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Author Topic: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)  (Read 7113 times)

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Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2011, 06:46:44 AM »
Yoc, is it wrong that the plan suggested looks a lot more entertaining than anything I've ever seen from Marvel...?  I could go for Avengers Cleaning Staff, Iron Man, Too, But This One’s A Black Guy, and Ex-X-Men.  Maybe the Three Lieutenants Wolverine, too, but I'd have to hear who's writing...

Actually, from a business perspective, this would be Hell on profit projections, but I could see it hitting the right "addiction buttons" and gaining massive customer loyalty by producing single-issue stories that are never tied to an ongoing title.  You could apply a higher quality control standard, so that only the very best stories make it to shelves and they're not announced until they're done.

As for the DC relaunch, after running through the list, assuming I buy any at all (it's been a looong time, and I'm not sure I have the time to sit and read new books when there are so many old books unread here, for example), I see at least six that look either interesting in their own rights (Hawkman) or informative as to the ongoing plans (Action).  That could possibly drift as high as twenty, depending on my mood (and budget) come September, with the non-superhero books probably still nagging me to check them out.

But there's also a whole pile of books (anything written by an artist, most of the Bat-glut, the Wildstorm inserts, and about half the "fan favorite" solo character books) that, wow, how'd they ever green light them?  I mean, I realize that somebody at DC loves Green Arrow and he's never, ever going away, but Deathstroke!?  Gah!

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2011, 06:46:44 AM »

Offline KevinP

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2011, 09:32:58 PM »
I'm sure they understand that #1 issues sell better than double digits.  But don't they remember how successful this was when Lee did the same thing for Marvel with Onslaught?

Two of my few favorite DCs are changing for the worse.  Batgirl is now Barbara Gordon again.  That's not bad in itself, except that it removes one of their most unique characters, Oracle, and I really like the Stephanie Brown Batgirl, one of the few DC books with a sense of humor and usually not involved in universe-saving summer events.  Major Spoilers just took a poll and the votes for BG-Oracle over BG-Batgirl won by a landslide.   

Hawkman is being renamed the Savage Hawkman and wearing wolverine-claws.  The editors are telling us that Hawkman, who now kills and maims routinely, was always a bad tempered character.  In the 80s he didn't get along with Green Arrow, but that's it.  And of course, Green Arrow and that ambassador of peace and love, Wonder Woman, are killers now.

All their series are starting over, but the Justice League, Robin, the Teen Titans, John Stewart, Guy Gardner and the rainbow Lanterns are already in place?  There are 52 new titles, so I'll be saving ... let's see, 52 x 2.99 ...

"Stories are signposts to help the world choose between the darkness and the light." ~Arago

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2011, 05:54:05 AM »
I'll just float the idea that, while Oracle was important, today, she's a little dated.  She reminds me of all the Victorian characters whose amazing abilities come from Mesmerism or all the Atomic-powered heroes in the '50s.  Now that everybody knows what the Internet is, Oracle can pretty much be replaced by Facebook and "Cyberspace" is only a thing when the government is trying to scare you into giving them more power.  So it's probably time to move her along before people start wondering why it takes her a building full of hardware to look stuff up for people.

I am getting less interested as we get closer, though, and it's looking more like Crisis on Infinite Earths:  It's a complete restart, except for a lot of stuff the writers decided they want to keep, so Superman is just debuting as the first superhero ever, but bunches of heroes have lived, died, and been resurrected in recent years.  So all seventy years of continuity are still in effect, except random swaths that have been changed to different degrees.  That's...less of a jumping-on point, I think.

I'm also seeing a few interviews with editors saying "we're fans first," which does not fill me with confidence.

Offline Roygbiv666

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2011, 07:10:11 AM »
...
I am getting less interested as we get closer, though, and it's looking more like Crisis on Infinite Earths:  It's a complete restart, except for a lot of stuff the writers decided they want to keep, so Superman is just debuting as the first superhero ever, but bunches of heroes have lived, died, and been resurrected in recent years.  So all seventy years of continuity are still in effect, except random swaths that have been changed to different degrees. ...

Exactly. Can you imagine tuning into your favourite TV show mid-season, but the writers have decided to change some stuff, but not other stuff , and the story is "already in progress". WTH?

I think the problem wasn't with Crisis (although is was unnecessary), its that they didn't take that opportunity to restart all their story-telling. If I were running a shared universe superhero comic book company (yeah, right), I'd likely restart everything every 25 years or so.

Offline jfglade

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2011, 08:40:11 PM »
 If a Camel is a horse built by a committee, what do you call a Universe built by editorial decree?

Offline JVJ

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2011, 08:45:39 PM »
If a Camel is a horse built by a committee, what do you call a Universe built by editorial decree?
I'll take a stab: A Disaster?

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Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2011, 05:33:22 AM »
Exactly. Can you imagine tuning into your favourite TV show mid-season, but the writers have decided to change some stuff, but not other stuff , and the story is "already in progress". WTH?

To be fair, that has also happened...

The problem I see with this isn't the storytelling problem.  I can figure out the new status quo quickly enough, and I'm sure any reader who cares can, too, especially with fans hammering it out on the Internet.

My problem is that it shows a lack of professionalism.  "Everything is new without the shackles of continuity...except for Blackest Night (and a hundred or so other stories), because we all agreed that story was wicked cool!!"  It makes them as easy to take seriously as the woman I met once who explained that she was a strict vegetarian, except that she had bacon every day.

I think the problem wasn't with Crisis (although is was unnecessary), its that they didn't take that opportunity to restart all their story-telling. If I were running a shared universe superhero comic book company (yeah, right), I'd likely restart everything every 25 years or so.

Well, the goal of Crisis notwithstanding, they weren't trying to mainstream comics at that point, and they didn't want to kill off the top-selling books like New Teen Titans.  Really, if you think about it, the new DC Universe then was created entirely to support that ecosystem, in a way, except somehow for Wonder Woman.

And, of course, the actual goal of Crisis wasn't really to clean up history.  I forget the exact issue number, but there's an old Green Lantern letter column where a fan takes the writers to task (jokingly) for having Hal not recognize...oh, some space hero, when the two met in Showcase #100 where every previous Showcase star participated.

The response (by Marv Wolfman) berates the guy for taking that other story seriously, explaining that it couldn't possibly have happened in the "canon" DCU because it included characters like Binky.  Apparently, teenagers without powers (or angst) should exist in Marv's version of comics, and he mentions that he has a master plan for getting DC to outline what is and is not part of the "DC canon."

So that's what Crisis was for:  Killing Binky and His Buddies.  Over time, it changed to paring down the Infinite Earths to finite Earths (1, 2, S, X, and sometimes 4), then became a unified history and reboot...except for the popular franchises, and with miscommunication about what, exactly, that meant, over the course of the year's publishing.

My thinking is that DC, especially, should be handled the way the main characters were handled during the transition between Golden and Silver Ages:  When you make changes and find a status quo that's popular, then...what, no, Kryptonians were never super while they were on Krypton.

Eliminate the old version from all the new books, and move forward from there, without wondering how this changes other characters.

I suspect that's what was happening in the late '60s, actually.  Martian Manhunter becomes a superspy, Wonder Woman becomes a martial artist fashion plate, Superman loses some of his powers, and so forth.  Had they not bailed on every single change, I have a feeling each of them would've gotten new origins by 1972 or so, and just pushed on.

Offline Roygbiv666

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2011, 05:38:04 AM »
Exactly. Can you imagine tuning into your favourite TV show mid-season, but the writers have decided to change some stuff, but not other stuff , and the story is "already in progress". WTH?

To be fair, that has also happened...
...

Which show was that? Star Trek Voyage "Year from Hell"?


...
My thinking is that DC, especially, should be handled the way the main characters were handled during the transition between Golden and Silver Ages:  When you make changes and find a status quo that's popular, then...what, no, Kryptonians were never super while they were on Krypton.

Eliminate the old version from all the new books, and move forward from there, without wondering how this changes other characters.


I suppose, but some people will insist on wondering. I think I'd restart from scratch periodically. That way, every character could age and have a final adventure, but still get to be around the following year. You get to scrape of the barnacles that build up on a character.

Offline KevinP

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2011, 11:32:47 PM »
Exactly. Can you imagine tuning into your favourite TV show mid-season, but the writers have decided to change some stuff, but not other stuff , and the story is "already in progress". WTH?


Do you watch EUREKA?
"Stories are signposts to help the world choose between the darkness and the light." ~Arago

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2011, 05:16:17 AM »
Exactly. Can you imagine tuning into your favourite TV show mid-season, but the writers have decided to change some stuff, but not other stuff , and the story is "already in progress". WTH?
To be fair, that has also happened...
...
Which show was that? Star Trek Voyage "Year from Hell"?

I'd prefer not to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.  Actually, I can't recall the show names, but I remember that feeling with sitcoms during the '90s a few times.  New cast, new city, just missing a new name.

To lesser degrees, you have shows like "The Human Target," more recently, where the series went from "an action movie every week" to "let's focus on a new character and her relationships."  But I'm not bitter...

My thinking is that DC, especially, should be handled the way the main characters were handled during the transition between Golden and Silver Ages:  When you make changes and find a status quo that's popular, then...what, no, Kryptonians were never super while they were on Krypton.
Eliminate the old version from all the new books, and move forward from there, without wondering how this changes other characters.

I suppose, but some people will insist on wondering. I think I'd restart from scratch periodically. That way, every character could age and have a final adventure, but still get to be around the following year. You get to scrape of the barnacles that build up on a character.

I see the value in that, and I do think that characters should be evolving, if they want to grow an audience.  Making changes just to return to a status quo nobody understand just gets frustrating, after all.

Just looking at the current situation, though, people get mightily ticked off at a full reboot, and it doesn't seem worth the bad press.  Meanwhile, a super-special origin issue where Diana Prince trains with I-Ching to become Wonder Woman (without ever mentioning Paradise Island) would have made the New Wonder Woman change "permanent" (to the extent that's possible in comics) and retroactive, just like Jor-El with the sun on his tunic completely negated super-strong Jor-L.

What I mean is that it's cleaner to say this is the way it's always been.  The stuff you remember must have been on a parallel Earth or something.

Offline narfstar

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2011, 05:48:29 AM »
We are the reason changes can not take place without reboots. It is the die hard fans who insist on some form of continuity/reality to our fantasy worlds.

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #41 on: June 20, 2011, 03:52:57 PM »
We are the reason changes can not take place without reboots. It is the die hard fans who insist on some form of continuity/reality to our fantasy worlds.

I agree, except that requires...how can I put this without alienating a bunch of people?  It requires a group of writers and editors who can divorce themselves from their nostalgic memories of the books they read growing up from the job they have to do in creating new books for others to read.  Far too many are "fans first," and that makes them just as obstructionist as we might be.

For a realistic example, I'm suggesting something like the writers getting together and saying that "Batman Incorporated" has been fun and successful, and from now on, there was never a single Batman, and Wayne has dozens of agents around the world.

It lets you "test drive" the new continuity before committing to it, takes much less planning, writer and fan buy-in is easier, since it's pushing to something that's realized, and you've probably already shaken loose the people who didn't like the update, making it (hopefully) easier to get new readers in.

Offline narfstar

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2011, 08:05:37 PM »
They are running a Showcase type title DC Universe Presents or something. They can still continue the Elseworlds concept to bring in new ideas then perpetuate the successful like you suggest.

Offline John C

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2011, 04:07:03 PM »
Hopefully.  However, since the initial announcements, I notice that they're veering much closer to "tinkering with continuity and renumbering," as if there's some magic, ideal combination of historical events that will draw readers with disposable income to comics.

Under circumstances like that, I doubt that DCU Presents (or whatever it's called by launch) is going to have any long-term effects other than "relaunching" characters that a handful of readers remember fondly.

I'm starting to think (and this might be evidenced by my previous comments, but is only crystallizing for my now) that the big problem is that writers (and fans) have this idea that Continuity is some sort of top-down restrictive force that prevents bad (or good) stories from being written.  Everything must be slotted into a unified timeline and any inconsistencies should be "fixed" in a story.

More useful and approachable would be for continuity to be synthetic, being what happens when diverse people start getting together and comparing notes.  It comes from the stories, not crammed in.

And if it sometimes seems inconsistent?  Eh.  Imagine a coworker starting a story with, "when I was in community college," and immediately strapping him to a chair and shining a lamp in his face because you KNOW his resume says he graduated from Harvard.  Obviously, only one can possibly be correct and you immediately need to find out which, right?  No...?

Offline philcom55

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Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2011, 07:52:28 AM »
Actually I still think Julius Schwartz's Earth-One/Earth-Two concept was the most effective solution to the perennial problem of universes that become outdated and overburdened with continuity. All that really needs to be added is the notion that a brand new Earth One is born into the multiverse every twenty years, making the old Earth One the new Earth Two, the old Earth Two the new Earth Three, and so on ad infinitum...!

One example of a character who's been ruined by the accumulation of piecemeal revisions over the years is poor old Rip Hunter. Personally I'd love to see him reverting to a straightforward scientist-adventurer on the verge of taking his first Time-Sphere for its maiden flight, along with his friends Jeff, Bonnie and Corky (well, OK maybe the names would need a little work!). If I never heard of the Linear-Men again it'd still be too soon!

 - Phil Rushton
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 07:56:09 AM by philcom55 »