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Thursday, January 28, 2016

DC Comics Rebirth & The Didio Who Cried No More Reboots

DC Comics is rumored to be relaunching all of its titles with new Number one issues this June to coincide with the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe.

This time they’re calling it a Rebirth. But this whole New 52 concept has been stillborn since 2011. But DC’s editors keep charging up the paddles to jolt new life into its cold corpse.

Remember when Dan Didio said that Convergence was going to be the last reboot of the DC Universe last year? And remember when Shawn said he was lying? That there would definitely be another reboot of the DC Universe?

Welp, here we are. What is this, Reboot number 7, or is it Reboot number 8?
Let’s see Crisis of Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Convergence. And since Infinite Crisis that’s about Five reboots in about eight years.

Damn, the DC Universe has to be rebooted more times than a computer running Windows ME.

I haven’t had to reboot the SJS DIRECT Universe in the 14 years its been in print. Heck, even the numbers of dead characters in the SJS DIRECT Universe are still in the single digits. It’s a sad day when an indie self-publisher with a single employee and a shoestring budget has a tighter continuity and a more stable universe than DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers that has a billion dollar budget, hundreds of employees making up dozens of creative teams and so-called seasoned editors in charge of it.

Just when you stop caring about what goes on in the DC Universe…They announce another reboot. Nothing like the umpmillionth new #1 issue to give readers an incentive to find another hobby. Why keep buying DC Comics if editorial is just going to reboot everything in three to five years anyway?

What happened to trigger the latest reboot at DC? Alienated fans? Slow moving DC licensed merchandise on store shelves? A loss of ten percent of DC’s market share to Marvel and indie comic publishers? Complete apathy among DC’s fanbase? An attempt to synergize the brand to coincide with the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe that starts with Batman V. Superman Dawn of Justice?

Probably all of that. But it’s been clear for over 15 years Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Goeff Johns, Diane Nelson and WB’s executives have absolutely no idea what they’re doing with that brand. So they go around in circles throwing the exact same shit at the exact same wall expecting things to change. It’s the definition of insanity, but the heads at DC and WB continue to expect a different result for doing the exact same thing.

I’m pretty numb to all these reboots now. At this point I just don’t care about DC’s Universe or its characters. Because no matter how many number one issues or big name creative team changes are announced, nothing really will change at DC unless WB’s senior executives wake up and have the common sense to end the Dan Didio era at the company.  In spite of all the changes to the characters the common denominator for all the dysfunction at DC are the executives at the top. If the same problems keep happening and the same managers are in charge, then it’s clear the managers and their approach to business are the problem.

But no one working at Warner Brothers wants to take this logical course of action.

And as indie publishers, Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios continue to gain ground and market share DC desperately is playing catch up. Only to watch itself get left behind with every bad business decision it makes. It’s just sad to watch all the momentum gained from the successful launch of Supergirl this fall on TV get squandered. Warner Brothers was blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime when those 19 million viewers tuned in for that first episode and they fumbled the football.

With Supergirl DC had a product that fans and families were united behind. I hadn’t seen that kind of solidarity behind a superhero product since Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. Supergirl’s success showed everyone with a functioning brain what direction DC should have gone in, but instead DC’s executives and editors insist on staying on the dark n’ gritty gray road that has taken them nowhere for over fifteen years.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing another relaunch/reboot of DC’s Universe in a few years. That’s if Batman V. Superman and the launch of the Justice League Cinematic Universe doesn’t bankrupt Warner Brothers. Five years ago I was hoping wishing and praying for the return of the old DC Universe and the Classic characters I grew up with. Now I’m just waiting to see when The Wall Street Journal announces the bankruptcy of Warner Brothers and wait to see who DC Comics will be sold to in the Big 5 in the media oligarchy. Maybe someone at Disney like Brad Bird or Pixar’s CEO will actually have the vision to bring these Iconic heroes back to greatness.

As I see it, the current incarnation of DC Comics owned by Warner Brothers is in its death throes and it’s time for the priest to come in and say the last rites for the company.


  1. LOL You make some good points - if perhaps a little histrionic. DC ain't leavin' the WB anytime soon, considering all the legal costs the company has absorbed with all the Superman lawsuits etc they've had over the years. No way they'd drop that football.

    As a longtime reader of DC since the first Crisis (Jesus wept, I'd forgotten there had been so many! Thanks for the reminder) I was appalled at the New 52 reboot, but figured I'd give it a chance to solidify: I hated what they'd done to Superman (my favorite character) but enjoyed the Bat books and the Justice League for a bit, so I kicked around a bit. Now, though, it's exactly as you describe it - nobody at DC seems to have a concrete plan for the line, and the books lack direction overall.

    I guess it comes down to a single thing: the creative teams need flexibility to tell good stories. Good. Stories. I admit, I was as interested to see a depowered Superman as nobody but I gave the writers a chance to see what came up and, and I'll be honest, the Superman line has gone to absolute shit. Having put up with no-powers Superman for what feels like 12 months now I'm over it. Losing the underpants on the outside was bad enough (yeah, I'm a traditionalist) but removing most of his powers, and his secret identity, and trashing the brand? Nope, lost me. And I'm as die-hard a Superman fan as there has ever been.

    The thing about DC now is that the whole line feels disjointed somehow, whereas the pre-Flashpoint era simply relied on good old storytelling within the framework of a carefully thought out plan of attack. Maybe that's just me. All these multiverse Earths and various "crises" and trashing great characters to "sexy them up" for young audiences just isn't working.

    Here's an idea. Write off New 52 as an experiment, and go back to the Post-Infinite-Earths roster of characters. Let the creative teams tell good stories, or give them a free run at taking the characters somewhere new. Stop rebooting or restructuring the universe. Reduce the number of titles to a manageable few that tell interesting, compelling narratives, rather than a mandated 52 that tell mediocre, often useless and meaningless stories. Three Batman books (and only 1 Robin/Nightwing book), three Superman books (plus Supergirl and Superboy), three JLA-related books, and the "cosmic" books like Legion of Superheroes, Lobo (the original, not whatever the hell character they created for New52...ugh), and THAT'S IT. Start small, and THEN if the market demands it, go bigger. Get the best people possible on writing and art, and tell them to go nuts for as long as they can, without crossovers and interference from other characters (unless required for key story points).

  2. Good points all. I would say the most telling factor is not letting the creators get their footing and give them the leeway to develop a consistent run of stories. Batman has been the great exception to this with the Bat Family stuff. And, no mistake, that's been DC's best seller since the New 52 started. Justice League is sleeping giant and has been since the Animation days

  3. I'd love to see DC just END this New 52. It's lost, directionless and has cost them readers and market share. Relaunching more of the same books and using the same business approach is not going to change anything. DC needs to go back to its old universe (or something resembling it, classic costumes a small catalog of books 15 and then expand from there if the market will allow it. Supergirl has shown DC what direction they should go in but DC's editors refuse to go on that course. No amount of royalties to families or estate lawsuits is worth them tarnishing their brand and losing all those readers and market share.