That darn Barry Alllen! He comes back and leaves a mess all over the place!

 

DC relaunches all titles post-Flashpoint

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The digital versions of DC titles will be available starting 2PM EST.

Also, because I hate wasting a good rant on an email that only 1 person will read...

 

My brother sent me a link to the NY Times article about the New 52, and this was my response:

 

 

Yeah, it's kind of a big deal. they've rebooted titles and characters before -- but never a line-wide reset like this. Closest thing was Crises in 1986, but the month before it, Action Comics 583 came out, and (sort of) the month after, it was 584 (granted, the "sort of" was a four-month lag, and it came back with the "new" Superman by John Byrne, but still).

The biggest voice missing from the article was the retailer.

Oh, sure, they MENTION the comic shops, like they're an entity completely divorced from the publisher -- not totally dependent on the week-to-week output for survival.

The retailers here, though, are freaking out. Yes, sales have been down, but DC is essentially throwing away the bird in the hand for the possible 2 in the bush, and it's a big gamble. Frank, the guy that runs the shop I go to, is acting like the rug got pulled out from under him, and it did. DC just cancelled their whole line, and replaced it with some books that are more or less the same (Batman, Detective, Superman, Action, Justice League) but then a bunch of books with 3rd stringers like Hawk and Dove and the Captain Atom -- who've never carried a series for more than a year or two. Add to that the fact that most of the creators are no-name, faceless drones (the biggest names are Morrison on Action, and Geoff Johns on Justice League and -- no kidding -- Aquaman) who aren't marquee-name creators (like, say, Frank Miller or Alan Moore), but are on-time, monthly-art-turning-in robots, and you have a bunch of retailers who are looking at order sheets that are already starting to nosedive.

Lot's of people are buying the rebooted Justice League #1 today, but no one is buying the rebooted Voodoo #2 in October. So Frank's losing a line of about 75 books (50 or so regular series, 25 mini- and maxi-series) for 52 titles with pretty shaky sales potential.

Because here's the thing, if this DOES work (and I do hope that it does), it won't be because guys like me buy into it. In fact, they're hoping to get RID of guy like me. They're been catering to mid-40, suburban white guys for the last 8 years or so, and as a result of the Downturn, they've learned this is a hobby for us, which means it's a discretionary item on the budget. I wasn't buying a lot of DC comics before the crash, and I buy a hell of a lot fewer now.

No, if this works, it will be because kids my son's age start buying them on their iPads (which a quick check of iTunes and the DC site does not immediately show I can do). Printed mass market comics are dead, and have been for a while. Comics are a boutique medium, made for afficianados like me who enjoy them in the same way people enjoy single-malt whisky or modernist composers. There ARE people making a living selling black and white, non superhero comics (the Walking Dead being a good example), but it's not a great living (well, until the TV show came along), but it's a living.

It drives the comic book people crazy that they can only sell 35,000 copies of Batman when 35 million people went to see The Dark Knight, but that's how it is. Batman is a concept, a property. A piece of intellectual property ripe for exploitation as a movie or a video game or a lego set.

My guess is that's why most of this "New 52" is made up of also-rans like Mr. Terrific, Blue Beetle and Voodoo -- they are unoptioned, under-exploited properties that they'd like Hollywood to notice. A Mr. Terrific comic will make Warner Brothers fuck-all. But a Mr. Terrific movie or TV show makes bundles -- even if it's only a modest success. I also can't help but notice the much more racially and gender-diverse offerings in the new 52 (the only weird thing is they took their one wheelchair-bound hero (Oracle) and put her back into her Batgirl suit, thereby wrecking part of the the whole rainbow coalition thing they had going). Hollywood loves diversity.

For Frank's sake, I really hope this DOES work out, not because I care what happens to Superman and Batman, because -- honestly -- DC needs tons of 12 year olds a hell of a lot more than it needs me. But because if it doesn't, Frank goes out of business, and I have to buy all my weird indy comics online -- which is probably where all this is heading, anyway.

I begin to understand why Grampa was so hostile to cable TV, and later on, the Old Man was so hostile to the idea of getting a computer . I just cannot conceive that something - printed monthly comic books about super-heroes- something that I've always thought of as a "forever" thing - could go away, or be at most a sort of "specialty" product the way I assume buggy whips are today.

Yeah, I remember an interview with Art Spiegalman -- maybe 20 years ago now -- where he referred to comic creators as "the last blacksmiths in town watching cars drive by their shop."

 

Tangentially, I always thought "The Last Blacksmiths" would make a great book title.

Some folks already got it earlier than that!



Cavaliere (moderator) said:

The digital versions of DC titles will be available starting 2PM EST.
I'm looking forward to the new titles, honestly. I don't ask for much, just that they're entertaining.

 


Or a band name.


DneColt said:


Tangentially, I always thought "The Last Blacksmiths" would make a great book title.

Me, too.  I was down to buying the Green Lantern titles.  This has got me interested in the DC line again. 

Jason Marconnet said:
I'm looking forward to the new titles, honestly. I don't ask for much, just that they're entertaining.
There were a number I was interested in, but I ended up taking a pass on them, because of the number of new titles being released at once. It is just too big of a commitment all at once.

 There's also high praise for Cornell's Demon Knights.   From Cornell's interview, it looks like it is very much aimed at the Game of Thrones fanbase, which looks like a great way to broaden the market and subject matter of DC comics to me.

 

Well Game of Thrones (I guess technically A Song of Fire and Ice)  fans are used to like 10 years between books, so they may be shocked by the speed of a monthly series.

As mentioned before, I've pre-paid for all 52 first issues at my LCS. Will I be buying all 52 second issues? Not if I want to stay married. It's highly likely, though, that I'll be buying more of the 52 regularly then I originally planned.

 

Most of what I buy from #2 on will be digital, though. ComiXology has a program where you can buy the digital issues through retailers' websites and supposedly Things from Another World will be participating. I haven't seen any sign of that on their website yet, though. As much as I want to keep supporting Things, I don't want to buy horseshoes when what I need are tires.

 

Pretty soon, the only stuff I'll be buying hard copies of will be Doctor Who Magazine, Avengers Academy, and Alex's Marvel and Kaboom titles. Alex also reads Young Justice from the Johnny DC line but that's same-day digital so he reads that on the iPad (and loves doing so!). The only title I can think of that isn't available digitally for me yet is the new Angel and Faith series (starts today!) since Dark Horse hasn't received permission to put Buffy-verse stuff on their app yet. (Firefly-related titles are there and, I think, Fray but nothing with "Buffy" or "Angel" in the title.)

Not if I want to stay married.

That explains why a lot of things never move off of my Amazon wish list.

I don't want to buy horseshoes when what I need are tires.

Excellent!  I'm gonna steal that one, Cav.

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