Let’s talk about…the DC reboot.

23 Jun

Come September, DC Comics will press the restart button on the entire DC universe. With the conclusion of Flashpoint, DC will start anew with fifty-two, yes fifty-two, brand new series all starting at issue one and going day and date digital release. Obviously news like this tends to cause a little bit of backlash, so here at Alternative Spotlight we decided to not take to the forums and burn them all down with our flaming fanboy rage, we thought Adam and Simon would have a gentlemanly discussion instead.

But first, let’s see what we are dealing with.

Simon

Currently reading (comic book wise) – Oddly nothing current. Working through some things I’ve missed over the years. Currently reading the reimagining of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’.
Favourite Series – Preacher. Always and forever. The best comic series that was ever written (and mostly likely ever will be!)
Writer that can do no wrong – Neil Gaiman

Adam

Currently reading (comic book wise) – I’m a little bit of a Marvel zombie. The current most notable titles I’m reading right now are Amazing Spider-Man, all the Avengers titles, Avengers Academy, Uncanny X-Force, Deadpool and Uncanny X-Men.
Favourite Series – I am loving Avengers Academy and Uncanny X-Force at the moment but will always go with Amazing Spider-Man.
Writer that can do no wrong – I’m going to be cheap and go with three: Matt Fraction, Christos Gage and Rick Remender.

1. What do you think of the DC reboot at a consumer level?

Simon: On a consumer level it’s obviously going to split people down the middle. I was a MASSIVE fan of Marvel’s ‘reboot’ (though it wasn’t an entire one). The Ultimate comics were an opportunity for me to throw myself into a universe where I knew EVERYTHING that was going on, and that’s a nice feeling. I hope to get the same buzz from the DC reboot. The DC universe has so much history and mythology behind it. Sometimes it can get confusing. This is an obvious way to solve that issue and make the whole lot accessible again. However… 52 titles?!?! What the hell?!?! That’s way too many. They’re trying to solve one issue and failing miserably. Within months, the DC universe is going to be as confusing as it ever was, no-one is going to be able to afford/have the time to keep up with every series, and there will always be crossovers that make you go ‘Huh? Who the hell is that?!’ They should have done what Marvel did and kept it simple. The main characters get their own series (Supes, Wonderwoman, Batman) and done a Justice League one to start. That REALLY would have made the new universe accessible. Then as time went on, GL and co could get their own issues. It’s going to get confusing, and there seems to be an ongoing thing with big events in comics at the moment in that they never stick to their guns. They kill someone off, they always come back, something big happens that changes everything, and they do something to reverse it all. My money? I wouldn’t be surprised if in 12 months time, everything’s gone back to exactly how it was, or at least, we’ll find out that there’s still the original earth floating out there somewhere…

Adam: I’m with Simon on the whole splitting people down the middle thing. I can see fans being upset that the stories and mythology that they have been told for years and years is now irrelavent and is now contained in its own little bubble, however I kind of like that. Those stories are still there, the Batman stories you love are not going anywhere. Besides that, fifty-two titles is insane for what in the grand scheme of things is a new launch. Even if you stuck to just to say buying every title in the Batman and Green Lantern lines, which are the hot properties right now, at launch you are looking at buying around eleven books. Again, I agree somewhat with Simon that a really focused launch would have been fantastic and would have encouraged new readers to jump on, but flooding the market with this number of titles just makes it as daunting as it ever was.

2. What do you think of the DC reboot at a business level?

Simon: I’m not sure how much of a good move it is at a business level. I think their readership levels won’t change much. Those who leave because of their annoyance of such a drastic change that deletes all of their well learned history, will be replaced by the hope for new intake of readers. It’ll be interesting to see the figures.

Adam: As a business move, this is DC either making the smartest move they have made in recent memory or slitting their own throats and bleeding out whilst Marvel watches with the biggest smile on its metaphorical face. As it stands Marvel owns about 50% of the entire comic books market, which is massive, and I think DC needed to make this bold move. If it pays off we will see, they have had quite a bit of mainstream media coverage but are the audiences who are absorbing mainstream media really that interested in comics?

3. Is this going to be the move that saves the comic book industry in your opinion?

Simon: Did it need saving?

Adam: In recent years the comic book industry has been on the mend, it’s not stable, but it’s getting there. Bold actions like this certainly help, especially with the forward action towards digital print, the easier it is for people to consume comics the better. I still believe that the big blockbuster movies are the easiest way to get the industry more stable, as the sales numbers prove, but they need to start advertising actual comic book series alongside these.

4. What are your thoughts on day and date digital publishing?

Simon: It’s a good move, and a logical one. The hardcore comic guys are going to be put off of digital publishing but the delay, by changing that, they’ll be cementing a few digital customers.

Adam: My main issue is the pricing, if I’m buying digitally, which is cheaper to produce, why am I paying the same amount as if I bought the physical issue? Other than that it’s the same as Simon said, the hardcore comic fans are going to be buying paper, whilst the casual reader will dip in and out by buying a few issues on their smart phone or tablet when they fancy it. I would be really interested to see the percentage split between paper and digital.

5. Will the move to day and date digital cause you to stop reading press and make the switch?

Simon: I don’t buy individual comics as it is. I always buy them in their collections, and until I buy an iPad (and that’s an IF, not a WHEN) or some other similar device, I don’t feel that I own anything that reading a comic would be enjoyable on. The digital market is still a limited one. For now.

Adam: I’m a nerd and like to own the physical copy, I like to have a bookcase full of titles, it looks nice. I’m currently selling all my singles on eBay and rebuying the arcs that stuck with me in trade paperback. I just like the feeling of holding a comic in my hands and I dont really get that reading digitally, although I do read free comics on my iPhone if I’ve got a few moments to spare and the software is great. I totally see why someone would want to read their books that way, it’s just not for me.
6. With the reboot will you be picking up any new series?

Simon: Justice League.

Adam: When it comes to DC, I can only really get into Batman. I may pick up the new Batman or Batman and Robin, as having Bruce with Damien really interests me, however I will probably just wait for the trade.

7. With the reboot will you be dropping any series you are currently reading?

Simon: Well, I’ve been dipping in and out of Green Lantern and the Justice League over the months. I’d lost track of Green Lantern as it is, so you never know…

Adam: As I only read Marvel books at the moment, I have none to drop. But I could see a lot of Green Lantern fans being pretty pissed, they have just been dragged through long events and major changes in the Green Lantern storyline, for all that just to be restarted may cause people to just give in.
So there you have it, two nerds sitting round the fire, smoking cigars and enjoying the finest scotch talking about nothing but men in tights. Hope you enjoyed the ride and feel free to give your opinion of the DC reboot in the comments below.

Follow Adam on Twitter at @ObviousPrime

Follow Simon on Twitter at @Castle_Radio

and follow the blog on Twitter at @Alt_Spotlight

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One Response to “Let’s talk about…the DC reboot.”

  1. Simon June 28, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    After hearing that DC are refusing to refer to this as a ‘reboot’, that makes me think, even more so, that this is just one big marketing gimmick and everything will be back to normal this time next year… Watch this space…

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