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Friday, February 19, 2016 

All they care about is numbering, not legacies

One of the steps DC's taking with Rebirth is (surprise, surprise) restoring Action/Detective's original numbering, and an attempt convince readers they're lowering the price:
With "Rebirth," the mainline DC Universe titles will be renumbered with new #1s -- except for "Action Comics" and "Detective Comics," the two longest-running series in DC's lineup, which will return to their original numbering at #957 and #934, respectively. All DCU books will return to a $2.99 price point (currently their lineup is split between $3.99 and $2.99 single issues), and select core titles (details to come on exactly which) will shift to a twice-monthly schedule.
On the surface, the slightly lower price might seem fine, until you consider all the cutbacks they've made on page counts (about two less), and even pages where the panels were halved. Also note that titles coming out twice in a month means spending more (6 dollars). It doesn't sound much different from Marvel's attempt to sell Spider-Man 2-3 times in a month on a seemingly lower price, with no good writing to accompany them. Which does little more than stretch the budget, all for nothing.

CBR interviewed Geoff Johns here, and as usual, he fails to impress or convince:
I've been a fan for years -- I have over 60,000 comics and 99 percent of them are DC Comics. I really see this as an opportunity, and like I've said before, take all the characters and thematics that we love -- from the past and the present -- and build a story that brought them all together, revealed new secrets and truths and mysteries, and moved it all ahead. Again, as someone who absolutely loves the DC Universe, to me it's maybe lost some things. Not only characters, but more intangibles. Some essence to what makes the "DC Universe" unique and brilliant and unpredictable. And every single character matters -- from Batman to Cassandra Cain to John Stewart to Saturn Girl to Blue Beetle to Lois Lane-- everyone is someone's favorite. And in comics, anything's possible.
And yet they've spent over a decade tearing down even that much. It got to the point where fans of the Cain character finally lost interest and let go, ditto fans of Spoiler, whom I notice he couldn't be bothered to mention here. Not only that, they marginalized Hawkman and Hawkgirl, characters he supposedly cared about, and did he ever raise any objections? Was he even disturbed by the nasty tone embodied in Identity Crisis? Nope. So his attempt to channel Mark Gruenwald is clearly blowing smoke.
From your perspective, why is "Rebirth" a necessary move right now for DC?

To build on what I've said before, I've got a lot of comics, I've read a lot of great stories, and one of the most compelling things about published, periodical comic books in a mainstream, comic book superhero universe, is that it's part of a larger universe -- and we've got a great story to tell about it. A big story.
Reading is not the same as writing, and he largely failed to pull off the latter. Nor does he realize bigger isn't always better, and any crossovers they have in store - and are bound to keep on with for a long time - will prove that.
Are there characters that you think haven't necessarily gotten their due recently that you're looking to focus on?

There are a ton of characters that people miss. That I miss. You'll see a lot of them back, but with a story. I don't want to throw characters back in just to throw them back in. They have to have a purpose. A story that has to be told. Some of my best conversations lately were with James Tynion, [editors] Mark Doyle, Chris Conroy and Rebecca Taylor on several Bat-characters. It was one of the most fulfilling creative discussions I've been in. We were in the room just talking about these characters in the Batman universe, that have come in and out for a long time but haven't really stuck, and suddenly they were coming to life. This specific character suddenly became a vital character to the Bat-universe; that character suddenly became a vital character to this universe. It was exciting because it not only built on these characters, but created story. Great story.

And there are a lot of other characters -- a lot of main characters, too, but a lot of background characters -- that haven't had their due, that haven't had their spotlight in a while, that will be bubbling up to the surface. One in particular, I'm extremely excited to be writing.
But I'm not excited to read anything he has to write. I distanced myself from his pretentious output long ago. His scripting on the Flash, in hindsight, was some of the grimiest slop I've ever seen. Do they recognize the awful mistakes they made with Identity Crisis, the "superhero comic" that ruined much of the genre? Given how little has changed in his writing over the years, there's valid reason to doubt anything he says. He was an early proponent of pushing gratuitous darkness into superhero comics, and hasn't shown any remorse for it.
This definitely sounds targeted at more long-time fans, more lapsed fans -- what about newer or more casual readers?

If you look at "Green Lantern: Rebirth" or "The Flash: Rebirth," absolutely it's targeted to fans who've read a lot of comics. Who have as many comics as me. But at the same time, people can pick it up, and there's enough in "Green Lantern: Rebirth" for someone to pick it up who has never read "Green Lantern" and understand what's happening. With "DC Universe: Rebirth," it's the same thing. If you have, like me, long boxes of DC Comics, you will be very happy. If you've never read a DC comic before, you won't be too lost. This is definitely for comic book readers more than it is for casual readers, just like "Green Lantern: Rebirth," but that doesn't mean it's exclusive of them.
If it's more for long-time readers, then it's less for casual audiences, who shouldn't be fooled. People like him have been keeping up this act for years now, acting like everything's fine and dandy, but it's long been apparent that's not true. For somebody who's been appointed their "chief creative officer", he's been pretty uncreative to date, and hasn't shown any respect for the character legacies they alluded to.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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