New DC WHO'S WHO?

Back in 1985, there was no such thing as the internet and when you wanted to know something about a comic book, you had to (SHOCK! HORROR!) actually READ the comic book! Amazing, i know. There were no wiki's no Comic Vines, no forums, HELL, you couldn't even look at porn whenever you felt like and had to find some that others had discarded in a bush next to the local railway tracks (if you're British, or a Spaced fan).

But that's somewhat off the topic.

DC Comics answer to this lack of online, streaming information was to release the collosal WHO'S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE DIRECTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE. This was a 24 issue series that served, when combined as an exhaustive character Encyclopedia, featuring new art from favourite artists and tickling the funnybone of many a salivating comic fan.

Two year later they released a shorter update series and then a year later yet another. Marvel had made a similar series a few years previous though in recent years they have favoured an online approach. DC, on the other hand have been fairly lax with their updating of their own properties histories and origins.

So with the launch of The New 52 well and truly up and running, i was wondering if DC had considered releasing a new version of their Who's Who? This thought came to me while i was pondering whether Commisioner Gordon and Batman met under the same circumstances dictated in Batman: Year One whilst in the bath. It struck me that i had no idea and for that matter, probably no one else did either. As much as i love jumping in at the deep end with a title, i think at some point, it would be in the company and the readers interest to know what has gone before. There is a resounding hollowness in the New 52 titles that i just can't shake and for me, it comes down to the fact that these stories and these characters seem to have no historical roots.

I have no problem with DC changing the game plan completely, i think bold ideas should always be attempted, but i think that some time needs to be taken now to start building the foundations of these books and characters and that perhaps a Who's Who type comics series might be the answer.

Of course, this kind of series could only be created if DC had an actual and definite idea of what the foundations of their new universe are and laying out each characters history would involve them showing exactly how forward planning they have been all along. I mean, surely they wouldn't know their own characters new histories now, would they?

DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio has been seemingly forthright in answering questions regarding which events have or haven't happened in the New 52, but are DC willing to be even more forthright in stepping forth and telling us exactly WHAT has gone before?

The real question then would be , would we want them to?

What do you think? Do you want to know hte new history of teh DC universe? Or are you happier to just let it play out as it is?

Would you buy a new DC encyclopedia series or should it be presented as an online wiki made by DC themselves?

21 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

I'd buy it

Posted by _Cain_

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

I'd buy it
Posted by TheRedRobin

This sounds like a great idea!

Posted by Icarusflies

They had actually announced a new one, but I guess it was abandoned once the New 52 was set up….

Moderator
Posted by feebadger

@Icarusflies said:

They had actually announced a new one, but I guess it was abandoned once the New 52 was set up….

Now see, that kind of thing makes me wonder how long the gestation period for the New 52 was. Surely such a monumental undertaking must have been on the cards for some time? Months to years i would have thought. But when you hear things like what you just wrote Icarusflies or when DC released Geoff Johns rewriting of Supermans' origin just before they RELAUNCH Superman in the New 52 with a NEW modified origin, it makes me wonder if it was all done on a whim.

Posted by Icarusflies

@feebadger: And they just dropped a lot of storylines that were being set up (in Brightest Day even). My personal theory is that they decided somewhere in the middle of Flashpoint [which I think was originally going to be something very different]

Moderator
Posted by _Cain_

@Icarusflies said:

@feebadger: And they just dropped a lot of storylines that were being set up (in Brightest Day even). My personal theory is that they decided somewhere in the middle of Flashpoint [which I think was originally going to be something very different]

Actually that makes sense.

Posted by Icarusflies

@shadowknight666: They even had characters in Flashpoint who were obviously supposed to play a bigger role, but were pushed aside to allow for the setup of the reboot (S!H!A!Z!A!M! for example)

Moderator
Posted by _Cain_

@Icarusflies: XD. Exactly, I'm not even a Shazam Fan and I Was a little disappointed he's only getting a back-up in a few months.

Posted by feebadger

@Icarusflies: @shadowknight666: I haven't read all of Flashpoint yet, but what you're saying makes perfect sense and also fills me with a sense of DREAD that the New 52 is, essentially, flying by the seat of its pants.

Posted by GothamRed

I'd get it

Posted by _Cain_

@feebadger: Yeah Now that you think of it seems like they kinda just winged it.

Posted by humanfly26

something like this would be nice. I bought the DC encyclopedia but the problem is that its out of date almost the moment you buy it... At this point, they would have to include the Pre-New 52 and post-New 52 histories for every character.

You'd have entries like: Martian Manhunter was a JLA founder who lived on Earth until he returned to Mars to rebuild his civilization (Pre-Crisis). Martian Manhunter was a League founder and sole survivor of Mars. (Post-Crisis) Martian Manhunter was never a member of the JLA, he was a member of Stormwatch (Post-52). It would be kind of confusing...

Posted by feebadger

@humanfly26 said:

something like this would be nice. I bought the DC encyclopedia but the problem is that its out of date almost the moment you buy it... At this point, they would have to include the Pre-New 52 and post-New 52 histories for every character.

You'd have entries like: Martian Manhunter was a JLA founder who lived on Earth until he returned to Mars to rebuild his civilization (Pre-Crisis). Martian Manhunter was a League founder and sole survivor of Mars. (Post-Crisis) Martian Manhunter was never a member of the JLA, he was a member of Stormwatch (Post-52). It would be kind of confusing...

I absolutely agree humanfly26. I they included ALL their retconned histories then i think that every issue would only contain one character and be about as thick as a phone book. I think it should purely be focussed on the New 52 though, seeing as how DC are seemingly committed to this new revamped universe, then i think a committed "WHO'S WHO IN THE NEW 52" encyclopedia would be the best way to go. If this is a long term plan (which it hopefully is and not just a thrown together concept to make some bucks) then providing some backstory and some new character depth would hopefully be worth the cover price and really (hopefully) wouldn't date too quickly.

Posted by RazzaTazz

There were the Secret Files and Origins supplements for a while too, but I am not sure of exactly how many of those were made.  They were often used to introduce new characters though.  I am not sure about a new Who's Who.  With the new DCU with their revitalization of old ideas, it might be interesting to see a Who's Who that was an actual series, sort of like the old Secret Origins but with some sort of ongoing plot.  

Moderator
Posted by feebadger

@RazzaTazz said:

There were the Secret Files and Origins supplements for a while too, but I am not sure of exactly how many of those were made. They were often used to introduce new characters though. I am not sure about a new Who's Who. With the new DCU with their revitalization of old ideas, it might be interesting to see a Who's Who that was an actual series, sort of like the old Secret Origins but with some sort of ongoing plot.

I know there was a Legion OF Super Heroes only series and a Star Trek one too. I like the ida of a secret origins series. Some of the original series were some of my favourites (the two issues that leap to mind were the Elongated Man/Plastic Man issue and the Doctor Fate/Blue Devil one. Those were some good comics.) I'm not sure what form it should take really but i think that, not only would it be a good idea for some form of historical recap to happen, but also that perhaps it would reward a bit of the readers faith in the new 52.

Edited by sethysquare

@Icarusflies said:

@feebadger: And they just dropped a lot of storylines that were being set up (in Brightest Day even). My personal theory is that they decided somewhere in the middle of Flashpoint [which I think was originally going to be something very different]

@feebadger said:

@Icarusflies: @shadowknight666: I haven't read all of Flashpoint yet, but what you're saying makes perfect sense and also fills me with a sense of DREAD that the New 52 is, essentially, flying by the seat of its pants.

Don't think so. They had planned it since late 2010. Johns started building his Flash run towards it halfway through. Before Flashpoint even sold its first issue, they've already got all their teams settled. They asked the creators to pitch if they want a reboot or not. By April all 52 seires were set up. Flashpoint started in May and news of new 52 came out on may 2011. Its impossible to start planning for such a big scale event in one month. There were titles added "last minute" Titles like Batwing were only included in April. But this is one of the 4 titles that were added late. Main titles like Action Comics, Superman and Justice League had its plans months before the reboot.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-05-31-dc-comics-reinvents_n.htm

Posted by ReVamp

@shadowknight666 said:

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

I'd buy it
Posted by feebadger

@sethysquare said:

@Icarusflies said:

@feebadger: And they just dropped a lot of storylines that were being set up (in Brightest Day even). My personal theory is that they decided somewhere in the middle of Flashpoint [which I think was originally going to be something very different]

@feebadger said:

@Icarusflies: @shadowknight666: I haven't read all of Flashpoint yet, but what you're saying makes perfect sense and also fills me with a sense of DREAD that the New 52 is, essentially, flying by the seat of its pants.

Don't think so. They had planned it since late 2010. Johns started building his Flash run towards it halfway through. Before Flashpoint even sold its first issue, they've already got all their teams settled. They asked the creators to pitch if they want a reboot or not. By April all 52 seires were set up. Flashpoint started in May and news of new 52 came out on may 2011. Its impossible to start planning for such a big scale event in one month. There were titles added "last minute" Titles like Batwing were only included in April. But this is one of the 4 titles that were added late. Main titles like Action Comics, Superman and Justice League had its plans months before the reboot.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-05-31-dc-comics-reinvents_n.htm

I definitely can see that the main titles were thought out and planned ahead of time, but i don;t believe that as much thought or foresight was placed on the secondary and auxiliary titles, the effects of which we're starting to see now with more cancellations and creative team shake ups. Don't get me wrong, i applaud DC for what they've done and to pull off what they have takes real courage and determination. I just think it's a pity that they seem so focussed on the grand notion of releasing 52 new issues instead of concentrating on ensuring that all the titles come out with the same level of quality and care.

Posted by sethysquare

@feebadger said:

@sethysquare said:

@Icarusflies said:

@feebadger: And they just dropped a lot of storylines that were being set up (in Brightest Day even). My personal theory is that they decided somewhere in the middle of Flashpoint [which I think was originally going to be something very different]

@feebadger said:

@Icarusflies: @shadowknight666: I haven't read all of Flashpoint yet, but what you're saying makes perfect sense and also fills me with a sense of DREAD that the New 52 is, essentially, flying by the seat of its pants.

Don't think so. They had planned it since late 2010. Johns started building his Flash run towards it halfway through. Before Flashpoint even sold its first issue, they've already got all their teams settled. They asked the creators to pitch if they want a reboot or not. By April all 52 seires were set up. Flashpoint started in May and news of new 52 came out on may 2011. Its impossible to start planning for such a big scale event in one month. There were titles added "last minute" Titles like Batwing were only included in April. But this is one of the 4 titles that were added late. Main titles like Action Comics, Superman and Justice League had its plans months before the reboot.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-05-31-dc-comics-reinvents_n.htm

I definitely can see that the main titles were thought out and planned ahead of time, but i don;t believe that as much thought or foresight was placed on the secondary and auxiliary titles, the effects of which we're starting to see now with more cancellations and creative team shake ups. Don't get me wrong, i applaud DC for what they've done and to pull off what they have takes real courage and determination. I just think it's a pity that they seem so focussed on the grand notion of releasing 52 new issues instead of concentrating on ensuring that all the titles come out with the same level of quality and care.

Well, I believe quite a large number of titles are planned ahead of time. True that there are some auxiliary titles that weren't planned properly. But think about it this way, at least this time, poorer titles will get canned faster and replaced with better titles, for instance I find all of the 2nd wave's titles very well planned and every one of them seemed really interesting. Better to have titles like Dial H and GI Joe than a whole bunch of titles with X-men, Avengers, FF and Spiderman. Didn't Thunderbolts just got renamed to Dark Avengers? Just how many Avengers titles do we really need?

Posted by Hawkeye446

With the new titles, I just tend to think that the character past is the same, unless the book states something else, in which I change my view. I still hold the old Batman stories to be true, which is amusing considering Two-Face isn't even "alive" yet..

Come on Harvey. Go insane already...

WOW. I wonder if they are going to do the whole Gang wars etc like they originally did... Perhaps they will change Two-Face's history... hmmm

Depends how much the book was. I wouldn't buy an encyclopaedia, too costly.