DC Hits the Reset Button

Morning, folks! I’m still running a slight fever, but I certainly feel well enough to do the minor job of bitching about things on the internet. It seems like I picked a good day to be sick, as it was a quiet day where nothing much happ–

On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.

DC Comics will only publish two comic books on August 31st: the final issue of this summer’s comic book mini-series FLASHPOINT and the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Johns and Lee, two of the most distinguished and popular contemporary comic book creators, who will be collaborating for the first time. Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.

Well, shit.


?First of all, let’s acknowledge this as the huge news it is, and it is huge. Not just the resetting of all its titles (and redesigns, and re-god knows what else), but also the fact that DC is going same-day-as-comic-stores digital with all its comic. Bendis tweeted that DC is fucking comic stores in the ass with this move, and they kind of are, but I think we all know this was inevitable. Comic stores are doomed, and have been for a long time — it’s sad, but there’s nothing to be done about this. By taking this plunge, DC has a chance to capture the digital market, which is the smartest, boldest move they’ve made in a long time. Well done to them, I say.

Likewise, resetting the whole damn DC universe is likewise a smart, bold move — we all know the biggest problem with modern American comics is that there’s too much back story, that they’re too daunting for new readers to get into — which is why Marvel’s Ultimate line worked so well (until it collapsed under the wait of its own history and nonsense).

However, I doubt I’m going to be alone when I say this is a tremendously stupid move as well. Not the digital part — I still say that’s brilliant — but resetting the entire DC universe actually fucks every hardcore DC fan in the ass, and at the moment those are the only people reading DC comics. It’s the same with Marvel, of course. The whole modern comics industry survives because of the people who have been reading each series for a decade-plus — and DC has just cast them off. Not in a cool Crisis on Infinite Earths way, but in a “we want younger readers and only younger readers way.”

And that’s what’s insane. DC is seemingly making no attempt to transition current readers into the new regime. It would be pretty easy — I mean, DC’s not shy about mega-crossover events or rebooting it’s own damn universe — but it seems like it’s just starting the fuck over. Maybe it would be less insane if I thought they had any plans whatsoever to actually get those new readers in place of the old ones, but I don’t think they do. Are these comics actually going to get in grocery stores? Will they be advertised on Cartoon Network? Will kids even know that they can pick up a Superman comic now and know what the fuck is going? Will they know where or how to get a comic if they don’t have an iPad? I doubt DC has figured any of that out, and thus DC is mainly just fucking itself in its ass. And the fact that this is being announced in June and begins in August just confirms that for me.

There are obviously some major questions that need to be answered — what the fuck happens to all the DC continuity now? Does it count? And what will Marvel do in response? — but right now I think that DC is doing something extremely smart in an extremely stupid way. If this were done right, it would be announced now and happen next year. DC would advertise the shit out of this new beginning to every kid with a computer so that the minute these new #1s came out, kids all over America would know when and where to get them. And there’d be a Crisis-type event that justifies — or at least explains — the total reset to help the DC faithful transition to the new order.

It doesn’t appear they’ve done any of that, and I am pretty sure it is going to bite them on the ass. Hard.