Well, it's been almost one year since DC Comics decided to completely revamp their line of comics and release everything starting back with a brand new #1 on the cover so I figured it was time to post something on The Thought Corner about what has become the DC Comics “New 52”.
When this was officially announced by DC Comics last Summer there seemed to be a mix of emotions among the comic book community. Many were irate with DC that the universe they've been reading for decades was going to be changed and set back to an earlier time, while others (me included) applauded DC for making this move to clean up the past and reshape the future. For me, this was what I've wanted DC Comics to do ever since 2004 or so when they started to adopt the monthly mega-even crossover style of doing business that Marvel had begun doing. You know what I'm talking about here, month in and month out of universe spanning mega-crossovers spanning the entire line of books, sometimes multiple events going on at the same time causing readers to scramble and get lost in the shuffle. It makes me sick. Having one mega event every few years makes more sense and make the ramifications of such events much more rememberable and meaningful in my opinion, and because of this kind of marketing I've all but shunned Marvel Comics and will probably never do business with them again. DC was getting a similar treatment from me and aside from purchasing Batman every month and keeping up with Superman, I was all but done with them as well. But then I heard about the reboot/relaunch of the DCU (now the DCnU) and I heard Jim Lee do a radio interview where he said they would only do universe spanning events when they felt the stories called for it. I starting thinking to myself that maybe this would be worth checking out and maybe it would be a great introductory into DC aside from the 2 books I was semi keeping up with and the slew of DC books I was buying in the 80's and 90's.
I decided to be a part of this huge reboot/relaunch and for the last Wednesday of August 2011 all the way until week 4 of September my local comic book shop held early opening events for the event and drew hundreds and hundreds of fans to the store. Sales were going through the roof for the “New 52” and for the most part the core books within the DCnU have maintained the high sales figures almost a year later. New fans and old fans alike were scrambling into comic book stores to pick up all the new titles DC was launching and suddenly for the first time in a long time DC Comics was the #1 publisher in the industry. That lasted until recently when Marvel began their Avengers vs X-men storyline, another mega-event spanning a majority of their titles (Yaawwwwwwn). Sadly, idiotic Marvel fans were duped into stores to pick up these issues and Marvel, for the time being anyway, had recaptured it's spot as the #1 publisher in comic books. Still, DC manages to hold 7/10 of the top 10 spots and for a number of months held all 10 positions in the Diamond charts with their New 52 books, that's no small feat and many of their comics have garnered a larger reader base than they did pre-reboot thanks to all the attention the relaunch received by the media.
As for my own experiences with the New 52, I'd have to say that it's been mostly positive and the first month of release I managed to grab a whopping 20 #1's of various titles released. I liked about 16 of them quite a bit and stuck with as many as I could until I had to begin picking and choosing which books I'd follow due to financial reasons and the fact that I heavily support independent comic book publishers such as Atlas (not anymore), Dynamite Entertainment, BOOM Studios (not anymore), and now Valiant Comics. So, I started out with 20 #1's within the DCnU, I liked about 16 of them and stuck with those books until the #6 issues came out and the cut down the list to 11 where it stands today. Before the relaunch/reboot I was only buying 2 monthly DC books (Batman, Superman), and even at that it was only when I thought of doing so or had the extra cash to spend on them. So, I'd say that since I'm now buying 9 more total monthly books than before that DC has done a wonderful job in keeping my interest in this line, and remember that 5 of those books I trimmed down were strictly for financial reasons and not because I didn't find them entertaining. As of right now I'm currently reading Superman, Action Comics, Batman, Detective Comics, Justice League, Legion of Super-Heroes, Legion Lost, The Ravagers, Green Lantern, The Savage Hawkman, and Aquaman. I wanted to keep up with The Flash, Blue Beetle, Batman: The Dark Knight, and Teen Titans but unfortunately the wallet can only produce so much money, especially when I'm still buying a good amount of indy books being produced today.
I'll tell you one thing that surprises me about the whole relaunch/reboot is that I'm reading DC books that I NEVER would have thought I'd be reading in a million years. If you would have told me that I'd be avidly enjoying Aquaman, Legion of Super-Heroes, Legion Lost, The Ravagers, Teen Titans, or Blue Beetle, I would have called you nuts. But no, these books have all turned out to be tremendous and really fun monthly reads for me. I'm especially loving Legion of Super-Heroes and it's diverse cast of regulars who really have been drawing me in with their personal lives as well as the stories of them saving the world and whatnot, it's been absolutely fantastic. And of course books such as Batman, Detective Comics, Superman, Green Lantern, Action Comics, and Hawkman have all delivered with amazing art and wonderful tales of these classic heroes in their younger years. I've gone into EVERY DCnU book as if it's never seen print previous to the release of the New 52 and it's worked out wonderfully. I'm basically picturing that these heroes and villains are brand new to the market and that DC is basically a brand new publisher, sounds odd I know but let me tell you this: It's been years since I've felt this way about mainstream comic book characters and I have the New 52 and my own imagination to thank for it.
I've been asked by many people over the course of the past year if I thought the relaunch/reboot by DC was a good idea and I still stand by the answer I gave on many web forums the day it was officially announced. My answer is yes. DC has managed to shake up the comic book industry, get more books in more hands, clean up some continuity hiccups, and make some extra money while getting as many heads to turn their way as possible and I think the industry really needed it. Now it looks as if Marvel Comics may be doing something similar in the upcoming months in a way to steal some of DC's thunder and really ensure their place at the top of the perch, but as of this writing it's not completely known what may be in store for their books and if it's going to be just a handful of books or their entire line (thought I'm sure they'll all be $3.99). Regardless, it just shows that Marvel is afraid of DC and their new found readership and will do anything it takes to steal back it's fans by copying them and retooling their own universe, which I find quite sad and it makes me hate Marvel all that much more. DC's characters just grip me more than Marvel's do anyway so I prefer to stick close to what feels like “home” when it comes to comic books if you catch my drift.
So the long/short of it all is that if you've still yet to give any of the New 52 books a try yet than I suggest you use the upcoming 1 year anniversary to do so, I promise that you wont be disappointed and I really do think that most of the characters that have been rebooted have really shined quite a bit now that they're free of older continuity. Check out the #0 issues that will be hitting shelves soon which serve as origin stories for the New 52 books and will more than likely made a good lead in to the #1's that were launched last Fall. When you're done, let me know what you thought!
As always I want to take the time to thank those who took the time to read my blog, it's much appreciated. Also, you can always check me out at www.twitter.com/manga4life as well as TZ and CBR, feel free to say “hi”.
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