The DC52s in Retrospect

The DC52s in Retrospect

DC comics, faced with a never ending battle with its nemesis Marvel comics for the ever dwindling readership of comic book lovers, has devised a campaign to stymie the marginalization of their sales by the increasingly popular Marvel comic books referred to as:  The DC New 52s. With this ‘new hope’ DC/ Warner Brothers hope to draw the demarcation line, with the spoils of majority of sales to the victor, DC.

The DC52s is a re-imagining of the beginnings of 52 DC titles which include, but are not limited to Superman, Batman, Action Comics and Batgirl. Over 52 titles of DC comics and their respective main storylines are being halted to allow for a redux of the beginning of the whole DC universe cast of characters. This is an overwhelming and cumbersome venture that DC has decided to take in order to garner not only the attention of the growing number of comic book readers that have gravitated from DC to Marvel comics but to grab the attention of the more general public that can prove often burdensome to grasp the attention of for any specific genre/ medium for a prolonged period of time.

Are the DC52s enough of a cataclysmic event in the comic book world to merit the sustainable interest from the general public? There will no doubt be a restored virtue in the homage of DC in the heart of its readership as there would be most definitely a spike in sales with the advent of the new comics, as there are with dozens of other titles when there is a new special issue available.

DC appears to be aggressively taking the sure path to success by slimming down the number of available titles for readers to purchase, letting go of the ‘extra cooks in the kitchen’ and streamlining the creativity process. They have made the initial offering of their site much easier to navigate and have taken the very appropriate action of informing the general public of their New 52s venture by creating a simply viewable commercial which should be televised to wide audiences both via cinematic screenings and on television, and hopefully invasive internet advertising as well.

However, within the marketing scheme of the new DC/ Warner Bros. revolution, there has appeared to be a disproportionate realization in the deeply-seated fact that what the public wants, DC, unlike Marvel, is not willing to give. What is it in fact that the public wants, that DC is unwilling to give up? Simply rather, DC is unable to let go of its virginity - by refusing many new readers the uninhibited access to its treasure-trove of past publications to be subscribed to online freely/ cheaply.

DC comics has yet to understand that for once, the customer is always right. The customer wants to read their comics, but not for 2.99 an issue or .99 an issue. Readers want access to an online digital reader for a low price each month, which makes sense of the growing users that patronize Netflix, and the backlash that befell onto Netflix once they raised their fee. Viewers want uninhibited access to a streaming service, therefore, once they come across read.dccomics.com, click on the read online, or the subscribe button, they are most likely going to be turned off after a few select purchases. Another alarming occurrence might be that after gaining the attention of a new readership, they might be curious to check out more prominent characters such as Spider-man or Captain America, inadvertently becoming exposed to the marvel.com website which is far more engaging than the dccomics.com website in capturing the attention of the general public. Once exposed to the Marvel online digital library they may decide to subscribe to marvel’s vast online digital library and, having the common retention span of a ‘general public’ and no true loyalty to the DC brand would purchase a yearlong subscription to Marvel’s digital library. Soon Marvel will take advantage of a lack of DC’s foresight by offering further discounts on a longer subscription period such as two and three years long subscription service.  This offering by Marvel will further chip away at DC’s initial gains of offering the New52s to new readers to become acquainted with the DC brand. DC’s only hope is that new readers become attached to two or three specific titles and in this non-recession proof economy where job growth remains stagnant, where there is worldwide purse pinching and the phenomena of the superhero has been spread thin across many genre’s such as supernatural vampires, that persons are willing to shed some extra cash for a few 12 issue subscriptions of the superheroes they have become emotionally attached each year.

Also, customers appreciate a reflection of themselves no matter the medium. Be it television, cinema, or comic book, readers want to read about a character they can lend support to and say ‘yeah, that’s our guy’. DC/Warner Bros. have accomplished this implicitly, but to a fault in that they have alienated two title factors in their approach, women and children. Two dominating, burgeoning, coveted   masses in the comic book readership that DC has decided to either ignore completely or disavow temporarily. An intriguing stance as the popular sites such as Netflix and DC’s rival Marvel have poured resources into appealing more to the sensibilities of these groups by the obvious display to one click access to webpages that include games and featured heroines  that appeal to these key   demographic on their sites   that cater specifically to children and women respectively. The Nook ereader has purportedly laundered their resources to greatly appeal mainly to women rather than men. However, DC has decided to gear towards the opposite direction by marginalizing their Vertigo line which had a greater appeal to females with their titles, they have gone from their hidden access to their children comic book series by burying the tiny teens and Cartoon Network comic book lines among the mass of singularly purchasable titles. Maybe they hope to capture the attention of the discredited male readers? One has to guess maybe DC/ Warner Bros. has a broader view of the spectrum of readers of comic books than general data has assured the industry for years about who buys books and why, time will surely tell.

Lastly, people do not want  52 original stories that do not conform to consistency of plot, people wish to read the original decades old storylines. Original storylines that DC/ Warner Bros. is too selfish to give up to the rest of the world believing themselves to be a brand of such superior quality that they are priceless relics that must be earned through relinquishing of precious monies in this downward, lame duck economy.   If DC/Warner Bros. was a distinctive, unique and only choice available to the reading general public one would believe that they had the market cornered with this bravado thinking, however, though they wrestle each month for the top 100 spots for most bought comics with Marvel comics, they are ideally not the only fish in the sea.

Certainly the years of alliance between DC/Warner Bros. has whittled away at its worth with its ineptness in competing with Marvel for its own fan base, failings at the box office from Jonah Hex to the newly inaugurated Green Lantern and the foregoing of the many years of resources and support relinquished behind the ideology of The Flash promotions within the Justice League animation and television for the failed Green Lantern experiment, all point to a lack of sustained leadership and a sure directional compass of thought within the DC/ Warner Bros. ‘Omnibus.’

To strengthen their popularity with the general public they have decided to stand clear of joining their characters together on screen, which if not overcome by humility will eventually be the weighing factor that may bring about their downfall at the feet of Marvel Comics. Cinema does not necessarily veer readers towards comic books related to film, however, Marvel has successfully sustained the viewing public’s interest by relinquishing bluffer for real corporate decision making in repackaging their brand to appeal to the general public and sustain the interest of the general public by a continuous flow of accessible material and information geared towards their special interests.

Within the next 6 months to 1 year the fruits of DC52s labor will be revealed in the tell tail signs of the market share and whether they would be able to maintain the readership and it will come to pass if they can merit proper standing in the comic book world as the legendary DC Comics, or the relic of the burdensome shadow that once was DC Comics.

 

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Should Angella Bassett have worn a fat suit in Green Lantern ?

The Svelte Angela Bassett acquires role of uniquely fat black D.C. comic book anti-heroine: is it Justifiably in League with character for Green Lantern film?
Dr. Amanda Waller is one of the most auspicious anti-heroines in D.C. comic book history. She out wits Batman on a bi-monthly basis as the head of Cadmus, the U. S. government’s counter terrorism task force responsible for countering any attack by the possible tyrannical rein of the Justice League. Her debut in the 1986 November issue Legends # 1, as a dark skinned, heavy set woman of African descent of upper echelon achievement within a government administration that was highly stereotyped within comic book and popular culture representations that highly favored the balding, elderly, white male, attired in soldier fatigue was considered a great accomplishment by writers/ creators  Len Wein,  John Ostrander , and John Byrne; as well as a great risk in the combative ideal taken against the centric norm of the white male hierarchy verbatim textual philosophy that continues to plague modern pop culture that proposes the white male autocratic leaders as the apex of virtual achievement.
D.C. Comics continues to ‘break the mold’ on this character today, twenty five years later as they have kept Amanda Waller centric to their ever  widening plot line and stories that involve D.C. varsity super heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash. Her name has proven to be as recognizable as other iconic D.C. comic villains such as Bain, Max Lord and Lex Luthor.


Though many view her persona as being relative to other black female characters being portrayed today in varying mediums as negative such as the role that provided Mo’nique with her character driven vehicle to acquire an academy award in 2009 for her critically acclaimed performance as an abusive mother in the motion picture drama Precious (Lions Gate Entertainment), a movie widely publicized by Oprah Winfrey. Amanda Waller’s character though is not nearly as offensive in status as the Mary (Mo’nique) character of the novel Push, written by Sapphire that the movie Precious is based. Amanda Waller is unique in her gravitas when faced with habitual dramas such as providing a cloned army of Ultimen to stave off a false assault by the Justice League (Justice League Unlimited, ep. 3, Season 4 )
However, could the truly unique concept of this comic book icon be misinterpreted by the on screen casting of Ms. Angela Basset in the upcoming Green Lantern (Warner Brothers) movie? Angela Bassett is an actress made memorable by her svelte figure in such movies as What’s Love Got To Do With It (dir. Kevin Sullivan) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (dir. Brian Gibson).  Has she gained weight to play the role of this authentic female character, or has the uniqueness of her feminine physique been brushed aside as irrelevant for the dynamic purpose driven charisma Angela Bassett’s acting will achieve in introducing Amanda Waller to a wider audience on screen?


Amanda Waller can be described as one of the singularly least represented figures in main stream fiction as a complex, overweight African woman that holds a non-traditional role in the apex of society that main stream world governments cannot reconcile to work without. She holds herself above all extreme, complex doubts and fears in her abilities to defend America against the meanest of villains and terrorist attacks. Yes, her ethnicity on screen is being held within compliance of the original storyline, but has the shift from fat to thin in her on screen persona unraveled the playing field further for fat black actresses in entertainment in modern society?
Recently there was a crisp riot of emotion sounded against Howard Stern, the grandiose X M Sirus radio host that touted Oprah Winfrey as being a malicious “liar” for proclaiming that Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) is in the whirlwind of garnering a major film career in her future as an on screen dynamo. He says that because she is both fat and black she will never have the major varying film roles such as actresses Halle Berry and even Angela Bassett clearly command.  Was Howard Stern trying his best to be majorly offensive (as usual) or has he been proven to be the most overwhelmingly brutally honest anti-hero of this generation today by what has become evident as the recasting of this character as a svelte Amanda Waller, and not an overweight black woman as originally portrayed in the 1986 comics?
It is not difficult to compute what becomes to a character when an aspect of a character becomes amortized contextually.  Lex Luthor went from being a smart, well versed educated black villain to being a smart, well-bred white villain again.  Although, originally a Caucasian character, Lex Lutor’s laborious construct of uniqueness as a smart black villain that can give Superman equal fight, becomes further irrelevant, and their onscreen adaptation ruin their authentic, creative self-worth.
Should women of African descent be magnanimous in their acceptance of a role that could be viewed as visionary in its construct as a fat black female being construed as head of a leading authority in the U.S. by a thin black woman as long as it is not being very remodeled as a “ ...cupid’s-bow lips, … downy-soft cheeks,… button nose… ivory-soap-girl features we’re so familiar with” that lack voluptuous curves , and not withstanding their varying acting ability, fail in bringing genuine personality to their on screen character that any other “cupid’s-bow lips ...downy-soft cheeks,… button nose… Ivory-soap-girl features we’re so familiar with” can offer. Whose youth and beauty are their only mystique, and whose on screen personae are interchangeable with one another.
Of course Angela Bassett cannot be blamed for her choice in movie roles as she keeps fit in order to obtain the varying film roles that she has amassed over the past 25 years as being one of the most dynamic and inspirational African American actresses of all time. As roles are limited for black actresses on a whole as main stream character driven roles and the predominantly white male directing conglomerate of the Hollywood industry continue to fail in their philosophy as contemporaries to cast African women bravely in roles that question the prevailing theory that white is right. However, to further question remaining doubt of a black woman exuding strength, confidence and versatility no matter the forbearance of the role she is blessed with, the almighty truth owned by Zoe Saldana of Avatar (dir. James Cameron) and Star Trek (dir. J.J. Abrams), no matter the screen time Angela Bassett may own up to in the movie Green Lantern, should Strange Days star have worn a fat suit?
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