@@@ AICN COMICS @@@ Part Two!
@@@ DC RELAUNCH ROUNDTABLE @@@
Fact: DC will be releaunching 52 series in September all with new number one issues.
Fact: DC will be going Day & Date Digital, meaning comics will be available to be downloaded the same day they are available in stores.
Fact: This is not a reboot. Though many refer to it as such in the discussion below, Johns and Lee have said that some details (aka stuff Johns, Morrison and some of the other successful runs) will remain, while others (aka shit that wasn’t selling) will be retooled in these new books.
Fact: Elements of the WildStorm Universe will be integrated into the new DC Universe.
The creative teams: The following are the 52 titles of interest and the creative teams behind them.
Geoff Johns (writer), Jim Lee & Scott Williams (art)
ACTION COMICS #1
Grant Morrison (writer), Rags Morales & Rick Bryant (art)
George Perez (writer/breakdowns), Jesus Merino (art)
Scott Lobdell (wrtier), R.B. Silva & Rob Lean (art)
Michael Green & Mike Johnson (writers), Mahmud Asrar (art)
DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Tony S. Daniel (writer), Tony S. Daniel & Ryan Winn (art)
Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion (art)
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
David Finch (writer), David Finch & Richard Friend (art)
BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Patrick Gleason & Mick Gray (art)
Judd Winick (writer), Ben Oliver (art)
Gail Simone (writer), Adrian Syaf & Vincente Cifuentes (art)
J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman (writers), J.H. Williams III (art)
Kyle Higgins (writer), Eddy Barrows & J.P. Mayer (art)
Judd Winick (writer), Guillem March (art)
BIRDS OF PREY #1
Duane Swierczynski (writer), Jesus Saiz (art)
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1
Scott Lobdell (writer), Kenneth Rocafort (art)
GREEN LANTERN #1
Geoff Johns (writer), Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy (art)
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna (art)
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1
Tony Bedard (writer), Tyler Kirkham & Batt (art)
RED LANTERNS #1
Peter Milligan (writer), Ed Benes & Rob Hunter (art)
Geoff Johns (writer), Ivan Reis & Joe Prado (art)
WONDER WOMAN #1
Brian Azzarello (writer), Cliff Chiang (art)
THE FLASH #1
Francis Manapul & Brian Buccelato (writers), Francis Manapul (art)
GREEN ARROW #1
J.T. Krul (writer), Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (art)
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1
Tony S. Daniel (writer), Phillip Tan (art)
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1
Ethan Van Scivier & Gail Simone (writers), Yildiray Cinar (art)
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1
Dan Jurgens (writer), Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan (art)
CAPTAIN ATOM #1
J.T. Krul (writer), Freddie Williams II (art)
MISTER TERRIFIC #1
Eric Wallace (writer), Roger Robinson (art)
DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1
Paul Jenkins (writer), Bernard Chang (art)
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Peter Milligan (writer), Mikel Janin (art)
SWAMP THING #1
Scott Snyder (writer), Yanick Paquette (art)
ANIMAL MAN #1
Jeff Lemire (writer), Travel Foreman & Dan Green (art)
FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1
Jeff Lemire (writer), Alberto Ponticelli (art)
I, VAMPIRE #1
Joshua Hale Fialkov (writer), Andrea Sorrentino (art)RESURRECTION MAN #1
Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Fernando Dagnino (art)
DEMON KNIGHTS #1
Paul Cornell (writer), Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert (art)
Paul Cornell (writer), Miguel Sepulveda (art)
Ron Marz (writer), Sami Basri (art)
Nathan Edmondson (writer), CAFU (art)
Kyle Higgins (writer), Joe Bennet & Art Thibert (art)
SUICIDE SQUAD #1
Adam Glass (writer), Marco Rudy (art)
Dan Didio & Keith Giffen (writer), Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish (art)
Mike Costa (wrtier), Ken Lashley (art)
SGT ROCK & THE MEN OF WAR #1
Ivan Brandon (writer), Tom Derenick (art)
ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Moritat (art)
TEEN TITANS #1
Scott Lobdell (writer), Brett Booth & Norn Rapmund (art)
STATIC SHOCK #1
Scott McDaniel & John Rozum (writers), Scott McDaniel & Jonathan Glapion (art)
HAWK AND DOVE #1
Sterling Gates (writer), Rob Liefeld (art)
BLUE BEETLE #1
Tony Bedard (writer), Ig Guara & Ruy Jose (art)
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
Paul Levitz (writer), Francis Portela (art)
LEGION LOST #1
Fabian Nicieza (writer), Pete Woods (art)
Now, let’s get part two if this Roundtable rolling…
BUG: What about DC’s rumored no thighs policy where every female must wear pants?
JD: I think that change is long overdue. The ridiculous cheese-cakey costumes some of the women wear do NOT help our image as an industry or us as readers. I've worked in a comic shop for over a decade and women STILL come in and scoff at what they see. Some women outright refuse to walk into the store. This usually angers me and feels mildly insulting to me when it happens, but then I stop and look around at the shelves and see things like BOMB QUEEN or WITCHBLADE or the Zenescope covers. POWER GIRL, LADY DEATH, so on and so forth. It's commonplace to us and we don't really even notice it anymore as readers, but to a woman outside looking in, it must feel like walking into a softcore porn shop.
BUG: Excellent point, JD. I agree--if the redesigns are good, that is. That said, taking the fishnets off of Zatanna is like taking the stars off of the American flag!
SUPERHERO: I submit that it's not the costumes that are offensive to women but that it's the way that the women are drawn that's offensive. Girls and women have no problem with Betty and Veronica because, even though they wear swimsuits and tank tops, they are drawn respectfully. Hell, women had no problem with Wonder Woman's outfit in the sixties and seventies because she wasn't drawn like a playmate. Hell, women didn't even have a problem with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. When my wife saw the Jim Lee Wonder Woman outfit her first sentences were, "They covered her up! Why did they cover her up?" Let's face it, pants or undies, they are still going to be drawing Wonder Woman in the sexiest way possible. Those pants are going to be TIGHT. And her boobs will still be BIG. DC wants to keep her in male power fantasy mode. Let the female characters be drawn and written by WOMEN. That's your solution to the problem. And then back them up with a big publicity push. Done and done.
HUMPHREY: To be fair, as fans we don't do much better treating these characters as characters. We bitch when they grow up, we bitch when they don't. We bitch when they act "out of character" or when they are too generically in character. We bitch when a story moment from fifteen years ago isn't acknowledged even if we didn't really like that story to begin with. If we actually wanted these characters to grow, Peter Parker would be retired right now and we'd be reading about his son who carried on the mantle nearing middle age. Comic fans are the most fickle bunch of consumers on the planet, and while half the time I don't really think those in control of the properties understand anything other than "just put it out there, they'll eat this shit up" I don't think I'd want to deal with trying to figure out what we want collectively either.
IMP: Let's talk about those costume redesigns for a minute--why, after all the very public negativity surrounding Jim Lee's very '90s flavored Wonder Woman design, does DC turn around and let him loose on the rest of their characters? They need to accept the fact that, as good an artist Lee is, he sucks balls when it comes to costume design. Just look at his portfolio from the X-Men on to Kyle Rayner's dog-collared look to Wonder Woman's bustier and tiny jacket to DC's promo image with the stupid high v-neck collars, unnecessary piping on the spandex, and the overall clunkiness of Lee's Cyborg design. There are so many artists out there who have such talent and ability when it comes to character design, but DC decided to go once again for the "superstar" name recognition rather than a halfway decent end result.
IRISH RICAN (IR): The whole thing reeks of the 90s. Next we'll bring back the 90s mullet, Rob Liefeld, and have Onslaught as the bad guy. At least with Jim's HEROES REBORN we knew everything would go back to normal eventually. I totally agree on this collars thing. It's as if Lee was watching a show from 6 years ago and was like "I'm bringing it back! Green Lantern style!"
BUG: That’s not Superman, that’s Kanye West! Pop dat collar, brah!!!
SQUASHUA: The v-neck collars? That is some shit that has to go. Jim Lee, you must have access to tons of WB resources like designers. Did you reference any? I can understand the collars from a practical sense, but they just look terrible. Yes, Karate Kid has no excuse because that's considered fashionable in the year 3011, but this is 2011, man.
KC: Well, just to play devil's advocate any kind of shake up could produce some good comics but sometimes the reasoning can put people off before they even open a comic. I'm definitely interested in a few of the creative teams like Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone writing THE FURY OF FIRESTORM or Azzarello on WONDER WOMAN (no Risso, though, which is a bummer).
IR: This whole thing stinks to high heaven and I'm pretty PO'd about it. I'm not even sure why I'm so pissed but I guess most of that is because there is no need for it. When there's absolutely no need it probably comes down to some sort of money grab. DC obviously is out to pander to a crowd they think they don't have and throw the people who support their comics into a tizzy. Did Marvel do it right with the Ultimate universe? Well - we did get awesome stories with original characters in new settings. Those comics get new #1's while Marvel, recovering from their own "we'll launch new #1's!', got back to the old numbering system. Great stories, great characters, and somehow the regular Marvel Universe still survived as well. This whole situation reeks and I feel like it is the sort of crap move that will have DC apologizing two years from now. Somehow, when I was growing up, I was able to pick up an issue 300 of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and not feel like I was truly missing out because I didn't read the 300 issues prior to that. I was able to read a Todd McFarlane Spidey Vs. Venom and get excited about it because it had a young, hip artist and a great storyline.
BUG: What about the Superman verdict? Anyone know the specifics of that?
PROF: It’s the Summary Judgment ruling from 2009 and people like me immediately saw a connection between the Siegels winning part of Superman back and the DC decisions since then, especially this reboot and costume change.
DOUCHE: Jim Shooter had some interesting words concerning the law suit.
Super Lad After I turned in the first draft of my looong outline for my Legion of Super-Heroes mega-arc a few years back, I was called to a meeting with the editor and Dan DiDio. They asked for a rewrite—not because they didn’t like the story, but because they wanted me to add a part that would introduce a new Super character, a Superboy of sorts.
And here’s one reason why: the Siegel and Shuster estates were suing over the original Superboy, and were likely to prevail. A new Super young man, cleanly owned by DC, was needed. The clone-cousin and Prime hadn’t really worked out.
Also, a Super in the LSH would certainly drive sales.
So, I started working on it. If you read the extra looooong revised series outline, you saw how the character would be introduced.
But, I thought this might be of interest. It’s a document I wrote early on in the process:
Here are some thoughts regarding Super Lad:
First of all, remember that I'm wicked old....
To me, Superman should be the greatest of all heroes, and by extension all "Super" characters should be cut from the same cloth. Back in antediluvian days, I thought a lot about what kind of person Superman and all Super characters must be. Having that kind of power and not abusing it, ever, in any way, takes a special kind of being. I wouldn't have been up to the task when I was a teenager--which is when I was doing the thinking. Would you?
Since the days when Stan made "heroes with flaws" the rage, I've seen Superman and other Super characters be portrayed as wrong-headed, stupid, selfish, nasty, vengeful, unnecessarily violent, inept, ineffective, foolish, weak, pathetic and in many ways, failures and losers.
My main problem with that is not some moralistic crap, not some cranky, old-guy problem with the disrespectful whippersnappers who threw down an icon, an ideal, and pissed all over it. Nope. My problem is that, as a writer with a brain, analyzing that garbage, I conclude that it just doesn't work character-wise. If a Super were anything but a noble being with an iron will and tremendous self control, impervious to the failings bad writers nonetheless foisted upon him or her, the Super would have been a villain. Period. And all the rest of the heroes, all the world for that matter, would have had nothing on their minds, and nothing else worthy of devoting their efforts to than destroying the Super. Period.
What DC allows numbskull lightweights to do to THE hero icon, Superman and other Supers is somebody else's call. However, if we are permitted--in fact, we were asked--to add a Super, Super Lad, to the pantheon--then I propose that we make him the noble-spirited young man he ought to be.
I see him as a genuine good guy. Someone who does the right thing, who has tremendous willpower and courage, who is smart and reasonable. Smart about using his powers, as he learns how. The nicest, best guy you ever met. NOBLE, in the best senses of the word. Not that he can't make mistakes, not that he doesn't have humanity--but he's the best of humankind, one of the few survivors of his particular kind, determined, therefore, to give a good account of himself.
Elliot S! Maggin once wrote an imaginary story in which Kal-el did not become Superman. Since that didn't occur, he was chosen as the Green Lantern of his sector because he among all beings there had the greatest courage, greatest will and noblest spirit. Right on. That was ES!M's finest hour.
Stan taught me this: magnify your heroes. He meant it in the archaic sense--to glorify, to increase, to make great. Super Lad should become THE Super. The standard by which all others are judged.
As for what he should look like.... The key costume elements to me are these:
- The "S." Prominent. And on his chest, though not necessarily dead center.
- The CAPE. There must be a cape.
- Full coverage. Only head and hands exposed. This isn't a summer suit...
- A belt. With a buckle. (!)
- Timelessness. This costume must be iconic. NOTHING trendy.
- Colors. Red and blue with a little yellow. Primaries. Only.
The key physical features to me are these:
- A strong, young man's physique. NOT overbuilt, NOT Hercules. Strong-looking but slim. Like Ditko's early Spider-man. An ATTAINABLE build. He's Kryptonian. He doesn't have to be absurdly muscle-bound.
- Handsome. A really, really good looking guy. No lantern jaw, no jock sensibility. Just an amazingly good looking guy.
- Haircut: timeless. A haircut that wouldn't look out of place in almost any era. I wouldn't mind something pretty close to Superman's. Nothing dated or trendy. No mullet, no crew cut, no high-and-tight, no long hair, no Pet Detective, no spike-y do, no dreads, no curls, no mop. Timeless.
- Smart and serious-looking. With all due respect, Kitson's Supergirl looked like a ditzy blonde. Super Lad must look like a serious young man.
That's it for now.
Part of the conceit was creating a character that could work outside the LSH context, and whose origin could be stated almost as succinctly as Superman’s. Forget the complexities of my storyline. It’s simple—“…brought from a distant world in the distant past to save our planet….” Adding a time travel element to the space travel bit used for Superman…a little Buck Rogers twist. It would have worked, I think.
When things started to get contentious with DC, they took the introduction of Super Lad away from me. I think it was because they were sufficiently annoyed by my complaints that they didn’t want me being the one to get the benefit of the licensing participations and character creation incentives.
So much for the retirement plan.
SUPERHERO: Wow, I actually like that...the costume design too...
PROF: Well, that settles that.
BUG: I find this fascinating. This is like Marvel losing the rights to Spidey. They no longer can use their core character so they decide to redo the entire line.
MATT ADLER: Marvel may be in a little less danger since the Kirby case is murkier.... there was no work for hire contract, but he did create those characters while freelancing for Martin Goodman. Siegel and Shuster clearly created Superman before coming to what would become DC (they even shopped it around to other outlets). But eventually copyright law will lead to all of these characters becoming public domain anyway.
BUG: I'm curious to hear what you guys think will happen to the comic shops as a result of all of this, and how soon do you think Marvel will respond in kind?
SUPERHERO: I don't know. I'm a bit optimistic about certain comic shops surviving. But they can't just call themselves "comic shops" anymore. And they can't just cater to the Big Two anymore to survive. With the almost certain collapse of Borders and Barnes & Noble (whose misfortunes, in my opinion, are more about being mismanaged than being a part of a dying industry) I think a comic shop can survive but only if they become an actual special service book store. There are a lot of mom and pop record shops in my area that do sell new stuff as well as old/used stuff and they seem to be hanging on if not doing well. When Tower Records went under everyone was talking about the death of the record store but I think what happened was that it opened room for small shops to possibly thrive again. Maybe what's happening here is the death of giant monster chains taking over the landscape. Maybe the new business model for shops will be to not get too big and stay small. Just own your small businesses and be happy with that and cater to your customers in the neighborhood and grow a bit online.
SQUASHUA: Death or more diversity; space will be used for non-comic items such as toys and games to draw in alternative customers.
OD: Comic shops will bend over and take it up the ass as they always do. There's no organization and 80% of them are owned by non-comic fans and run by the walking dead. I truly consider my shop an exception for my area, but even with their efficiencies they will still feel a burn. I've heard some talk about bolting Comixology to their website, but why would I use that if I could just order direct from an app? No one can answer that question. There's two ways to entice: either exclusive content or a price drop. Can comic shops offer either via an exclusive web service? Only time will tell. Marvel should start doing the same day digital next month. It ain't that hard, guys, and pricing the digital the same price as their tangible doppelgangers, what do you have to lose? It's called another revenue stream.
KC: I don't think there will be any immediate effect at the comic stores. The same people who were going to shops to buy comics the Wednesday before the digital push will be the same people in shops the week after. I do think it will effect comic shops in the long run because they are giving people an alternative to buying floppys (as you call them) but i think we are a long way away from seeing a full scale switch to digital. It definitely isn't helping printed versions stay relevant but it seems like a logical thing to happen given the times we live in. Just think, though--when there are no more current printed comics, our collections will be worth sooooo much...
VROOM: I don't know that this is an option for every comic shop out there, but it is an example of thinking outside the box. Here in Portland, there's a regular fine arts event called First Thursday . One of the newest comics shops in town, Floating World Comics , has jumped into this event feet first by hosting comics related art shows, starting the first Thursday of each month. One of the cooler showings involved presenting various artist's portraits of Kitty Pryde. I actually have two prints from that showing I still need to get framed. Another event featured original art from MADAME XANADU, along with the presence of the legendary Matt Wagner and the lovely Joëlle Jones. And at each event, there's a table of comics relevant to the show, and a salesperson behind the cash register. It's ideas like that, stuff that brings together the comics and non-comics crowd in the same venue, that will keep the shops alive. I don't know that an art show is viable for everyone, but if they try partnering up with the local second-run cinema for screenings of “Scott Pilgrim” or “Iron Man”, or get in touch with the local library about setting up a comics reading group sponsored by the shop...you get the idea. There are ways to keep comic shops relevant. It's just going to take some experimentation and a shitload of risk. Based on how Floating World is doing right now, I'd say it's worth the risk.
IMP: I think that hosting events like the ones you mentioned is a good idea, but I'm not sure how viable that option is to the smaller comic shops that have somehow managed to survive around the country. The trend I've noticed in the stores in my area--including the place where I buy most of my comics, Modern Myths in Northampton, MA-- is to split their focus between the role-playing game crowd and the comic market. Diversification seems to be the option if the market for the actual, physical comic book product dwindles even further than it already has. However, events like art shows and creator appearances are great if they can be made to happen. With comic conventions transforming into bloated, Hollywood-fueled behemoths of hype and product placement, wouldn't it be great if the local comic shops could tap into that one-on-one interaction with comics professionals that used to make the conventions special?
HUMPHREY: Marvel is not going to respond to anything. They've got movie money flowing in and no one has bothered to do that "vote with your wallet" idea for all those $3.99 books they bitch about, as is apparent with FEAR ITSELF selling well over 100K. I imagine overall, though, retailers will want DC to "win" in that they want more readership coming in and they want to make their money with units rather than hoping guys like us keep sucking up dollar increases. No one wants to own a business and watch its customer base dwindle to nothing because guys at the top did nothing to help keep a customer base coming back. I'm sure every retailer hopes DC knows what the hell it is doing and that between price point and accessibility they can sell current customers on a few new books and get the occasional teetering potential customer to finally buy a book or two. The sheer size of this new lineup will probably scare off some on both sides, though, and Marvel will continue to sit with their market share until they see a shift in how everyone is pumping money into their LCS.
BUG: Let’s get back to the relaunches themselves. Which of the 52 title interests you the most?
SUPERHERO: SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS...but that's 'cause those are the only two superhero books that my shop currently pulls for me. Not interested in anything else.
ROCK-ME: JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, because Jurgens wields a great Booster Gold. BIRDS OF PREY simply because it’s them. HAWK & DOVE because… well, c’mon, you can’t tell me you’re not interested. Even if you think it might be great, or just a great train wreck, it will NOT be dull. JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK sounds like a quirky bag of crazy. And BATGIRL, because it’s Babs.
PROF: The Morrison relaunch of ACTION is the only one any real substantive interest, but it's strictly intellectual curiosity. In terms of just being a fan, the AQUAMAN, OMAC, ALL-STAR WESTERN & FRANKENSTEIN books are the ones I really want to sample. But I would've sampled those without a "reboot" because of love of the characters and/or creative talent.
MATT: I'm probably most excited about George Perez's SUPERMAN, just because of his storytelling skills. And if he can only do breakdowns, you could do a lot worse than having someone like Jesus Merino doing finishes. JLI is a close second, because I love the characters, and Jurgens is another storytelling pro. Most of the Morrison and Johns stuff will at least be worth a look. And I confess to a curiosity about Tony Bedard's NEW GUARDIANS; I've been a fan of his since NEGATION.
IR: RESURRECTION MAN is a big standout for me. Loved the character in the nineties and I do hope Abnett and Lanning continue to kick ass on the title. While I didn't love where A&L took the character in the later issues the first 12 were pure brilliance. Want a great CW show? I've always said the title is tailor made for TV. I'm very excited to see Mitch Shelley back in action.
OD: Not being a betting man, I let history and reputation guide my soothsaying. Morrison kicked major ass on ALL STAR SUPERMAN; even if ACTION is not its traditional, it will definitely be something new and different. I have a big time man-crush on Scott Snyder, so I'm definitely grooving on BATMAN. JLI is probably my last one to watch simply because I am a fully indoctrinated member of the BWAHAHA brigade.
KC: The titles that interest me the most are ACTION COMICS because I think it will be at least interesting if not hard to follow...but definitely worth a gander. JUSTICE LEAGUE because as I’ve mentioned before I’ll buy anything Jim Lee draws. BATMAN, SUPERMAN, SWAMP THING (Paquette is gonna rule on this book), THE FURY OF FIRESTORM (loved him as a kid), DETECTIVE...I'll just say I'm curious about a lot of these titles but whether I'll consistently buy them is another thing. Plus I also wonder if these are the creative teams for the foreseeable future or just to kick things off. Basically I'm interested in a lot...but I'll be buying a lot less.
VROOM: I'm not planning on getting any of these, but the one book that's tempting me is I, VAMPIRE, and that's only because I like Joshua Hale Fialkov as a writer. As a Gail Simone fan, I'll probably end up flipping through the eventual TPB for BATGIRL. The same for ACTION COMICS. Can't say that I care about any other books.
JD: I'm most intrigued by JUSTICE LEAGUE, since this title is going to set the mood of the reset. If they fail with the very first issue, things are screeeewwwed. Beyond that, I'm curious about the new TEEN TITANS and I'm really curious to see how many issues past issue 2 of HAWK & DOVE that Rob Liefeld will actually do. It's so amazing to me that he's involved in this. I feel like we're being punked.
HUMPHREY: Talent speaks so I am all aboard the SWAMP THING, ANIMAL MAN, and honestly STORMWATCH trains. I want to see what those creators can whip up with those titles and characters.
BUG: I’ll read Scott Snyder’s grocery list and be intrigued, so BATMAN and SWAMP THING are top of the list. Can’t wait for I, VAMPIRE because Fialkov is one of the best writers not enough people are reading. I’m intrigued by HAWKMAN (Tony Daniel is surprisingly good on BATMAN) and Mike Costa will bring the same military awesomeness he brings to GI JOE COBRA to BLACKHAWKS. RESURRECTION MAN? I can’t frikkin’ wait! Loved the old series and will probably love the new one. And I’m with you guys on the HAWK & DOVE. It’s like watching a nun fall down a flight of stairs. You know it’s wrong and you should step in to stop it, but you just can’t look away. ANIMAL MAN looks good and I’ll follow Shade the Changing Man in JLA AFTER DARK. FRANKENSTEIN, DEMON KNIGHTS, SGT ROCK, and ALL STAR WESTERN should be fun, but I don’t know if they’ll last long. I’m rooting for AQUAMAN, but Johns needs a better take on Arthur because this Namor-lite crap isn’t cutting it.
SQUASHUA: What title interests me the most? I would say OMAC because Giffen is working on it and I read anything he writes, but I have zero interest in OMAC and Kirby homages are always hit-or-miss with me, usually miss. I don't want to say ACTION COMICS with Morrison because everyone else is going to pick that and I am not sure how he'll top ALL STAR SUPERMAN except by taking Superman back to his Golden Age roots. I almost would pick JLI, but I have a love/hate relationship with Jurgens' storytelling; it can get quite dry (see his original BOOSTER GOLD series). I'll go with RESURRECTION MAN because I loved the orginal series and DnA are back writing where they started; here's hoping it comes with one of those holograms on the cover again.
IMP: My love for DC has dwindled over the past couple of years, so I can't really say that I'm champing at the bit for any of these new or rebooted titles. That being said, I'm curious to see what Tony Daniel has in store for HAWKMAN, a character who really needs someone with great ideas at the helm so that the character doesn't deteriorate into just another guy who can fly. DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS might be up my alley, since I tend to gravitate towards one-shots and comic book anthologies. DEMON KNIGHTS sounds like it might be kinda neat. And I have to admit I'm looking forward to HAWK AND DOVE, but in a slowing-down-to-stare-at-the-car-crash sort of way.
PROF: Least interested in anything that has anything to do with the WildStorm characters, who should not be a part of the DCU in any way.
IR: There are so many "least favorite titles" for me but BLACKHAWKS is one I have less than zero interest in.
MATT: Least interested in... boy, there's a lot to choose from, isn't there? Lots of mediocre creators, artists pretending to be writers, and concepts without any compelling hook. Let's just keep it simple and say anything with Scott Lobdell or Rob Liefeld is not making my list.
OD: Toe tag HAWK & DOVE already, unless it's the lady team we got a whisper of back in BLACKEST NIGHT. The male Hawk hasn't been interesting since he became Monarch.
KC: The titles I'm least interested in are AQUAMAN and any of those WildStorm/DC mash-ups but I'll probably check 'em out anyway because I have the privilege of being in a comic store 5 days a week.
IMP: I'm not seeing much to grab me just based on the sparse information we've been given so far; maybe that'll change once the books hit the stands and I can see more of what they have to offer. In fact, it's probably better to NOT get invested in too many of these titles, 'cause I'd be willing to bet that most of the non-Batman, non-Superman, non-Green Lantern and non-Justice League comics will end up biting the big one before a year has gone by.
SQUASHUA: What title interests me the least? Just like everyone else, HAWK & DOVE. It baffles me; I simply have zero idea who the audience for that book is intended to be. And VOODOO because I know nothing about the character and with Ron Marx writing and the design on the cover, I think they're just playing to the WITCHBLADE crowd.
JD: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, as always. I could just never get into those characters or that universe; even when Geoff Johns tackled them, I didn't get further than one issue into it before giving up.
BUG: I have to agree. LEGION holds little interest for me. Neither do the TITANS or DEATHSTROKE or STATIC SHOCK series. BATWING seems unnecessary. Why no SHAZAM? And the WildStorm stuff seems redundant to me. VOODOO, but no ZATANNA or XOMBI? Please…
HUMPHREY: A lot of these other books are either working on a revamped version of something they were already writing, or I just have no bloody clue who they are or that DC had to reach so hard to find people to fill these slots. That latter aspect of this translates into the titles I just have no interest in; sorry Eric Wallace, I just don't know who you are nor do I think I'd get a MR. TERRIFIC book either way. Stuff like that book I think will be gone pretty quickly methinks. At least it will probably bother to show up though, which I have no faith in the Finch BATMAN title and HAWK & DOVE bothering to do.
BUG: With 52 books coming out and this many creators (especially artists tossed into both writing and art duties), history has told us that there may be massive delays. On top of that, with DC’s strict code for cancelling titles that are not high sellers, some of these books are bound to be cancelled early on. Which do you think will most likely be gone in 6 to 12 issues?
ROCK-ME: Pretty much everything that has to do with war or WildStorm, tied with a few others that will go nowhere. I predict short runs for OMAC, DEMON KNIGHTS, BATWING, HAWKMAN, GREEN ARROW and CAPTAIN ATOM – the first three because as high concepts, they’re middle rung, and the last three because, from what I’ve read, there’s nothing going on the these NEW iterations that wasn’t a lot like their OLD iterations…that got cancelled. Also, as much as I like Johns and all he’s done for the DCU, I don’t see Aquaman making it past two years, unless they bring some balls-to-the-seawalls action and mind-blowing concepts. Less if Johns passes writing duties off to anyone within 12 months.
PROF: I expect a good half of these to be gone in less than a year. I also expect sales to spike and then fall hard.
IR: Cancelled: I'm a fanboy who actually still loves Liefeld’s art...but can he carry a monthly book still? I see HAWK & DOVE being an early cancel. Hopefully more will follow and we can end this HEROES REBORN universe. I guess I'm just wishfully thinking...
IMP: Hell, given Rob Liefeld's track record for punctuality, HAWK & DOVE will most likely end up being an unintentional one-shot.
MATT: For the deadpool... I usually don't like doing these unless some title particularly offends me, and none of these have had the chance to do that yet, but what the heck. Among the first titles to be cancelled will be VOODOO, RESURRECTION MAN, I VAMPIRE, DEMON KNIGHT, FRANKENSTEIN, BLACKHAWKS, MISTER TERRIFIC, ALL-STAR WESTERN, CAPTAIN ATOM, SGT ROCK, and DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS. Probably roughly in that order, with the first seven not even lasting 12 issues.
BUG: Yeah, I think at least a quarter of these books will be gone in less than a year. The war and western books will stick around because there’s nothing out there like it. The other stuff like VOODOO will probably be incorporated into STORMWATCH or GRIFTER or JLA DARK n’ LOVELY. STATIC will most assuredly be glommed into TITANS. LEGION will probably die again and have another incarnation immediately after. If Finch gets two issues out in a row in a year, I’ll be surprised and same goes for Liefeld. Though I hate to say it, my favorites will probably be gone unless a miracle happens because folks will stick to what they know with all of these titles slapping them in the face. That means stuff I want to see like I, VAMPIRE, FRANKENSTEIN, BLACKHAWKS, DEMON KNIGHTS and the like will most likely not stand a chance, I fear, without major support from reviewers, even though they will be far superior to RED HOOD, which will be successful just because it’s a Batman tie in. I love obscure titles like RESURRECTION MAN, but the last run was cancelled for a reason. Despite excellent writing, folks didn’t read it. I did, but no one else seemed to. Maybe that’ll change this time around.
SQUASHUA: All of you RESURRECTION MAN haters really need to go check out the original, and include the Hitman crossover appearance (where Tommy just keeps killing Mitch over and over again till he comes back to life with a useful power; "What can you do this time?" "Create psychedelic butterfl" "BLAM!"). They used him surprisingly well in DC One Million.
HUMPHREY: Yeah, that run is definitely on my list to hunt down in dollar bins, for that issue in particular, the only one I've read. I'll be getting this new #1 for that reason as well (and because Abnett and Lanning are killing it all over these days).
OD: Magic titles will die a slow painful death unless they get into some real synergy with the rest of the universe and true rules of magic are established. No cop outs or last minute "uh-oh Superman's down. Time for magic!"
KC: The titles I think will be cancelled first will be hmmm....and these are just guesses, RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS, MISTER TERRIFIC, STATIC SHOCK & HAWK & DOVE. I agree with PROF that DC will see an initial spike in sales, then once the hype and all that have died down sales will taper off, I'd say about 3 issues in (but sales will go up overall simply because they have more titles available).
VROOM: I doubt that even half of these will last a year, but barring a miracle the first to go will probably be MISTER TERRIFIC, HAWK & DOVE, BATWING, and RED HOOD, not neccesarily in that order.
SQUASHUA: Which titles will be cancelled in 6 to 12 issues? O.M.A.C. will at least make it to 12 because Didio is pulling the strings there. I think there are two too many GREEN LANTERN-related books (RED LANTERNS included). I'm sure the new characters like BATWING will disappear, as will many standalone trials like CAPTAIN ATOM. Those are just my examples--there are too many to list, to be truthful.
JD: Which titles will be cancelled in 6 to 12 issues? HAWK & DOVE. ALL-STAR WESTERN. VOODOO. OMAC.
BUG: We've talked enough, don’t’cha think? Let's have some final thoughts on the new DCU.
IMP: I'm willing to keep an open mind, but the fact that so many of us are buzzing about the possibility that the Siegel & Shuster legal decisions are a critical factor in this "reboot/revamp" makes me think that this is corporate driven venture rather than a creative one. That, to me, spells trouble. I'm hoping that those writers and artists involved are able to create good comics under this new direction, but at the same time I think that DC made a critical mistake by razing the majority of its continuity in this desperate bid for new readers while assuming that longtime fans will keep on complacently forking their money over. Wait and see, I guess.
PROF: With every new announcement, it's becoming clear that they are basically keeping everything essentially the same but with a spit-shine and new duds. Well, except for Superman. They're just rearranging the ingredients a bit in the DCU but the only real change of any substance appears to be the Superman franchise. I had hopes for something substantively widespread, but alas there does appear to be a strong sense of creative energy from the artists and writers. Maybe that will translate into something cool. Beyond that...it just looks like more illusion of change than actual change.
KC: I think it’s a really bold move for DC to do something on this scale and I have to applaud them for that and i'm definitely interested in some of the creative teams and titles. As far as it getting new readers I doubt it because people's opinion on DC is that it is too complicated and even though there are 52 #1's coming out, I can't see that making things easier to understand. I feel like in less than two years the new DC will start to resemble the old DC...
OD: It is what it is and will either be bold or a monstro-suck. It's different, though, and I personally love something new and different.
HUMPHREY: I don't bloody know. How's that for finality? Now that more information on these titles is coming out, I'm where I was when we started this long journey; I get the idea, I still support the measure though maybe not the scope and a lot of it is going to fall to execution and, quite frankly, talent which they may not have enough to pull this off. You put Jeff Lemire on an ANIMAL MAN book and Scott Snyder on SWAMP THING, you've won me over a little bit. You tell me some of the most nefarious blowers of deadlines are still going to be on key books, you've lost me a little bit. And when you tell me the mother of all loners in John Constantine is going to be on a freaking JUSTICE LEAGUE of some sort, my fanboy hackles are going to rise a bit. So what I think is that this... this is going to be fun to watch either succeed or crash and burn.
VROOM: For the past couple of years, since roughly SECRET INVASION at Marvel and FINAL CRISIS at DC, my interest in superhero books has been waning. This new DCU is my jumping off point. I can't say what I'll be reading a few years down the line, but for now, I'm done.
SQUASHUA: A brave and bold move by DC to be sure, but I'm going to sit back and see which series get acclaim and consider picking up the trades.
JD: I'm excited for change! I just hope this will be a good change. Though If Superboy's new "wifebeater with S-symbol taped on and 1980's gloves" look is any indication..I have a feeling this will all be re-retconned again in a year. Fingers crossed, though!
BUG: I think this is going to be my jumping off point for buying DC in floppy form. It’ll save space for me and make it seem like I’m spending less at the store. I’ll pick and choose which books to download, but this whole thing has allowed me to bring to a close long runs of series I’ve read for years. Maybe it’s not a reboot, but to me, it seems like a natural conclusion to a lot of DC stories and gives me an opportunity to walk away feeling I’ve come to the end of an era. The next era of DC may be cool. No idea. I like some of the teams, but there are too many books out there from other companies for me to dedicate my dollars to 52 new issues.
IR: Conclusion for moi? This whole thing reeks like a chick on the other side of the bar. She could be good from far but probably far from good. I expect many of these new titles to be cancelled in 15 issues.
MATT: The creative teams for this relaunch are really a mixed bag, and it does not inspire me with a lot of confidence that those at the helm of DC have a solid idea of how to produce a compelling line of comics. But I'm very curious to see what effect the day and date digital plan has on the industry, and I'm also curious as to how long DC will stick with some of these moves (particularly the ones that have raised debate, like the restrictions on superheroine costumes and holding creative teams to strict deadlines). The behind the scenes stuff should certainly continue to be interesting, whether or not the comics themselves are.
Well, there you have it. If you made it through the whole thing without stopping for a sandwich or taking a leak, you deserve a pat on the back. If you missed out on the first half of the Roundtable, you can find it here. Now, how about we continue to conversation into the Talkbacks…
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G