted everything from the begining, a fresh new start for all the characters. Or they could have gone with the Ultimate DC universe like others have been saying, Superman: Earth One would have been a perfect starting point.

#14 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that in some places they changed too much and others they should've changed a little more. The biggest issues i've had with the new 52 are the lack of consistency across the board. I also think that they really didn't do a good job of writing the books to appeal to a wider audience in a lot of cases. While every book i read was an easy jumping on point, i think there are just too many adult themes. I wouldn't let my brother read a lot of these books. WAY too many characters had sex in their first issues. And way too much violent imagery in the Batman books, i'm not against violent Batman but Batman is their most marketable character and kids are going to want to read a Batman book. I think cutting off the JOker's face is a little too grotesque.

The new 52 should've made some of the books a little more kid friendly. Kids can totally handle some adult themes but only to a certain degree. AND teen titans? they had the Teen Titans show AND they have the young justice show. TV audiences vastly outnumber comic book audiences. Why are you alienating these people?

#15 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

@FoxxFireArt said:

And a series where Cassandra Cain actually appears with some frequency. For some reason, that has been asking too much of DC.

That's why Gates of Gotham should have been an on-going series instead of the 3-4 Bruce Wayne centric Bat-books...

#16 Posted by DerBonk (23 posts) - - Show Bio

As someone who has not read a lot of super hero books and had a more casual (trades only) interest in comics, I may be in a bad position to understand the sentiments expressed by Grim and a good number of other commenters, but just from my perspective, the reboot has been a huge success for DC. I have never read comic books monthly. I only own issues for one series (Astro City) that I really, really, really like (and own issues because of the covers) and now I'm subscribing to three (I, Vampire, Swamp Thing, Animal Man) titles and would jump on more if I had more money right now.

The thing that drew me in was precisely that the comics were more mature. More interesting characters and stories. I had read GL:Secret Origin and Sinestro Corp War previously and those three trades convinced me that super hero books are just not for me. I found them shallow, predictable and plain boring (though gorgeous to look at!). So, here comes the problem: I still won't read Green Lantern or Batman or Superman monthly. But, I am now interested in the older Animal Man and Swamp Thing stories. And on top of that I will probably read some of the stupid fun super hero books one month late digitally (Demon Knights, Suicide Squad).

Fact is: I wasn't too deep into comics (certainly not current titles) and the new 52 have thrown me down the deep. I am not a "young reader." I haven't grown up reading super hero books (just Disney and Asterix). At least for me, DC's strategy has worked. Even though I admit that I am certainly drawn to what I expected to like, the more "vertigo-esque" titles.

#17 Posted by SC (12724 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually what Lobdell did was the furtherest thing from a risk. Starfire's attitude is not bold. Lobdell was hired because he sells and what sells in the past is safe. Reliable. The opposite of risk and bold. This type of book creatively is sold as safe. Lobdell is a comic fans writer - I say this having owned all his Marvel work. Causing controversy doesn't equate to risk taking. Sometimes being polarizing can be risky though sure. Different things. Bold and risky is trying to invite new fans in and getting them to stay with things that only comics can offer and other mediums can't. 

Moderator
#18 Posted by GothamRed (2562 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't know, I think the only risk DC should take should be to make a book featuring all of the titan's members and allies that they just seem to be ignoring for the time being. Donna Troy, Wally West, Raven, Cassandra Cain, Beast Boy, etc., maybe make it as a new doom patrol or outsiders book.

Also the reintroduction of Earth-2 was too much of a risk, it's just going to confuse new readers and makes old one's mad that their favorite characters can't interact anymore.

Those are just my thoughts though.

#19 Posted by weaponmaster (1412 posts) - - Show Bio

The softcore porn was utterly pathetic. I actually felt a twinge of pity for DC and the writer and artist.

#20 Posted by MetropolisKid41 (515 posts) - - Show Bio

I think its obviously paid off for them, I was intially very upset when the relaunch was announced, as a big Superman fan I was really looking forward to Action Comics #1000. It also made me feel cheated or like I wasted my time tracking down and collecting every Superman/Adventures of Superman/Action Comics/Superman: Man of Steel issue released since Crisis on Infinite Earths. But I have to save I am very pleased with the result. I have loved Morrrison's take on Action COmics, I really think he gets Superman, as evident in the success of All-Star Superman. In the past I've consistetly had 10-15 DC monthly titles on my pull list. Now after the relaunch I have 29 titles. I tested a lot of the other DC #1 books and freakin loved them. I have always been more of a traditional Superhero book type of reader, with really my only venture into the darker comics being Ghost Rider and Spawn. That is no longer the case, I have loved the darker/horror comics and they are now mainstays on my pull list and some of my favorites. Without the relaunch I probably never would have tried out an Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I Vampire, or Resurrection Man book. Now I will keep them on my pull list for a long time to come. DC intended to bring in new readers, which seems has worked, and a long time reader to double the books they buy in a month. I'd say what they did, whether you feel was risky enough or not, panned out so far!

#21 Posted by snowtires (28 posts) - - Show Bio

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that the only reason they did ANY of this was because of the ongoing court battle they've been in with Siegel and Shuster's heirs, over Superman's costume. DC owned the character, the creators' families owned the costume. Now DC owns both and has to pay Siegel and Shuster's families nothing.

#22 Posted by Outside_85 (8179 posts) - - Show Bio

When I read the premise for the new 52, I knew I was going to be upset about it; "The more you sell, the less we change."
Partially I didn't like that statement because I've seen in TT what a 'revolving-door creative team' can do to the book, secondly because I see DC having a boatload of hit or miss writers (Judd for example receives major slamming on forums for some of his book (Titans as one) and high praise for others (JLI)) and 2-4 guaranteed sellers (some who sells on name alone even if the story is boring), and getting the right writer for the right title is like winning the lottery. So with the premise in place, I knew before hand that John's stuff and Batman would most likely not see any change at all while everyone else got the full-body makeover, making me call it the Geoffconning on a universal scale.
 
So since you ask about if DC should have taken bigger risks, then I would say; they hardly take any risks at all, because Batman and GL remain untouched. They take some creative risks by tinkering with the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman, just with the costumes and tweaks to origins. They don't really risk anything by erasing Barry's marriage, uninitiated readers will be wondering more about why the Flash is not called Wally West than bemoan the loss of a marriage that they've never hear of (they take a bigger risk by not featuring Wally anywhere). As for changes like Starfire's...well that comic strip someone made over the changes pretty much says it all, name and appearance is there, everything else is gone meaning its most likely people who have no knowledge of the character, at all, who will favour it.
 
What DC has done right however is to actually take a chance and market their products to an audience outside of the existing comic crowd, and they should have done this ages ago, could have saved the reboot for another time.
I heard someone say that comics were not geared market wise for bringing in new audiences. Printed commercials were almost exclusively found in other comic books, printed comics aren't easy to get to because they are sold from stores that specialise in selling them instead of say a supermarket, and the store themselves might not exactly be new reader friendly because of personal opinions. 
Also its a lie that DC has convoluted history that will take hours of reading to get into as a newbie; just pick up a book you think looks interesting then start from there, chances are the editors will be kind enough to let you know if you need more info about anything. And there's the internet for things like this. (First time I got into comics, I was picking up Spiderman, and I picked up the issue where Ben and Pete did DNA tests to find out who was the clone, sure that confused me, but two issues in I had a grasp on what was going on)

#23 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

OH MY LOOK, HE MADE THE FEMALE SUPERHERO INTO A WALKING, TALKING MALE SEX FANTASY! WHAT A BRAVE RISK TO TAKE IN THE AMERICAN COMIC BOOK MARKET!

Please.

#24 Posted by greencrapweasel (137 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally, it'd really depend. As it is, I feel some big risks/changes themself have been made that i don't like, but that doesn't mean that there may be some other risks they could do to make things worse. That does sound a little harsh, but that's only because i'm still a little shook up about Wally and am trying to think of some way for him to still be brought into the series which honestly wouldn't be too difficult. Also am still upset that Beast Boy and Raven don't have their own specifically settled place nor do I know if in the new 52 if they are still somewhat of an item or not. On top of it all Beast Boy has been my favorite superhero and yet right now he's basically hardly even acknowledged in 52, so I'm getting anxious for him to be back in some type of focus again. The only actual risk i have heard about and don't really like is that supposedly they already killed off the joker.....everything else i don't think is too bad yet.

#25 Posted by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

It's safe to say that the New 52 was a success, even if sales taper off eventually, look at how everyone is talking about it. Everyone knew, fans and otherwise (with the tv ads). To entice the new readers, DC had to make changes, or else the whole thing would have been pointless. Things that people are mad about like Starfire (I have no idea why) and Batgirl walking still have time to be explained, it has only been three months. I think they did a good job and should keep it up. A lot of these titles aren't going anywhere so we just need to hang on for the ride.

#26 Posted by xkoenig (393 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

OH MY LOOK, HE MADE THE FEMALE SUPERHERO INTO A WALKING, TALKING MALE SEX FANTASY! WHAT A BRAVE RISK TO TAKE IN THE AMERICAN COMIC BOOK MARKET!

Please.

That's not the point of the article.

#27 Posted by Xenozoic Shaman (410 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been giving their new 52 a shot, but to be honest I'm feeling less and less inclined to continue with them, and have already cancelled some of their titles. The reason? I'm given a familiar set of characters, but I don't know where I stand with them. What history is still factual and what is not? They don't feel like the "people" I once knew. I spent all this time and money learning about a universe, becoming enamored with it, only to have much of it ripped away from me. I don't mind that they've changed things, but the problem is that I'm not yet aware of what has all changed. There's this huge cloud of uncertainty, and that might be exciting in some ways, but I'm starting to feel like I wasted my time. Given a year or so, I'm sure that it may feel more stable, but for now, I'm going to have to pass.

Before the "New 52", my "pull list" had slowly become skewed, becoming a nearly DC-only list. Now, I'm shocked to see it changing to a more pro-Marvel one, and how I'm picking up older DC issues rather than the new.

To the comments that say "Don't purchase the comic", I counter with "Purchase the comic" to show that you like it, but also tell us why you did. You sometimes make it sound like you're using the "Don't purchase" comment as a way of telling people to not comment here in ways that you're tired of hearing. People should be voting with both their money and their "voices"; it increases the odds of them being heard. You should be voting that way too.

#28 Posted by NyxEquitis (401 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

Amazing idea, this is exactly what should have happened instead of this egregiousness.

#29 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course most of the people that comment are the unhappy ones.

#30 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@xkoenig said:

@fodigg said:

OH MY LOOK, HE MADE THE FEMALE SUPERHERO INTO A WALKING, TALKING MALE SEX FANTASY! WHAT A BRAVE RISK TO TAKE IN THE AMERICAN COMIC BOOK MARKET!

Please.

That's not the point of the article.

Not it's thesis, no, but if the first example of a "good risk" is that, then I'm going to comment on it.

#31 Posted by Green ankh (998 posts) - - Show Bio

the new 52 worked on me. I am a 25 year collecter and reader. Batman and GL people still have interest in so there was no NEED for a new look. I was at first going to just toss up my hands and stop DC. But with OMAC and the Blackhawks on the table i was interested. Turns out those two books are the first i tossed aside. Aquaman and Batweoman have been blowing me away and i have really been enjoying Men of War. The Dark Knight and Green LAntern have been a suprise for me aswell. I have been so exited that it has carried over to my Marvel pulls as well. Before the 52 I only read Moon Knight and Punishermax. I have since gotten into DD and Cap.

#32 Posted by Nasar7 (157 posts) - - Show Bio

I was very skeptical of the New 52 before launch but I think it's been mostly a huge success. Batman and Green Lantern are still awesome, Superman has the book he deserves in Action Comics, Aquaman is cool again, Wonder Woman is badass. Got me reading Animal Man and Swamp Thing which I would have scoffed at pre-52. Voodoo and Justice League Dark are terrific and inject a sort of Vertigo flavor into the DCU. Just great stuff all around. There are some bad apples but I just don't buy those, simple as that. I was already a bigger DC/Vertigo guy but now my list is really mostly DC with a couple Marvel/Dynamite.

#33 Posted by ltbrd (561 posts) - - Show Bio

I've seen almost nothing about these titles that would give me as a new reader a sense of explanation and even as a long time reader the confusion is present. It's not all bad but they could have done a few things differently for new and old readers alike.

1) Put out a ton of Issue #0. Honestly I thought this worked very well after Zero Hour and a few of the other milestone/continuity change events and why they didn't do it now I don't understand. Even if the issue was just a timeline of what has occurred in these characters history would have been nice. It wouldn't have to be that detailed. Don't need to ruin the current Action Comics arc or anything. Just tell me Clark showed up in Metropolis at some date and then tell me something else happened a bit later and so on. Leave Action Comics to fill in the gaps. Something like this would be even more important for characters like Batman and Green Lantern to know exactly what is still around.

2) 5 years is not enough time to acknowledge everything that could have happened to these characters and should have been expanded to 10 years. For a character like Batman this makes a lot more sense. He would have been solo for about a year or so then met Dick. Dick would have become Robin after about a year plus of training and stayed as Robin for 3 years. That get's us up to the 5 year point and Dick leaves to become Nightwing. Jason comes along shortly after but in the 7th year dies at the hands of the Joker. By the 8th year Tim is starting his training and remains as Robin until year 10 and the current issues are beginning just slightly after that point. There, now everything feels like it could have legitimately happened. Plus the older characters wouldn't be that old. Clark, Bruce, Wonder Woman and the other adult heroes would only be around 35-37 years old. Not a bad age for them. Characters like Dick would be about 25-ish with Tim's Teen Titans being 17-19.

3) Get rid of some fan service. For starters, no Jason Todd. Sorry for those that like him (I don't) but if we're trying to simplify things he should have died and stayed dead. Same for Stephanie Brown for her brief stint as Robin. Keep Barbara Gordon as Oracle because none of the new readers even know who Batgirl and if they do they don't necessarily know it used to be Barbara Gordon. So there was no reason to move her out of the Oracle role that long time readers know. Rename Batwing......I mean really they named a character after a plane, they couldn't come up with anything better........because you can still have Batman, Inc without everyone being called Bat-something. Why not go for a name that invokes the African setting the character is in?

I've got some other stuff but those are my 3 biggest complaints with this new direction. Not that I don't like a number of the titles, but the overall approach was not done well.

#34 Posted by Owie (3625 posts) - - Show Bio

It's so nice when other people just say what you were going to say:

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

@FoxxFireArt said:

If the stated goal is to get more new readers. New readers are almost exclusively younger readers. You kind of shoot yourself in the foot by making the content of the stories more mature. Babs posted something of Twitter that was hilarious and so true. It talks about how Teen Titans had millions of viewers, but comics a few thousands. The punch line was "DC, Bad with Math".

@Mbecks14 said:

The new 52 should've made some of the books a little more kid friendly. Kids can totally handle some adult themes but only to a certain degree. AND teen titans? they had the Teen Titans show AND they have the young justice show. TV audiences vastly outnumber comic book audiences. Why are you alienating these people?

@ltbrd said:

I've seen almost nothing about these titles that would give me as a new reader a sense of explanation and even as a long time reader the confusion is present. It's not all bad but they could have done a few things differently for new and old readers alike.

I especially agree with this--their point was supposedly to make it easier to understand without all the baggage of continuity, but I don't think they're that much easier to understand. Which makes me see the whole thing as more of a gimmick than a real move towards simplicity and brave new storytelling.

Although I do generally feel like they went too deep into adult territory if their stated goal was to get new readers, which I think are young reader, I can sympathize with this:

@DerBonk said:

Fact is: I wasn't too deep into comics (certainly not current titles) and the new 52 have thrown me down the deep. I am not a "young reader." I haven't grown up reading super hero books (just Disney and Asterix). At least for me, DC's strategy has worked. Even though I admit that I am certainly drawn to what I expected to like, the more "vertigo-esque" titles.

I think they should have adult comics. It's just that when you have iconic characters like Wonder Woman, etc. that kids have always heard of, and that would be prime bait for getting new young girls to read, for instance, then it seems counter-productive to make the main female comic feature semi-nudity right off the bat. I happen to really like the new Wonder Woman, but it seems like a strange strategy.

#35 Posted by GarryDH (6 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm one of the people they hoped to win back, and it worked. I hadn't read comics since the late 90s and the New 52 (along with me starting to follow Comicvine!) came at the perfect time for me. And the promise of the New 52 was very tempting to me, no need to read up on years of established canon, just jump right in.

But when the issues started coming out I realised that it wasn't going to be that way. Some books were new reader friendly while others were not. And when I was confused and wanted to learn more I didn't know what to do since there didn't seem to be any point reading up on canon that might or might not have been wiped out. And of course what little I did remember didn't seem to count anymore either.

In the end I just forgot the whole New 52 thing and stuck to my tried and tested methods. I'll try out anything that looks interesting and if the books are good I'll keep reading them. So while the New 52 as an event probably met one of its goals in getting me back into comics I'm not sure it was executed as well as it could have been.

#36 Edited by The Impersonator (5075 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

I gotta admit he's right. I do love the idea of the new 52. But they should have made it separately as a different universe much like the Ultimate Marvel. I don't understand why DC hadn't taken that route. It would have been much easier for old readers not to be confused with altered characters and stories. And it would have been nice for the new readers to follow.

#37 Posted by GLforHIRE (453 posts) - - Show Bio

my question is when are we going to see other people? like wasn't Milestone and the Wildc.a.t.s bought by DC? so wheres ICON? HARDWARE? SPARTAN? etc...i've only seen grifted and voodoo

#38 Posted by DerBonk (23 posts) - - Show Bio

@Owie said

I think they should have adult comics. It's just that when you have iconic characters like Wonder Woman, etc. that kids have always heard of, and that would be prime bait for getting new young girls to read, for instance, then it seems counter-productive to make the main female comic feature semi-nudity right off the bat. I happen to really like the new Wonder Woman, but it seems like a strange strategy.

Oh, sure, I get that. But why should the main DC line be for kids? As a new reader I would have found the whole "Ultimate DC" idea terribly off-putting and confusing (just like I do with Marvel; MAX, Ultimate, Uncanny... I have no clue what these titles mean, where to start, how they relate to each other etc.). Worst case it would have turned me away from even trying the new line and best case I'd be worried that I'd miss stuff if I only read Ultimate books. So, why not introduce a whole new line of books for younger readers and keep the main DC line as is? I fear that one of the problems simply is that young kids (esp. teenagers) simply are not all that much into comics these days (just my German perspective here). But aside from that, if younger readers really are the main source of new readers, why not make a dedicated line for them? It's way easier to differentiate Young DC from regular DC (parents would appreciate that) and you could try and grab new readers young and old.

#39 Posted by nyx (114 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to say, I am one of those people who have a beef with Starfire and Catwoman. For Catwoman, I think the huge appeal with the Cat/Bat relationship if the fact that it never comes to full tuition, there's always that final step they never seem to take. Do they shag? Sure. But half the fun is what you don't see happen. Do reader's need a snap shot of a superhero porno to tell them, 'HEY, THEY'RE HAVING SEEEEEEEEEX!' I think it's an insult to our intelligence; we have an imagination, we don't need it spelled out for us with some mid-coitious O face (we already have Greg Land for that cheap porno pose, PS that also applies to Starfire).

In regards to Starfire, Laura Hudson pretty much nailed it in her blog, "The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their 'Liberated Sexuality'"

#40 Edited by SirSparkington (342 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think whether the changes warranted a relaunch are even important at this point. As much as we love the characters this was a business move all the way and for better or worse (character wise), this relaunch has been a success for DC.

#41 Posted by Nasar7 (157 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Impersonator said:

@TheMinister707 said:

I really wish that they had just started an Ultimate DC comics line of books, I mean, they kinda have already with "Superman: Earth One" but they could be doing so much more with a grittier DC universe w/o disrupting current continuities.

I gotta admit he's right. I do love the idea of the new 52. But they should have made it separately as a different universe much like the Ultimate Marvel. I don't understand why DC hadn't taken that route. It would have been much easier for old readers not to be confused with altered characters and stories. And it would have been nice for the new readers to follow.

I like the current approach, it unifies DC's philosophy at the company level. If they launched an 'ultimate' line, they would have to either make a lot of new hires or spread their resources, both financially and creatively, pretty thin. Here they are making a statement that, love it or hate it, this is the new DC.

#42 Posted by LordRequiem (1309 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked Dick as Batman, but I like the Nightwing costume more, in that sense I'm pleased he's gone back. As for Green Lantern I'd like to see Hal not drop off the radar completely instead they should've made him join some other Lantern corps. I think G-man suggested a new colour, that would be pushing envelope.

#43 Edited by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice article, Tony.

In my opinion, DC dropped the ball with the relaunch. I'll just get that right out there before I say anything else. My justification for saying this is that they had an opportunity to (1) really floor long-time readers and re-energize the core of the DCU and (2) bring in a new fold of readership. The fact that they didn't really succeed with number (2) isn't really their fault -- comic books are a dying medium, no matter what -- although, I do think the top guys over at DC foolish for being so optimistic in their expectations.

The first missed opportunity is the fatal one. They had a chance to either do things extremely different, or keep them pretty much the same while still having the benefit of renumbering. Instead of one of these options, they tried to appease supporters of both directions, and in doing so, it comes off as very half-assed.

I know that in a few years, when all this is settled and done with, I'll look back on "the new 52" and cringe. This is not to say that there aren't some excellent stories being put out right now -- there absolutely is! Batman, Nightwing, Animal Man and Swamp Thing have pretty much been across-the-board hits since their release. It should be noted that those books and a few other that have been revered and loved by nearly everyone are all written by a rather small handful of writers. And it should be dually noted that those same books are those that have almost no changes that couldn't have been worked into a story in the pre-New 52 DCU. Mostly everything else has been (at least) less than note-worthy; and that's because DC was too timid to take any real chances or they took the wrong ones with the wrong characters.

*EDIT*: Also, I see that a lot of people seem to think that the relaunch has succeeded in bringing in new readers. I suspect that it's some type of observation bias, based upon the fact that those people who think that the relaunch did bring in a decent number of new readers are those that were pulled in. I'd be curious to see any kind of quantitative data as to how many new readers actually bought first issues, and how many actually stayed stayed on through at least the third.

#44 Posted by Shamelesslysupportinaznballers (553 posts) - - Show Bio

@weaponmaster said:

The softcore porn was utterly pathetic. I actually felt a twinge of pity for DC and the writer and artist.

I felt like DC sold their soul with the T&A & some other disturbing images for more $$$ after reading a few issues. It's like cigarette companies selling to little kids to me. The rating is a T rating but T is for 12 & up. I'm not sure many parents would want their 12 year old seeing that Batman Catwomen sex scene but that's who I was seeing excited for that book.

#45 Posted by Shamelesslysupportinaznballers (553 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nasar7 said:

I like the current approach, it unifies DC's philosophy at the company level. If they launched an 'ultimate' line, they would have to either make a lot of new hires or spread their resources, both financially and creatively, pretty thin. Here they are making a statement that, love it or hate it, this is the new DC.

I agree with unifying DC's philosophy but I don't know about your reasoning for not making a Ultimate's line. Most of these new 52 titles are crap and a lot will be cancelled. With so many batman, green lantern & superman related titles in this new 52, I don't see why they couldn't shave off a few of those (not to mention some obvious ones that will be cancelled) and just make a Ultimates line for new readers while keeping the original time line intact.

The way Marvel did the Ultimates is perfect for any new reader to follow. There's only 6 books at a time, some of them are only minis, for the Ultimates line & I think it will be easier for new readers to follow everything that happened over a 10 year span of ultimate history than 1 year of this New 52 when there's 52 books coming out a month.

Heck it's been only 3 months and I see some confusion already.

But DC is making some $ and I guess that's the bottom line.

#46 Posted by Neverpraying (1465 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait so Batman and Catwoman have had sex? I was wondering that for awhile, I've read a decent amount of Batman things, and know a lot of the character, but I could never confirm that they actually had sex. Interesting.

#47 Edited by Or35ti (1101 posts) - - Show Bio

The DC characters used to be too stable and happily ever after as is. Nothing would ever change because nothing could change and excite readers at the same time. Marvel doesn't have that problem yet, Spider-Island is great proof of that. But in old continuity it was obvious that Superman and Lois would never break up and neither would Barry and Allen. The characters just felt too old and perfect. Now there's so much room for them to grow again, and we have no idea what might happen which excites the hell out of me.

#48 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

I always knew Batman and Catwoman were freaks in bed. The next thing you know she'll be using the whip he'll be ball gagged and their safe word will be banana.

#49 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (12589 posts) - - Show Bio
@Or35ti said:

The DC characters used to be too stable and happily ever after as is. Nothing would ever change because nothing could change and excite readers at the same time. Marvel doesn't have that problem yet, Spider-Island is great proof of that. But in old continuity it was obvious that Superman and Lois would never break up and neither would Barry and Allen. The characters just felt too old and perfect. Now there's so much room for them to grow again, and we have no idea what might happen which excites the hell out of me.

i lol'ed 
Online
#50 Posted by thephantomstranger (129 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's more the way the stories are written then the characters and plot themselves, perhaps if DC pushed there writers to somehow come together and figure out a format that gets the best out of the low low page count they are given. If DC spent some time R&D wise and started putting out stories that ended, perhaps even more stand alone plots that started and ended over the course of the issue.

This of course is not the only thing, they should have gone a little further on the business and distribution side. They would need a good push to put their comics in more commonly visited places in addition to their whole marketing push. Yet let's be honest even doing all of this and a thousand other things wont help the industry survive for much longer. Comics came about in an era were newspapers weren't dying and books actually mattered at some point the big two will have no choice, profit wise, but to seclude their products to video games and movies.

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