The All-New DCU
The comics community has been abuzz with the news of DC’s announced relaunch of just about all of their titles. Some say it’s a bold move, while others say it’s desperate. Some think it marks the beginning of the end of the comics industry, and some think it’s exactly the shot in the arm that the industry needs right now. Clearly, it’s a big gamble, and it has the potential to be either a huge success or a massive failure.
This isn’t the first time that the folks at DC have flipped a giant reset switch on their continuity. But it seems like this may be the most thorough reboot to date. Details aren’t completely clear yet, but it sounds like the 52 new titles launching in September will completely wipe the slate clean, instead of creating a new reality to exist alongside the previous ones, as the various “crises” have done. (Let me acknowledge here that I am not a regular reader of DC comics, so I apologize if I’m getting stuff wrong.)
A lot of long-time DC fans are upset over this move, and who can blame them? Imagine following a character for years or decades only to be told that everything you knew about him has been erased and will be replaced by a new version. Many fans have thrown up their hands and swear that they’ll never read another DC comic. But without a twelve-step program, I imagine many of them will relapse.
I’m sure DC is prepared to lose some readers in this deal, but they’re hoping to gain more new readers than they lose. The idea is that there are people who might be interested in reading comics, but are intimidated by the decades of convoluted back story. Maybe a new reader would be more willing to get on board with a first issue than with a 601st. Marvel tried something similar with their Ultimate line, and it was fairly successful for a while. But in that case, they created a new continuity that existed in addition to their main lines, and that led to some confusion. DC’s plan eliminates this confusion by simply starting from scratch.
At the risk of angering any DC fans out there, I must admit that the idea of a reboot intrigues me. DC’s animated shows have piqued my interest in their comics lately, but the ton of back story (and really confusing back story at that) has turned me off. With all that swept aside, I’ll probably be checking out several of the new series.
The other big factor in the relaunch is that the new series will have electronic versions available on the same day as their print counterparts, which is a bit of a mixed bag. It may be a good move for publishers, and for the comics industry as a whole, but comic shops will likely suffer. The move to digital is probably as inevitable in the comics industry as it was in the music industry, but it will be a painful process for many.
This is a pretty complicated issue, and I know I’m late to the party. But I’m interested to know what you think of it. How do you long-time DC fans feel about the move? And if you’re not already a DC reader, does the relaunch make you want to check them out? Discuss!