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Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

To begin with, let me just that I am not a hater of DC’s much touted New 52 relaunch. I think that in a time of declining sales and a transitional market, someone had to do something. DC should be applauded for taking the proverbial bull by the horns and trying something as radical as a company wide relaunch.

Mogo: Actual testicle size unverified.

Kudos to you DC. You’ve got balls as big as Mogo’s.

During this brave and unprecedented move, there have been some universal successes (Batman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Justice League Dark, Demon Knights) and some absolute stinkers (Hawk And Dove, Mr. Terrific, Justice League International, Hawkman) yet, in general, the revitalization of DC has been a success. Sales are up, media interest has been at a premium and a genuine enthusiasm has been instilled into comic fans and creators alike (the occasional dummy spit from creators such as Rob Liefeld and Greg Rucka notwithstanding).

Yet, through this success, there is an overwhelming feeling, from the pits of comic book fans stomachs, that the New 52 simply doesn’t work. Sure, it’s great that new readers have been brought in and many heroes have been given the chance to shine again, unfettered by decades of convoluted back story, yet there is one failing that over rides the entire line and it is this which, ultimately, might be the undoing of the entire project.

History.

Comic books and their characters are modern mythology. The worlds of DC and Marvel in particular are just as powerful and far reaching as those of the Norse, Greek or Roman pantheons and, in the future, will be just as ingrained in the psyche of society and culture as those images and ideas of Zeus, Thor, Loki and Hercules. Yet, what truly gives those ancient mythologies their power is their timelessness, or to be more specific, the amount of time they have existed.

Batman: Now first began his career the same year the Simpsons movie came out.

There is something truly magical about the history that is entwined in the tales of Asgard, or in the time span of the Argonauts, an almost mythic sense of the history itself. These stories are eternal and they reach back to a time we no longer understand, and in that is part of their intrigue. These tales have been adapted and re-adapted for each subsequent generation, their stories updated and revised, only to be taken back to their roots and the whole process started again. This is the same power that DC have always had, more than any other company as they have the unequalled history of comicdoms’ first hero, Superman, closely followed by Batman. Is there any richer mythology to draw from that that of these two heroes? Created in 1932, first published in 1938, Superman alone has over 70 years of history to play with and when I read one of his books, I get a sense of that history, that heritage and it informs every word and action.

Comics are unique in that way. No other medium has had the blessing to be able to continually follow a character on a regular basis over the course of seven decades. It is a unique privilege for comic book readers to be able to access that history every single time they pick up a Superman book.

Yet, the New 52 has denied access to that history.

By stating that it never happened, DC has denied their comics the very thing which gave them their true power.

A sense of history.

1938? What are you, high? Superman was created five years ago in the New 52!

Now, when I read Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman or The Justice League, I am constantly distracted by the fact that they have, supposedly, only been around for five years. It leaves me with a hollowness, a buzzing in my head which tells me that I can no longer access that mythology in the same way and that now, Superman is not an icon, is not the first hero, but is just a guy with powers, much like any other. Dick Grayson has always been one of my favourite characters, a big part of this comes from his service under Batman (as it were) for so many years and then going on and becoming his own person with the persona of Nightwing. Now that the whole process has been compressed to Dick only being Robin for a few years, closely followed by Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne, it devalues the character and his importance in the Bat-Mythology.

I no longer feel the same resonance with these characters and as great as some of the new stories are in the New 52, they ultimately feel empty and devoid of real weight.

I have waited to post this to see if that feeling might change. It hasn’t.

What’s the answer?

I certainly don’t think going backwards and reverting everything to what it was I the way to go. DC have committed to this path and I think it would be weak revert to a 'safe' status quo.

Swamp Thing: One of the success stories of The New 52

What I think needs to happen is that editors and writers need to really commit themselves to re-creating these characters with truly great new stories, truly great writing. Make us care about Superman again now that he is without that epic history. Give us a Batman that truly excites. Make the Justice League great again. We have seen some of this with Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder’s work on Animal Man and Swamp Thing, the Swamp Thing title being a particularly tough gig, what with the ever present of Alan Moore’s run hanging over the character. Yet the series is a resounding success and proof that great things can come from this.

If history is truly to be discarded (or severely condensed) in the new DC, then let’s hope that they start building a truly great new one.

Only time will tell if they're up to the task.

#1 Posted by BumpyBoo (9376 posts) - - Show Bio

(applause) Wonderful blog, and I agree wholeheartedly.

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#2 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (13187 posts) - - Show Bio

Agreed

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

Could not have said it better myself...

#4 Posted by Raiiyn (3523 posts) - - Show Bio

@BumpyBoo said:

(applause) Wonderful blog, and I agree wholeheartedly.

So much this. Well done, feebadger!

#5 Edited by lykopis (10746 posts) - - Show Bio

I would expect no less than an incredibly well thought-out, well presented effort on any topic from you, and this surpassed even that expectation.

I completely agree with you -- there is a real sense of emptiness, lack of - well - history that circumvents not just a long time fan's sense of legend but also new fans who despite not being a follower of DC before, certainly were aware of exactly this history you write about which has been wiped away. I am one of those new fans and I still get a feeling of displacement getting to know this new Wonder Woman without having ever read a book of hers before.

Loved this. Thank you.

#6 Posted by Hawkeye446 (3939 posts) - - Show Bio

@Raiiyn said:

@BumpyBoo said:

(applause) Wonderful blog, and I agree wholeheartedly.

So much this. Well done, feebadger!

@lykopis said:

I would expect no less than an incredibly well thought-out, well presented effort on any topic from you, and this surpassed even that expectation.

I completely agree with you -- there is a real sense of emptiness, lack of - well - history that circumvents not just a long time fan's sense of legend but also new fans who despite not being a follower of DC before, certainly were aware of exactly this history you write about which has been wiped away. I am one of those new fans and I still get a feeling of displacement getting to know this new Wonder Woman without having ever read a book of hers before.

Loved this. Thank you.

TRUTH!

Well done Fee, another fantastic Blog :) Agreed.

#7 Posted by Dreamcast89 (81 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with your post but not your conclusion. It's not to late to turn back and admit the New 52 was a mistake. It doesn't even have to necessarily be acknowledged as a mistake. We have seen the artful manipulation of timelines and conflicting stories by DC and Marvel many times before. Turn back now before it's to late. Before we lose over fifty years of history. Please almighty DC I beg of you.

#8 Posted by SmashBrawler (5742 posts) - - Show Bio

@Dreamcast89 said:

I agree with your post but not your conclusion. It's not to late to turn back and admit the New 52 was a mistake. It doesn't even have to necessarily be acknowledged as a mistake. We have seen the artful manipulation of timelines and conflicting stories by DC and Marvel many times before. Turn back now before it's to late. Before we lose over fifty years of history. Please almighty DC I beg of you.

True, it's not too late. I mean, it's not like they'll be seen as the laughing stock of the comic world if they do, and they'll probably lose every new reader they got. Nope, not too late at all.

#9 Posted by baron2011 (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

new 52 is great

#10 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@BumpyBoo: @Avenging-X-Bolt: @RedheadedAtrocitus: @Raiiyn: @lykopis: @Hawkeye446: Thank you all so much, you beautiful, beautiful people (even the hideously mangled and deformed amongst you, i think you' have a certain, indefinable charm about you!!)

@Dreamcast89: @SmashBrawler: I definitely don't think it's too late to turn back the clock, but as smashbrawler says (and in a beautifully sarcastic manner i might add ;P) it would alienate the new readers it has garnered, and more importantly, will just make a shambles of continuity even moreso, i think. I reallt think that since they've committed to this they need to see it through, but perhaps some tweaking might be in order and a real, solidified sense of past events, even if they're only five years old needs to be established. The sense of DC just winging it, exhibited in the edits made in the recent trade paperbacks just adds to the hollow sense of history being established and gives us, the readers the sense of being fleeced by an ill thought through and poorly conceived gimmick. I don't want to believe that to be true, but DC need to seriously focus their intentions to make this so. A step backwards would be just that; a step backwards. DC need to look to the future by consolidating their past.

#11 Posted by Shotgun (900 posts) - - Show Bio

DC could give us an pre-52 Earth, since we now have the 52 Earths.

#12 Posted by Jorgevy (5114 posts) - - Show Bio

Is the sucess and stinkers based on sales? or on your opinion of the stories?

#13 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shotgun said:

DC could give us an pre-52 Earth, since we now have the 52 Earths.

Hey! Now THERE'S an idea!

@Jorgevy said:

Is the sucess and stinkers based on sales? or on your opinion of the stories?

Both and neither. (Bet your confused now, huh? ;P)

#14 Posted by Jorgevy (5114 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: not really, just that IMO there were more sucesses than the ones you showed and JLI wasn't a stinker, it just had trouble selling, but it was a fun read

#15 Posted by thespideyguy (2642 posts) - - Show Bio

@Shotgun said:

DC could give us an pre-52 Earth, since we now have the 52 Earths.

yes. Cool blog post

#16 Edited by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jorgevy said:

@feebadger: not really, just that IMO there were more sucesses than the ones you showed and JLI wasn't a stinker, it just had trouble selling, but it was a fun read

There were definitely more successes than i showed more failures too), but it wasn't really a blog about which were successes or not. Just listed a few to give a general idea of what i was talking about. Completely respect your opinion on JLI, but to me it was just dull and badly done. Art, story and mix of characters just didn't work for me.

@thespideyguy said:

@Shotgun said:

DC could give us an pre-52 Earth, since we now have the 52 Earths.

yes. Cool blog post

Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

#17 Posted by Lvenger (20008 posts) - - Show Bio

A very well written, thought out blog post. It's nice to see both sides well evaluated rather than someone whining for the Pre New 52 Earth to be brought back. And I agree that in order to progress beyond the flaws of the New 52, DC need to create some truly great stories once again to make the New 52 history as engrossing as it was before the reboot. Some New 52 titles are on their way there (Action Comics, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman) and some need serious improvement (Suicide Squad, Firestorm, Catwoman and World's Finest)

#18 Posted by derf_jenkins (402 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe in a comic book fantasy world, you are overthinking this. You really think all the history just goes away? Stop kidding yourself. We still know these characters.

#19 Posted by SmashBrawler (5742 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: I'm just not a fan of going back to Pre-52, because it's way too drastic and, like I said, it WILL alienate new readers, not to mention that it doesn't guarantee that all old readers will come back. But I agree with you, the DCnU feels a lot more empty (and idiotic cough5-year timelinecough).

If you ask me, we should let it grow, and develop, and retcon the sh!t out of it. I mean, that's what they did after COIE: some stuff works, we keep it; some stuff doesn't work, we erase it... some stuff isn't like our beloved Silver Age, we make it more like the Silver Age. Trinity War might be a great place to fix some things from this new reality, like the 5-year timeline (GOD, I hate that).

#20 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@derf_jenkins said:

Maybe in a comic book fantasy world, you are overthinking this. You really think all the history just goes away? Stop kidding yourself. We still know these characters.

Nah, not overthinking it. Possibly underthinking it but never overthinking it ;P. I wholeheartedly disagree with you, though. Of course the history is still there, it's just not connected to the characters anymore. This diminishes them and the DC universe in general.

@SmashBrawler: I think we're starting to see them retcon the shit out of it now, which is fine if it's done with care and attention to detail. But what we're also seeing is fans becoming disillusioned in regards to things like DC's uncertainty over teh past of Tim Drake and whether he was Robin or not and how long he was Robin. Making edits between the original issues and the collected trade paperbacks IS going to alienate readers because it shows a lack of care and regard to characters that people love and (more importantly to DC as a business) are willing to spend their hard earned money on. I can definitely see that some tweeking will be needed along the way. It is a truly massive undertaking. I just hope they do it thoughtfully and, even better, plan ahead with more diligence. Completely agree that Trinity War could be a great place to fix a LOT of the New 52's current problems.

#21 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

Well said, I completely agree

#22 Posted by The_Tree (7481 posts) - - Show Bio

Bravo, and well stated. Pretty much agree on all of what you said. One of the biggest attractions for me to comics, and DC specifically is its sense of history and legacy. I sincerely hope that a lot of aspects of the relaunch are reversed. The Trinity War would be the perfect time to throw out what does and doesn't work with it, and I hope DC takes that chance.

#23 Posted by The Stegman (24449 posts) - - Show Bio

When it comes to the New 52, I say just sit back and enjoy the stories, try not to think to hard about continuity.

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#24 Posted by BlueLantern1995 (2448 posts) - - Show Bio

First off applause. Excellent Blog. Now here is my opinion as a person who is a "New Reader".

As a a person who has been a comicbook fan for 5 yrs and hasn't collected many comics I felt happy to jump into Green Lantern and yet even as a person just jumping on I felt like there was something missing.

It wasn't the history, restarting a story happens all the time and new stuff happens in it and the next time it will be different from that. No it was something else. It was the Tradition the Pre New52 had.

Many things changed that shouldn't have changed and that was to make things different. Grayson's history is way lessened, Martian Manhunter is not a founding Justice League member, Jason Todd's Red Hood storyline takes place in a much smaller time span which ruins a part of the story, Wonder Woman is no longer formed from Clay(actually liked that change).

The problem isn't the change it is how drastic. I like you think that changing back is out of the question. Characters who haven't had the spotlight for a longtime if ever are finally getting their needed attention.

The New52 did some awesome things but unfortunately in a bid to get New readers and higher bids they lost some of the stuff that made DC comics, DC comics. Damage is done, but they will heal and things will get back to normal someday but it will forever leave a scar...The New52 scar.

#25 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

uhhh the New52 as a whole has helped DC take 41% market share. What are you talking about? They're murdering Marvel, their next largest competitor.

#26 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor: @The_Tree: Thank you, sirs. Greatly appreciated.

@The Stegman: Tried that. This why it took so long to post this blog. Didn't work.

@BlueLantern1995: Really, really interesting to hear your views. I've wondered what a 'new reader' might think of the new 52 and the points you raise are good ones. Love the idea of 'the new 52 scar.'

@TheCrowbar: Absolutely, but at what cost and will it last? The numbers are going down monthly on the 'flagship' DC books like Action, Batman and Justice League and DC will need to start looking at if this is just a sales trend now that the initial thrill has worn off or if it's because of their handling of this new universe and its new characters. To me, in the big picture (especially with Marvel about to launch their NOW initiative) DC need to really fix the problems with the New 52 as success isn't just about market share at the moment, it is ultimately about preserving their properties in the long run.

#27 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: Consistently taking more and more market share? They were up another 4% in september. It's an upward trend.

#28 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheCrowbar: Only because Marvel are currently publishing less issues and because DC launched a new round of titles recently (including Before Watchmen which has nothing to do with the New 52). Nothing suggests it will last.

#29 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: Yep, because a year long pattern of increased sales isn't enough. No nothing in the future can be "proved"

#30 Posted by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

It works because I say so. just beat your argument. Oh you want more reasons huh?

Punk

#31 Edited by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheCrowbar said:

@feebadger: Yep, because a year long pattern of increased sales isn't enough. No nothing in the future can be "proved"

No need to be snide. Just having a conversation with you. And to be specific , it's not a year long increase in sales. The figures have fluctuated, being so high at the moment because of the 0 issues and because of Marvel coming to the end of their A vs X series and the lull there before Marvel Now launches, as i said. And, no, nothing in the future is proven, but trends do tend to dictate what might happen, and the trends with DC, outside of events and special issues, dictate that sales will drop. Maybe not catastrophically low, but they will drop and perhaps part of this is due their handling of continuity and their characters. That's all i'm trying to say.

@DarkKnightDetective: Uh... okay. Don't really know who you're directing that too, but i'm moving away from you slowly and not making eye contact...

#32 Posted by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: I'm directing that to you punk!.

#33 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarkKnightDetective said:

@feebadger: I'm directing that to you punk!.

Um.. okay... ARSE! Is... is that sweary enough?

#34 Posted by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: No! the curse word need to have the symbols that are used to censor stuff.....I'm Batman.

#35 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarkKnightDetective said:

@feebadger: No! the curse word need to have the symbols that are used to censor stuff.....I'm Batman.

You said swear to me!? You didn't say censor swear to me! You don't know what you want, Batman.

#36 Posted by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: Yes I do! it's the law and justice and stuff, you can't curse here. this site is "family friendly", which is bs, you know why?

#37 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarkKnightDetective said:

@feebadger: Yes I do! it's the law and justice and stuff, you can't curse here. this site is "family friendly", which is bs, you know why?

I'm sure i'll be sorry i asked, but why, Batman?

#38 Posted by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: because I'm Batman!

#39 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: I predict that DC will continue to show that it is the strongest market force in comics, regardless of Marvel Now!

#40 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@DarkKnightDetective: You're a loony.

#41 Edited by Dark_Vengeance_ (14698 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: I'm just tired. why am I not sleeping? 3 reasons: homework, guns n roses, homework.

#42 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheCrowbar: I absolutely hope you're right. Like i said in the blog, i admire what DC have done and, to be honest, the Marvel Now launch just seems like it's not going to work to the level that Marvel are hoping. I love DC and i'm with you in hoping that they'll stay in the top spot and make their comics the best they can be. Still don't know if the figures show that to be the case, but we can only hope.

#43 Posted by Lvenger (20008 posts) - - Show Bio

The thing about Marvel Now though is that Marvel can have their cake and eat it too. Basically they can keep their 40 year history whilst taking their characters in a new creative direction. At least it'll be better than Heroes Reborn :P

#44 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29501 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm guessing this is how fans felt way back when after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Or I'm way off, whatever.

#45 Posted by rickygabrielbird (14 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice piece. I have a similar problem with the new 52 and with a girlfriend who is starting to get into comics, it is hard to explain to her what is considered cannon due to the reboot. Especially with the case of Green Lantern, where things just seem to carry on as normal and where other comics/characters start from scratch.

I would hope that DC have already established a time period for all events that have happened and it would be nice to see what this is.

#46 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lvenger said:

The thing about Marvel Now though is that Marvel can have their cake and eat it too. Basically they can keep their 40 year history whilst taking their characters in a new creative direction. At least it'll be better than Heroes Reborn :P

We can only hope and pray, Lvenger... we can only hope and pray ;P@InnerVenom123 said:

I'm guessing this is how fans felt way back when after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Or I'm way off, whatever.

No, i woould assume you're absolutely right there. I can't imagine how outraged fans must have been at the time to see someone like Superman or Wonder Woman so drastically changed. We kind of accept that as being okay now so maybe fans will feel that way about the New 52 in years to come?

@rickygabrielbird said:

Nice piece. I have a similar problem with the new 52 and with a girlfriend who is starting to get into comics, it is hard to explain to her what is considered cannon due to the reboot. Especially with the case of Green Lantern, where things just seem to carry on as normal and where other comics/characters start from scratch.

I would hope that DC have already established a time period for all events that have happened and it would be nice to see what this is.

I do NOT envy you having to explain the intricacies of The New 52 to a new reader. I salute you, sir. You honour all us humble comic book readers with your dedication ~salutes~ ;P

#47 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice article. Very well written with no dwelling, but I don't think we really need anymore of these "Problems with the New-52" pieces. These new versions may not have gone through some of our favorite events, but regardless, the stories still happened. We read them, they matter to the character itself, even if not neccesarily the one we're reading now.

#48 Posted by SmashBrawler (5742 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123 said:

I'm guessing this is how fans felt way back when after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Or I'm way off, whatever.

Actually, you're completely right. DC got a lot of angry fan mail after they published Batman: Year One. Yeah, Year One, considered to be by many one of the best Batman stories of all time and the definitive Batman origin story. And I don't mean stuff like "well, this narration could use some work", I mean they HATED it; they hated the tone, they hated the art, they hated the changes, they hated everything. Of course, many people liked it, but this just comes to prove that comic book fans hate any kind of change.

I'm guessing Man of Steel got a similar (or even worse) treatment.

#49 Posted by Lvenger (20008 posts) - - Show Bio

Well I guess that since there were no Internet forums way back then, fans didn't have a way of expressing their hatred for COIE. But then again that brought about the continuity we cherish and miss so much. I guess it's a circular thing DC are doing now.

#50 Posted by soduh2 (865 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: I'd say that if the New 52 actually started from scratch instead of saying certain events "still happened" there would not be as much conflict. The similarity to the previous continuity is what's the most frusterating.