Right now, the idea of “Don’t Change” is in the minds of fans of DC Comics. DC has announced plans to relaunch its entire line of books with 52 first issues starting with Justice League #1 on August 31st, 2011 and 51 to follow in September.
The Justice League is to be written by Geoff Johns (DC’s Chief Creative Officer) and drawn by Jim Lee (DC’s Co-Publisher) and will spend the first year of its title exploring the new history of the Justice League (and, by extension, the DC Universe). A bold step for those brave enough to follow…and where’s the Martian Manhunter, with the other original Justice Leaguers being there in the form of Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, Batman and Flash…and Titan member Cyborg?
The other 51 issues scheduled to follow will then explore other characters within the DC Universe, tweaking origins, updating characters and striving to push the characters and the company into the 21st Century.
Still waiting for more than a few of the titles to be announced, but a few of the other 51 that are confirmed as of now are:
Detective Comics #1 by writer/artist Tony Daniel.
Batman #1 by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo.
Aquaman #1 by writer Geoff Johns and artist Ivan Reis.
The Flash #1 by writer Francis Manapul and artist Brian Buccellato.
Green Lantern #1 by writer Geoff Johns and artists Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy.
Green Arrow #1 by writer J.T. Krul and artist Dan Jurgens.
The Savage Hawkman #1 by writer Tony Daniel and artist Philip Tan.
The Fury of Firestorm #1 by writers Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver and artist Yildiray Cinar.
Justice League International #1 by writer Dan Jurgens and artist Aaron Lopresti.
Animal Man #1 by writer Jeff Lemire and artists Travel Forman and Dan Green.
Green Lantern Corps #1 (with Guy Gardner and John Stewart) by writer Peter J. Tomasi and artists Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna.
Mr. Terrific #1 by writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson.
DC Universe Presents #1 (featuring Deadman in the first arc) by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Bernard Chang.
Batman & Robin #1 (with Damian as Robin!) by writer Peter Tomasi and artist Pat Gleason.
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 by writer/artist David Finch.
Batgirl #1 by writer Gail Simone and artists Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes.
Nightwing #1 by writer Kyle Higgins and artist Eddy Barrows.
Red Lanterns #1 by writer Peter Milligan and artists Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1 (with Kyle Rayner) by writer Tony Bedard and artists Tyler Kirkham and Batt.
Catwoman #1 by writer Judd Winick and artist Guillem March.
Birds of Prey #1 by writer Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz.
Swamp Thing #1 by writer Scott Snyder and artist Yannick Paquette.
I, Vampire #1 by writer Josh Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino.
Resurrection Man #1 by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Fernando Dagnino.
Batwing #1 by writer Judd Winick and artist Ben Oliver.
Demon Knights #1 by writer Paul Cornell and artists Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert.
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #1 by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Alberto Ponticelli.
Voodoo #1 by writer Ron Marz and artist Sami Basri.
Justice League Dark #1 by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin.
And, a few to be announced (more details on all this to follow!)
My Greatest Adventure #1
Action Comics #1
Teen Titans #1
Legion Lost #1
Now, doing a move this bold has ruffled more than a few feathers, and resulted in some pretty nasty comments. One in particular, slightly paraphrasing, was a person who said “it seems DC is out to rape my childhood and destroy my favorite characters. I haven’t read a comic in years, but I don’t like what they are doing”.
Well, it seems that commenter doesn’t understand how business works. It’s hard to decry the death of your favorite heroes…if you hadn’t been supporting them. At the end of the day, selling comics is a business, and if the comics aren’t going to sell, then they are going to change.
“Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the DC Universe will never be the same!” was the tagline of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths 12-issue mini-series produced by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and it delivered on what it promised. AND it sold comic books. Because of that, comics (at both Marvel and DC) have existed in a state of “continual crisis” of bouncing between company-wide crossovers and mega-events all designed to grab a reader’s attention and force sales of books…to keep books being published. A downside of this has been the market has become self-serving and cannibalizes itself year after year, creating a market where the same customers go from book to book, and nothing really gets outside of the isolated market that comic book collecting has become. For better or worse, DC Comics is trying to reach outside the regular comic market and say…hey, come on in, there’s some neat stuff going on here. Long time fans have some trouble embracing the idea, but need to realize that the change is coming with or without them. The future is where we’ll spend the rest of our lives, and this change will be a part of it.
Have also heard more than a few times the “I’m never buying a DC Comic again” mantra and that seems self-defeating. If you don’t plan on ever getting a DC Comic again, then why would DC try to make a comic that would make you happy? They’ll have to make even more changes to get new customers since they’ve lost you. DC Comics is in a tough position of trying to make fans of current series/continuity happy and to bring in new fans. The hype they are generating leans towards the new fans, since that is what they are trying to get. But they haven’t forgotten the old fans. Quite a few familiar names are involved in the new titles, as are the characters in the titles. Yes, the history is being tweaked (and, that is getting old….and a topic for later discussion) but change has been a part of DC Comics for a long time. Flash (Barry Allen) found a whole new world in Flash #123 (September 1961) by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino in “Flash of Two Worlds!” when he met Jay Garrick (the earlier Flash)…and nothing has ever been the same since then. Who’s to say that sometime further down the line these “new” DC characters won’t meet their earlier counterparts? And, that the new #1s are spinning out of a meeting of Barry Allen and people from another Earth (in the DC event, Flashpoint) speaks towards the idea of Flash initiating change in the DC Universe is a nod to that first time Barry opened up a whole new (if familiar) Earth back in the day.
One last thought…if there was no change, then an alien would have never died on after a crash and recruited a test pilot to join an intergalactic police force, a police scientist would never have been hit by a batch of chemicals and had his life sped up, an Amazonian Princess would have never followed a military man out of paradise to Man’s World, a boy’s parents would not have been killed by a mugger, and a Kryptonian scientist would have been wrong about the upcoming destruction of his world. And the world would be a very different place as well. So long as these truths hold, all will be well.