by Roger Ash
There’s been a lot of talk around the Interwebs about DC renumbering all their DC Universe books to #1 and the changes that will happen to the characters. We’ve even talked about it on the Westfield blog and on our Facebook page. I figured I’d join in with a few thoughts of my own.
Something I find interesting is how many people have decided the comics are going to suck without reading a single word of them. Their opinion is based solely on what they think is going to happen or rumors that they’ve read. And here’s the sad fact about that – for them, the comics will suck. The reason I say this is because I’ve found if you go into a situation expecting to hate it, you will because you’re so focused on the bad you’re blinded to the good.
I have no problem with someone saying, “I’m not going to read that book because I don’t like what the writer or artist has done in the past.” That’s a valid point based on experience. However, basing your opinion of a book on little more than rumors and hearsay strikes me as silly.
Along with fellow Westfielder Josh Crawley, I went to the DC Roadshow in Rosemont, a Chicago suburb, this past Monday. The point of the show was to speak with retailers about “The New 52.” (I think that was the phrase they used. Even if they didn’t, it’s what I’m going to use because I like it.) I was curious about what they would say as I had some trepidation about the relaunch since real facts about it seemed sparse.
The meeting was run by DC’s Dan DiDio, Bob Wayne, and John Rood. They presented information about the books, some retailer specific information, and answered a lot of questions. I’m not going to go over things piece by piece, but here’s what I thought about what was said.
A quick note: None of this is what any of the people from DC actually said. I didn’t record it or take that extensive of notes. These are my paraphrases and interpretations of what we were told.
I don’t think most of the changes will be as radical as people believe they will be. I’m sure there will be some big changes, but for the most part those are going to come from books and characters that are not first-stringers. We were told that books that are selling well, such as Batman and Green Lantern, wouldn’t be changing much.
The biggest change that I could discern would be a change in storytelling. “Writing for the trade” will be discouraged as they think that has been detrimental to sales. Picking up the second issue in a six issue story felt like you were coming in on page 23 and completely missing what had happened previously. This is deadly to the casual reader. They are very much championing a storytelling style where you can pick up any issue of a comic and know everything you need to enjoy that issue and it will be a dynamic, exciting story. That is how things worked in the past and worked well for collectors as well as casual readers. And bringing back the casual reader is vital to the health of the comic market.
They may “plan for a trade,” in that they may still collect six issues, but it could be two single issues stories and a four-issue story, two three-issue stories, one six-issue story, or whatever.
DC is very dedicated to what they are doing. They know they are taking a big chance and want to do it right. They put together creators on books that they are excited about. They will continue to promote “The New 52” actively up till September and beyond. And there are still secrets. DC is intentionally holding back some information that will be revealed as September draws closer.
Coming out of the meeting, I’m cautiously optimistic about “The New 52.” I think there are going to be some great comics to come out of this. Yes, there will be some dogs too, but that’s bound to happen. Not every comic released is a hit.
What am I looking forward to? George Perez working on Superman tops my list. I love George’s work and look forward to him working his magic on the Man of Steel. The members of Justice League Dark intrigue me and the fact that it’s written by Peter Milligan is the icing on the cake. I’m not that familiar with Resurrection Man, but I’ll give it a try based solely on the fact that I like Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s writing. I’ll also be giving Suicide Squad, Justice League, Action Comics, Swamp Thing, and a few others a read.
I’ve been reading comics since the late 70s. I’ve heard a lot of interesting phrases over that time. Things like:
“Who’s this Alan Moore guy and who cares what he does with Swamp Thing?”
“I liked Miller’s Daredevil, but couldn’t stand Ronin. His Batman book will probably stink too.”
“Who the hell is that in Thor’s costume? Beta Ray Bill? This’ll never fly.”
“John Byrne on Superman? It’ll never work. He’s a Marvel guy.”
“Sandman? The old Kirby character? Who is this Neil Gaiman anyway?”
“Starman’s a tired old property. No one can breathe life into him.”
Now, I’m not saying that “The New 52” is going to produce the next Dark Knight Returns or Sandman, but it could and you’ll never find out if you dismiss them out of hand.
Me? I’m going to go along for the ride and see what happens. This could be fun.
Now, go read a comic!