Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DC relaunches their line in September; some thoughts...

It's been about a month or so now since DC Comics announced that they were going to relaunch their entire line (excluding Vertigo and their kids comic line) with 52 new #1's in September. That means that even Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, will have new #1's (Action Comics, since 1938, has never had a reboot of its numbering). This is really big news because no comic book company has done anything to their line on the scale EVER. Seriously, the internet is still trying to put itself together with this news. Comic book news sites and message boards haven't seen this level of activity for information and opinions on how this is going to play out since I can't remember when.

Why is DC doing this? The simple answer is they want to shake things up and reach whole new audiences or lapsed audiences. A lot of people are saying that this would be easier to swallow if DC just rolled out a few new rebooted #1's a month, instead of 52 new ones in one month. I agree that 52 new #1's is a lot in one month, but after thinking about it these past few weeks, I think that doing the relaunch / reboot all at once definitely will have more impact and already has gotten more attention than if they just did a gradual roll out (I still think on a big level that this is too much, but we're living in a world of too much everything in terms of entertainment and this genie isn't going back in the bottle).

There is some confusion on what is being rebooted and what will just be continued from the DC universe prior to September. This hasn't been clarified, but they have said that titles and characters like Batman and Green Lantern, which are doing well and on the "right" path, will largely continue as they are presently, but we've heard rumblings that characters like Superman and Firestorm will have significant changes when we see those titles / characters in September. Yes, some of our favorite characters (such as Barbara Gordon as Oracle) will be very different from what we're enjoying now, but whatever happens to these characters, I'd like to suggest / remind people that whatever they don't like about the new DC in September won't negate all the great comics they've already read (such as James Robinson's Starman, Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, Ed Brubaker's Catwoman) and they can be revisited once you unearth them from whichever storage method you use. It's also highly possible that people who were concerned about a new direction for a character they think should be left alone, will really like what the new creative teams have planned. Will there be missteps? Yes there will be, but I'm thinking that DC is thinking that nothing ventured, nothing gained and they won't know what works until they plunge ahead. The people at DC Comics are not going to just disregard their rich history and they are aware that what they are doing could alienate fans that have followed them for many years, but at the same time they need new readers. I also think that DC Comics has plans with how this balancing act they're doing is going to work, but they don't (can't / shouldn't) want to show all of the cards they have up their sleeves at once.

In regards to people that are wondering how their pocket books will absorb all of the new #1's that DC has coming out in September, well I don't have an answer for this (but I used to be on the other side of the register as well and know how hard making choices of what to get and what not to get can be). I want to mention again that I think there's too many new #1's coming out, but as I've also mentioned above, there's too much everything and this too much everything is not going to go away.

At Alternate Reality Comics, I (like many other comic book stores), have a subscription pull and hold service so that people can reserve the issues of titles they don't want to miss an issue of. Within two weeks, I'll have a new club sheet that people can use to sign up for these new DC #1's (and other new series from other companies of course). I know that when my customers see the new sheet they'll be overwhelmed and not sign up for comics that they'll probably pick up when they arrive and I can understand that a person wants to check out something first before committing to a particular title. Ordering DC Comics in September is going to be especially tricky for comic book retailers everywhere because with DC set to launch their biggest advertising campaign in years, the very real reality exists for lots of newbies to flock into comic book stores and quickly absorb what was ordered. I appreciate everyone who shops at Alternate Reality Comics, but I (like comic book stores everywhere), especially appreciate those who sign up with our club service, as this helps us to get a better handle on how we should order a particular title. Just as an individual who comes into a comic book store doesn't have an infinite budget for what they want to get on any given week or month, a comic book store (with the plethora of titles there are from numerous companies) also doesn't have an infinite budget so they can't order hundreds of all titles to see what people will be receptive to.

I'm mostly excited about what DC Comics will be doing in September, but just as comic readers / buyers will have to make hard choices on which DC comics to follow, and DC is risking a lot on how their present fanbase reacts to the 52 new #1's in September, I'm more than a little curious as to how high I should be ordering these new titles (so for those of you filling out the new club sheet for titles in September, thank you in advance for any feedback and commitment you make for DC Comics' upcoming titles). While my excitement also goes hand in hand with a concern with how to order (I've done this comic retailing thing for seventeen years now and wouldn't trade this for anything else), but never has there been a change to a companies publishing policy as DC is undertaking in September. And not to flog a dead horse, while I wish on some level that DC wasn't going to be launching 52 new #1's in one month (or there to be not so much of everything), I do think that what DC Comics is doing is going to make more people look at their titles in ways they wouldn't have if DC just continued on their present course. There will be pros and cons to the new DC come September, but I like to think that the positives will outweigh the negatives. Off the top of my head, I'm most looking forward to J.H. Williams' Batwoman, Johns & Lee's Justice League, Jeff Lemire's Swamp Thing and Animal Man, Morrison & Morales' Action Comics, and SGT. Rock. I'm looking forward to what patrons / friends of Alternate Reality Comics are looking forward to from the NEW DC!

Thanks to everyone who visits and shops at Alternate Reality Comics and reads Ich Liebe Comics!


Dylan said...

Yeah, this is crazy stuff. It's definitely a bold move, and honestly, I hope it pays off, if only for the overall health of the industry. Here's my list of books that interested me. Lots of fringe-ish titles and Action because I'm a Morrison fanboy. But all in all, a lot more DC books than I was picking up previously, so I guess it worked.

Ralph Mathieu said...

Thanks for sharing, Dylan. I forgot that Swampy is going to be written by Scott Snyder - cool!

Pj Perez said...

This has piqued my interest enough that I'm going to add a few of these titles to those new pull sheets to give them a try, so there's something!

Happy New Comics Wednesday 7/18/18 - Life of Captain Marvel, Magic Order #2 (we still have #1 too!), conclusion of Infinity Countdown, Justice League edition!

 Hope all of my friends going to the San Diego Comic-Con this week have a GREAT time!