DC Comics Reboots All Titles


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Not sure how many comic books fans we have on here, but I found this news story pretty interesting:

DC Comics Reboots Entire Universe

Starting in September, all of their titles will be relaunched from #1. (It's unknown if Action Comics or Detective Comics will keep their current numbering)

I think if they can do this right, it might just save their business. Sales have dropped dramatically over the last few years and it looks like they're going to try and include a digital element to this.

What do the rest of the comics fans think?
I think its pretty smart business. It won't really affect the die-hards who will keep up with the new releases regardless, and the fact that things start over might be very attractive to a new customer base. I for one always hated picking up a comic in the middle of a running story line.
Sales have dropped dramatically over the last few years...

Well, that's not exclusive to DC. :lol January 2011 was the all-time low in average unit sales in the direct market, but the next month, February 2011, DC had the three top spots of the chart and six out of the Top 10.

So fans talking numbers has always been kind of a crazy thing, because we don't always have all the info. I wrote a color book called Double Image that was on the cover of PREVIEWS the first month it came out and sold 16,000 non returnable copies. I didn't make one penny. I wrote a color book called The Black Diamond, and the first issue sold a little over 3200 issues, and I ended up making around $600 from that one.

So extrapolate all that across all of DC, and factor in that within the WB they're basically seen as an IP farm, and there's nothing anyone has to worry about "saving" DC.

That Superman situation is going to be interesting, though, in two years.
Meh. They'll "reboot' and then "Re-reboot". This just seems like the new "crossover" event for this year. "Crisis of Infinite Reboots."
Didn't Marvel do the same thign a few years ago? For instance, I've been collecting Daredevil since I was a kid. Then when they were in the 300's they rebooted the series and eventually decided to take advantage of a big milestone like issue 500 they would merge the old series issue number with the current series issue number. They did this with a bunch of their books and it was stupid then and it's dumb now. If they want to sell tons of #1's they shoudl stop having long running series at all and sell everything as a limited series run based on writer/artist storylines.
They did this with a bunch of their books and it was stupid then and it's dumb now.

Yeah, "Heroes Reborn." It wasn't exactly dumb because sales skyrocketed and even when they went down they settled at a level above where the old versions were. So there's that.

I just begun to "rediscover" my comic book collection and comics in general, since I took a huge hiatus from reading and especially collecting (thanks to everyone who infused some reality into the discussions on the real value of comic books).

I do not think that the renumbering will do anything to the DC universe if the continuity (if you can speak of a continuity anyway nowadays) is ... um... continued?

What makes me wonder more is what the simultaneous release of all new titles in digital form will do to the already struggling retailers.
Also, DC has discontinued and then revived titles plenty of times. Legion of Superheroes is on, what, its fifth iteration now? Fourth? Something like that. Green Lantern's on its second volume, I think.

I still think it's kind of dumb, though. You know none of this will count when Detective Comics itself hits Issue 1000 legitimately.

I mean, I get that they try to boost sales with this kind of thing, but it's exactly this kind of thing that made me lose interest in comics as a kid, and now has me only buying superhero books as TPBs. What, like I'm gonna shell out $3-5 per issue for eighteen different titles for 6-12 months just to keep track of a single storyline? Like hell. I'll give 'em $15 when they hit paperback and they can consider themselves lucky.
Yeah, "Heroes Reborn." It wasn't exactly dumb because sales skyrocketed and even when they went down they settled at a level above where the old versions were. So there's that.

They will get the #1 sales bump but it's temporary, I was being a little smarmy there, but I'd argue that every time they dilute their prime characters series with false starts and spin offs that fizzle and gimmicky diversions to cash in on temporary press, instead of investing time effort and money in strong stories and great art I think they are damaging their IP in the longrun. They are playing games for short term numbers and that ends up costing them long time fans.
They are playing games for short term numbers and that ends up costing them long time fans.

There are no long time comics fans, to speak of. In the Seventies, comics fans turned over 90% ever four years, and in the Aughts it was found to be 80% every seven years. So Marvel and DC have always and will always play for the short term numbers game.
As a gentleman who just sold his comic collection, somewhere around 500-600 issues, I'll agree about the turnover rate. I bought from 91' to '07 and I saw enough of the same themes and types of stories reiterated so many times that it just got to be very predictable. Towards the end of my comic collecting career the Ultimate line of books from Marvel were the brightest spot of my monthlies because they weren't bogged down by 50 years of continuity and you never knew what was going to happen next. If they actually do a full-on reset of the DC universe it can only be a good thing at this point. Nothing lasts forever, sometimes you just gotta wipe the slate clean and start again.
During my collecting I've seen various titles get revamped with a new #1 issue and like Ghadrack said, they do get that temporary sales bump. I think it's quite ambitious for DC to do so many titles like this all at once. It would be interesting to see how this plays out. I am glad to see that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are involved in this.
Yeah, that's the one bright spot in this. I'm not a huge fan of Jim Lee, but Geoff Johns' stuff I've enjoyed thus far.

That said, you won't see radical changes in the continuity that can't/won't be undone. If anything, making too radical a change weakens the IP involved by moving it away from its origins.

Now, that said, sometimes these radical short-term changes can end up being genuinely beneficial when you get a talented writer who fuses the old with the new.

Still, I wonder if anyone's studied how/if these kinds of "Events" end up costing fans vs. netting new ones. I suppose if you went by the info in the 70s that Larry cited, it'd suggest that the turnover will accelerate without these kinds of big-deal "events", but I always found them frustrating as a kid, and I still find them frustrating today.
The problem that a lot of fans are going to have is the alteration to continnuity that they are making. From my understanding (and I could be wrong) but things like the award winning run Kevin Smith did on Green Arrow, yeah they never happened now. Martian Manhunter is out while Aquaman is in? Lame. And according to JMS, it doesn't really matter what's going in the the books now since everything will be undone and changed once the #1s hit stands. As a fan, that sucks.

But hopefully I'm wrong because DC really does need a spring cleaning. But then again, I though that's what Countdown and 52 were supposed to do.
DC does this sort of thing every few years. I don't know what it is about their universe but things become a huge cluster@#$ storywise over there real quick. I tried reading Blackest Night and I couldn't follow it at all. I think it's the multiple realities, earth1 earth2 etc nonsense that really fubars the system up for them.
No one would mind starting over clean too much, I don't think. They're doing a lot more than that though:

  • New costumes for the entire Justice League, designed by Jim Lee, and including a collared, briefless Superman
  • A young Superman whose relationship is with Wonder Woman, rather than Lois Lane
  • "Issue #1" for both Action Comics and Detective Comics, two of the longest-running titles in comic book history.
I really have no stake in it, myself. Stopped collecting a long time ago. Couldn't they just launch an Ultimates style offshoot as Marvel did and please everybody though?
Characters get do-overs all the time. The numbering bugs me. Some of DC's titles have 70 year publishing traditions. Issue numbers in the 800s and 900s. Throwing that away is wrong just to appeal to some iPad subscribers.
Yeah they pull this stuff every couple years. Its basically a marketing ploy to get new readers interested by giving them a jump on point. Final crisis was meant to be one of these totally changing and restarting the DC universe things and when it got to the end, BANG the universe was suppost to be changed, but wait it hasnt oh and wait all the characters that died have came back etc. It aint a new thing and you will most definetley see more of it in the future. Titles like GL are extremely hard to get into if you dont know about that end of things, I was lucky to get into it when a major arc had finished and the next was about to begin. Same with X-men titles, theres just to many and no where for noobs to jump on, so every 5 years (more recently around every 2 years) major events happen and everythings meant to go back to zero but doesnt. Its all marketing, but hey Im a comic geek and I strongly back bringing in more new fans to the market.
A young Superman whose relationship is with Wonder Woman, rather than Lois Lane

This is what I meant about "the Superman situation." DC only has the rights to Superboy or Superman's iconic costume until 2013. We'll probably see a Superman period-piece film, reminiscent of the Max Fliesher cartoons, in 2015 or so. If I were the Schuster-and-Siegel estates, I'd have a script in the can already.
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