Thursday, September 6, 2012

The New 52 one year later

On August 31, 2011 DC Comics unvealed the beginning of their new universe which they called the New 52. They cancelled all their previous comics, some of which had been in the 600s and 700s to have 52 new series starting over with #1 and changing the status quo of the DC Universe forever. It reeked of despair from a comic company who was getting thrashed by rivals Marvel. And it worked (for the most part). Their sales numbers went up and eventually levelled off. They are still better than they were, but despite that there have been a number of situations come up in the last year which puts them at a disadvantage.

To celebrate the one year anniversary DC is releasing all #0 issues this month that will delve into the past of the characters. It will also introduce a few new comics as well. The reason, the original 52 do not exist as they did a year ago. A number of titles have been cancelled due to low sales. New comics have been introduced to keep the comics titles at 52, some of those are on the verge of getting cancelled and some comics that survived the first cut are not making it through this time. And more titles are being introduced to keep the 52 number alive.

The strife has been more on the creative side this time around. Creative teams leaving books after only doing 4-5 issues? Unheard of. Their biggest complaint was that the Editors were too hands on and were having the creative teams make changes that they deemed neccassary to fit the comics into the new continuity.  Another complaint was Superman. He had two series one was Action Comics which focused on Superman in his early years, the second was Superman which focused on his contemporary adventures. However there appeared to be no correlation between the two series. Big things that happened in the past in Action were not referenced in the present day. The two different writers appeared to be working in their own worlds where never the twain shall meet.

Not to pick on Rob Liefeld, though he deserves it, but he was the artist on Hawk and Dove one of the first titles to get cancelled. DC then decided to have him take over 3 books. Knocking a great writer in Kyle Higgins off of Deathstroke so Liefeld could write and draw it. had him co write Grifter, and write Hawkman and draw covers. Not 3 issues in Liefeld started calling out DC on their editorial control and left the company burning bridges with him in a twitter war with not only DC but a few other well respected writers still on the DC books. So now DC has to scramble to find replacements. It just seems a little out of control.

DC is still fighting with women about their lack of female characters, or the way the characters are hyper-sexualized. Also the fact that they do not have a lot of Female creators working on the books. But attendence figures are showing that more Women are going to Comic Cons and not just to dress up, but to buy things, to talk to creators about their favorite books, and more.

There are still some good books out there. Batman by Scott Snyder is still outstanding. The Green Lantern corps of books are doing well. The DC Dark books are doing well. Such as Justice League Dark, Animal Man, and Swamp Thing. There has been praise on Aquaman, All Star Western, and GI Combat, Earth 2,  50/50 on the new Wonder Woman, but disappointment on the flagship title Justice League. Some of it could be equated to just great writers working on the books, while mediocre writers are toiling on other books. Or it's just that the new versions of the characters are just not doing it for the regular reader. Whatever it is the New 52 seems to be in a state of disarray though there are some solid foundations in place and maybe in the second year they can start to stabalize a little and see what comes. We'll see.

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