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Author Topic: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)  (Read 7115 times)

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Offline John C

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There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:13:23 PM »
For those who are somehow even behind me on the comic news curve (though I guess you folks in the Midwest might have an excuse), DC is apparently...uhm...

OK, first, and nearest-and-dearest to our hearts, I imagine, they're going digital:

http://skattertech.com/2011/06/dc-comics-announces-day-and-date-digital-distribution/

In simple English, starting in September, all DC books will be available digitally on the day of release.  This gives them parity with pirate versions except for the price, so I'm very interested to see how this affects (a) sales and (b) piracy.  I'm also interested in their distribution platform, of course.  Oh, and let's watch what happens to Diamond with a serious chunk of sales completely bypassing them.

But wait, as they say on commercials, that's not all!

Turns out that September will also see an end to the DCU for a full reboot. 

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-06-01-dc-comics-why-the-change_n.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-05-31-dc-comics-reinvents_n.htm

I see a surprising number of blatant missed opportunities, here, but I guess I'll see how it pans out.  However, c'mon, you're rebooting the entire thing and the best idea you had was to just use the same characters in pretty much the same situations?  And for such minimal changes, I really hate the Jim Lee designs.  Like, a lot.

Anyway, looks like strange things are afoot.  Or maybe just an ankle.

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There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« on: June 01, 2011, 04:13:23 PM »

Offline jfglade

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 04:48:08 PM »
 The thing that struck me as oddest was seeing Aquaman referenced as one of the "A listers," and I've been an Aquaman fan since the mid-fifties. It looks like Dido and company are hoping if they say something loudly enough, someone might believe it. Well, perhaps when all of the re-reinventing is over, we'll finally have an Aquaman I recognize again.

Offline Yoc

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 06:04:39 PM »
I haven't read any Marvel Ultimate but is this just a DC Ultimate reboot?
Sounds like just another lame year long 'event' with a twist.  I doubt it will discourage the pirates much who pride themselves on not only scanning them the day they come out but doing a 'superior' scan to anyone else.  If the DC scans were somehow free maybe then they'd stop.


Offline OtherEric

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 11:25:08 PM »
My reaction?  "Oh, good.  It's been nearly a year and a half since the last Legion of Super-Heroes #1, we're due." :P

Seriously:  This will be the SIXTH first issue of LSH.  And that's not counting annuals, spin-offs, when Superboy changed titles, the book based on the animated series, or the one time when the main book was simply started (at #1) as  "The Legion".  I personally think that, unlike all the other books, they should add up all the Legion numberings and have it be the only one with a high number.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 12:27:25 PM by OtherEric »

Offline philcom55

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 03:08:29 AM »
They probably think this will make a convenient 'jumping on' point for new readers. Fortunately it also makes a good 'jumping off' point for older ones!

 - Phil Rushton

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 05:35:08 AM »
I haven't read any Marvel Ultimate but is this just a DC Ultimate reboot?

I don't think so.  THAT was "Earth One," an imprint that was going to run in parallel reinventing the characters.  Or "All-Star," which was kind of the same thing with looser continuity between titles.

This appears to be a disregarding of the 1986-1994-2004-2005-2006-2011 world of partial reboots in favor of a replica of the Silver Age.  (Or, more likely, pushing "New Earth" to the background in favor of focusing on Earth 38b or whatever.)

Frankly, I don't think it's a terrible idea (and speaking to Phil's point), given that their existing audience is made up of dwindling old fogies like ourselves who they've been trying to keep buying through endless mega-events.  A genuine fresh start might kill the embedded base, but looking at those sales numbers, that's probably not so bad.

I just wish they'd done it sooner, rather than suffering through the fifteen or so years of trickling half-reboots, leading to the Superboy-less Legion, the Hawkman, Power Girl, and Green Lantern contortions, and so forth.  Also, doing it earlier would've meant no Jim Lee costumes...

I doubt it will discourage the pirates much who pride themselves on not only scanning them the day they come out but doing a 'superior' scan to anyone else.  If they scans were somehow free maybe then they'd stop.

I don't mean the scanners, because they seem to do it for their own pleasure.  I mean the downloaders, where I suspect a major factor is having to haul out to a comic shop half a week after "everybody else" has been talking about the story.

If DC is selling "0-Day" scans, then you can have them ready for your Wednesday morning commute, say, just like the pirated scans.  Is that enough?  Given an actual download, I'd much rather get a scan from the original art than some nameless consortium of scanners hiding behind pseudonyms.

My reaction?  "Oh, good.  It's been nearly a year and a half since the last Legion of Super-Heroes #1, we're due." :P

Ha!  Very true.

The thing that struck me as oddest was seeing Aquaman referenced as one of the "A listers," and I've been an Aquaman fan since the mid-fifties. It looks like Dido and company are hoping if they say something loudly enough, someone might believe it. Well, perhaps when all of the re-reinventing is over, we'll finally have an Aquaman I recognize again.

To be fair, Jon, that's exactly what happened with the Martian Manhunter.  In the early '80s, he was best remembered as "that green guy who showed up that time in JLA."  Today, even the old-timers scream when he's not the "heart and soul of the League," an idea mainly from the '90s.  Wildcat and the Red Tornado also climbed the ranks from obscurity or uselessness to at least B-Lister through repetition.

Only Aquaman and Wonder Woman seem resistant to that treatment.  I think they can fix both, but it's going to require dropping the alien-ness and royalty spins on the characters.  I think they both work best when they're basically cowboys, bringing "the American Way" to their particular corner of the world.  King Aquaman has made for all the silly revisions that exist solely to figure out why a king would skip out on his country to fight crime in Gotham City.

But what I find most shocking is that, wiping the slate entirely clean, the best thing they could come up with is the 1958 JLA lineup (no Charlton, Fawcett, Quality, or Milestone characters) with none of the ethnic diversity they keep claiming they want to see among the A-Listers.

Offline Roygbiv666

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 06:17:08 AM »
But, they have collars now:
http://everydayislikewednesday.blogspot.com/2011/05/breaking-dc-comics-news-every-costume.html

The problem is - who do they think are going to be buying these? If kids don't read comics, then how do they kids interested? I woudl think that the digital medium would be best - slap some free downloads on gaming websites or wherever kids (or maybe their parents) go online and then you hook them - like a drug pusher, the first one is free?

That said, I ordered a boatload of cheap DC ARchives, SHowcase Presents, and Marvel Essentials from mycomicshop.com a week or so ago.

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 06:48:26 AM »
Wow.  I never noticed, but even Superman's sleeve cuffs have little baby collars on them!  Awwww...

Heh.  Maybe they'll introduce a JSA where everybody has a bandolier and a useless pouch on his thigh.

Ahem.

If I had to guess (though there's no reason to expect that they have no idea what they're doing when it comes to selling comics), they'll do the free downloads you're thinking about, plus probably product placement.  With a re-rebooted Superman on its way, I wouldn't be surprised to find a scene written in with a kid reading the latest comics on his phone.

Offline narfstar

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 08:36:43 AM »
I think the immediate availability of digital is DC's look to the future and future audience. A true restart would look to capture the digital age audience. I think those of us in the old guard may be ignored which may or may not be good business. I think of this generation and it being the one that needs to be reached and they may be doing the right thing with a complete reboot. I think they may be going to start everything with NO continuity other than being recognizable to the movie audience. They may sacrifice a large percentage of their older audience but I think we are dwindling away anyway. They are looking to pick up a new young audience and keep them like they once kept us. I have become so lost that I stopped getting even JLA and JSA. If they are bold enough to really restart I may start getting them again. Think of not needing to know anything except enjoy the book in front of your face. If DC does it right I may be back in.

I think the problem with Ultimates was running concurrently with the regular. Having more than one version of the same character does not work.

Offline bchat

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 08:52:59 AM »
DC never used the word "reboot", they're relaunching titles.  Since they're revising their digital distribution so that the downloads are available the same day as the paper comics, it makes sense if the plan is to reach new readers, especially ones who will never enter a comic shop.  I would be surprised if DC doesn't, at that point, become more diligent regarding illegal scans, which would be directly affecting their income.

Offline paw broon

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2011, 01:52:56 PM »
Not for me, I'm afraid. I've no way of reading them except for the computer and that's not very comfortable. In any case, I'm confused with all these versions of old characters.  While I buy a few DC titles every month, most of my cash goes on old stuff.  Also, I'm not sure if kids will jump on.  It's almost too late.  By that I mean there are all sorts of other electronic things that younger folk seem to want.  Aren't comics, in whatever form, just a bit old hat for them?  I was really discouraged by things like the Charlton heroes being treated in such an awful way and other examples of that sort and the comics stories I long for are mostly in the past. 
Should just say that I enjoyed the early Ultimates till Millar's work totally sickened me.  And I don't enjoy Jim Lee's stuff.  Not a lot in any of this for me but, be sure, I'll be taking a look at these reboots.
Stephen Montgomery

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 04:17:01 PM »
I don't know if it's too late.  I mean, for how many decades did people tell us that books were dead--especially among kids--until that Potter kid came along?  Media only dies when its publishers stop evolving their sales models and/or refuse to publish things that people want to experience.

Look at newspapers.  In a world where unverified rumor spreads through social media at breakneck speed, newspapers have chosen to (a) pout and continue to print on paper and (b) close down all their foreign bureaus, decimate the reporting staff, ignore local stories, and increase the amount of unverified rumors and celebrity news that's already available for free and that nobody really cares about.  They have the worst of both worlds and wonder why nobody wants a subscription while costs rise.

Comics have been doing the same thing, complaining about pirated content instead of entering the digital world and clinging to what amounts to fan fiction (plot-less continuity rewrites of very old characters) in hopes of not alienating a declining handful of middle-aged and senior citizen readers who, incidentally, are the only people who can afford four bucks a comic.

I suspect it's not in the cards, but I think that what DC needs is to stop retelling origins (because none of them are interesting enough to see twice, and none are critical to understanding the character), stop pretending they're directing movies, and focus on short-term plots that advance characters incrementally.  I mean, seriously, reboot after reboot, and the JLA and JSA are still made of only characters originating at DC with only rare exceptions, and the only serious change to the status quo I can think of in fifty years has been Batman Incorporated.

I mean, if it helped JK Rowling get teenagers around the world to read something like ten thousand pages of unassigned prose, maybe there's a lesson or two to be taken from the books, even if they're "beneath" us.  Same for Twilight.

Ooh.  Soapbox.  I wondered what was making that sound.

By the way, Roy, I want to point out that as much as I don't like Jim Lee's designs, I'm thankful it's not Alex Ross.  "He calls himself Batman, so I've made him dress exactly like whatever the first Google image result was for bat.  Thankfully, it was the animal and not the sporting good.  And the Flash now wears a trenchcoat, which he throws open to use his powers."

Offline misappear

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 12:38:18 PM »
I look at this as an excellent quitting point. 

Offline OtherEric

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 01:21:23 PM »
I know I'm going to very carefully go over my list, assess what I want to keep reading and what I no longer care about.  And may add a few titles, depending on what they are.  But it will be the first time in YEARS I've gone over my whole list and really think about things.

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2011, 04:36:02 PM »
I see "jumping off" as a good thing for the stories.  I mean, the embedded fanbase (in which category the DC writers are included, and probably myself, too) has been responsible for pointless and arbitrary resurrections, bean-counting continuity, and the pretense that comics should be anything more important than disposable entertainment.

Drive a stake through our hearts, and follow it by bypassing the distributor monopoly (Diamond probably won't get a cut of digital sales, after all), and maybe there's a chance of seeing some new, fun stories instead of bringing in yet another Supergirl (this time f'r realsies), unearthing one more lame twist in Hal Jordan's induction as Green Lantern, or ultimate event that this time is really and truly going to fix the timeline.

Honestly, not only can I do without everything DC has introduced since 1990 or so (even though I was still reading fifteen years later), I also wouldn't want to reset the clock and keep reading new versions of those same stories.  I'm hoping DC is smart enough to not tread either path, no matter how many old-time fans quit.

Or maybe it'll be a second DC Implosion, and we'll be back to Superman-of-the-five-Kryptons, sociopathic Batman, and the Rainbow Lanterns by the new year...

(Now, if DC would maybe use this as an excuse to make the icons a bit more diverse and promote some of their acquired characters over the traditional second-stringers, I'd be a very happy customer.  That, sadly, doesn't look to be in the cards, though, so I'll probably just be dipping my toe in for a few issues to see whether or not it's a trainwreck.)