I loved comics growing up. In July of 1986, my parents and I were walking through King of Prussia mall. We walked past the ‘Comic Stop’ and I went in and there I saw it; I can still see the cover now.
“If you buy only ONE comic this month… This is it!” and “Don’t miss the 1st issue in Web’s daring new adventures into mystery and suspense.”
Yes, that comic was Web of Spider-Man #16 and it was the first comic I bought on my own and it created a comic book collector and fan for about the next 12-13 years. And as is want to happen when bills and mortgages appear in life, comic book buying left my weekly schedule. I would try and keep up with story lines, occasionally buy a few issues, and grab graphic novel collections when I saw something interesting, but for the most part I drifted away.
I always wanted to get back though, and now that I have an 8 year old girl who loves to look at anything I have, including my old comics, I was always waiting for a good time to introduce her to some comics.
When I heard about the New 52, and then realized what it was, I thought this might be the time. A new beginning with all of the biggest characters. New story arcs beholden to no history that would allow easy entrance to the DC Universe.
I wasn’t about to dive right in though. I wasn’t going to add comic book Wednesday to the calendar just yet. I wanted to sample some of the stories first and the day and date iPad publishing made that possible. So over the course of the first month, I purchased about a dozen titles, to get the lay of the land and see where this could head.
Cutting to the chase, I think my experiment is ending soon after it began. Most of what is being published can be split into two different categories. Inappropriate and crap.
Superman has been ruined. Completely ruined. At least I think so. It appears that there are two different Superman’s to follow in different timelines, which I find completely annoying. Batman is a parent (I think) and possibly the worst one ever. Aquaman eats seafood and Green Lantern is a bit of an asshole.
And DC comics seemingly produces no regular title that I would ever consider showing my girl.
My little girl just happened over when I was reading Detective Comics (with the naked Joker), and she looked over my shoulder as I flipped to the last page and asked, “Is that the Joker’s face?”, which had just been cut off and hung on a wall. Check that from the list.
You may say, hey, buy the children’s comics, they are safe for kids. No thank you. I am not buying the children’s version, or the Ultimate version or the 2099 series, or any series that isn’t canon. I like to know that what I am reading is part of the grander storyline. But then again, DC has killed any kind of grand storyline with a massive reboot.
I assume that the reason for the reboot is to bring in new readers and to get potential returning readers back to buying comics. I think that what we have here is a very large failure. There is a lot of excitement here at the launch; it got me excited. But that excitement is gone now, and I will be interested to see what it is like in the next six months.
You don’t need a gimmick and new issue number to relaunch a comic book. You just need a good creative team and a character people care about.
Afterthought: The new 52 is supposed to represent the reboot of 52 titles, but part of me wonders if it just means that it lasts for 52 weeks, and that in a year we will merge back with the original stories.