Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Post-FLASHPOINT DC Universe is the New Post-CRISIS DC Universe

Annnnnnd BOOM goes the dynamite.

For those who don't already know, DC Comics pushed the shiny, candy-like reboot button on their entire comic book universe today in an article for USA Today.  Starting on August 31st with Flashpoint #5 and another Justice League #1, the DC Universe will be rebooted once again with a total of 52 comics launching or relaunching with #1 issues, making this the biggest creative revamp since Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 back in 1986.

As one might expect, comics creators and readers are all over the place on this news, with a sampling of reactions on Twitter either excited and geeked out by this rather ballsy roll of the dice on DC's part or ready to jump off DC Comics entirely after being provided such a nice and tidy place to stop collecting:

"REALLY EXCITED about #dccomics #reboot!!! @jimlee00 @GeoffJohns0 Can't wait to see the work these two amazingly talented gents put together!"

"@jimlee00: It's official. (...) #dccomics http://t.co/bXomRzJ” Early, but looks like New Coke is back, and I'm gonna save lots of money :( "

"If I'm pissed off about #dccomics decision, imagine how my comic dealer is going to feel when I tell him the dreaded news!"

"Call me crazy, but DC's announcement sounds amazing. It's what the industry needs, and who doesn't want to see young Batman? #DCcomics"

I told my wife Lori the news this evening and she promptly gave me one of her patented eye-rolls followed with an exasperated "Oh, God..."  You see, Lori and I both went through this before back in 1986 with Crisis on Infinite Earths and what became known simply as the Post-Crisis DCU.  As things happened, she grew up a huge DC Comics fan as I did, especially concerning the original Helena Wayne version of the Huntress, who was the daughter of the Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman.  When the Huntress was erased and summarily replaced by the Post-Crisis Huntress named Helena Bertinelli, daughter of Gotham Mafia crime couple Guido and Carmela Bertinelli, Lori was very bothered by the change, to the point where various DC Universe continuity changes gradually caused her to lose interest in the DCU and comics in general.

On the other hand, I was encouraged by John Byrne's revamp of Superman and George Perez's take on Wonder Woman that I still consider to be definitive to this day.  I got to experience an adult Wally West taking over as the Flash for his deceased uncle and mentor Barry Allen, then later began reading Green Lantern for the first time in years when Kyle Rayner took over as the lead character.  And yes, I also noticed that several concepts ultimately returned to their Pre-Crisis roots because, quite frankly, they worked better than their attempts at turning them into something they weren't.

So now here we are again...one era of DC Comics ending, another about to begin.  With the decision to start or restart all titles at new #1 issues, even such long-running institutions as Action Comics and Detective Comics, it seems there's an obvious attempt to give potential DC Comics readers a clean, fresh slate and hope they enjoy what they read to want to stick around for the long haul.  There's no way of knowing if all this is going to work or not, but now that the reset button is being pressed once again for the Third Age of DC Comics, the Post-Flashpoint era, I certainly hope it does. 

I'd love to see a new generation of readers jump aboard instead of continuing to rely on the same 100,000 readers we've had for years.  I want DC Comics to be there in another 26 years from now when they push the reset button for the third time.  However, in order to make this work, there needs to be two very important things -- truly creative and innovative storytelling that challenges readers and makes them want to come back month after month, and most importantly, readers with open minds that don't cling so harshly to the past that they become unable to try something a little different from what they've known.

So I guess we'll see what happens next, won't we?  Time will tell...It always does.

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