Gail Simone on the Reboot

Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
She makes a solid case, and I'm glad she's optimistic and excited but I ain't drinkin' the Kool-Aid 
 
Hello everyone, welcome to the first of an irregular series of articles about whatever pathetic excuse for rational thought is going through my mind at that particular moment. If you prefer not to read the ravings of a befuddled redhead, at least skip ahead to the end, as I am introducing JUST FIVE MORE, where each column, I pick five things I love in geek culture to share with you, whether you want it or not.

Crazy week to be a DC fan, huh?

Reaction to the revelations this week regarding DC Comics and the vaguely terrifying and cryptic press releases we've seen so far seem to range from orgasmically positive to ferociously vengeful. Some of the slightly condescending comments from the first group to the second probably aren't helping matters.

I don't think, "calm down, it's just comics," or, "your old comics are still in boxes, you can read them whenever you want," are really the answers the second group wants to hear. These aren't the enemy, these are, many of them, long-term, loyal supporters, who have stuck with us through crazy times. Remember Superman with a mullet? That might be a bad example, because I actually like Superman with a mullet. Hmm. Remember when the bat-cowl had a mullet? Shut up, I'm making a point here.

These people are concerned that the stories they care about no longer "matter," or aren't in continuity. Or that their favorite characters might disappear completely. Those are understandable, reasonable concerns. Wow. Now I can't stop thinking of the bat-cowl with a mullet. Is there a El Bat Mulleto in Batman, Inc? There should be.

Let me point out why I'm excited about this movement at DC. I also need to say that I am not an apologist, nor is DC even aware I am writing this. These are just my thoughts as both a writer for the company and as someone who dearly loves the DC Universe above all things including dogs and self-respect. You may completely disagree, but I think this is going to be one of the most exciting times in history to be reading comics. Yes, really.

First... I don't believe it's a good thing when the readers know everything about a character. That is asking the writer to play poker with all his cards showing and his pants unzipped. You might win the game, but what FUN is it (except the zipper part)? Fiction is about surprise...it's about twists and turns and sudden reveals. And yes, you can still have those things in a great comic in current continuity. But how much more fun is it to be an explorer?

Remember when you first got hooked on comics, and you found that soulmate character you loved and just HAD to find out more about? How fun was that? How much joy did that bring you? Did you ever have a better, more wonderful time as a comics reader?

That's what excites me, here. We're going off-roading. We don't have to go the speed limit.

Right now, telling even the best stories in current continuity is negotiating a great many roadblocks and closed roads, set up by people who don't even work in the industry anymore, for reasons that no longer make much sense. It can be done, the detours are amazing. But September is giving us a hot car to drive and a huge endless horizon in every direction. No pre-built fences, no roadblocks erected decades ago for a different set of drivers entirely.

It's a little bit thrilling.

A DCU that looks less like the cast of the Andy Griffith show and more like the wide, vast group of people that attend NYCC and SDCC... that's exciting. And long past due.

Many of us in the industry are also seeing some of the other new projects announced for the first time (security was FIERCE!), and my inbox and twitter feed are full of pros, even some who don't work for DC, cackling like freshly-minted fanboys and fangirls. "Did you see Philip Tan's Hawkman?" "Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang on WONDER WOMAN?"

I mean, this is just the first salvo and I am looking at a big stack of books I have to have already. Mr. Terrific getting his own book? Geoff and Jim on Justice League?

The morning when it was announcedFirestorm, the book I am doing with Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar, was actually a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Firestorm. Who could have predicted that six months ago?

Over the next few days, there's going to be a lot more news, a lot of unexpected stuff, new books, new writers, new artists, and some plans to bring a visibility to comics we haven't seen since the first Batman film. Hollywood has caught up with comics, guys. That means we have to jump ahead of them again.

Lest you think this is just an ad for the company that pays me, I assure you, it isn't. There were some painful decisions made, some I disagree with. Some YOU will probably disagree with. Every book is someone's favorite. Every character is someone's heart. And that is going to be hard in some cases...almost everyone is going to lose something they really loved. In some cases, this was every bit as hard for the creators as it might be for the readers.

But the good news is, this isn't the end. Like every DCU that has ever existed, it is a canvas that has a lot of blank space in it. These launch titles are not the end. There's more room to be filled in. There will be some growing pains. But we, all of us, get to see the kingdom from a new angle, with new territories. And some of your favorite characters are coming back with a vengeance and a focus that they have never before had.

I was at a writing seminar as a guest recently, up at the wonderful Stumptown convention in Portland, to hear Brian Michael Bendis give a speech on comics. He said something that I found a real key to his success...that when something went wrong or contrary to his wishes, instead of falling to pieces, he saw that as an opportunity. It's not specifically DC that I'm so behind on with this plan, it's big ideas, giving creators room to try new, wide-open concepts. That excites me.

At some point in the early sixties, some very creative people realized that if they were going to bring back the Flash, it probably wouldn't work if he was still the guy with a lightning bolt t-shirt and a soup pot on his head.

I understand the concern, I sympathize. But at the same time, I really, really don't want you to miss the stuff that's coming. Yesterday was just the first salvo. No one's a bigger DCU fan than I am. I am a serious skeptic about stunts and events. But nothing DC has ever done compares in scope to this. It's a big idea, scary and exciting. It makes us explorers again, writer and reader both.

And that is what comics are all about.

No mullets were harmed during the writing of this column.
#1 Posted by StarKiller809 (1213 posts) - - Show Bio

Great blog. I agree on a lot of the point you made. I'm very excited for this, but I hope DC at least lets us know what is still in continuity and what is completly gone... I also still hope the Secret Six get their own series still.
#2 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@StarKiller809 said:
Great blog. I agree on a lot of the point you made. I'm very excited for this, but I hope DC at least lets us know what is still in continuity and what is completly gone... I also still hope the Secret Six get their own series still.
LOL All props to Ms. Simone. One poster echoed my exact sentiments on this one.  
 
" Gail, I highly respect you as a writer and love your books, I sincerely think that you might just be the best company-identified writer DC has in their stable right now...

...but it bothers me that you seem to be thinking primarily of the perspective of the writer, not the reader who buys the books. It is an exciting time for writers because they can do anything, like you said, they can rebuild mythologies and bring in new visions without trying to have them fit into existing established visions. I understand the thrill of that, I fully understand how that can work to creative favor.

Unfortunately, that will not always be the case, and while I'd love to see you in particular take that approach, because I think the majority of fans know you're capable of doing it well (and by the way, I'm personally mystified that DC didn't give you Wonder Woman to rebuild, because - all due respect to Azarello - it would've been awesome), but that's not how it's going to work for some writers. Some characters can be rebuilt ineffectively, some character histories can be reworked in a completely new vision that is so exclusive to the writer penning it that when it comes time to hand it off to a new writer, either the vision just can't be duplicated and falls flat, or it will change altogether.

I LOVE the rumor (that I'm believing since it comes from The Beat) that Morrison will be writing a new Superman book. But honestly? I'm worried what will happen when Grant leaves that book, after rebuilding the Superman mythology - can the next writer possibly work with it, or follow it up?

It all comes down to I think what Marvel has realized with the Ultimate line; it's fresh and exciting when it launches...but after a hundred and fifty issues, then what? Of course it won't feel the same, or as exciting, or as new-reader-inviting. Honestly, when I went back and read the initial Post-Crisis DCU books from the late '80s, that is indeed what they felt like - the Ultimate line. And look where they ended up. One can talk about Marvel's sickness of launching new #1s, and yet what DC has actually done it seems, in an effort to re-capture the "excitement" you're talking about again and again, is effectively relaunch the Ultimate line periodically.

And I think, moreso, that what Marvel has essentially done is realize that "hey, why don't we just make the characters and mythologies we already have look fresh and cool, even when they're not?" Even if they have to hype and lie about it...you know what? A lot of writers work well in the established continuity and still manage to use all the old mythologies in fresh and exciting and different ways. It's more challenging, yet it leads to arguably better stories than simple relaunches.

And I think you're analogy summed it up, honestly - driving without a speed limit is exciting, but while a select few will make sure to exercise their skill, the majority result is more car wrecks" 
 
And another good one 
 

"That's what excites me, here. We're going off-roading. We don't have to go the speed limit."

What in Grodd's name prevented you from doing that before? Was there some secret legislation in effect that forbid creators from blowing our minds with new storylines?

Please....I admire your enthusiasm, Gail, but all of this "NOW we REALLY are gonna tell some GREAT STORIES!" rings pretty hollow. Again, what were you guys doing before this? Phoning it in? Biding your time? Waiting for the secret legislation to lapse?

Oh, and as far as comics "looking like the Andy Griffith Show", give me a break. Where is this notion coming from that what came before the New Paradigm Shift was Apartheid Funny Books? There was lots of diversity, both in the characters and their creators...it's just that DC Comics had (for whatever reason) chose to downplay, ignore, and back-burner most of them....and not because us benighted Polly Whitebreads needed our diversity-medicine."

Like the guy I quoted above said "What was stopping you from being fresh and creative before?" and the first poster made an excellent point when he said great and truly talented writers can work with the past "Boundaries" and produce unique, interesting, and fresh stories. To further that point look at what Nick Spencer's doing with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. He took a forgotten cult classic and modernized it while working masterfully with past continuity to create new stories. 
#3 Posted by MrUnknown (1628 posts) - - Show Bio

This is great stuff and good time to be a DC fan in my opinion. The only thing I'm worried about is Batman Inc.

#4 Edited by Mercy_ (91887 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm optimistic about the reboot and I agree with pretty much all the points she brings up, with the exception of Bendis being a good writer.

I'm not sure what my most prevalent worry about the reboot is, but it may actually be the fact that Gail will not be writing Birds of Prey and what Birds of Prey will be like, considering the rumor that Barbara Gordon will be Batgirl. What are the Birds of Prey without Barbara Gordon as Oracle?

Moderator
#5 Edited by MrUnknown (1628 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress: Why do you hate Bendis so much? I know you always mention it but I never found out. ;/
 
I agree with you on Birds of Prey I just hope Winnick or Robinson don't get the book.
#6 Posted by Mercy_ (91887 posts) - - Show Bio

@MrUnknown: He's worse than Fraction when it comes to character derailment (even though derailment is far too small a term for what Bendis does). He's ruined Sentry, Scarlet Witch, a few others I'm sure, and is now working on the ruination of Moon Knight. But what gets me most is the way he writes mental illness. He writes people suffering from mental illness as crazy and untrustworthy and likely to snap at any moment. He further perpetuates an ages old and extremely outdated stereotype and it pisses me off.

Moderator
#7 Posted by MrUnknown (1628 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress: Well I can agree on that. But while breaking some, he's also made some characters, like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Ares. New Avengers, the previous volume was amazing and one of the few books that got me into comics. The newer one doesn't feel as interesting because the Avengers have been split apart. But I don't think he's that bad as people say. I would say he's not one of the best because he doesn't have the best track record but he's pretty good.
#8 Posted by MatKrenz (1197 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress
Actually I read the first 2 issues of Moon Knight and it isn't bad. He doesn't write Marc as untrustworthy but he does have a problem that needs to be solved somehow, my problem with it is that in the second to last series Marc already dealt with his mental illness and it isn't explained how he got it back, he certainly didn't have it in Secret Avengers.
#9 Posted by MrUnknown (1628 posts) - - Show Bio
@MatKrenz: First issue was good, second issue is decent. I didn't like that he was wearing the Spidey costume in reality, that seemed a little weird and out of place. But, I'm not that familiar with Moon Knight to be honest if it felt out of place to the more familiar readers.
#10 Posted by B'Town (2337 posts) - - Show Bio

Typically I like change, so I'm a little excited but I'm a hell of a lot more SCARED. I don't want to lose my favorite books or worse yet characters. Still, I am going to try hard not to focus on what I have to lose. Catman, Scandal, Knockout, Ragdoll, Deadshot, Wonder Woman (as I know her), BOP, Batman & Robin, Batgirl, Supergirl.... *SAD face*

#11 Edited by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@MrUnknown:  
Bendis has been slowly working his way from overrated to full on Modern Frank Miller hack.  
 
@MatKrenz:  
Relapse? lol 
 
@B'Town:  
At this point I'm resigned to not give a flush. Just let me have my Xombi/T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
#12 Posted by entropy_aegis (15445 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Secret Six woman? I don't see anything happening to Bane or even Deadshot for that matter but the remaining members could most likely get the shaft.

#13 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@entropy_aegis:  
I feel in my bones that Secret Six is going to be axed :(
#14 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@entropy_aegis:  
Greg Capullo confirmed he'll be leaving Robert Kirkman's Haunt to work on Batman... 
#15 Posted by Mercy_ (91887 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonesDeini said:

@entropy_aegis: I feel in my bones that Secret Six is going to be axed :(

BITE YOUR TONGUE!

Moderator
#16 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress:  
Writings on the wall sadly :-(
#17 Posted by Mercy_ (91887 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonesDeini: Quiet, you >____< I love both. If I had to choose it would probably be Birds of Prey, but I"m gonna be pissed if Secret Six gets the ax.

Moderator
#18 Posted by SC (13396 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Gail and all her books she writes are must buys for me, and I know she can be blunt and honest which I also like, I think she can be bias at times though. I wonder what she would have said if this was Marvel doing this... I also really like those replies as well, and I'll head over to that blog to read though more. Oh and I do sort of get her point. I can't help but think her Wonder Woman title would have succeeded more if at the beginning of something like this, it was good, but not many fans supported it. Then again, it wasn't a quality issue, it was the part where DC promoted and fans picked up (or lacked) the actual book.  
 
Oh man I will be really sad if we don't get another Secret Six *sad*

Moderator
#19 Posted by Mr.Q (1020 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini said:    
 
" Gail, I highly respect you as a writer and love your books, I sincerely think that you might just be the best company-identified writer DC has in their stable right now...

...but it bothers me that you seem to be thinking primarily of the perspective of the writer, not the reader who buys the books. It is an exciting time for writers because they can do anything, like you said, they can rebuild mythologies and bring in new visions without trying to have them fit into existing established visions. I understand the thrill of that, I fully understand how that can work to creative favor.

Unfortunately, that will not always be the case, and while I'd love to see you in particular take that approach, because I think the majority of fans know you're capable of doing it well (and by the way, I'm personally mystified that DC didn't give you Wonder Woman to rebuild, because - all due respect to Azarello - it would've been awesome), but that's not how it's going to work for some writers. Some characters can be rebuilt ineffectively, some character histories can be reworked in a completely new vision that is so exclusive to the writer penning it that when it comes time to hand it off to a new writer, either the vision just can't be duplicated and falls flat, or it will change altogether.

I LOVE the rumor (that I'm believing since it comes from The Beat) that Morrison will be writing a new Superman book. But honestly? I'm worried what will happen when Grant leaves that book, after rebuilding the Superman mythology - can the next writer possibly work with it, or follow it up?

It all comes down to I think what Marvel has realized with the Ultimate line; it's fresh and exciting when it launches...but after a hundred and fifty issues, then what? Of course it won't feel the same, or as exciting, or as new-reader-inviting. Honestly, when I went back and read the initial Post-Crisis DCU books from the late '80s, that is indeed what they felt like - the Ultimate line. And look where they ended up. One can talk about Marvel's sickness of launching new #1s, and yet what DC has actually done it seems, in an effort to re-capture the "excitement" you're talking about again and again, is effectively relaunch the Ultimate line periodically.

And I think, moreso, that what Marvel has essentially done is realize that "hey, why don't we just make the characters and mythologies we already have look fresh and cool, even when they're not?" Even if they have to hype and lie about it...you know what? A lot of writers work well in the established continuity and still manage to use all the old mythologies in fresh and exciting and different ways. It's more challenging, yet it leads to arguably better stories than simple relaunches.

And I think you're analogy summed it up, honestly - driving without a speed limit is exciting, but while a select few will make sure to exercise their skill, the majority result is more car wrecks" 
 
And another good one   "That's what excites me, here. We're going off-roading. We don't have to go the speed limit."What in Grodd's name prevented you from doing that before? Was there some secret legislation in effect that forbid creators from blowing our minds with new storylines?Please....I admire your enthusiasm, Gail, but all of this "NOW we REALLY are gonna tell some GREAT STORIES!" rings pretty hollow. Again, what were you guys doing before this? Phoning it in? Biding your time? Waiting for the secret legislation to lapse?Oh, and as far as comics "looking like the Andy Griffith Show", give me a break. Where is this notion coming from that what came before the New Paradigm Shift was Apartheid Funny Books? There was lots of diversity, both in the characters and their creators...it's just that DC Comics had (for whatever reason) chose to downplay, ignore, and back-burner most of them....and not because us benighted Polly Whitebreads needed our diversity-medicine." Like the guy I quoted above said "What was stopping you from being fresh and creative before?" and the first poster made an excellent point when he said great and truly talented writers can work with the past "Boundaries" and produce unique, interesting, and fresh stories. To further that point look at what Nick Spencer's doing with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. He took a forgotten cult classic and modernized it while working masterfully with past continuity to create new stories. 
masterfully said. a reboot just seems lazy.
#20 Posted by B'Town (2337 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonesDeini said:

@entropy_aegis: I feel in my bones that Secret Six is going to be axed :(

Frightening for me. Bane is a bigger fish in the DC universe than the rest, so I do think he is safe. I fear for the rest and I really DO love the rest, this is what makes me sad about the reboot. Will I lose them? I realize Secret Six has been ongoing for awhile now, and I have for some time, prepared myself for the ongoing - end. But this DC reboot could mean, not just the end of a series but the end of my characters. I can barely stand to consider it... *sigh)

#21 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (35151 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress said:

I'm optimistic about the reboot and I agree with pretty much all the points she brings up, with the exception of Bendis being a good writer.

I'm not sure what my most prevalent worry about the reboot is, but it may actually be the fact that Gail will not be writing Birds of Prey and what Birds of Prey will be like, considering the rumor that Barbara Gordon will be Batgirl. What are the Birds of Prey without Barbara Gordon as Oracle?

@The Dark Huntress said:

@MrUnknown: He's worse than Fraction when it comes to character derailment (even though derailment is far too small a term for what Bendis does). He's ruined Sentry, Scarlet Witch, a few others I'm sure, and is now working on the ruination of Moon Knight. But what gets me most is the way he writes mental illness. He writes people suffering from mental illness as crazy and untrustworthy and likely to snap at any moment. He further perpetuates an ages old and extremely outdated stereotype and it pisses me off.

this
#22 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@B'Town
In the short time I've read the book. I've really come to love these characters and connect with them. the thought of a DCU without Scandal, Jeanette, Ragdoll, King Shark,& Catman being written by Simone is...well disturbing. A DCU in which they flat out don't exist is very saddening. I know Bane and Deadshot'll be safe, but I want this team and title to endure. The supporters of this title deserve that, it's not like it was tied up heavily into all the "big" DCU continuity.
#23 Posted by ReVamp (22798 posts) - - Show Bio

Woah, woah, woah.  
WHAT? 
Can't a guy take a break for a few weeks... 
WTH happening here... Is DC rebooting their Universe ala Crisis on Infinite earths? What's happening?

#24 Posted by ReVamp (22798 posts) - - Show Bio

OMFG... I just went to check that page... I'm having a heart attack... 
 
I don't mind them being younger and redesigned... I kinda like that, since I knew it was gonna happen sooner or later... 
My problem is... How much continuity is gonna stay the same? My hopes are that nearly everything remains intact... I mean if they wanna take out the odd incident, like Bruce Wayne being "raped" by Talia al Ghul, that's fine. But they better not f*ck shit up.  
 
Specially for Dick Grayson. They put him in a speedo and Imma kill however though this up.
#25 Posted by B'Town (2337 posts) - - Show Bio

@ReVamp: YES! Some of it may be wonderful, but not knowing what may happen to our favorite books and characters is a little frightening.

DC Reboot

#26 Posted by ReVamp (22798 posts) - - Show Bio
@B'Town
... Yeah... 
I just wanna see my titans AND I don't want Superman dating WW. Period.
#27 Posted by JonesDeini (3501 posts) - - Show Bio
@ReVamp
I think Jay-Z said it best..."It was all good just a week ago"
#28 Posted by ReVamp (22798 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini said:
@ReVamp:  I think Jay-Z said it best..."It was all good just a week ago"

That's so true, its going in my status
#29 Posted by entropy_aegis (15445 posts) - - Show Bio
@B'Town said:

@JonesDeini said:

@entropy_aegis: I feel in my bones that Secret Six is going to be axed :(

Frightening for me. Bane is a bigger fish in the DC universe than the rest, so I do think he is safe. I fear for the rest and I really DO love the rest, this is what makes me sad about the reboot. Will I lose them? I realize Secret Six has been ongoing for awhile now, and I have for some time, prepared myself for the ongoing - end. But this DC reboot could mean, not just the end of a series but the end of my characters. I can barely stand to consider it... *sigh)

There is a new Suicide Squad book written by Simone to be announced from what i hear.Maybe Secret Six will become Suicide Squad?it'll also allow Simone to expand the roster.
#30 Posted by B'Town (2337 posts) - - Show Bio
@entropy_aegis said:
@B'Town said:

@JonesDeini said:

@entropy_aegis: I feel in my bones that Secret Six is going to be axed :(

Frightening for me. Bane is a bigger fish in the DC universe than the rest, so I do think he is safe. I fear for the rest and I really DO love the rest, this is what makes me sad about the reboot. Will I lose them? I realize Secret Six has been ongoing for awhile now, and I have for some time, prepared myself for the ongoing - end. But this DC reboot could mean, not just the end of a series but the end of my characters. I can barely stand to consider it... *sigh)

There is a new Suicide Squad book written by Simone to be announced from what i hear.Maybe Secret Six will become Suicide Squad?it'll also allow Simone to expand the roster.
A new Suicide Squad would be fantastic with Simone at the helm, I would hope she'd enlist Scandal, Catman and crew.  Very cool.

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