DC Prepares to Unleash ‘The New 52’

Never has a comic book publisher done what DC is about to. Through a great deal of planning, caution and artistic development, the home of Superman and Batman will reset 52 of its titles, many of which are already deep into the hundreds, to issue 1.   What would cause the company to create such a mammoth undertaking and erase the history of so many of its long-running titles?

First off, hardcore fans can breathe one sigh of relief as history won’t necessarily be erased in every case.  However, many things will be reset and will most likely play out to roughly the same overall stories that have come to exist today.  The magic date for the whole release to begin is August 31, 2011.  On that fateful Wednesday, DC will start releasing their new library of titles at issue 1, which will ultimately take place over the course of a couple months.  Everything from DC fixtures like Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Superman will start over in August, while even more recently released titles like David Finch’s The Dark Knight will be reset and come shortly thereafter.  This will then be followed by the less popular though still interesting characters/titles like Blue Beetle and Static Shock.

More than a few new titles will be arriving on store shelves amidst the two-month event too.  Expect the Red Lanterns to get their own monthly book as well as the Red Hood coming back as a possible do-gooder in Red Hood and the Outlaws. You can find the full list of titles on DC’s website at http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/the-new-52/.  Personally, I’m a little bummed that after we’ve reached landmark issues like #600 in Wonder Woman and #700 in a couple other titles, the whole thing is going back to the beginning.  The reason behind the whole campaign of 52 new #1’s is simple though.  Dollars.  It’s an aggressive marketing strategy that DC has heavily reviewed in order to bring us to the present state of affairs.  The amount of readers in comics are down.  It’s mostly males in their 30’s and 40’s following the storylines with few newbies stepping up to the plate as far as customers go.  DC’s thinking is a whole new and younger audience of untapped readers could be brought in if they didn’t feel so secluded.  Why do they feel secluded?  When you have a book on issue 210 or 536 or 700, potential readers feel too much has already taken place to just jump into a story arc this late in the game.  The best way to welcome those readers is to start from scratch.

While I don’t like to see those high-numbered issues disappear, I am a sucker for issue 1’s, so I’m just as excited for this event as anyone.  Plus, it gives me the chance to break into some potentially new exciting stories like Swamp Thing, Aquaman and Resurrection Man.  While all this is fine and dandy, the true tale of success in this multi-title relaunch will be the quality of writing.  Fifty-two different comic books starting at #1 sounds great in theory, but if the dialogue is nothing more than cookie-cutter delivery to fill the content of 52 titles, well, then mission not accomplished.  Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  It’s up to DC to make this relaunch of books a completely high quality event.  Time will tell.  I’m onboard for at least a half dozen of the titles; maybe more if the story momentum is rock star.  For now, the reboots, new stories, and some costume changes are enough to draw me in.



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