Friday, July 22, 2011

DC Reboot ?


I've been thinkin' long and hard about this one. I was wondering if I was gonna comment on it or even bring it up because I'm pretty sure that everything that has needed to be said, has been said and there wasn't anything more I could add to the discussion. I wanted to make a Youtube video about it but I figured I'd just end up rambling and missing a few points that NEED to be addressed. So I figured a blog was the best medium. Not too long ago DC released this interview with Dan DiDio about the new Action Comics and Superman titles. After reading this I can say with full confidence that DC Comics has lost their f*ckin' minds.

Before I start ranting about my displeasure with this whole ordeal I need to get a few things out of the way.

  1. I AM NOT SAYING THESE NEW TITLES ARE GOING TO SUCK! It's no doubt that DC has some VERY competent writers among them and some of these reboot titles may actually turn out to be pretty bad ass. So I'm NOT going to say that these titles are gonna be horrible or anything of the sort.
  2. I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO ANY OF THESE TITLES! Yes, I said they may or may not suck, but I'm not gonna read any of them. At least not any time soon. Because frankly I fee jaded and I REFUSE to accept something that DIDN'T NEED TO HAPPEN AND NO ONE ASKED FOR!
With that being said, let's dive in;

There's this guy at a bookstore. He's walking along and suddenly something catches his eye. It's a Trade paperback collection titled: "Crisis On Infinite Earths". The cover looks AMAZING! Two Supermans, a BUTT-LOAD of other superheroes and Two Earths. This Guy is FLOORED by the sheer awesomeness of this cover. But he doesn't buy it. Because he doesn't know anything about what's going on. He can only name a few of the characters on the cover and he backs away, but that cover sticks with him. Some days pass and this guy is talking with someone about "Crisis On Infinite Earths" and learns about the events and what's going on.
We join this same guy a few days later at the same bookstore and something catches his eye. It's another trade paper back graphic novel, LEGION OF SUPERHEROES and on the cover there's a BIG WHITE #1. The Guy nods and thinks to himself "This must be the first in the series. This looks interesting enough, I'll start here!." and he buys it, goes home and enjoys it. Enjoys it so much that he does research on the characters and eventually he buys the entire Crisis Trilogy.



That guy was me, WAY back in 2006 I think when I officially started reading comic books religiously.  If you can relate to that story then you know what it's like to be a First Time Reader. I LOVED comic books for awhile but never quite knew where to begin, and often times the knowledge I got about certain characters and plot details were all second hand. But after reading Crisis On Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis and several other titles I was WELL informed about the present state of DC Universe continuity. With the way things have been going AFTER Final Crisis I was intrigued to see just exactly what was gonna happen with The New Gods, what was gonna happen with Barry Allen (who's been gone for SO long). I was REALLY excited about these things. AND THEN DC Comics decides to BACK PEDAL and restart ALL of their titles from #1 and create a BRAND NEW CONTINUITY!

WHY?!
They say it's to appeal to new readers, BUT the VAST majority of comic book readers are people like me! Who were ALWAYS interested in comic books but didn't know where to begin and asked for recommendations from people who did. Those people would recommend a story and FROM that story you get your own taste for what you liked and didn't like and then you go exploring on your own. You suddenly become a pilgrim breaking new ground, discovering places and people you've never knew before. Running into characters with histories and stories that's just waiting for you to check out. That's how I felt. And when Dreamgirl was killed in battle and Brainiac 5 was brought to tears I was right there with him like "Oh snap !". When The Shadowpact DAMN NEAR defeated THE SPECTRE I was cheering like crazy and I STILL consider that to be one of the greatest battles ever.

All this stuffed happened before I started reading comic books and discovering it was fun for me. I gotta feel for who the characters are, their universe and everything. WHY CHANGE THIS?! New Readers what to discover. Being a comic book reader is like joining a secret club where once you gain that knowledge you suddenly wanna know more.
  • When did Superman get married ?
  • When did Batman get his back broken ?
  • When did Hal Jordan become The Spectre ?
  • Who was Robin after Dick Grayson ?
  • Why is Beastboy green ?
And the information all RIGHT there WAITING for you to discover. NOT ANYMORE! NO! For some reason DC Comics wants to restart EVERYTHING for the sake of...accessibility ? They're forgetting that the ONLY WAY THEY'RE GONNA GET NEW READERS IS TO PLEASE THE READERS THEY ALREADY HAVE!! Is it just me or is that becoming a staple of EVERY creative company? "Trying to appeal to a new and fresher audience." The NEW and FRESHER audience isn't gonna come IF THERE IS NO AUDIENCE! I'm alienated now because ALL of the stuff I've learned about these characters means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I might as well burn every comic book on my shelf and say it never happened.

Let me recant for a bit. DC has rebooted their universe before. The aforementioned "Crisis On Infinite Earths". I ADORE that story because the origins of the story was ACTUALLY a company problem (ie, with the acquisition of several comic book companies and their respective characters) DC had it's hands full trying to manage all of these characters and THUS created A WONDERFULLY entertaining story built around the SOLE PURPOSE OF CLEANING THEIR UNIVERSE UP. AND IT WORKED! It was only logical with such a story that things would be changed and a reboot took place. Several years later DC Comics did it once again with it's sequel event "Infinite Crisis" which once again changed the status quo, BUT again MADE A WONDERFUL story as the reason for the change, AND IT WORKED!

"Final Crisis" was the end all, be all of crisis books. (If you didn't understand Final Crisis, here's a podcast that explains it in GREAT detail. WORTH LISTENING TO). Final Crisis didn't change continuity as the other crisis did but it did change the status quo. The New Gods were reborn, Darkseid and his men were destroyed and all of the Earths were now aware of the other universes. It was a pretty radical ending. Unfortunately DC didn't do anything with it...and it just became a footnote. But it was a GREAT story that didn't result in a dramatic continuity change. But if DC chose AFTER this to announce it's Reboot, it would have been perfectly understandable since it's usually after a Crisis Event that something HUGE gets changed.

So why now? Why change these characters ? Why PISS on everything we've learned about these characters? Why tell us that everything we've read up until this point doesn't matter? And DON'T say you're not. That's EXACTLY what you're doing. When Barbra Gordon is NO LONGER ORACLE DON'T YOU TELL ME IT STILL MATTERS! YOU Crapped on everything we've come to know and love about these characters. AND WHAT'S WORSE is that you guys actually think this is a good idea!

SUPERMAN DOES NOT NEED TO BE ALIENATED! The point of Superman is that he is the IDEAL Human. Superman is the guy who despite having the powers of a God is the MOST down to earth, accessible character DC HAS! Superman is inoffensive BECAUSE he's such a moral, upstanding person. Superman will NEVER surprise us because we KNOW Superman (and I'm not saying that in a bad way).

"It is a remarkable dichotomy. In many ways, Clark is the most human of us all. Then... he shoots fire from the skies and it is difficult not to think of him as a god. And how fortunate we all are that it does not occur to him. "-- Batman

That was THE MOST ACCURATE THING EVER SAID ABOUT SUPERMAN! So the choice to make Superman more alienated is STUPID! WHY undo his marriage ?! EVEN FROM A CORPORATE STANDPOINT DC HAD TO HAVE SEEN WHAT KINDA HAVOC THAT CAUSED MARVEL AFTER THE "ONE MORE DAY" FIASCO. WHY WOULD THEY TURN AROUND AND DO THE SAME THING?!

"Marriage brings about a certain degree of comfort and security in one's life," Lee said. "If you have a life partner, you always have someone to rely on. So from a story conflict point of view, it makes for a less dramatic story. I think a lot of writers can agree that one of the most dynamic periods of Superman's history was that period where there was a love triangle between Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane. There's a lot of tension and interest you create in the characters by having that kind of dynamic."

Umm, NO! NO ONE AGREES WITH THAT! The most dynamic periods of Superman's history is when he's DEALING WITH SITUATIONS WHERE IT SHOULD BE CLEAR TO HIM THAT HE'S A GOD AMONGST MORTALS AND YET IT NEVER OCCURS TO HIM! This is why Lex Luthor HATES Superman! Because of ALL the power that Superman has it NEVER GOES TO HIS HEAD! It's stuff like this that makes Superman SUCH A GREAT CHARACTER! NO ONE GIVES A DAMN ABOUT THE LOVE TRIANGLE BETWEEN CLARK, SUPERMAN AND LOIS!

And how does being married make for a LESS dramatic story? I'd say Superman keeping his wife Lois alive via his heat vision is pretty damn dramatic (oh wait...THAT NEVER HAPPENED! -_- ). I'd say Superman concerned about the well being of his wife and being unable to leave her side while the world is falling apart around him is pretty damn dramatic (oh wait...that didn't happen either >_> ). If they wanted to change the status quo for Superman GIVE HIM A CHILD! That only raises the stakes! Now Superman would be a father. He'd have to teach that child about his Kryptonian ancestry, it'd basically be restarting the Superman mythos over with Superman playing the role of mentor to a young child adapting to his new powers. Is it just me or does that sound like a dramatic story?

But instead we get an alienated Superman without the guidance of Ma and Pa Kent. Instead of a married Superman with a child on the way, we have Lois with a new boyfriend (BEHOLD CLARK KENT'S ANSWER TO "Flash" Thompson) and a Clark Parker or Peter Kent. Look, I liked "Smallville" for exploring that aspect of the series, but even Tom Welling's Clark Kent was a VERY moral and upstanding Superman who was ONLY alienated by his OWN abilities, but he considered himself HUMAN before ANYTHING ELSE, as does the actual Superman.

I'm gonna bring this to a close because I've ranted ad naseum about this topic and I don't think I've covered much ground. I'm just distraught and frustrated now because my discoveries don't matter anymore. All the books on my shelf are now just apocryphal writings of these characters that are no longer in canon. At least with Crisis on Infinite Earths all the stuff that happened before DID happen and IS in canon but the Multiverse was reset and therefore events were changed. But here...nope, none of it matters, no one cares, Barbra Gordon is Batgirl, everyone's young again (it's not like they ever f*ckin' aged in the first place) and all is right with the world. Thank you DC, Thank you SO damn much for caring about people WHO AREN'T GONNA READ COMIC BOOKS IN THE FIRST PLACE more than the people who WERE reading and enjoying them...up until now. Thank you very much.

"Oh what, this ? Yeah, not important anymore."