As you might already know, DC is planning a major overhaul of their franchises in the fall. If you haven’t heard of it, click here for an earlier post I wrote about it.
DC had also announced they were going to economize their output into 52 different comic titles released a month, which sounds like a lot, but it’s actually shaved down from the previous output of about 59 new releases a month. I realize that whether it’s 52 or 59, it’s still more than anyone with a decent income can keep track of. Still, I was largely upset to see what made the cut and what didn’t.
To see the wikipedia page with the full list, click here.
Action Comics #1 written by Grant Morrison. I know Grant has wanted to write Superman for years, but was rarely allowed to. Rumor has it, several years ago he pitched DC an idea that would take Superman in a whole new direction, but DC turned down his offer, not wanting to shake up their flagship character. Instead, they allowed him to write All-Star Superman, which is a sort of Superman “What if…” kind of story. That story turned out to be better than just about any single Superman story arc. So now DC’s finally giving Grant a shot at Superman. I for one think this will prove to be exciting. Grant’s stories have such a cosmic and trippy style, it seems Superman would be a better fit for him to write than Batman, which is ultimately earthbound.
Swamp Thing: What a lot of people don’t know is that Swamp Thing was, once upon a time, a very good comic. I think the movie as well as the TV show spin-off made people think of Swamp Thing as a campy character. Alan Moore wrote a handful of good Swamp Thing stories; it was his success in this lesser known title that gave Alan the leverage to write Watchmen for DC. Also, Neil Gaiman wrote a few good Swamp Thing Stories. Over the years, other people have tried to bring back Swamp Thing, with mixed results. For instance, Vertigo put out a mature Swamp Thing series. I read one issue of that and it was honestly one of the worst comics I’d ever read. The writer insisted on making the comic ridiculously violent and gory, which isn’t what Swamp Thing’s about. When the relaunch happens, Swamp Thing will be made part of the DCU, which means it will have different standards. I think the added censorship will be a good thing.
Blue Beetle: If you bothered to read the Blue Beetle comics from a few years ago, you would’ve found that they were surprisingly fun. Also, they were comics that were for the most part kid-friendly. DC doesn’t have many of those. Now DC’s going to bring him back, let’s just hope the series isn’t cancelled when readership drops.
Some of the better writers are being left out or misused: What I don’t understand at all is that Birds of Prey is going to be relaunched without Gail Simone writing it. For a comic about an all-woman team, wouldn’t it make sense to have it also written by a woman? Also, if you look at the older Birds of Prey comics, all the better stories were by Gail. Why then is she writing Firestorm of all things? Also, noticeably absent from the roster of writers is J. M. Stracynski. DC allowed him to write Superman and Wonder Woman for a while, but it appears he’s now being canned. I’m guessing it’s because so many hardcore Wonder Woman fans complained about his recent storyline. Stracynski though did such good work for Spiderman and even made Thor a much better comic, so why not let him continue to shake things up at DC?
Lesser Known books are being cancelled: I for one liked having a few DC titles released each month which didn’t exactly fit into the big epic stories that Geoff Johns insists on writing all the time. With Superman, Batman, JLA and so on, you always had big crossover events that were too expensive to read all of, but with Zatanna, Gotham City Sirens, and Thunder Agents, you had comics that were self-contained. You weren’t stuck buying a whole bunch of issues just to get one full story. In fact, with the comics I mentioned, the story arcs were a nice 2 0r 3 issues long. Well those comics are all being nixed it seems. Also, I just started reading Xombie. It seemed cool, and had sweet art by Frazier Irving. Now, before, I can even understand the comic, it’s being cancelled.
Some of the new books don’t sound so great: Captain Atom being given his own comic, really? Are they cancelling Zatanna for that? Captain Atom seems like your run of the mill bulky superhero, at least Zatanna said words backwards. The Red Lanterns are also getting their own series. Why? They’re red and angry, and one’s a cat that spews acidic blood, we get it already. How can that last more than a handful of issues? I’d much rather see Kyle Rayner given his own series. The one that excites me the least is I, Vampire. Is anyone else sick of vampires? Plus, Marvel already did a huge amount of vampire books last year.
What might go either way.
Incorporating Wildstorm into the DCU: For a couple years now, Wildstorm has been a pretty negligible company owned by DC. In the 90s, Wildstorm was kind of cool. It was owned by Jim Lee, and it, in turn, allowed Alan Moore to create his own subgroup America’s Best Comics. Then, it was bought out by DC, and, in retaliation, Alan Moore completely ended his entire America’s Best Comics universe, depriving the world of delightful comics like Top 10 and Promethea. Just recently, Tom Strong came back, but not with Moore writing it. Now the Wildstorm universe is somehow going to be included into the new DC universe. They’re going to go so far as to have Martian Manhunter join Stormwatch, which is weird because he’s a staple of the JLA.
The return of George Perez: He was a big writer in the eighties and nineties, and something of a legend in his time. Now, he’s coming back and writing Superman. I recently read one of his graphic novels from when he relaunched Wonder Woman a long time back and it was pretty good. The problem is, will his style mesh with the current style? Since he’s more old-school, I’m betting his books will contain much more dialogue than today’s comic fans are used to. I’m almost always happy when writers decide to add more text (for more about that, click here).
In the end, I guess all we can do is wait and see how good the relaunch is.
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