Wow, now this is incredibly ballsy. DC Comics announced yesterday that, beginning in September, all of their current titles will be cancelled, then re-launched and re-booted with 52 brand new #1 issues. All of the new series will feature new creative teams, re-designed costumes, altered origins, and in some cases – characters will even have their identities and ages changed.
This unprecedented move coincides with the news that DC will offer day-and-date downloadable digital versions of their comics, which means that readers can read DC comics online on the same day the print editions hit the local comic shops. Understandably, this has pissed off comic shop owners who were already struggling to stay afloat amidst a sea of declining sales, a lack of young readers, and competition from video games, 3D movies, and the Internet. Many retailers feel that having new comics on the shelves days in advance of the digital versions was one of the few advantages they had left.
Despite all of this dissent and uncertainty, I personally think this could be a good thing for DC… if they are serious about sticking with it. Ever since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, the company has been downright schizophrenic; attempting reboot after reboot and altering their already convoluted continuity to the point that it’s nearly impossible for new readers to jump onto titles. A fresh start might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Of course, the cynic in me wants to immediately disregard this re-launch as a temporary act designed to garner some cheap press and lift flagging sales numbers. It would be a shame if this were just another “be patient through this craziness until you get your old characters and costumes back” stunt, ala Heroes Reborn, Age of Apocalypse, 52, Final Crisis, etc.
The thing I worry about is properly honoring the “big 3” – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Their core titles – Detective Comics, Action Comics, and Wonder Woman – were all approaching 1,000 issues, and this re-launch will put an end to any of those hallowed books boasting a nice, bold “#1,000” on the cover. (Unless, of course, DC decides to confuse new readers years down the line by slapping the 1,000 tag on these titles as a sort of honorary milestone).
Newsarama has a rundown on the new creative teams, as well as some new artwork for the September re-launch.