Digital Comic Museum

General Category => Comic Related Discussion => Topic started by: John C on June 01, 2011, 04:13:23 PM

Title: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: jfglade 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: Yoc 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.

Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: OtherEric 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: philcom55 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
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: Roygbiv666 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: narfstar 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: bchat 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: paw broon 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: John C 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."
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: misappear on June 03, 2011, 12:38:18 PM
I look at this as an excellent quitting point. 
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: OtherEric 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: John C 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.)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: Roygbiv666 on June 03, 2011, 05:12:02 PM
Just to be accurate, DC Comics says this is a relaunch, not a reboot:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2011-05-31-dc-comics-reinvents_n.htm
http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/01/a-note-from-the-dc-comics-co-publishers-we-hate-secrets/

Strangely, on the one hand I don't see the appeal of a "#1" issue, but on the other hand, I hate the idea of not letting Action and Detective continue on with their numbering. Numbers aren't magical, but, apparently, numbers are magical.

I really don't want to write off DC because they are trying something, and maybe with a digital platform they can get new readers with free preview/downloads on other sites, etc.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: narfstar on June 03, 2011, 07:21:22 PM
My view seems to mirror yours John. Throw the baby out with the bathwater it's done drowned anyway. Does DC have the marketing rights to the Icon characters? If not that would be a reason not to use them. I would like to see DC have some distinct era imprints. JSA, Sgt Rock, Haunted Tank, etc set in the 1940's. Then have the JLA characters as the mainstays of today but more true to their original selves as they evolved into the seventies but not too much beyond when things got different. I would not mind seeing the Quality characters integrated with the JSA. The Charlton characters should be on their own earth and be in on an annual convergence that allows them to crossover with the JLA. Fawcett and MLJ characters could be on their own earth and crossover with the JSA annually. Then the other character imprint for later introduced characters. I would really like to see the Charlton and MLJ characters returned to more than being in name only.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: John C on June 04, 2011, 07:58:31 AM
Sorry, Narf, signals got crossed.  My fault.  When I said "diversity among the icons," I meant that the JLA looks like the same bunch of white kids they were back when a non-white character was hard to pass through the CCA.  That's distinct from Milestone (with the character Icon), which they own lock, stock, and barrel, but nobody has ever heard of the characters.

What stops Hal Jordan or Barry Allen from being black, for example?  There's nothing particularly "white" about them, whatever that may mean.  Other ethnicities would be more difficult if keeping the classic identities, since there are very few Korean or Brazilian Arthur Curries, but if that's an acceptable loss, or if marketing thinks that "mixed" parentage is acceptable to the readers, why not go for it?  Take a stand and stop coasting on Tony Isabella creating Black Lightning decades ago or replacing the "real icon" with a minority that one time.

On the other side, there's the cross-company integration.  What I mean is that it's tiring to see the Quality characters lumped together as the Freedom Fighters over and over again (and Fawcett characters exiled to a city nobody visits, and Charlton characters ignored, and...you get the idea) when a few of them have much better publishing records than Green Arrow, the Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, and a few other "important" JLAers.

Seriously, if you're going to relaunch, why sit on characters who sold really well in the '40s?  The only reason I can come up with is that they're afraid to use anything in the public domain, but that'd be a really stupid policy when the Superman copyright only has a couple more decades left...

(I don't want to get too detailed on this.  I have a half-finished project in this vein that may one day see the light of day, and have given this particular issue a lot of thought.  So past a certain point, I'd never be able to shut up.  As opposed to my usual laconic state...)

And Roy, I agree.  Numbering is generally nonsense, but for a title that could hit four digits in a few years, it's a little sad to say, "nah, we'll just start over."  I'm guessing that, in a few months (if not immediately), they'll do a dual-numbering thing like on Adventure.  Then, the marketing people are happy as are the history people.  Because no matter what they're doing in relaunch-land, those are numbers worth celebrating, no matter how shoddy the product might have been at times.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again
Post by: Roygbiv666 on June 04, 2011, 08:04:24 AM
And Roy, I agree.  Numbering is generally nonsense, but for a title that could hit four digits in a few years, it's a little sad to say, "nah, we'll just start over."  I'm guessing that, in a few months (if not immediately), they'll do a dual-numbering thing like on Adventure.  Then, the marketing people are happy as are the history people.  Because no matter what they're doing in relaunch-land, those are numbers worth celebrating, no matter how shoddy the product might have been at times.

Maybe that's the magic part - it lasted 900 issues, bi-otches! I've never been a tradition for tradition's sake, but I think having that explicit indicator of history is important to keep.
Title: DC renumbering
Post by: CharlieRock on June 05, 2011, 10:18:40 AM
As of September DC announced it is going to renumber all (or at least 52) of their titles to #1 and reboot the universe. Pros and cons of reboots aside ... I liked that Action Comics and Detective Comics were around #900  :-[
Title: Re: DC renumbering
Post by: Roygbiv666 on June 05, 2011, 10:21:12 AM
As of September DC announced it is going to renumber all (or at least 52) of their titles to #1 and reboot the universe. Pros and cons of reboots aside ... I liked that Action Comics and Detective Comics were around #900  :-[

Oh, a sense of history which indicates at least some level of quality enough to survive for close to 100 years isn't important compared with  ... #1! Or is that sarcasm? Yes, it's sarcasm.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on June 05, 2011, 10:37:57 AM
Charlie I merged your thread with John's existing one on the same topic.

-Yoc
'Good Housekeeping Monkey
Title: Gutters comments on DC relaunch
Post by: Yoc on June 05, 2011, 10:42:07 AM
Pulled from a Yahoo group -
Quote
For those unfamiliar with the work, the-gutters.com posts one page comic-book format tongue-in-cheek commentaries on the current state of the comic book industry, as drawn by some of the current professionals in the industry.  Today's Captain Marvel/Superman episode comments on the next planned reboot of the DCU.

-Daniel

This is the first I've heard of Gutters but I plan to read more.

This about sums it all up - in a rather crude way.  
Suddenly I'm seeing Gaines on the stand "is this good taste?  For a web comic it's in good taste, yes.."

http://www.the-gutters.com/comic/145-scott-cohn (http://www.the-gutters.com/comic/145-scott-cohn)

The episode about Spiderman's reboot in 'One Moment in Time' back in Aug 2010 is pretty funny too -
http://www.the-gutters.com/comic/31-paul-southworth (http://www.the-gutters.com/comic/31-paul-southworth)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 11, 2011, 07:26:03 AM
New information is out, and it...looks like a mixed bag, honestly, in every interpretation of that phrase:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/10/those-52-issue-one-solicitations-in-full/

First off, whoever designed Supergirl's costume needs to have a sit-down with Jim Lee, because he managed to take all the crappy details of the Superman redesign and turn it into something that doesn't look like it was drawn during middle school study hall.  I mean, the bare thighs (and knees) are awkward, and I blush a bit seeing the pentagon in the nether-regions, but it's otherwise a nice-looking outline.  On the other hand, another article I saw showed the George Perez Superman which...actually manages to look worse than the Jim Lee version.  Sheesh.

Second, it looks like there's indeed a reboot, based on the various references to a sudden growing presence of superbeings, a few "old" characters who appear to be completely new, and the smattering of Wildstorm.

On the other hand, a lot of other titles reek of tangled continuity, like four human Green Lanterns in various positions throughout the Corps and Batman Incorporated.

Things that strike me as particularly good moves include an Aquaman who's not an Atlantean king (though I'd prefer it retroactive), a Wonder Woman whose role is to protect us from the gods, a showcase book (DCU Presents), scrapping and restarting Hawkman as something more modern, and the first time I've ever seen a Black Canary story sound interesting.  That's not to mention making some actual use of the Milestone, Charlton, and Quality IP in the forms of Static, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and the Blackhawks.

The Legion books also sound surprisingly interesting.  And breaking down the walls of the Vertigo Ghetto is nice, too, even if it does sound like it's spawning another "team of grumpy loners" book.

The bad includes Batman overload (eleven titles?  That's more than a fifth of them!) with what seems to be maintaining the very tangled continuity they wanted to avoid, the conspicuous retention of outdated and boring characters like Nightwing, Deathstroke, and (ugh) Harley Quinn (note:  All Batman-franchise characters, no less), a lot of anti-heroes and criminal heroes (Green Arrow, Grifter, the Titans, Red Lanterns), and a little too heavy a reliance on "fan favorite" writers.  I don't begrudge anybody enjoying Grant Morrison, Tony Bedard, or Gail Simone, but I don't think any of them has mainstream the appeal DC needs.

Given the lack of JSA/Marvel Family presence (with the exception of Mr. Terrific), I'm guessing the Golden Age has been exiled to a new Earth-2, which has its good points and bad.

Overall, though, it looks like it's not the terrible effort I was expecting.  As I said, I would've liked to see some more diversity among the "big guns" (no, Cyborg doesn't count), both in terms of ethnicity and company origins, but it still looks like a better starting point than Crisis or Zero Hour left the readers with.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: OtherEric on June 11, 2011, 11:56:10 AM
The more I hear, the more I have to respect what DC is trying to do here.  While I don't know that they have the right plan to save comics, they're quite clearly approaching this on an organized, across the board, all-in level.  I've heard they're planning TV ads as part of their promotional drive on this, for example.  And although it hasn't gotten much attention yet, same-day digital across the board is a good idea, or at least better than trickling out random books.  As part of that, while I don't personally like the restarting of Action and Detective, I will concede it's something that makes sense to show that this is a full-blown starting point. 
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on June 11, 2011, 01:34:32 PM
The more I hear, the more I have to respect what DC is trying to do here.  While I don't know that they have the right plan to save comics, they're quite clearly approaching this on an organized, across the board, all-in level.  I've heard they're planning TV ads as part of their promotional drive on this, for example.  And although it hasn't gotten much attention yet, same-day digital across the board is a good idea, or at least better than trickling out random books.  As part of that, while I don't personally like the restarting of Action and Detective, I will concede it's something that makes sense to show that this is a full-blown starting point. 


So, is this turning people on or off? From DC Comics, that is.

It might be a good point to jump in ...
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 11, 2011, 03:12:51 PM
Don't know, Roy, but I can tell you that this is the first time I'm looking at a comic book company and it resembling a business, rather than a treehouse or money-laundering scheme.

While a lot of what they're doing is definitely not what I would've liked to see, I think it's got a better chance to catch on--even with embedded fans, once they get used to it--than anything else they've done.

I think my big fear, at this point, is that 2012 will see the start of a bunch of rewrites of old stories to bring back all the story elements lost in the transition.  There's nothing sadder than another five issues asking Who the #$%^ Donna Troy Is This Time? or introducing Supergirl (I know, bad example) to the DCU for the fiftieth time.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: OtherEric on June 11, 2011, 03:38:54 PM
Well said, John.  We'll see how it works, as is I'm grabbing about 15 of the books to start.  But 10 of those are tentative depending on how the first 2/3 issues go.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on June 11, 2011, 06:28:35 PM
Here's a funny blog parody of the DC relaunch - Marvel Style.
http://www.againwiththecomics.com/2011/06/marvel-to-relaunch-entire-line-publish.html

It made me laugh a few times.
-Yoc
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: boox909 on June 11, 2011, 09:54:40 PM
Here's a funny blog parody of the DC relaunch - Marvel Style.
http://www.againwiththecomics.com/2011/06/marvel-to-relaunch-entire-line-publish.html

It made me laugh a few times.
-Yoc

As a guy that told his retailer to cancel all of the DC titles on my pull list due to their silly reboot, this is a riot Yoc!!!  :D :D :D
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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!
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP 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 ...

Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: jfglade 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?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: JVJ 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?

(|:{>
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP 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?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar 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.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C 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...?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 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
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 24, 2011, 03:55:14 PM
I like the multiple-Earth approach, too, Phil, but there's an entire generation of readers that's been brainwashed into thinking it was "too complicated."  They don't realize that most of the complications didn't appear until AFTER Crisis on Infinite Earths or out of fan-written literature.

For example, people still complain about Earth-B (stories from The Brave and the Bold from Bob Haney that didn't fit mainstream continuity) and Earth-E (stories where Superman and Batman were in their primes in the '50s), even though I don't think anybody mentioned either one "officially" at DC until the '90s (or took it seriously, if they did).  And the "Absolute Edition" of Crisis has a listing of Earths that's complete nonsense, including bunches of imaginary stories numbered by publication date, which...huh!?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 on June 24, 2011, 04:14:32 PM
Yes, I thought the Earth Two scenario worked perfectly when it was used sparingly - limited to the annual JLA/JSA 'Crisis' and occasional issues of Flash. I certainly didn't have any trouble with the idea when I first came across it as a wide-eyed eight-year-old!

 - Phil Rushton
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 25, 2011, 06:30:12 AM
Yep.  At about the same age (warning:  dating myself), the local convenience store was out of Batman comics (the only thing I bought at the time), so I picked up what looked like the next-best thing, a book called "Justice League of America," which had a tiny headshot of Batman on the cover.

It was third of five parts of "Crisis on Earth Prime," which included four Earths (counting Earth-3), three decades, at least four timelines, plenty of real-world history that was above my head, and copious use of the Limbo dimension.  Oh, and the story was interrupted by the I-didn't-know-it-was-unrelated Masters of the Universe preview in another dimension, as I recall.

Even coming in at the middle of the story, I wasn't confused.  On the contrary, I was hooked, especially on the Justice Society.  I stopped buying Batman to get All-Star Squadron, picked up JLA during the crossovers, learned about comic stores and back issues, expanded to Infinity, Inc., and older books that worked with the alternate Earths, and basically spent far more money on comics than I ever would have otherwise.

Oh, and for years, I waited for the story about FDR being revealed as a robot, because I grossly misinterpreted Zatanna's comment in "Crisis on Earth-Prime" that "that man is electric!"  OK, so the story was a LITTLE confusing...
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar on June 25, 2011, 07:12:36 AM
I agree that there was no fan confusion until after the Crisis. At eight it was easy to understand.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: paw broon on June 30, 2011, 04:44:59 AM
Never had any trouble with Earth 1 - Earth 2 crossovers, or the concept, but then, I did read a lot of s.f when much younger.  I remember the excitement on seeing all those heroes, many of whom were strange to me at the time, and wanting more, much more.  Even at Crisis, I wasn't confused, just amazed that DC could kill off those heroes.  And I enjoyed it and waited eagerly for the next issue.  Unfortunately, it all fell to bits quite quickly after that and for me, a lot of the magic was gone.
Out with some pals yesterday, I was not surprised to hear from them (all comics fans) that the #1's would be a good point to jump off, not on. And that digital would really hurt smaller comic shops here.  Most of them wait for tpb's and that in itself is a sign of trouble for shops as these guys will buy from Amazon, rather than a comic shop.  But if the European model could be adopted and G.N's became the norm, could it be the saviour of small comic shops and a huge boost for comics?  In France, for example, despite FNAC and Amazon, comic shops survive and can thrive, with shelves loaded with graphic novels.  Although the American offer might need to be expanded to include a bigger proportion of other subjects.
I'm off to my lcs this afternoon and hope to find out a bit more opinion from the other side of the counter.

Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 30, 2011, 05:30:04 AM
I'm actually a big fan of a "just the trade" model.  It gives space for the story, lets you play a little loose with deadlines, and is more economical for everybody involved.

Actually, if I were DC, I might be inclined to try something extreme, especially with digital sales:  Use the Showcase format on a monthly basis.

Imagine if those fifty-two comics were organized and packaged into two or three five-hundred page volumes for maybe thirty bucks apiece, published on cheap paper, no color.  If you want color (and some sort of "active content" like a DVD commentary explaining references and helping you buy the referenced comics), that's your three bucks (minus a discount for buying the paperback) for the digital version.

If an artist can't make the deadline for this month's Green Lantern, then "by special demand," you run a fun old story from the archives to fill the space.

It still kills the local comic shop, but...I don't know, I find it hard to mourn the places.

(Overlong rant?  Sure, I'd love one!)

I don't know what it's like anywhere else in the world, but in the suburban sprawl of New York, even the best of them are creepy, creepy places.  The windows are usually covered up, making you think it's either a mob front or a porn shop.  Neither instinct is proven wrong when you open the door to harsh fluorescent light and typically posters of half-naked women and/or people having various body parts severed (drawn, of course, because who would want to look at an ACTUAL woman?).  Then you walk past the counter of unhelpful nerds, the forest of trading cards and video games, and the labyrinth of action figures and what might be X-Rated anime, for all I know, and you get to the comics.

The comic racks/shelves/flats are, of course, not designed for a mere mortal to shop.  You can't really browse unless you're willing (and permitted) to actually pick up and flip through every single comic, because nobody has the time to indicate what might be worth reading.

Or, if it's an older shop, you can walk further back (past the poster fortress and the highly suspect magazine rack) to the back issues, where you spend an afternoon hunched over looking like an ape-man pawing at the 2001 monolith to find a book that...well, that's not really browsable, either.  If you don't know what you're looking for, you're basically judging books by their covers hundreds of times over.

To top it off, between them and the publishers is Diamond, forcing books off the shelves by hiding their announcements or refusing to carry them and basically manipulating sales by their very organization, deciding who gets more space devoted to the pitches.

And it occurs to me that a situation like that is never going to help get new readers into the system, because it takes a hardcore fan to push their way all the way in to where you make the sale.  It's harsh, and I don't like the idea of putting people out of business, but maybe it's time to let them pass.  I don't think there's money to reinvent them with natural light, open spaces, tasteful decoration, and helpful staff.

However, if there's a way to fix them and make it profitable, I'll point out that I have an independent book store about a quarter mile from my house.  In a space about the size of a typical Barnes & Noble that they've been in for decades, they've survived the chain megastores a few miles away and the Internet.  The place is always busy, so "digital sales will kill the local comic shop" isn't necessarily going to be true.  The local comic shop just needs to figure out how to be more valuable to customers than the competition.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP on June 30, 2011, 07:34:33 AM
And it occurs to me that a situation like that is never going to help get new readers into the system, because it takes a hardcore fan to push their way all the way in to where you make the sale.  It's harsh, and I don't like the idea of putting people out of business, but maybe it's time to let them pass. 

I have a radical idea.  Start writing comics at a kid's level again, but not dumbed down so adults can't enjoy them.  Eliminate gratutous deaths, sex scenes, dark gritty heroes and mega events.  Have a complete and satisfying story in each issue.  Get some writers with ideas instead of fight scenes and emotional confrontations.  Make the heroes uncomplicated and likeable (see the Marvel movies for hints).   Package them as cheaply as possible and sell them at supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores  and walmarts. 
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 on June 30, 2011, 07:50:08 AM
I have to confess that I've never really felt at home with TPBs and Graphic Novels (or 'Big Comics' as Alan Moore calls them). I grew up with traditional American comic books and the British weekly anthologies like Eagle and Valiant, and still prefer the originals to any modern glossy reprint. Unfortunately the publishers seem to have gone out of their way in recent years to make their monthly installments as unappealing as possible. In the old days a single issue of Justice League of America could be relied upon to contain a complete story with a proper beginning, middle and end (or on special occasions - that genuinely were special - half of an epic two-parter). Now, however, a single issue has no structure at all and seems instead to be just a garish, overpriced pamphlet designed to give a 'taster' of the forthcoming TPB - and even the end of a six-issue arc turns out to be just an excuse for a cliffhanger that is bigger than ever! In addition to which one also has to put up with those annoying in-house story 'previews' which are repeated in every one of that month's titles!

Of course there are exceptions but it sometimes seems as though DC and Marvel are hoping that people will buy the comic books just to read (and throw away) and the subsequent collections to keep - thereby selling every story twice over! Certainly I've noticed that the back-issue market in comic books from the last decade or so has all-but collapsed - implying that people no longer see them as collectible items at all... :-[

...OK, Rant over!  :)

 - Phil Rushton
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on June 30, 2011, 09:01:40 AM
I'm enjoying this topic.  We're getting some fun ideas out there.
I'm with John about TPBs.  But this is the only way I'm seeing anything new as that's all my local library carries.  I just finished reading Planetary 1 TBP (issues 1-6).  An interesting concept I'll continue to follow.
It does seem that some single issues feel very short on story and pages but Phil, you might enjoy some of the old Alan Moore ABC books like Tom Strong where usually each issue was a self contained story.  That series had a real SilverAge fun feel to them.  And the Strong family felt a bit like a Marvel Family book without all the super powers but still all the same fun.
So there are some books out there worth reading but as John says, FINDING THEM seems to be the real problem and with Diamond in full control that might not be possible if you only want the paper versions.  Digital editions might be the best way to get book of ALL kinds out to the public without having to go through Diamond.  That sounds like a good thing to me.  Perhaps not to the LCS but hey, maybe they'll have to learn how to do a better job of things to keep alive.  Weed out the crappy stores and those that remain might be something special worth visiting.
All just my humble opinion.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: paw broon on June 30, 2011, 11:25:52 AM
Yes, indeed, an interesting and thoughtful topic.  And I wonder if I'm starting to change my opinion re digital.  Problem is, I don't have any way of reding them except on a computer screen and I find that uncomfortable after a while and slabs are so expensive.  Comic shops, or stores as you call them, it's interesting to hear what they're like in some places.  On Comics UK recently someone was sounding off about a comic shop in Glasgow - no names, no pack drill - but any local fan, i.e. me and a few others knew right away what shop it was and the description fits the N.Y ones.
I'm fortunate that my lcs is in a smaller town, is relatively new, small, clean and the owner is a decent bloke.  However with Diamond  supplying him and his lack of space, there are often titles that don't appear and he sticks to mainstream unless it's a special order for a customer. 
Today, having seen what DC are doing with Black Canary, Birds of Prey and Zatanna, I've cancelled them when the  renumbering starts.
On tpb's, I was given a loan of Winter Soldier and with some trepidation, started to read and , you know, it's not bad.  And that despite my ranting on about Bucky not being dead.  It wasn't that good that I'd start buying the monthly, though.  Like some of you, I can find volumes in my local library.
I've been singing the praises of Planetary since it started and will continue to do so.  For once something modern which is well written, nicely illustrated and this is made to be read in a collection. Another example would be Jack Staff, which is great fun and a bit strange. Or League of Extraordinary Gwntlemen, which I only read in collections. I like graphic novels, especially many French and Belgian ones.  It's a shame that more aren't translated into English, as that h/b with good paper is a package that works.  Doesn't stop me being a fan of flimsies like those you mention, Phil, or American pamphlets - well, older ones anyway.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on June 30, 2011, 12:14:34 PM
I've been a fan of Fables since issue 1 only reading them in collections.
I was 100% behind the series though since the Dark Man has shown up it feels like it's slipped a bit in quality.
I was happy to see that my library system has the complete 27 issue run of Planetary and specials so I'll get to see it all without worry.  LOEG was great, I'll be trying to keep up with them as well.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 on June 30, 2011, 01:46:18 PM
Fables is one of the few titles I continue to buy on a regular basis as well - though up to now I've stuck with the comic books rather than the collections. The funny thing is that, while I really like the European album format, when it comes to comics from the UK and US I've always had a dyed-in-the-wool collector's preference for 'first editions' over reprints. With older comics I think most fans would agree that an original copy of Amazing Spider-Man no.1, for example, is infinitely preferable to any of the editions in which its contents have been repackaged over the years. The trouble is that very few people seem to care about modern comic books in the same way - seeing them instead as part-works; it's as though the TPB has now become the real first edition, and those of us who still remember how things used to be are just dinosaurs at sunset...!  :(

Maybe it really is time to stop pretending that the latest issue of Action Comics has any place in an unbroken run of comics going back to 1938, and to accept that the old age of the comic book is finally over!

 - Phil Rushton
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar on June 30, 2011, 03:31:01 PM
I have coverless copies of many key silver age books JUST BECAUSE. All have been reprinted many times but there is something about having the original
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on June 30, 2011, 04:43:42 PM
Kevin, I agree.  Just focus on telling interesting stories and put them where people go.  I don't trust any large company to do it, because they're too busy "being taken seriously."  I think that's where the "gray hat" heroes and the violence comes from, in fact, just like kids think it's grown up to curse like a truck driver and talk about "boobs."  And hey, look at comics letting heroes curse and focus on sex appeal...

(A bigger problem is that people who want to break into the business emulate what's already on the market and try to "better" it.  Just like cartoonists tell you to learn to draw first, then find your animation niche, I wish there was similar advice for people getting into comics:  Learn to write and/or learn to actually draw, THEN adapt it to comics, rather than trying to be "the next Frank Miller.")

Phil, it's not just that the stories are long, it's that they don't make any damned sense and they're not even PACED for single issues.  The best example I can think of is Brad Meltzer's "Identity Crisis," which happens to also hit Kevin's comments.  In seven issues, we start with a locked-room murder mystery, the heroes jump to a conclusion so that we can be supplied a distasteful back-story, walk through a succession of red herrings who have nothing to do with said back-story, get pushed to the conclusion that secret identities are super-important, and...finally reveal the true villain in the last few pages that completely invalidates every single thing that happened in the story up to that point.  Hands down, it's absolutely the stupidest thing I've ever read, and dealing in software, I've read a lot of stupid things...

Anyway, even when stories were multi-part, even with the enormous cliffhanger at the end, the parts were individual stories that you could read alone.  You didn't need a "jumping on point," since things were structured to make sense on their own.  I remember getting the first part of Mr. Terrific's death at a garage sale as a kid.  I had no idea what happened in the second part, and it was years before I finally (and triumphantly) found the other issue, but half the story was still satisfying.

Paw, I know what you mean about reading off screens, but they are getting better.  I don't consider it a good thing for my health and sanity, but I can work off my netbook screen well into the night, and I spent about two hundred dollars on it.  I'd plug the Pixel Qi screens, but they're insanely expensive for just a screen.

Yoc, possibly the best recent series I've seen in a long time was Blue Beetle.  I know, I was surprised, too.  But the character's a good kid in an odd situation with a great supporting cast, some brisk storytelling, and snappy writing.  I was sorry to see the book end and the character handed off to other writers.  Bleh.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on June 30, 2011, 05:00:02 PM
Ah, thanks John.  I only know the 'new' kid Blue Beetle from the Batman Brave and Bold cartoon.  He seems fun enough.  And wow has B&B taken a turn to the bad with 'Transformer' Batman in giant robot attacks.  Blech!  The Avengers series has gotten much better after a so-so first dozen episodes.

One comic series I recall raves about a while back was the Starman Mystery Theatre and the Animal Man series.  I've got both on my 'to read' list along with a million others.  *sigh*

I think in today's Digital Age with iPads etc taking off that digital comics might make sense.  And if that resulted in more alternatives to the big two all the better!  I have plans to buy Something but I still haven't heard about a fantastic alternative to the iPad at a reasonable price with a good 10" screen that isn't running on an Atom chip.  But I'm keeping my eyes open.

-Yoc
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 on July 01, 2011, 02:44:48 AM
I think you mean Sandman Mystery Theatre, Yoc. That was one of my all-time favorite comics - and Guy Davis is still one of my favorite artists.

Hopefully the new relaunch won't have any significant effect on DC's Vertigo titles.

 - Phil Rushton
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 01, 2011, 05:12:41 AM
I never got around to Sandman Mystery Theater, but I heard good things.  There were actually quite a few gems in DC's '90s in among all the weapon-wielding scar-faced Image knockoffs.  Chase comes immediately to mind, and would fit neatly in a single TPB if they ever decided to collect it...

Animal Man?  I don't know.  It was OK at the time (not "great"), but today it seems like it'd be pretty cliched, being more "an exploration of the medium" (yawn) than a bunch of good stories.  Morrison's Doom Patrol (and Rachel Pollack's after), though, running at around the same time was a lot of fun on a few levels.

Back to the more recent stuff, Manhunter was above-average, I think, but the premise felt a little too petty for me to take seriously (prosecutor chases down the criminals she can't get convicted) and they started dipping too deep iinto the continuity well, rewriting all the other Manhunter characters (basically discarding their histories) to be something different to support what was basically a mediocre story.

Another "series" (sort of "as the creator has time to do stuff") I just discovered through Kickstarter--in fact, the books showed up on my doorstep just the other day and I tore right through the first book--is Malaak:

http://www.malaakonline.com/

A Lebanese heroine that's fun without being goofy (I'm looking at you French and English guys), serious without being "gritty," and so far, doesn't feel like it's trying to be obsessively Arabic or feminist.  It's very well done.  About the only complaint I might have is that the art is a little on the primitive side, not pretty except in a storybook illustration kind of way, but still entirely functional.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 01, 2011, 12:22:35 PM
Haven't heard of 'Chase' before.  OtherEric pointed me at 'Chew' which I put a hold on at the library.
Looking at 'Malaak' site.  This has sort of a 'Tin Tin' feel to the art.  Not a knock-off for sure but it gives me the same feeling when I look at it.

I like things that break the fourth wall so Animal Man might  be up my alley.

Seems we've gone off topic doesn't it?  This almost deserves it's own 'What would you recommend among modern books these days?' topic no?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 01, 2011, 04:03:17 PM
Chase (ignoring a lot including revelations) was basically about how a normal person deals with the weirdness of the DCU.  She's an agent tasked with monitoring superheroes and supervillains, basically, and deals with threats to national security.  What impressed me was that the tone wasn't unilateral.  As befitted something supposed to be "real," some incidents were grim and nasty, others were outright funny.  It's a shame more writers didn't learn that lesson.

(Heh.  I'll pass on commenting on a new thread.  Personally, I hate dedicated threads for that sort of thing, since it's just something that's going to come up from time to time.  Then you'll have people bickering about what's "recent" and so forth...)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 01, 2011, 05:00:13 PM
I'm guessing 'Chase' ends with her going insane trying to figure out the Hawkman and Wonder Girl histories?
;)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 01, 2011, 10:26:51 PM
Getting back to the original topic - it seems some DC readers aren't taking the relaunch news very well...

"DC Relaunch: Angry Fans To Protest At SDCC






Posted by MK2Fac3  |  July 1st, 2011


A group of rather angry comic book readers are starting a campaign against DC Comics with a protest walk scheduled from 2pm to 3pm on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con. Fed up with the news and redesigns affiliated with the publisher’s September relaunch, these protesters have gathered enough support to reach 299 attendees, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Also on their Facebook page is a message and description of the event from the group’s founder, which you can read here below.


Are you utterly baffled, disappointed and just ANGRY to see how DC ruins your favorite character’s design and wipes decades of comic history out of the mainstream universe? Well, you’re not alone!
And why not make some noise at the biggest pop-culture event this year, where creators, artists and writers appear in person – show them how fans – the fans of the classic characters, the (nevertheless slightly changing) designs, the character’s history and personality – really feel about it!
Now, are these people insane like most other websites are claiming? Most likely. There are definitely at least a trillion other things these 200+ people could be doing with their time, and protesting a comic book publisher’s editorial mandate sounds a little ridiculous. But how else are these people going to voice their opinions? Certainly not by leaving comments on DC’s official website. This group of people has a right to send a message to DC about how they feel, regardless of how silly it comes off, or if the publisher will just turn a blind eye to the group. Because honestly… there’s no way this is going to be effective.
Don’t get me wrong, as hesitant as I am to freely accept a lot of the relaunch and character redesigns, I’m genuinely excited by a lot of new titles and creative teams. There’s a lot to appreciate about the DC Relaunch, so I don’t agree with this group at all. What could be effective, however, is for this group to put their money where there mouth is. You know, not buy the comics and creative teams that they don’t like, and also buy books that they actually like. If Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl was selling the numbers that Tony Daniel’s Batman was selling, do you think DC would have axed the creative team and character on that title? Of course not. If Secret Six was actually purchased by all the people on the Internet that sing its praises, do you think the publisher would have canceled the book? Do you see a connection?"

Found on a Yahoo list.
-Yoc
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 02, 2011, 06:58:52 AM
Wow.  Nobody wants to protest the FBI's expanded surveillance rules or the United States running a third war in the Middle East when the others are going oh, so well (politics for demonstrative purposes only), but dammit, we will NOT stand for Black Canary wearing shoulder pads!

It's a shame that not one of these people is ever going to realize that this sort of reactionary attitude is exactly why comics cost up to a nickel per panel for stuff people only read because they feel obligated:  Outsiders see comic readers as some sort of creepy cult packed with people who can't deal with the real world, so they're not touching them with a ten foot pole.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 02, 2011, 08:44:54 AM
Wow.  Nobody wants to protest the FBI's expanded surveillance rules or the United States running a third war in the Middle East when the others are going oh, so well (politics for demonstrative purposes only), but dammit, we will NOT stand for Black Canary wearing shoulder pads!

It's a shame that not one of these people is ever going to realize that this sort of reactionary attitude is exactly why comics cost up to a nickel per panel for stuff people only read because they feel obligated:  Outsiders see comic readers as some sort of creepy cult packed with people who can't deal with the real world, so they're not touching them with a ten foot pole.

People like this, from a Simpsons episode at a comic convention:

Doug: [wearing a T-shirt that says "Genius at Work"] Hi. A question for Miss Bellamy. In episode 2F09 when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.
June Bellamy: Uh, well...
Homer: I'll field this one.
Homer: [to Doug] Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "Genius at Work" spend all of his time watching a children's cartoon show?
[pause]
Doug: I withdraw my question.
[takes a bite from a bar of chocolate]
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: paw broon on July 02, 2011, 10:34:13 AM
Phil, difficult to have an argument with you - I seem to agree with a lot of what you write. Yet again, Sandman Mystery Theatre was excellent and is still a good read 3rd. time round. Which is what I'm at now.
Davis also did that Venetian plague mask series, forget the title, but I don't know if it ever finished.

John C, while I note that you use the political argument as an illustration, I'm not sure I wish to get into a  political discussion. And I'm sure you're writing about the demonstrators.
My views on what the U.K. and USA are doing in foreign countries, and what seems to be going on inside USA, are quite strong.  But they have no relation or connection to why I buy and read.  Apart from giving up Ultimates in disgust at what my countryman, Mark Miller, was putting into the mouths of the characters.
I pick up comics if I like the look of them, or if someone has suggested I try a title.  I read them and if they really appeal, I might read them again then put them aside and either pass them on or, if I wish to keep a particular favourite, shove it in a bag.  As I pay good money for the entertainment, I feel I should voice my opposition to things which don't appeal to me.  And take my business elsewhere if I don't fancy the product being churned out. Wont affect DC or the other companies in the slightest what I do and I'm an old fan who knows enough now to find my comics entertainment in other ways.  I don't feel in any way obligated to buy anything, neither do I have any sympathy with those numpties who are demonstrating. There are much more important things to get ones knickers in a twist about but I suppose they have a right to do it.
I read Winter Soldier this week.  It was loaned to me by an older lady in my Italian class who had read it and thought I might enjoy it, so despite the lack of appreciation here in Britain for comics, there are still some folk who do enjoy them and appreciate them as part of a varied reading experience.  Me, I'm going to sit down with my wife shortly for a dinner of home made spaghetti vongole, crusty bread and a few glasses of rather good Italian white wine. Now that's important.
Oh, and I might read a few comics.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 02, 2011, 11:33:34 AM
As I pay good money for the entertainment, I feel I should voice my opposition to things which don't appeal to me.  And take my business elsewhere if I don't fancy the product being churned out.

Just to clarify, people should talk about what they like and don't like about what they read, of course.  It might improve things (I know a couple of professionals are lurking in the corners here, from obscure comments I've read elsewhere) or might inspire someone to create the next big thing that we'll actually want to read--that's why I'm candid about what I think does and doesn't work in what I've read.

I just find this an very odd place to draw the line in the sand to march on injustice.  Not only is it what a company is doing with its own property and not only is it fictional property, but it's a reaction to something that hasn't happened yet, based almost entirely on titles and covers.  (Keep in mind that I might be a little sensitive to this sort of thing, since I've just sat through a week of unremitting celebration in New York, because gay people have earned the historic right that, if they love someone enough, they can file paperwork with the government!  Woo, totally more satisfying than making sure Nicaraguan kids don't die of starvation, right?)

But--and you point this out, too--there are fewer of us every year.  If we're going to be loud and obnoxious, too, we're not worth the marketing money to chase as customers.

There's (un)fortunately no way of measuring this, but if there were, I'd also be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of the protestors will end up reading and enjoying most of the books anyway.  It seems to happen with every overhaul, and I doubt this one'll be an exception.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 02, 2011, 12:20:18 PM
... I've just sat through a week of unremitting celebration in New York, because gay people have earned the historic right that, if they love someone enough, they can file paperwork with the government!  Woo, totally more satisfying than making sure Nicaraguan kids don't die of starvation, right?)

What could be better than filing paperwork with the government? There was a comedian who had a joke something to the effect of (in reference to gay people): "First they want to join the army, then they want to get married? Why do they want in all of our worst institutions?" only, y'know, funny.

I work in engineering and part of the process is getting a design done, then getting it approved by a government agency. Product design sheet = 3 pages, application to government to approve said product = 30 pages (I kid you not)! Our tax dollars at work.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 02, 2011, 01:58:26 PM
What I am most curious to see is the effect of same day scans on the local comic shop bottom lines.
Is this going to be the nail in the coffin for a large number of LCS?
It's been speculated this is an all out attempt by DC to attract the 'hip digital age crowd' who wouldn't be caught dead in a LCS but might buy a comic if it's easy to find online.
Even those that Do still go to LCS, can they afford to buy all 52 new titles?  Not likely.  So do shop owners over stock these new #1's or play it safe and under order them?

If I were a LCS right now I'd be pretty nervous about all of this AND I'd be especially attentive to me regular crowd.  What can I do to make my shop more attractive than any online experience?  Is it even possible to compete?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar on July 02, 2011, 02:45:33 PM
My LCS said experience shows that the digital generally increases TPB sales. They expect the difference in flopppy sales will more than be made up for by TPB sales.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 02, 2011, 04:25:05 PM
If I were a LCS right now I'd be pretty nervous about all of this AND I'd be especially attentive to me regular crowd. 

To be fair, I doubt it'll actually impact the stores much unless they don't treat their regulars well.  I mean, let's face facts, comic readers are creatures of habit.  How many of us (a fairly well-educated and self-restrained crowd, from what I can tell) made the ritual weekly trek to the shop to buy an armload of comics that we probably really weren't going to read, because the titles had dropped in quality years back?

I'm embarrassed to say so, but I probably bought new comics three or four years after I stopped enjoying them, and another couple after I stopped reading.

What can I do to make my shop more attractive than any online experience?  Is it even possible to compete?

I think it's entirely possible, but it needs to center around not giving "cool kids," mothers, and girlfriends a reason to think they'll be kidnapped and sold into slavery if they go in.  That means natural light and a clear enough space that you can see the back of the shop from the street.  It also means dialing the misogyny down to around a three and throwing out the T&A posters.

(Related:  Go to your local drug store and walk through the cosmetics aisle.  Notice that nothing worth buying is on a shelf below the waist or above the head.  Follow that logic, because men don't really like having their rear ends exposed to foot traffic, either.)

After you stop scaring people away, you can sell, and I think this is where the digital comics do much more good than harm:  Put a big TV in the front window with a computer showing (good, fun) pages from the week's comics, then flip the store around so that the high-ticket items are in back and the comics are up front.

(Hint:  Sears puts the men's section in a back corner so that wives will be tempted to buy themselves something on the way in and on the way out.  Someone off the street isn't going to be tricked into buying action figures and video games when he came in because the Captain America movie piqued his interest.  However, the other way around has a pretty good chance of working.)

The racks themselves should be, y'know, helpful, rather than assuming everybody has memorized the Diamond solicitations for the month.  By which I mean print out the damned solicitation and post it next to the comic so that Timmy knows that this is part seventy-nine of eighty-three and Carol Burnett makes a cameo appearance.  It might also be a good idea to have another screen with more in-depth previews of the books and where to find related material (back issues, paperbacks, movies, whatever, and whether they're in inventory).

Along similar lines, ditch the cash register for a computer system that tracks sales so your salesdweeb can play Amazon:  "Hey, cool book.  Did you know that a bunch of our customers who read this also grab Honey Han the Hen Hunter?  I'll give you a discount if you want to try it out."

I'm not making this all up, by the way.  Some of it's common sense.  Some of it comes from Paco Underhill's books (if you ever sell or design anything for selling, read them), but I actually used to go to a highly successful comic shop in a mall.  Not an open-air strip mall, but an actual, indoor, big-haired kids loitering at the entrance mall.  The design wasn't too far from what I'm describing, less the video support.  Great layout with everything accessible and a great staff.

It was sad to watch the place die off.  Someone bought them out along with a few video game stores and tried to merge the gaming into the comic store.  They (of course) pushed the comics to the back, and turned down the lights, but with a dedicated video game place two doors down, that was just stupid, so, of course, they phased out the comics, then closed a couple months later.  Brilliant!

(The pretty young woman managing the place was probably a factor, too, of course.  She knew the solicitations every which way, I think, and was really good at "name that comic" when a confused customer came in, usually having it ordered for said customer within a week.  But someone like her isn't exactly an option for most stores, I realize.  And before anybody asks, she's since gotten married to a nice archaeologist who was very disappointed that he wasn't allowed to fight Nazis.)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 02, 2011, 04:50:57 PM
... print out the damned solicitation and post it next to the comic so that Timmy knows that this is part seventy-nine of eighty-three and Carol Burnett makes a cameo appearance. 


I would totally buy that book. My LCS (which I haven't been in for ... about a year) is well lit, the staff is friendly, but the comics are near the back. Most people likely get into running a comic shop based on liking comics, as opposed to having business knowledge, sadly.

But, isn't the main problem only having comics in specialty shops? What is the modern equivalent of the local mom 'n pop convenience store. At least with digital, they can put free previews on websites that kids visit, that might get them started.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 03, 2011, 06:14:58 AM
Most people likely get into running a comic shop based on liking comics, as opposed to having business knowledge, sadly.

In the late '80s out here, every town had at least one comic shop, and the common story was "mom (or the occasional fiancee) wanted the longboxes out of the basement," hands down.  Commercial property values had cratered to the point where three or four good customers basically covered the rent.  So if your other costs were somehow covered (see above, regarding "mom"), you could quit your job and talk about Star Trek all day...I mean, "run your business."

But, isn't the main problem only having comics in specialty shops? What is the modern equivalent of the local mom 'n pop convenience store. At least with digital, they can put free previews on websites that kids visit, that might get them started.

I agree.  From DC's perspective, this is a LONG time in coming, and I've never understood what the business reasoning was from restricting where to buy comics.

However, Yoc brings up a good point that many of the remaining stores are going to want to stay in business, of course, and doing that is going to require an overhaul so that people who know comics are available elsewhere will prefer to buy them from a local business.  That basically means making it easy to come in, browse, learn, and buy, just like "real" retail.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: dhfh on July 03, 2011, 09:50:25 PM
I've hesitated weighing in on this because the relaunch makes so little difference to me, and I have less time these days to devote to comics than I have had in the past.  The newest written thing I've read was published  in 1993, I think.    I managed to hang on with DC through the first (and therefore, for me, only) universe-shattering Crisis (meaning Infinite Earths, of course, hereafter referred to as either "my off-ramp" or "the CrIE."), and for about 3 or 4 more grating years of their mixed bag of new and old stuff.  I took my off-ramp with mixed feelings of "WOW, THAT'S GREAT", and puzzlement and disgust.

That said, however, I've looked in on this thread from time to time and found that a lot of the opinions I would have posted have been voiced to some degree by either John C, paw broon, moonled, or Yoc (and maybe a few more of you—it's a long thread now).   So I'll just add some brief comments on several points raised. 

First off, I've felt for a long time that the move away from newsstands to specialty shops was a big mistake on the part of the industry.  When I was growing up you could find comic books being sold everywhere.  Then it dwindled to practically nowhere (over the decades a single new stereotypical "LCS" would crop up for a few years somewhere within 30 miles of where I live, but they never lasted).  Today comics have resurfaced a bit in book stores, but for the most part they seem largely replaced by TPBs.  Direct marketing took the comics away from the greater percentage of potential readers at large.

The irony is that direct marketing came about because the newsstand distributors had a stranglehold on the industry—so now Diamond has a stranglehold.  I suspect that the digital initiative is an attempt to get out from under this current vice grip, but I think they're just going to make things easier for the pirates: no more scanning, just buy the digitals and post copies.  If anything, I won't be surprised if it hurts DC's sales instead of helps them.

As to the relaunch plan itself, I'm still scratching my head over the choices made to re-launch the DC-EWW with.  Taking a look at the promotions brought back that great feeling I had from the CrIE.  Ah, the nostalgia!

Cases in point: for choice of characters we have Green Lantern: The New Guardians led by Kyle Rayner?  The Red Lanterns?  Mr. Terrific? 

Was Brightest Day/ Blackest Night really a producer of great characters?  Ironically, this probably has the best chance of being a good on-ramp for new people because (correct me if I'm wrong) NO READER has any prejudice about most of the New Guardians (they are called NEW after all ;)) or the Red Lanterns since they don't have any long historic runs hindering them in the first place.

Are the Red Lanterns really going to be new/different/more realistic/mature/interesting than any other group of so-called superheroes with homicidal "personality problems" that have cropped up since Watchmen? 

Mr. Terrific?  And I say a 3rd time: Mr. Terific?  (This owning to his being "the world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors".)  With no disrespect intended for lovers of the original character, or the choice to make the new version African-American, or the new concepts/backstory for the character—why choose to make a new, realistic hero out of Mr. Terrific?  This version seems so loosely-based on the original that they could have just created a totally new character.  After all: for me the name "Mr. Terrific" alone falls under philcom55's comment about Rip Hunter's sidekicks: "well, OK maybe the names would need a little work!"  Ask yourself this: in an adult, realistic world, who decides to instill terror in the hearts of his enemies by calling himself "Mr. Terrific?"

Well, I have more to say, but no time left to say it.  So it will have to wait until later.

--DHFH
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: narfstar on July 03, 2011, 10:24:45 PM
Pretty much every DC comics is available the same week in pirate digital scans. So DC actually getting some money from them makes sense. Hopefully it is as my LCS believes the digital just feeds the appetite for trades.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: paw broon on July 04, 2011, 03:39:19 AM
I tend to forget just how big North America is, so that I failed to appreciate that, even if there are a lot of lcs, they're are millions of folk who find themselves nowhere near one.  Also, as my actual knowledge of N.A. is limited to visits to L.A. Toronto and Montreal, where I was able to find comic shops with relative ease, I let myself be seduced by the notion that comic shops were accessible to all.
I've mentioned this before but it may have been on GAC, that here in Britain, ('80's) we had 2 distinct deliveries - new comics, which found their way to shops by sometimes odd means (e.g. picking them up from Red Star at the main rail station) and more irregularly, newsstand titles which were distributed about 3 months after the "new" titles by companies such as Menzies.  you didn't always get the same issues time after time, or parts of runs went missing but, if you didn't mind the wait and were prepared to chance your arm, you could save a bit of money.  This was for the few dedicated comic shops - and there weren't many, but the newsstand titles, which were sea freight, could be found in every corner shop, on a spinner or rack, and that had been the case for a long time.  When newsstand eventually disappeared and specialist shops were the only place to pick up new comics the market obviously shrunk. Potential new readers would hardly ever chance upon American comics. There still weren't many lcs.
And now, in Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city, there are only about 4 or 5 specialist shops and the Forbidden Planet is as much a toy store, as is, for that matter, A1, although they seem to have a bigger space for comics.  Borders closed, so there are fewer outlets for gn's and tpb's.
I hate to say it but I begin to wonder, having read some of the ideas here, that digital releases might well help comics survive in the 20odd pages of story per issue form.  Whether that is the form comics of the future should take still troubles me. But the whole concept of how comic shops look is so important.  Places that are smelly, testosterone fuelled, cliquey, not overly clean and tidy with sweary staff posing about, are not places to encourage the main bulk of the public to enter.
There are a couple of shops in London now that are getting close to attractive.  Clean, tidy, with knowledgeable staff and a good selection of comics gn's, and related stuff.  And no-one showing off.
The problem in Britain is the lack of knowledge of and interest in the medium.  The one good thing is tpb's in libraries.  That helps spread the word.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 04, 2011, 08:17:09 AM

Mr. Terrific?  And I say a 3rd time: Mr. Terific?  (This owning to his being "the world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors".)  With no disrespect intended for lovers of the original character, or the choice to make the new version African-American, or the new concepts/backstory for the character—why choose to make a new, realistic hero out of Mr. Terrific?  This version seems so loosely-based on the original that they could have just created a totally new character.  After all: for me the name "Mr. Terrific" alone falls under philcom55's comment about Rip Hunter's sidekicks: "well, OK maybe the names would need a little work!"  Ask yourself this: in an adult, realistic world, who decides to instill terror in the hearts of his enemies by calling himself "Mr. Terrific?"

Well, I have more to say, but no time left to say it.  So it will have to wait until later.

--DHFH

This Mr. Terrific has been around since 1997. Why he gets his own comic? Who knows.

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Mister_Terrific_(Michael_Holt)
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 04, 2011, 08:18:04 AM
I tend to forget just how big North America is, so that I failed to appreciate that, even if there are a lot of lcs, they're are millions of folk who find themselves nowhere near one.  Also, as my actual knowledge of N.A. is limited to visits to L.A. Toronto and Montreal,

Silver Snail in Toronto? That's a proper comic shop. There's also Heroes World in Markham (just north of Toronto) that's pretty nice.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 04, 2011, 09:03:19 AM
Personally, I'm hoping (but not expecting, sadly) that Mr. Terrific as a star will "fix" superheroes.  Trying not to ramble, something terrible that the '80s and '90s did was set up this bizarre notion that "the good guys" needed to be intimidating and violent.

It's not their fault, since there's been a similar shift in society--those of us in older age brackets remember cops as friendly people in powder-blue shirts walking the downtown areas and being nice to people.  Today, they sit in their cars in black paramilitary riot gear who you do NOT interrupt.

So, I'm hoping that Mr. Terrific will be a throwback to the kinds of heroes who kids (and adults) can look up to.

Granted, I'm not betting on it.  There are too many other stars who are described as thieves, killers, and so forth, plus the assorted outright villains.  But my point is that Mr. Terrific can be made to work and fill an empty niche that's been ignored ever since Batman writers started getting excited about martial arts.  I mean, remember when Batman was the World's Greatest Detective and didn't growl at everyone...?

As for losing sales to piracy, I have two quick observations, which are no more than anecdotal, but might be of interest:

First, I think digital editions will reduce piracy, overall.  It's easier to pirate an electronic product, sure, but it's also easier to buy.  Most people I've spoken to about piracy do it because the product is basically inaccessible.  Yeah, some people download Lady Gaga (she's a musician, right?) because they don't want to pay for an album, but they're not lost sales, because they weren't buying, anyway.  Most people download TV shows that they missed but can't find online and aren't out on DVD.  I'm guessing it's the same with comics.

So, by making the books easy to buy (I'd prefer cheaper, but it's not my business), they may actually cut down on piracy by preempting the pirate's audience.

Second...

http://boingboing.net/2011/05/16/piracy-sends-go-the.html

A book was Amazon's top seller BEFORE it was released, because tons of people read and passed around a leaked PDF and wanted it.  Without piracy, I doubt anybody would've heard of it.

Granted, this is a special case, because the book also has shock value, but it shows that it's entirely possible to build a marketing campaign around the pirates, rather than fighting them.  And it's worth noting that there's a substantial group of comic readers who download pirated comic scans to decide what to buy.

So DC might be in a good position to make use of these effects, especially considering that, unlike Marvel, they've actively dragged their feet when it comes to finding and stopping pirates.

Also, quick side note:  Without pirated comic scans, finding public domain comics would still be a pain in the neck.  GAC actually grew out of increasing volumes of traffic of legally-sharable material in an underground comic torrent community.  Interesting how that works, isn't it?  Most of the comics shared on the Internet Archive are copyrighted, but the pirates got it (mostly) right.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP on July 05, 2011, 05:03:41 PM
What can I do to make my shop more attractive than any online experience?  Is it even possible to compete?

A little off the subject, but there was a LCS in Arkansas that was staffed by attractive young girls who wore mostly shorts and could talk comics.  Got a LOT of business even though it was a 45 minute drive from the nearest big city!

kevin
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP on July 05, 2011, 05:08:17 PM
Kevin, I agree.  Just focus on telling interesting stories

I guess the bottom line in this is that all the hoopla doesn't really matter to me because I have no faith in DC's ability to put out good stories, relaunch or no relaunch.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Roygbiv666 on July 05, 2011, 08:02:53 PM
What can I do to make my shop more attractive than any online experience?  Is it even possible to compete?

A little off the subject, but there was a LCS in Arkansas that was staffed by attractive young girls who wore mostly shorts and could talk comics.  Got a LOT of business even though it was a 45 minute drive from the nearest big city!

kevin

Duh. ;-)

We had a barber shop like that at University - nice shampoo and scalp massage from a pretty girl, pretty nice deal.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 05, 2011, 09:11:20 PM
A little off the subject, but there was a LCS in Arkansas that was staffed by attractive young girls who wore mostly shorts and could talk comics.  Got a LOT of business even though it was a 45 minute drive from the nearest big city!

kevin

We'll need to see pictures to appreciate this LCS Kevin!
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on July 06, 2011, 05:45:21 AM
A little off the subject, but there was a LCS in Arkansas that was staffed by attractive young girls who wore mostly shorts and could talk comics.  Got a LOT of business even though it was a 45 minute drive from the nearest big city!
We'll need to see pictures to appreciate this LCS Kevin!

Pictures?  Well, I guess you could start there, but phone numbers sound smarter!
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: philcom55 on July 06, 2011, 07:31:32 AM
...Of course, in France comic shops are a different matter entirely:  :)

(http://i55.tinypic.com/33pcwhg.jpg)Back on the subject of DC's impending relaunch I'm afraid that I'm still finding it difficult to work up any enthusiasm for all those new titles. On the other hand, one thing I am starting to get mildly curious about is the way in which the old characters will get to bow out in the final issues of their own titles. I guess it'd be too much to hope for anything in the same league as Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" but it'd be nice if Gail Simone, for example, were allowed to end her Secret Six series in a suitably climactic blaze of glory.

Either way it seems to me that the August 'implosion' might yet prove to be far more memorable than September's promised pyrotechnics...! :-\

 - Phil Rushton
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: Yoc on July 06, 2011, 08:54:21 AM
Good point there Phil.
Nice pic too.  Wonder what's in her box?
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: paw broon on July 06, 2011, 09:49:12 AM
Not sure if these should be here or in the links bit.  They do have a bit of relevance to this topic though. Please move them as you see fit:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-13818534
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00hlh5f
this second link being the trailer for an upcoming BBC Scotland Artworks show.  Also interesting is that none of these guys can now work for Marvel.
I don't agree with the opinions of the quality of Messrs. Morrison and Millars work, so I'll probably find myself hurling abuse at the t.v. when the show is on.
Needless to say, I missed the con as we decided to go on holiday right then.  First con in Glasgow for years and I'm in Holland.  Typical.
On lcs, Glasgow and Edinburgh stores don't have shorts clad young ladies at the counter, great shame.  I hesitate to describe some of the "gentlemen" who man the till.
And yes, Silver Snail was one of the better comic shop experiences.
 In London, I enjoy visiting Gosh, which is a really friendly, clean, well stocked wee shop with quite a knowlwdgeable staff. Also Orbita,l which is a bit bigger, clean, tidy and again the staff seem to know a bit.  But my favourite is 30th Century Comics. A real comic shop simply packed with a huge range of back issues (American, British and Australian) and those blokes really know their stuff.  A good experience. 
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP on September 12, 2011, 10:57:18 PM
Personally, I'm hoping (but not expecting, sadly) that Mr. Terrific as a star will "fix" superheroes.  Trying not to ramble, something terrible that the '80s and '90s did was set up this bizarre notion that "the good guys" needed to be intimidating and violent.

It's not their fault, since there's been a similar shift in society--those of us in older age brackets remember cops as friendly people in powder-blue shirts walking the downtown areas and being nice to people.  Today, they sit in their cars in black paramilitary riot gear who you do NOT interrupt.

So, I'm hoping that Mr. Terrific will be a throwback to the kinds of heroes who kids (and adults) can look up to.

Granted, I'm not betting on it.  There are too many other stars who are described as thieves, killers, and so forth, plus the assorted outright villains. 

I agree 100%, but when I look at other New DC titles like THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN, RED LANTERNS (who do the violent work for the Corps) , and the Blackhawks as a Blackwater-type paramilitary organization, I am saddened.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: John C on September 13, 2011, 05:49:46 AM
I agree 100%, but when I look at other New DC titles like THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN, RED LANTERNS (who do the violent work for the Corps) , and the Blackhawks as a Blackwater-type paramilitary organization, I am saddened.

Going a bit deeper than the surface, though, Hawkman and the Blackhawks could both work.  The former doesn't need to be gory to be "savage" (Doc Savage, Steve Savage, Savage She-Hulk all come to mind), and the Blackhawks could work to fight the trend of the Blackwater era.  I'm not saying it'll work, but it could.

Wonder Woman worries me more, actually.  Apparently, nobody at DC can envision her as anything but the "warrior woman," which is by far the least interesting part of the character.

And Red Lanterns, though...who the heck green-lit that!?  Did Image buy out DC when I wasn't looking?  It would explain why everybody's wearing armor.  Maybe Superman will get a bandolier.
Title: Re: There's No Stopping Them Now...Again (DC's renumbering)
Post by: KevinP on September 13, 2011, 09:51:55 PM
Did Image buy out DC when I wasn't looking?  It would explain why everybody's wearing armor.  Maybe Superman will get a bandolier.

No, but Jim Lee is behind a lot of the redesigns.

Your ideas for Hawkman and Blackhawk are good, but it doesn't seem like that's DC's intent.  Even before the relaunch Hawkman has been exhibiting a "kill/maim first, ask questions later" mindset, and the tag line for the new Blackhawks is "kill the bad guys before they kill us."