Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Well, Now That I Think About It...

Hiah all you authentically geeky pals and gals,

Last week, Phreak 711 and I released our Podcast #4, which was mostly a rant about our feelings for the upcoming D.C. Universe continuity reboot; mainly how immensely we hated the idea. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that we may have been a little hard on the whole notion...

You see, part of all growth involves change, and sometimes change can hurt. This is perhaps the most important lesson taught by every teen movie from Teen-Wolf to 16 Candles...I don't know how I missed it.

Because in the long run, the D.C. Universe is just trying to grow. It's trying to keep up with changing times and trying to re-invent itself so it can be more free in its story telling. What's more, it's not the first time this has happened. The current historical continuity is only about 25 years old, if we are assuming the Crisis on Infinite Earths was the most recent time that the D.C. Continuity got reset (ignoring all the times it was tampered with such as Infinite Crisis or Zero Hour).

Back in 1985 the Crisis asked fans to let go of over 30 years of continuity dating back to the Silver Age of comics, and everything worked out fine. The characters got new origins, the stories took on a more modern tone, and nobody got hurt. The fans kept buying, the creators kept creating, and a history was reborn.

So all I can say is that I wish D.C. the best. That I hope this continuity reboot is coming with the best intentions and that it sparks a new era of creativity and life for some of our favourite characters. I'm even pretty excited for some of the creative team-ups coming down the line like Grant Morrison and Rags Morales on Action Comics and the new concept behind The Authority sounds great; I love putting Martian Manhunter on the team!

I just really hope that this is not an excuse to sell us the same story over again, just with new packaging. I mean, if we have to read another “Death of Superman” story a few years from now with the only difference being Superman's uniform, then what's the point?


  1. Well, I disagree pretty strongly, about your entire premise. The entire problem that longtime fans (like myself) have with the proposed changes is that they drag the DCU Universe backward, instead of allowing it to grow and change naturally, as it has for years.

    If The DCU truly wanted to keep up with times, they would allow characters to age and build families (as they had done in the Superman titles, with Clark wooing Lois, then getting engaged, then married).

    To suffer great tragedies and rise above them, not allowing the hurts they've suffered to define them (like Barbara Gordon being permanently injured by the Joker, but finding a new role as Oracle).

    Or to choose what defines you: your past or your future (with characters like Superboy, whose lineage could make him either the greatest hero, or villain of the future)

    Or to move forward with real change, as beloved characters age into new roles and identities (like Dick Grayson actually graduating to the status of equal to Bruce, and donning the Batman cowl)

    But instead, all of those characters remain stunted, and all are reset back to their previous settings. The New DCU is not about moving forward, it's about being slavish to the status quo. And not just any status quo, but the specific, arbitrary status quo that Dan DiDio and Jim Lee want to cling to.

    And worst of all, DC isn't using the new voices of today to make the changes. They're going back to old voices, who were big in a previous era: the 90s. Instead of seeking independent talents or new voices (like the great Nick Spencer that Marvel scooped up) they're trotting out dusty old relics like Scott Lobdell, and giving him franchises he has no experience with, and no business writing.

    And the characters will do so not in modern, cutting edge designs from up and coming artists, or new blood with fresh takes. Nope, they're the same old 90s stale garbage from Jim Lee, and his ilk, who never met a shoulder pad, dated tattoo, or pocket pouch they didn't like.

    Even a short skirt wasn't sexy enough for the at-the-oldest 17 year old Supergirl. No, now Supergirl will wear tiny red panties, and thigh high boots with cutouts. You ever met a 16 year old who dresses like that? Not me.

    I guess I appreciate your effort to try and think positively about the reboot--indeed, I still have to read the books before I can say whether or not they're quality. But I fundamentally disagree if you think these changes are to move the company forward. I think they're winding back the clock to the speculator 90s, when Jim Lee and his Image gang bankrupted Marvel with the equally audacious "Heroes Reborn" gambit.

  2. I actually agree with you. The biggest problem I feel though, is that we don't know how to go after what you're talking about.

    Mainly, every time something is done to fundamentally change the character of one of the majors, the fans or the creators themselves eventually just reverse it all for the sake of nostalgia and call it brilliance.

    For example, Spider-man taking his mask off. Great idea, it actually changed not only Peter's life, but how Peter would interact with everybody in his Universe. But the fans couldn't take it, Joe Quesada couldn't take it, within months there was a ret-con to change everything "back to the way it was when I first fell in love with Spider-man".

    Similarilily, it would have been amazing if Superman actually stayed dead. The D.C. Universe would have had to learn how to grow and live after having its heart broken. But no, there's no way D.C. would give up their biggest monthly cash cow.

    Even deaths that made sense, and seemed to last the test of time; the death of Robin and Bucky, two events that helped define the character and motivations of both Batman and Captain America, the one time when each hero failed, the one reason why they continue to try harder to never fail again. Both stories were ret-coned within months of each other for the sake of some questionable story lines and flagging comic sales.

    So I guess what I'm saying is the defeatist part of my personality sees ret-cons as inevitable. That someone will always come along after the fact, and change things; no matter how good the original story was. I almost see it as a natural progression of our heros into myth as generations tell and retell their stories, adapting them to fit each new generation that finds them; and I just hope they don't f#*k it up this time.