New York Times goes the farcical route again
DC Comics is in the midst of a major effort to revitalize the company's fabled superheroes for the 21st century and better connect with today's readers. The undertaking, which began in 2002, has involved a critical look at DC's characters - from Aquaman and Batman to Zatanna - and developing story lines that sometimes have heroes engage in decidedly unheroic deeds.They even make it sound as if it's literally, flat-out required by law. That's typical PC lunacy for you, folks.
One of the goals, DC executives say, is to hold on to a more sophisticated readership.No kidding. What about newcomers then? Don't they also count?
"Our characters were created in the 1940's and 50's and 60's," Dan DiDio, the DC Comics vice president for editorial, said. "There's a lot of elements where we've had a disconnect with the reader base of today."Yeah, right. I've heard that argument a gazillion times before, and I must say that DiDio certainly isn't doing any better than those who came up with it before him.
Readers now, Mr. DiDio said, "are more savvy, and they're looking for more complexity and more depth for them to be following the stories on a monthly basis." A crucial phase of the campaign starts today with the release of "Infinite Crisis," the first of a seven-part monthly series that will bring together all the story threads - and the superheroes - that have been evolving in separate series over the past three years.
Last year, the "Identity Crisis" mini-series, written by Brad Meltzer, a novelist, had the Justice League retaliating for the rape of a hero's wife by brainwashing the villain - a turn of events that drove some fans to the Internet to vent their concern over DC's direction. The series was one of the year's best-selling titles.Unjustly too, I might add. That aside, an even bigger question that could've been asked here is if the reason fans vented concern on the internet because of the way that the book used the rape solely as a plot device - and the women in the story were all almost entirely presented in a negative light? Alas, the NY Times cares not to ask a very crucial question such as what I've posted here.
While some readers have posted complaints on the Internet that superheroes have become entangled in grimmer stories of late, DC creators note that even its most illustrious heroes' tales have dark roots. It was the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents that spawned Batman; the story of Superman began with the destruction of his home planet, Krypton.Aside from the fact that that's a very cryptic statement Rucka is making at the end, what they miss here is that quite a few women in the DCU have been discriminated against as well, which could also be as valid a complaint as the grimmer storylines, not to mention that most readers by now could also be fed up with having a whole company wide crossover start clogging up their favorite reads even before Infinite Crisis itself had hit the stands, and before it's even advertised as such. This is one of the leading reasons why I myself tend to avoid crossovers on this scale: because they interrupt storylines and force the assigned writer to come up with something to combine with said crossover that may service the X-over but not the regular series itself. (For a good example of how a bad X-over can ruin a good book, see Joker's Last Laugh.)
"I think people feel it's dark because it's so compelling," Mr. DiDio said. "They don't know how our heroes are going to get out of the danger."
Mr. Rucka agreed: "When they're saying 'it's too dark,' they're saying, 'I'm scared.'"
He added, "It's not a crisis if they know they're going to win."
It's this very approach that's been ruining comic books today, to say nothing of cobbling them together out of political leanings. And if this isn't ground to a halt, then is it any wonder that the big two could lose audiences?