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Re-What?: The DC Problem

Greetings comic fans! I need to start this off by telling you a little something about myself: I LOVE DC Comics, I grew up a DC kid. Ever since my dad took me to the comic store for the first time when I was 9 years old. The first comic I ever got was Green Lantern (Vol 3) #19. My dad chose this one because it had all the Green Lanterns in it at the time it was printed. I also got Green Lantern (Vol 3) #125, which was the most current GL book out at the time. When you’re that young- you don’t care about complete runs, or going in order, you just want to read about superheroes. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ve watched every DC animated show, I own every DC animated film, I’ve seen nearly every DC live action movie (no matter how pathetically awful some are). My pull list is mostly DC, I own thousands of DC books, countless shirts, and memorabilia. I’m basically a fanboy (without the “everything sucks but DC” attitude). Well, DC’s newest half-baked idea has me fuming. Bare with me, because this is about to get really, really ranty as I tackle this while breaking down all your preconceived notions about how “great” this will be. Enjoy.

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Open up your wallets kids, because here comes the hype train! Choo, choo!

I defended DC’s New 52, and I defended their “course correction” that’s Convergence and DC You. Well that’s it, I am done with this “REBIRTH” business. I put that in all caps because that’s how DC is marketing this crap. Seriously, on their official site when they announced this, they capitalized the whole word- every, single, time. They really want you to know that “This isn’t a reboot, it’s a REBIRTH!” Who is Dan DiDio really trying to kid? This is absolutely a reboot, and anyone with half a brain can see that. I understand that “REBIRTH” is a cute little marketing ploy, and it’s going to work no matter what. Why? Because comic readers are oblivious. They’ll just say things like “It’s to keep things from going stale!” …Stale? Most DC books right now are on issue #8. You’re telling me that they’ve gotten stale ALREADY? That shows that DC has thrown away the old mantra: “quality over quantity.” They aren’t stale, DC is just desperate for cash. Sales for all the new #1’s are going to spike up to an insane number of copies, and DC will be rolling in money… At first. The hype will eventually die, and things will stabilize. Then we can all sit tight and wait for another “REBIRTH”, reboot, redo, rehash, revamp, retcon, renumbering, course correction, or whatever the hell they want to call it next. The funny part is, DiDio said that he stands behind DC You less than 6 months ago. What a load of shit that was, huh?

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Am I ready for what? For this to be replaced in less than a year? Not particularly.

The thing that kills me the most about this “REBIRTH”- is the insane number of bi-weekly titles. Which sounds like a neato idea in theory, but in practice? Well, it sucks. I love how DC is pitching this like “Hey, we’re super nice guys and we love our fans! So our books are back to $2.99 again, woo!” Really? They’re $2.99? No they aren’t. If I want to read Green Lantern (which is $3.99 at the moment) it’s going to be $5.98 because it’s two books a month. So if I’m reading 5 DC stories, I now have to purchase 10 books a month! Now for someone with a decent job that’s not a problem. But what about the ones who live pay check to pay check and spend $15-20 a month on comics as a little way to treat themselves and help them get through the grind? They’re supposed to shell out double the cash to keep up with titles? This is EA Games type of scumbaggery akin to Star Wars Battlefront DLC. I read 8 total DC titles at the moment (two at the $3.99 and six at the $2.99 price points), meaning I pay roughly $25.92 before taxes. In the “REBIRTH” future I will be looking at $47.84. That’s not counting the other books I buy from Marvel, IDW, Dynamite, and so on. If I wanted to spend that much on JUST DC books, I would have more than 8 on my pull list. They aren’t doing it because they love you, they’re doing it because they want to gouge you for every dime you have. To think otherwise would mean you have ostrich syndrome.

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This 2011 image is now retro. I can’t wait for all the “throwback” New 52 Superman cosplays!

“But Bryan, double the content each month, woo!” What good does that do if the quality still isn’t there? DC is notorious for outrageously short deadlines, not letting the writers know what their fellow writers are up too, and editors changing what the writers have written originally. George Perez voiced his frustrations in the past, as have other writers such as Grant Morrison, and Rob Liefeld. If this sort of thing continues, what will a “REBIRTH” change? The answer to that riddle is: nothing. We’re still spinning our tires in the mud, the same problems will persist, because the REAL issue wasn’t solved. Not letting creators create. DC needs to stop putting writers in a box, forcing them to write in a way that sets up giant super crossover stories that aren’t needed. Let the creators create, let the writers write, and let the readers read. It’s a simple concept. Not ALL DC titles are riddled with nonsense and incoherent drivel mind you. It seems only the major titles (Superman, Batman, Justice League, and the like) have this problem. Which I will get to in a moment. But if you didn’t like New 52, or DC You- what makes you think you’ll enjoy “REBIRTH” when DC maintains the same practices they did during those? Spraying a turd with Fabreze doesn’t change anything.

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Mind numbing isn’t it? Realizing that you’re living in a 30 year Groundhog Day?

I know what you’re all thinking; “But Bryan, things are going back to the way they were! We’ll have great stand alone stories again for everyone!” If I had a nickel for the amount of times I’ve heard this… 1. That’s not going to happen because of what I said above, and 2. There ARE great stand alone stories out right now, just not the ones people are expecting to get a good story from. Justice League 3001, Batman Beyond, Earth 2: Society, The Omega Men, Midnighter, Telos, Dr. Fate, and other books are all really, really good. Some of which are even fantastic. I even talked about this in a past article of mine. “Then why aren’t the sales there?” Simple, DC doesn’t market anyone that isn’t Batman or Harley Quinn, and THAT is the biggest problem of them all. It’s abundantly clear. They have to shove countless characters into a “Batman movie” because they’re scared of letting the characters stand on their own. Characters like Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, Doomsday and more don’t need Batman to prop them up. Lego Batman 2 and 3 were basically Lego JLA games, but they HAD to put Batman in the title. Why? Because DC doesn’t know how to sell anything else. Batman: Assault on Arkham should have just been called Suicide Squad, it wasn’t: “because Batman.”

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This went from big deal to no deal really quick. They might as well have called it: Trivial Crisis.

“Well that’s because Batman sells! Duh!” You may be saying to yourself. Well that’s true, because DC has a self fulfilling prophecy in motion. Batman only sells because they don’t market anyone else as I said. So how can anyone else sell if they don’t try to sell them? It’s the whole “can’t get a job without experience and can’t get experience without a job” conundrum. Superman, the most endearing superhero in the history of the world made only a 100 million more than Ant-Man in the box office! Ant-Man?! Are you kidding me? Superman should make DOUBLE what Ant-Man makes. He also made LESS than Guardians of the Galaxy who no causal fan ever heard of in their entire life! What?! In no universe should this happen. Howard the Duck, Squirrel Girl and other C list Marvel characters should not outsell Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and other A listers in comic sales. But they do, because Marvel cares about ALL their IPs, not just one. It’s why Marvel destroys DC in the: box office, comic sales, toy sales, and basically everything that’s not animated movies. Which even now DC is starting to fail at (because it’s nothing but Batman titles, which people are getting sick of).

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Seriously DC, just unplug your controller already.

Now DC is trying to play catch up, yet again. They’re resorting to the same thing they’ve tried twice already the past half-decade with New 52 and DC You. It’s almost as if everyone at DC HQ has Alzheimer’s, because they keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. As Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Well I for one am not insane, and I’m going to get off this sputtering clown car. I will always love DC, they were my childhood. Hell, they were even my young adulthood. But they’ve lost their way. If DC cared about putting out great stories consistently, cared about their fans, and marketed NOT-Batman… Then maybe sales would be up, and they wouldn’t force their remaining fans rearrange their pull list every 8 months due to another “REBIRTH.”

About Bryan

Greetings! I'm a life long comic fan thanks to my father who introduced me to Green Lantern at an early age. Ever since then it's been my dream to be a comic writer. I love many characters from many publishers. Green Lantern is my main man with Booster Gold being a close 2nd. I also enjoy Superman, Wonder Woman, He-Man, She-Ra, Judge Dredd, Hellboy, The Ray, Hulk, Black Panther and many more. Feel free to message me on Facebook with any feedback, good or bad!

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