Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well, Now That I Think About It...Part Deux

After talking with friends and reading Doug's thoughts (post-Episode 4 - "Re-Boot Be Gone"), I was of a mind to re-approach my thoughts about the DC Reboot as well. I read my friend's thoughts and I do agree with him in that the medium needs to change and grow and that it may hurt in the process. I get it. I guess I am just a little too bitter in that regard. Now, I want to make one thing clear. This is not a retraction. I am still very much against the reboot for a variety of reasons, but I think I was a little too emotional when first discussing this and didn't get my thoughts across clearly.

And before I really get into it, I would like to clarify something. It has been pointed out to me by some of my Twitter friends that Geoff Johns is not one of the architects of the reboot, but he is still the Chief Creative Officer. The two main architects of the reboot are Dan Didio (hereafter to be referred to as “the Didiot”) and Jim Lee. Being that I am a bit of a Jim Lee fanboy, he gets a pass for now. The Didiot is still on my shitlist. So, in as much as he is still part of the creative staff at DC, Mr. Johns IS still involved but not to the extent that I made him out to be in the podcast. I'm not absolving him of his past sins, like he did Hal Jordan. I just wanted to point that out.

SO, yeah, I am still pissed that DC Comics is rebooting their universe. And make no mistake, it is a reboot. I've read several articles online (mostly on Newarama) where DC Comics claims “it's not a reboot, it's a relaunch”. Which is completely and utterly stupid!

Like I said in the podcast, you can't go and fundamentally alter the origins and histories of most of your entire comics universe and then claim “nothing is changing, it's all good”. It's lazy and dismissive on a level that is staggering in it's arrogance. Now, how can ole' JT make this claim and not be pulling this right out of his tuchus?! Well, according to the Newsarama article, “DC Releases New 'The New 52' Info and Answers to Retailers”, when asked why not call the relaunch a reboot, DC responded by saying, “a reboot is a restart of the story or character that jettisons away everything that happened previously.”

Now to most that would make a lot of sense. But when you ARE changing things, like turning the classic "I, Vampire" into a loosely veiled *shudders* "Twilight" rip-off ...

 ... and Superboy is a robo-clone-hybrid (as far as I can tell from the cover art)...

..... that is EXACTLY what a reboot is! Hell, they just killed Pa Kent not even two years ago and now BOTH of Superman's parents are going to be gone before he ever dons the cape and blue jeans. I am not even kidding.

Also in the article was this little gem. You are gonna' love this! When asked what makes this event different, DC said “This is a historic initiative for DC Entertainment and the DC Comics characters – and a first for the company's publishing history.

I call 'BULLSHIT'! A first for the company's publishing history”?! Are you kidding me?! They cannot possibly be serious, can they? Hey, DC, it HAS happened before. And it will happen again. Oh Gods, I'm so pissed that I'm quoting 'Battlestar Galactica' now. It was a little comic series called “Crisis on Infinite Earths”!!! And unlike this 'event', there was a legitimate editorial reason for it. For those in the audience not sure of what I am talking about, it goes like this. In 1985, the editors at DC Comics devised the “Crisis” to reboot the current DC Universe and consolidate the myriad universes that the various characters inhabited. Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family were on Earth S, Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters were fighting Nazis on Earth X, the JSA and all the other WW2 heroes were on Earth 2 and so on and so forth. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” was a tool, designed to not only clean up the continuity, but to bring in new readers at a time when the whole comics industry was not doing so well.

So, it's not like they haven't done this before. It just isn't that neccessary. Sadly, it's pretty much just an attempt to grab a hold of the “unicorn of the comics industry”, the mythical *finger quotes* 'new reader'. Every comic company does this almost every year, by renumbering a failing series with a new #1, by introducing 'new & dynamic' characters or offering yet another 'unknown' chapter of a hero's origin. It happens all the time in this industry that I love, but it never seemed so deparate as it does here. I mean, when you look at DC's current continuity, it's only 25 years old! And DC had used the “Crisis” button before to tighten the continuity. Can any comic fan honestly say that “Zero Hour” was anything more than an excuse to tighten up their literary belt and trim the editorial fat?! It cannot be that hard to keep things straight and in line with the core of the universe, even with all the quasi-reboots and continuity tweaks, can it?!

And it's more than that, really. I love DC Comics, but this whole scheme reeks like it was the early 1990s! I swear, I took one look at the 'new' Harley Quinn and Green Arrow, and I distinctly caught the scent of 1993. 

*sniff, sniff* "Does it smell like Image Comics in here to anyone else?" 

Maybe it was just the art, but it sure does feel like it's the early '90s again. Like I said before, Jim Lee gets a pass ....FOR NOW. That doesn't excuse him entirely. I am just giving him the benefit of the doubt.  All that's missing now is Rob Liefeld drawing “Hawk and Dove” again and ....oh wait.....


I know it's a little ways off yet and I have yet to read even ONE issue of this new universe, but I am so far beyond 'cautiously paranoid' that it's not even funny. And it is very hypocritical on my part for me to say that I will probably be buying some of the new titles. I am still very interested in seeing how they are going to try and pull this off. I just think it may result in DC pulling a 'Heroes Reborn' and going back to the old continuity after a years time has passed. I think most of my thoughts can be summed up in this response to Doug's post from   from Karen (@powergirlfan on Twitter), a fellow comic fan and Power Girl cos-player who has commented on the blog before. She summed up her thoughts by saying:

"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 that is the biggest problem I have with this whole deal. The reboot is not moving things forward, letting the characters and titles evolve into something new and exciting. Gone is originality and 'thinking outside the box'. Instead, we get a mixed grab bag of the greatest hits of the '90s, a time when comics were so indistinct from one another, it was hard to tell if I even cared about what I was reading. 

Steve-O approves.

But like I said, it has not happened yet. I haven't read even one issue yet and in all honesty, what they have planned may even surprise and entertain me. God, I hope so, because if the "New 52" doesn't pull it off, I weep for the future. 

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