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I find the reboots to be tedious. I mostly read through TPBs anyway, but these continual crises/reboots to entire comics lines...I just have no interest in it. It's a great way to tell your older fans to **** off because you don't want their business.
Marvel lost me in the 90s with the launch of 27 X-titles where, as described above, you needed to buy ALL of them to read a single story. It was one thing when that was a once-in-a-while event. Quite another when that became the norm year-to-year.
DC I was never a huge fan of as a kid, but got more into them as I got older. I got heavily into Green Lantern a few years back, and have all the TPBs from where Hal returns as the GL up through Blackest Night. Good stuff in there and I quite enjoyed it. But, of course, none of it counts anymore since it's all be rebooted.
There's a reason why, in my teens, I started reading Dark Horse Comics, and later got into older independent stuff like Scout and Grimjack.
I think for the most part, DC doesn't know what they want.
Since Superman Returns, it feels like DC/WB are chasing success instead of doing a good movie and let things unfold naturally.
My overview of the (recent) movies so far:
Batman Begins - Good, solid film. But I can't see any cross-over of other heroes in this particular franchise.
Superman Returns - sorry, it was just the original Superman all over again (real estate? Really?) with no real bad guy to fight. (And I'm not a fan of the muted colors on Supe's costume) WB saw Batman Begins dark & gritty and got formulaic for this one and failed.
The Dark Knight - again, GREAT film. But see BB about crossover
Watchmen - great movie as well. Dark & gritty as well and very close to the original comic - however, outside the normal comic fanbase, no one really knows who they were. Plus, Watchmen was designed to be self-encapsulating with no cross-over either.
Jonah Hex - never saw it, but not really a 'Superhero' film to begin with
Green Lantern - they suffered from Batman & Robin syndrome and crammed too much stuff into it. If they just stuck with Hal being on earth and coming to grips to becoming GL, I felt this could've saved the movie. No OA, no Parralax, no Sinestro. Maybe have Kilowag help train him or similar, with at the end getting a message that the Green Lantern Corps summons him to planet OA, leading into a much larger world for GL2
TDKR - again, no real room for cross-over I feel.
And lets not forget so many failed attempts at Wonder Woman either on film or TV, including a new attempt to bring WW.
The higher-up-muckety-mucks feel the DC characters can't stand on their own merits and either have to change fundamental characteristics of them, cram everything else into the film or both (again, chasing that elusive 'success' dollar)
I don't know if it's DC or WB that's causing all the problems with this franchise (maybe both, after seeing the Puke 52) but to me, it seems they have their priorities all FUBAR.
All I know is, I want my Young Justice back on TV
Last edited by The Rock-a-who; Dec 12, 2012 at 3:26 PM.
Really? I think we'll get some Nightwing action in the years to come.TDKR - again, no real room for cross-over I feel.
As for the whole "DC vs. Marvel" thing when I was a kid there was only DC. Never got into Marvel (still haven't). That said I stopped reading comics in '89.
Nightwing I can see, but I also view that as the same 'bubble' of the Nolan's Batman universe. I can't, for example, see Martian Manhunter show up in the movies.
Nolan's Bat-verse strikes me as a no super-powered people in it.
Rotwang has some great points, but I'd also argue that characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern ARE characters, in addition to being symbols. In the comics, at least the stuff I've read since around 2005, that's been the case.
I think the real problem with DC is the PERCEPTIONS involved. People THINK that Superman is just a big boring boyscout with plot-solution powers. They're thinking of Superman from the '50s, and that guy is indeed boring by modern standards. Same goes for Wonder Woman. But really, even Batman -- pre Crisis on Infinite Earths -- was pretty goody-goody (and downright campy back in the 50s and 60s). That was the nature of comics back that, at least the DC comics. Their whole lineup was like that. You see some changes with that in the 60s and 70s, but it's a slower, less obvious process than with Marvel's characters.
But the notion that these characters can't be interesting is bunk. You could make the EXACT same argument about Captain America -- another overgrown boyscout. And yet, I've found Cap in the first film and in Avengers to be a TERRIFIC character.
I think the real key is not making the characters dark or gritty. I think the reason why that's a fad is because it's an overcorrection that misses the point. People don't care about dark vs. "light." What they care about is relatability. THAT'S why "dark" is in. We "get" dark-and-gritty because we get that people are screwed up.
But again, consider the example of Marvel's Cap. He's a guy who's incredibly earnest, believes in a cause, but still faces real adversity, particularly his man-out-of-time status and his clash of old-fashioned values against a harsh modern world. See? That's relatable. We can get that, too. He's not some invincible boring boyscout who's oblivious to how doofy he sounds when he gets all goody-goody. He's a guy who responds as we'd expect him to and still rises to the challenge in the end.
You could do the EXACT same thing with Superman or Wonder Woman. These characters in particular are very easy to write off as omnipotent and boring. But you can likewise show them as conflicted at times, or at least as recognizing how removed from the world they are BECAUSE of their powers, and what toll that takes on them, and STILL make them heroic and inspiring in spite of that, because their faith in their beliefs keeps them going even in the face of such adversity.
I thought that Singer's Superman Returns briefly and barely touched on this, but it was there. I know folks like to point out how creepy it was to see him watching Lois and their son through the window, but as I remember that scene, it was more about him being removed and longing to live a normal life, but knowing he can't. Same with the scene of him listening up in the stratosphere to everything around him. To me, that scene is about how, as many problems as there are in the world, and as powerful as Superman is, he can't be everywhere at once and that's GOT to eat at him -- because of his ideals.
You can take characters like this, make them complex, show their humanity by pointing out the toll their powers take, and still have them be symbols and idealistic. If anything, holding on to such beliefs only makes them more heroic because others would crumble under that weight.
Or, you know, you can just make an incoherent mess of a film, or a film that just plays up their super powers and a buncha splosions. Yay spolosions!!!
What are they doing wrong?
What they've always done wrong. That is, they make comics about superheroes! (hate superheroes...)
I get the idea behind the reboot, but I disagree with it. They have a damned multiverse, they could have accomplished the same by ripping off Marvel's Ultimate line to have the continuity-lite versions of everything while still keeping the traditional. The Earth-One books are sort of that, which just renders the whole New 52 endeavor even more redundant.
With a couple exceptions none of the DC books I read anymore are ones that were really affected by the New 52. Most every change they've rendered feels unnecessary. Worse, in trying to compress the timeline they've made the continuity an even bigger mess than it was before. Thankfully Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Aquaman were mostly untouched so I'm okay for now.
If WB/DC really wanted to they could have given Marvel serious competition with movie franchises. Marvel took the time to build up to Avengers by laying so much groundwork, and now DC is trying to crank out JLA as fast as possible to try and capture the same lightning in the bottle. It's the same problem as the New 52, they're too concerned with making a quick buck and too focused on the short-term to do something better with their properties. It's a shame too, I'm enough of a Batman fan to pick DC over Marvel just for that.
And I still can't forgive Marvel for "One More Day." Despicable. They gave up their claim to my money in exchange for their product with that storyline. New 52 hasn't gotten there yet thankfully.
I'll never forgive DC for what they did to Wonder Woman and Hippolyte in the new 52.
My biggest problem with DC was the rollout of the new 52.
When they had the weekly series 52, they brought in a lot of c-tier heroes, like Booster Gold and the Question, and made them part of a fun read.
This continued into Booster Gold, and I really liked the subplot with Rip Hunter (huge Rip Hunter fan BTW). things were going well, revealing little tidbits as time went on (lol - bad joke), eventually revealing that Rip is the son of Booster, and his job was to put Booster on track to start the Time Masters.
That was even more fleshed out in the Time Masters: Vanishing Point mini - until around issue 3. Then all that became a Flashpoint prelude.
All the build up for the last 3 years was gone. In fact, if you look at the re-introduction of Rip Hunter in 52 and JSA, more like 6 or 7 years.
And in other titles, there wasn't a lot of thought put forth.
For example: Batman has been operating for 5 years, but has had 4 sidekicks? (5 if you count Stephanie, but she hasn't shown up yet, has she?)
Blackest Night happened in continuity...sort of.
All in all, the whole reboot was extremely poorly thought out and executed. It makes Final Crisis look good, a mighty feat in my opinion.
In my local shop, I know I wasn't the only long term customer that walked away.
My $.02 on this subject.
Another life long comic fan here, sharing his 2 cents.
I think DC struggles to gain traction in the theaters for a couple of reasons. As several folks have already mentioned, of all the JLA, only DC's holy trinity is widely known around the world. You could make the same argument for Iron Man and Thor, etc, but it's a bigger issue for DC because once they try to introduce them to the world at large everyone notices how bland they are.
IM was a success for several reasons, but the biggest was that people could relate. Tony Stark is a totally believable character full of flaws, foibles and failings but he manages to do what we all hope to do, rise above it and be a better man. Now, let's look at Green Lantern as he perfectly encapsulates DC's problems. Ace fighter pilot playboy who has a dream job testing experimental planes who also happens to be given a ring that lets him do whatever he can imagine. Do you know Hal's character flaws? No? Me either, and DC has had over 50 years to establish them.
Sure, he "struggles" with being cocky and overcoming "fear", but how in the world does that compare to being an alcoholic with father/authority issues? An outcast, orphaned teenager that is bullied? A group of kids who are shunned by their families and hunted and persecuted by the federal government simply for existing? A man who continues to try to enlist despite being a physical failure in every way possible who, once he succeeds, loses everyone and everything he loves after sacrificing himself?
That's only covering a few of the successful movie franchises.
I read an article with Stan Lee once where he said his goal was to create characters who had lives, and messy ones at that. The Fantastic Four, Marvel's first super group, is as broken and screwed up a family as any of us have and it often has repercussions on their crime fighting careers. Spider-Man is such a raging success because every kid on the planet can relate to his alienation, loneliness and desire to simply be accepted for himself.
DC's trinity stands apart from the rest of the monotone characters simply because they were all created before the DC brand existed. Superman was created by a couple of Jewish kids during the height of Hitlers campaign and was very much not the boyscout he turned into. Batman was always crazy and even used a gun originally. Of all of DC's characters, he's the only one with Marvel-level personality issues. Wonder Woman, well, she was written by a psychiatrist that was into BDSM and has her own parental issues, not to mention not fitting in.
My point is this, by and large, DC's characters don't have problems. Not really, not to the same extent Marvel's do. Sure, in the past few decades DC has tried to address that but they ended up putting women in fridges in the process. I'm not arguing that Marvel is perfect, I myself quit collecting Spidey after Joe Quesada had Peter make a deal with the metaphorical devil where he sacrificed his marriage to save his elderly aunt in order to make him more relatable with teens; I'm just saying that a lot of these characters don't translate well to the silver screen because they simply don't have any depth that is believable.
You could argue that a lot of the campiness is do to the Comics Code and that if it had not come around we might have a different batch of DC heroes, but the fact of the matter is the CC didn't make DC create the Super or Bat Family during the height of comic censorship, DC just took the easy way out.
Marvel started cranking out their screwed up lot DURING the CC inquisition, heck, they even ran the first issue not approved by the CC in an issue of ASM where Pete tried to help Harry overcome his heroin addiction.
My wife asked me once how she could tell whether a comic movie was made by Marvel or DC. My answer to her was this, Does the hero have a screwed up personal life that you can relate to? Yes? Then you're watching a Marvel film.
This is of course leaving out the obvious huge role the creation of Marvel Studios has played (Thanks for screwing Marvel over with Spidey royalties Sony!) and I'm painting with a broad brush here, but I think most of their problems stem from characters that are two dimensional...
There's more to the characters, particularly in their modern depictions, than meets the eye, but your statements perfectly encapsulate the marketing problem DC faces. People go in with the attitude that all these golden and silver age characters are no different from what tehy were in the 50s.
The GL movie TRIED touching on Hal's real problems -- and they ARE real -- but it did so in a pretty weak way.
You want to know what Hal Jordan's issues are? Here's what I've figured out in a nutshell.
Hal Jordan idolized his father and watched him die in a plane crash at about age 9 or so. That his dad did so trying to save the crowd below him only made his sacrifice more meaningful but more painful. Hal grew up good looking and intelligent, but with a MAJOR chip on his shoulder, and a daredevil attitude. He doesn't deal with authority well, either, in large part because of the absence of his father. Hal has a hard time connecting with people beyond surface-level interactions because he's afraid of loss and the pain he'd feel. Arguably his one close emotional connection -- Carol Ferris -- is that because he knew her as a kid. On some unconscious level, she's the only one who understands his pain and his fear -- fear of loss.
Hal, as he gets older, doesn't really have anything that he so strongly believes in, nor anything to really live for, and that explains his devil-may-care attitude and willingness to put his life on the line. It's not until he joins the GL Corps that he begins to really connect with people and that he begins to find a cause greater than himself. Even then, it's still a struggle because his personality is what it is, to a degree. But his newfound powers eventually give him a sense of greater responsibility.
The film scratched the surface with these issues, but it was so disjointed that none of that stuff really sunk in. That's all deep emotional problems, though. And not small ones, either. Also, I thought Ryan Reynolds was PERFECTLY cast in that role. If anyone could play a cocky jackass, it's him. What I was surprised to see, though, was that Reynolds actually did a good job of showing the vulnerability lying below the surface -- to the extent that the story and editing allowed him to.
Alas, the execution of the story was weak, tried to take on too much, and as a result failed to really work effectively. I think part of why Marvel's stuff works is because their characters' powers aren't quite so "big" and therefore you can use the powers as PART of the character, which allows their personality to come through more effectively. By contrast, DC characters have BIG powers that outshine the personalities of their characters.
GL has a ring that lets him make real anything he imagines. If you don't strike a PERFECT balance with your story, nobody will notice the psychological issues of the character because tehy'll be too busy watching him create a giant robot to fight off some villain or somesuch.
Actually, that's another thing that I think hampers DC characters. Their powers are so big that they end up NOT translating well on screen. GL makes a huge cartoon fist to squash a guy, for example. Works fine in the comics. Laughable on screen.
In Marvel that's only true for Tony and that's because Stan wanted to show a friend he could make a war profiteer popular during the height of an unpopular war (dude has a set of cajones AND a sense of humor).
Like I said, I was painting with a broad brush and probably was a bit unfair as the characters have been fleshed out a lot more, but most of that is lost on modern audiences because they don't read the material and only know the base stories, if that. When GL came out no one I knew, outside of fellow geek friends, had any idea who he was despite Hal being one of the biggest heroes in comicdom.
If you don't have that hook coming out the gate you aren't going to succeed, and most of DC's heroes have no hook IMO. I still have no idea why I should care about Martian Manhunter at all, and I've been reading comics with him in them for over 20 yrs now.
Last edited by FSURobbie; Dec 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM.
All true. DC's heroes, particularly the golden and silver age ones, come from the tradition of older pulp detective fiction novels. Batman, for example, shares similarities with the Shadow and the Spider. Both millionaire playboy crimefighters who hide behind a mask and lack superpowers (save the Shadow's ability to "cloud men's minds").
But yeah, in broad strokes, particularly to people who don't know the character, DC characters are a tricky bunch to approach, especially on film.
That said, Captain America and Iron Man aren't all that well known around the world either. Certainly not to the degree of Spiderman or the X-men (and Wolverine specifically). And yet, Marvel did a great job with both because they bothered to focus on the characters rather than JUST the splosions. They also had terrific casts, and big budgets.
The GL movie was an unfocused mess, but I can still see the kernel of a good film in there. It just didn't come to fruition, unfortunately.
Can I just say, DC Comics is doing everything right. They pulled a genius move with The New 52. Warner Bros. on the other hand could use someone new to lead these projects to successful film adaptions. Which is where I think Nolan comes in. Having him as a producer on The Man of Steel, is great move. I think they should try to keep him around for Justice League.
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The Robin issue becomes really tricky. There's hinting that Batman's been operating in Gotham for more than 5 years, which allows more time for the Robins. Nothing I've read has referenced Stephanie Brown at all, but I'm not reading every single Batbook. DC seems to view the Robin mantle as an internship now, with fairly short tenures. Also, Tim was never actually Robin, but was always "Red Robin" in the New 52 so we're really down to only three Robins now. I can live without more backstory on it for now, as Dick's Robin costume is terrible
Another bit that annoys me is they undid Superman/Lois and Barry/Iris marriages with the reboot. I see the reasoning behind the Clark and Lois stuff for the drama, but making Barry Allen single just strikes me as pointless. Bart Allen/Impulse still exists so it should be a foregone conclusion he ends up with Iris again. Doesn't irk me as much as "One More Day" for some reason, but I still don't like it. At least Aquaman and Mera are still hitched, and said book is awesome.
I'm still buying, but I buy digital now. I wait a month and pay a dollar less. Maybe if DC undoes the New 52 I'll show my appreciation by paying full price again, but right now they don't deserve that extra dollar.
They need to sell their property to Disney so we can start seeing Marvel vs. DC and spending $800m making it, hahaha!
Might be some anti-trust issues there Plus they'd likely run into an X-Men 3 situation of having so many characters that it's bloated and not worth the celluloid it's printed on.
"Singer noted "Superman cannot be For Truth, Justice and the American way anymore because he is an international franchise". B.S. So they made him into a stalking deadbeat father in the latest movie. Yep, that went over well.
Make the movies more realistic, grittier. The Dark Knight is a good example of how to do it correctly."
With the first part of what you say, I wholeheartedly agree. However because of who Batman is, he lends himself to "dark and gritty". Whereas Supes is a bright colorful figure. A beacon. You play up the role of his "right vs wrong" idealism in a world of relativistic moral "grays". That kind of contrast is ripe for what good storytelling is about, Conflict is Drama, plain and simple.
We each identify with Superman because he exemplifies what we each were taught to believe: "do what's right", "tell the truth", "protect those weaker than you". And because we "grew up" we let compromise slip in. The Big Blue Boy Scout reminds us to keep on trying even when it's difficult. Which is where frail Clark Kent comes in.
I am not the biggest Superman fan but I do believe there is some great storytelling still to be done with him. Which is why I am hopeful with the "Man of Steel" movie coming out.
But, it's late and I am probably just spouting off and not making much sense! take it all with a grain of salt and a laugh
I think comparing paint to comic book publishers in relation to monopolies is an awfully big stretch. One of the little companies can't sell the exact same Superman comic that DC can. They have to come up with a property of their own that's worth the customer's money because no one else can give them the exact same story. I'm admittedly not aware of whether paint formulations can be patented (I assume no one can copyright the color red) but I assume that some no-name company can legally use the same chemicals in the same quantities to make the exact same red paint. I'd image it's far easier to be competitive in the world of paint than it is in comics.
Marvel and DC combined are 70% of the comic book market share. The next highest is Image at 5%. Adding in IDW, Dark Horse, Boom, and Dynamite you get to almost 20%. The remaining 10% I've never heard of. 70% may not be a legal monopoly, but Marvel would effectively control the market as they'd own most properties that the average movie-goer is familiar with. I can't speculate at the moment what it'd do to the writing either.
Don't think anyone mentioned it yet, but another thing DC's doing wrong is they fired Gail Simone. There's more of my money DC won't be getting.
What a friend and I truly believe is that the reason why Marvel seems to be more popular than DC is simply because Marvel characters are more accessible, and they act like a family (squabbles and all).
For example, Superman is literally the most powerful man on Earth and is a top contender universe wide, but the problem is that I have very rarely seen him make mistakes or come off his moral high horse. The only times he does seem to be the times that are most remembered, such as his killing of Doomsday (which cost him his life), the Justice Lords timeline, or the time he went ballistic on Mongul for the Black Mercy Plant incident. Other than that, he's always been extremely virtuous and boy-scout like.
DC comic character were always stalwart and true (reflecting the era they came from), paragons of the American ideal. Even Marvel's Captain America was the same way.
Of course, a lot of the steam was taken out of DC due to the Comics Code Authority of the 1950s, which took a lot of what made their comics popular and dumbed it down.
Marvel characters, which came around in the 1960's, are very much human. They have real world problems, such as prejudices, unemployment, unrequited affections, disabilities, etc. They make mistakes. COSTLY mistakes. Even Captain America, despite having come from a different era (or perhaps because of it), made mistakes.
This vulnerability with Marvel characters (which appealed to the American public), coupled with the CCA's intervention on DC Comics, caused some disillusionment with DC and Marvel took off. They still loved their DC heroes, but for different reasons. This is why, overall, Marvel characters have had more movie contracts than DC. The characters are more human, and because of that, the stories can be translated better to the big screen. The only issue with the movies have arisen because of bad casting (Jessica Alba, Eric Bana, Halle Berry), poor writing (Daredevil, Elektra, Ang Lee's Hulk), or pandering to the lowest common denominator (Jessica Alba again). All of that can be pretty much attributed to Executive Meddling. The studios had them by the cajones and made them do what they wanted. Once Marvel Studios came about, the movies have been pretty spot on excellent.
DC Movies over the years have had a good track record, though. Superman the Movie was awesome and still is today, as is Superman II. Superman III and IV were almost iconic depictions of stupidity in production. Then came Superman Returns, a spirited sequel that ignored III and IV. There was a lot of potential in that movie (I thought Brandon Routh channeled Christopher Reeve as both Clark Kent and Superman quite well), but the overall inherent stupidity (Really, Lex? Another freaking land scam?) and some poor casting (Kate Bosworth looked more like a college student than a famous reporter... that and I wanted to feed her a truckload of sandwiches) made the movie fall kinda flat.
Batman (1989) was a triumphant return of Batman to the screen, as all anyone remembered was the 1960s camp chow, or Superfriends. It was beautiful, haunting, well cast, and perfect in every way. Batman Returns, while not as good as the first, was still pretty good. Then they changed directors and actors. We shall not mention BINO 1 and BINO 2.
Then came Batman Begins, a gritty origin story, followed by its sequels. All three were beautifully done, well acted, and self contained. It had an overarching story that came full circle by the time all was said and done. Despite the fact that it ended, it ended on a solid, if solemn, note.
The only other big name DC Movie that has come out was Green Lantern, and the executives made some colossal mistakes. They caved to the idea of who would draw people in as opposed to who was right for the role (the same mistake X-Men made with casting Halle Berry). Ryan Reynolds was, in my opinion, not right for the role. I count go on a tirade of who I think who should have played the role Nathan Fillion but it would be ultimately pointless. Another issue I had was the suits. I know their reasonings for wanting to do them that way, but it failed. Miserably.