Here's the story in USA Today:

 

I've been hanging onto the DC train for years waiting for a clear opportunity to jump off, and here it is. Anything they publish from that point on, I'll read the reviews and, if it seems like something I'll like, I'll buy in trade paperback. I've been waiting for the classic Justice League lineup to return, and that's happening, so I'll get that. My son has been a Green Lantern fan all his life, so I'll continue to get those titles for him. Unless Manhunter from Mars or Adam Strange get their own series, we'll just have to wait and see what else they do.

 

Hoy

 

 

 

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Well, I did express a little discomfort using the term 'family friendly'.  It's somewhat problematic to be sure.  What would you call them? 

 

Perhaps "Rape-Free Comics for Kids"? :-)

 

The handful of Marvel Adventures titles I've read (free comic day and such) have been generally more entertaining than the MU stuff.

 

The thing about those Marvel Adventures runs is that they wouldn't really show up on Diamonds bestseller lists, but in different formats and outlets, they've probably been reaching quite a large young audience.

 

Alas, I'm as trapped in the 'must follow continuity' hole as anyone.  Hopefully the steady, random and debilitating fragmenting of continuity that DC have been doing for the last few years will help to wean us all off the continuity teat!

 

Maybe...

I know that we talked about the small number of original, non-spin-off super-heroines in the new 52 (actually ONE-Wonder Woman). Now I just realized something as perplexing. While there are African Americans represented (Mister Terriffic, Batwing, Static Shock!), beyond the fact that Black Lightning is once again ignored, there is the new "Big 7" Justice League. Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman all have their own books, the first three several. Where is Cyborg #1? Why is Victor Stone, a recognizable character for over thirty years, made part of DC's #1 team after having a major role in Flashpoint, not giving his own title? He was supposed to give the JLA some much-needed diversity yet he is the only one solo-less! Is he important or isn't he?

It would be nice to learn how, if at all, his backstory has changed. Very confusing decision on DC's part!

Great question, Philip.  I'd love a Cyborg solo title.
I confess I've wondered myself how much of the heralded diversity is window dressing, however well intentioned. Then again, there is supposed to be a second wave of sorts; maybe Cyborg will be among the titles to come.

If they were to bring out a Cyborg comic, it would have to be more than a token effort, where they could say, "look, we tried" after it failed.

 

They'd have to find reasons to make it a must-buy for the audience.

 

A great creative team.  Plenty of creative freedom.  Some storyline crucial to the general DCU.  His role in Flashpoint seems to be along the right lines.  The usual fans have to cheer him on and read about him to follow this 'essential' storyline.  Flashpoint is also problematic, in that Cyborg is trying to bring back a reality where he is a second-class citizen as a DCU hero.  That's a bit dodgy.

 

All the good intentions in the world don't count for much unless DC takes active steps to improve the situation.

It's readers and not the publishers that decide which comics are successes and which characters will be popular. In theory, the publishers might sabotage a title by mishandling it, but they are unlikely to do this deliberately. Consequently, it's wrong to condemn the publishers when titles with minority or female leads don't succeed. It's also wrong to condemn the readers; they are not a resource who exist to buy titles we would like to see succeed.

 

If you don't believe me, consider the example of the Sentry. By bringing him into New Avengers Marvel made him very prominent. His backstory linked him to other Marvel characters. His powers made him one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. All of this didn't make him a fan favourite. Who misses him now?

He's a good example alright. Marvel still made him consequential and powerful. I'm saying they should do the same with Cyborg. Not in the way of being a world-threatening psycho, but there are other ways.


Batwoman got a world-beating creative team, a very considerred publishing approach and coincidently room to shine with The real Batman out of the way. For now, she's a success, and very much a feather in DC's cap and a reason for non-fanboys to give DC some attention.

Whether it was accident or design led to her current status, DC should consciously try to repeat those factors if they are sserious about this 'representation' thing.

To Luke: The Sentry was a ret-conned character, squeezed into early Marvel continuity, with a catastrophic edge his entire existence. They tried a semi-light-hearted Tales of the Sentry but he was always dangerous.

Cyborg, OTOH, became a fan favorite due to his personality, rather than his power. He appeared in the last season of Super Friends and was memorable in Teen Titans. He had his ups and downs. He was the menace in Justice League/Teen Titans and there was that Robo-Cyborg period but creators and readers genuinely liked him.

Putting him in a major role in the new Justice League is great but if it was done just to give the JLA some color without raising him to their level, status-wise, does the charactor, DC and the readers an injustice.

Cyborg has had solo outings in Titan's Spotlight, and I think I vaguely recall a mini, but I might be mistaken.  How well did they sell?  If they'd sold gangbusters, he'd have a series right now.  I don't think we can say they haven't tested the waters with him.

 

I think it's fairly obvious why he was selected as opposed to the aforementioned Black Lightning or Mr. Terrific--diversity, and I don't mean race here.  Black Lightning is an energy based character with martial arts as a side line.  There's nothing he does that can't be done better by Green Lantern or Batman.  Mr. T would be superfluous with Batman there (or vice versa, depending on how well he's written).  Icon-  They have Superman and Wonder Woman.  

 

With Cyborg they have a technology based hero, and that plays well with the power/skill sets of the other characters.  They could have used Steel or Hardware, I suppose, but with Cyborg they have the added pathos of "Am I Man or machine?" to play with.

When DC launched the Grant Morrison JLA, they launched the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter title a year later.  We can always hope for the same kind of opportunity for Cyborg.

Little attention has been paid to "casual readers" in this period, as the industry has shaped its product to the tastes of  hardcore fans and collectors.

IMO, that's exactly why comics' readership has dwindled. Now, DC seems to have realized that may be the case, and they say they've taken action. But from the lineup I've seen, I don't see how this addresses that. Starting Batman over with #1 but retaining everything from his past is not "accessible."

I wonder if writers aren't interested in writing comics for "casual" readers and having to do 12 done-in-one stories in a year? The writers may have become so acclimated to doing 2 or 3 stories (with lots of "beats") each year and seeing them on their bookshelf later. 

IOW, I'm not sure DC is still capable of addressing the problem, even if they fully understand it.

-- MSA

DiDio Johns and Lee are all fanboys themselves, and have always specialised in playing to that core audience. They are a strange triumverate to oversea a project alleged to be about expanding the audience.

It's cynical, but I have to agree with a commentator who said that they were given a short time-period to turn things around. Hence the bewildering abruptness of it all. We're seeing how things play in a massive corporation, where they had their own little fiefdom for years (up to a few months after the triumverate were promoted) and then some bigshot up the line suddenly turned his attention to their little corner. Next thing everything is on the line for those guys.

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