Xtremesteve here, and I should probably say I don't think DC sucks first and foremost. I love the characters and many of the stories, but from from this love I experience hurt week after week when I see sub-par art, stories, character arcs, and marketing gimmicks... I'm here to take a stand for us all!
Each Post I'll pick a new specific topic/issue to bitch and moan about. After I get off my soapbox, you can tell me how nuts I am or how much you agree. So let's get to it!
THIS WEEK'S SUCKDOM Focus:
I know I'm not the first to blog about this, but it's such a major concern with DC that it is worth repeating. DC continues to have the mentality of an old man still clutching his DOS computer to play solitaire. The Justice League, by and large, haven't had a costume update in 40 years and many of their rouges gallery can go back further than that. Lets do a quick comparison:
Almost identical right? DC has been doing the painted on tights with outside underwear with belt accessory for far too long. Fashion made for a 60's comic strip is no longer viable in the robust modern superhero zeitgeist. Evolve or die, I say!
OK, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, so let's hit on the 3 rebuttals that are the most obvious:
1. THE COSTUMES ARE ICONIC. I disagree. The character 'brand' is iconic, not necessarily their threads. DC does Batman very well (most of the time) and his costumes have evolved quite inventively over the years. And every reincarnation carries the same theme but is often dramatically different in appearance. But as long as certain mainstays are present (pointed ears, bat insignia, cape, cowl, etc) the audience is bound to gasp when the Caped Crusader jumps onto the frame. No need for letters on our belt buckles kids....
2. ALL COMICS DO THAT. Again I disagree. Marvel (especially over the last ten years) has been updating costumes like madd and the fans are loving it. Spiderman in Iron Spider armor? hellz yeah Captain America in grey trimmed jump suit fatigues? Right on! The X-Men in all black leather?? Err... ok maybe not every change was for the best... but I think overall the risks Marvel has taken have really paid off. It's just another example of how DC is too timid to stir the pot a little. The Fantastic 4 is as old as some of the Justice League staples... look at how Invisible Woman evolved...
3. WHAT ABOUT THE NEW 52 DCNU UPDATE?? Yes, it's true, we did finally see Superman stop wearing the red diaper. And I do like the new Supes costume quite a bit. I'm glad it was done. I'm not as happy with Wonder Woman's changes however. I mean they did get Jim Lee to update her costume... but of all designers to choose, Lee is VERY 1991, and her update shows up. I mean she is wearing a black leather jacket! We haven't seen a bad ass in a leather jacket since Terminator 2! So we are still a couple decades behind. Wonder Woman is likely the MOST concerning because her character has such strong connections to sexual equality and has been unfortunately stuck in an arguably degrading swimsuit for decades. Losing battle armor and gaining tight leather may not have been the best move... But that is a separate issue. (Also am I the only one that notices the move from stars and stripes has now given her a red star soviet look instead?)
Still DC's revamp was not drastic. There have been some costume design trends developing (largely at marvel) that DC adopted simply because they are obviously popular and preferable and were very 'safe' and proven fashion evolutions. Again, they did not want to stir the pot. What edits am I talking about? Diagonal lines to enhance visual flow. no more straight boot cuts on the heroes calves. They all have curved pointed designs. Diagonals also replace the bulky belts at the waist. You see pointed gloves as well. And of course Marvel's popular Captain America jumpsuit costume with flowing trim lines that give less of a painted over muscle look was adopted.
These changes have been present for many years in other books. That includes Dark Horse, Top Cow, etc. DC was last on the swing on this one, and it's a shame, because they should be trend-setters! I guess what I'm saying is, "DC, it's OK to take some risks with our beloved characters, the fans will still love you. We give you permission!" So next time you feel like you're watching watching an episode of Mad Men when you're reading a JLA book, tell DC: YOU SUCK!