Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nothing In The Wings -- 08/03/2011

No Hawkman or Hawkgirl stuff seems to be coming out this week, folks!  We're in the final straightaway before the debut of Savage Hawkman at the end of next month, and I find myself in a weird position with DC Comics.  I just got my box from DCBS (if you want to mail order your comics, these guys are a great choice for both price and service), and the only DC Comics books in there were the DC Retroactives of Flash and Wonder Woman for The 70s, Action Comics, and Tiny Titans.  And of those four books, two of them are one-shots and one of them is a book I am getting for one story arc (Reign of the Doomsdays).  So while the comics world is gearing up for the "DCnU" (ugh), it seems that my vestment in DC Comics is at a very low point.

This evident lack of interest carries forth when I examine the list of DC titles I am picking up in September.

(For the purposes of this discussion I am going to not talk about Tiny Titans; that title is not being relaunched and is entirely disconnected from the rest of the lineup.)

The rundown:

The Savage Hawkman

The Flash

Hawk and Dove


Men of War

...and that's it.  

Only 5 titles total of the new ones interest me enough to actually buy them, and 40% of them are non-superhero titles which, let's face it, are going to be treading some rough terrain to be on the schedule this time next year.  (It seems to this blogger that DC is trying to cash in on some of the success which IDW is having with their GI Joe titles; I applaud this approach and hope that they can get some crossover readers.)  And of the three superhero books, one of them is for a character who has been primarily defined by how unrelatable he is, one of them is still spinning his proverbial wheels dating back to before Infinite Crisis, and the last set is a concept which has never sustained an ongoing series for any real length of time.  So while I am excited for these titles, its very clear that my main feeling for the balance (a better term would be "large majority") of the new titles and creative teams is ambivalence.

So while I appreciate that DC is going in a fairly drastic direction and restarting the universe (sort of), it seems that I am even more out of touch with what they are peddling than ever before.  This is a feeling I have had with Marvel dating back to Avengers: Disassembled, it now it seems that I can mark this point for DC's passage into that territory.

If this new initiative is to be successful, then DC needs to reach out to the market which is energized and excited by these new titles and teams.  They need to tap into existing readers and get them to try something new.  They need to find those always elusive "new readers" and lure them in with digital downloads and Jim Lee costume designs.  And of course, they need to deliver to those readers, old and new, strong and compelling stories which have been the cornerstone of DC Comics for as long as I have been reading them.

They should not, and frankly, cannot worry about guys like me.  Myself and readers like me are not going to make or break this effort.  We've crossed the proverbial Rubicon, and our prime days of comic book fandom are on the decline.  Doesn't mean I don't love comics or that I won't be buying them.  But I -- and those like me -- can't be the target if you really want to develop and grow the market and make money.  

Ultimately, if DC gives me stories with the characters I like which are exciting and fun, then I will be happy.  But they really need to go capture others besides the dyed-in-the-wool set, and I for one hope they suceed with flying colors.

Oh, and that Hawkgirl shows up at some point.  That would rock.


Diabolu Frank said...

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it."

DC has tried this before, with better talent and broader distribution, and failed. I don't disparage the goals, just the course, which seems geared only to alienated everyone, young and old.

I'm buying the first issue of Action Comics, and have subscribed to Stormwatch, Aquaman and The Huntress. That's a minor win for DC, as I had been buying R.E.B.E.L.S. and Brightest Day, so they drew me into one additional mini-series.

I look forward to your reviews of Blackhawks and Men of War...

Mr P said...

I'll be getting Savage Hawkman, Demon Knights, Batwoman, and Justice League (and Justice League better impress me fast or it's getting dropped.)

Jon Q. Citizen said...

I'm actually excited for the revamp...I'll be picking up 10-13 titles, whereas I was only getting 9 before the revamp.

Green Arrow & Hawkman have long been favorites of mine, and I'm glad that they both made it through "stage 1".

I'm giving titles like Mister Terrific & Swamp Thing a chance to see if DC may have a sleeper hit or two in there.

Luke said...

@Mr P, Batwoman looks like it should appeal to her not-insignificant fanbase. I would really like to see her move in the upper echelon of the DCU. She's got a great look and some obvious fans at DC.

@Jon, Green Arrow was on the shortlist but I ended up not pulling the trigger on it. Hopefully several of these smaller titles will catch on as "sleepers" and get some legs; I think that will help legitimatize this reboot and help DC gain back the readers trust.

@Frank, indeed, regarding the talent and the course. I cannot for the life of me fathom what the heck is going on with the Superman family, for instance, or Teen Titans. But I think their hearts are in the right place and approaching this from the right mindset. I am looking forward to hearing YOUR thoughts on Stormwatch, myself.

Donald D said...

This might be the most well-said summary I have read about a fellow comic enthusiasts thoughts of DCnu. One that I feel practically sums up my feelings in their entirety.

Ambivalence describes it for me in a nutshell.

I explained to my comic shop guy that I would only be subscribing to Aquaman due to my disgust of another DC relaunch, but can completely understand DC's angle with this one.

It hasn't been easy, but I've reflected on my time over the last 20 years with these characters & understand that DC's longevity requires a change. I've humbled myself with the notion that this is what DC feels it needs to do do grow a another fan-base for the next generation to come.

I think they are gambling BIG time, because it's us old guys and ONLY us old guys that can afford comics anymore ;)

I digress though. I wish DC luck and hope this ignites more passion in a new generation of readers, but I am currently slated to only be picking up Aquaman out of the 52 titles. He's my favorite DC character, he's been long overdue for a writer like Johns and the creative team for the book is inspiring to me.

Having said that, I know it's gonna be tempting as some of these books ship in September to not try a few out. I've resigned myself to giving Hawkman, Men of War and Captain Atom a flip-through for a possible impulse buy.

Luke said...

@Donald, I think fans of any long running property -- be it comics, a TV show, a movie series, a book series, whatever -- eventually just get to the point where we begin to realize that the "glory days" are behind us and that the property has moved on. But, and I hate to paraphrase Brian Michael Bendis here, since he essentially orchestrated that development for me and Marvel Comics, that doesn't discredit all of the aspects and facets of the property you still love. Ultimately, whether this reboot succeeds or fails, I will still have all the stories and characters I have grown fond of over the years. Nothing can change that, and if we get some cool stuff in addition to that, well, that's all the better! :)