Bringing you the very best in comics art and cosplay - 10,000 posts and still going strong! KoC has been linked to/reblogged by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Brian Michael Bendis, Dave Gibbons, Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kieron Gillen, Mike Deodato Jr, Marcio Takara, Adam Hughes, Paolo Rivera, and Ty Templeton. KoC has also been mentioned on Comics Alliance & The Mary Sue. (I'm not one to brag, though.)
My personal blog is here, FWIW.
I swear, nothing else could make me want more to just say fuckit and do nothing in comics…“the Nineties are back”? Just makes me want to take myself out of the equation entirely. I already had to fight the Nineties once. (Warren Ellis)
Ordinarily, about this time each month, I’d be posting selected art from DC’s solicitations, but in light of the DC Reboot - and considering most of the art has already been made available - I wanted to put some thoughts out there regarding the whole shebang.
A quick personal note for openers: I’m 34 years old, and I’ve been reading comics since I was three, so some quick mental arithmetic should tell you…yes, that long. So it’s fair to say I’ve been here before. I’ve seen Crisis On Infinite Earths, Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis come and go, each promising (if not entirely delivering) a fresh start for the DC Universe. Of course, I was as incredulous as anyone when the DC Reboot was announced over a week ago - and it seems like a geological age since that announcement came down the PR pike, doesn’t it? - but since the official announcements have been made regarding creative teams and what-have-you (with the actual solicitations being made public today), there is a sense that we - as a readership - are fast approaching the point of no return, and the DCU as we know it is going away.
I’m aware that many of you reading this blog are passionate about the DCU and its myriad inhabitants. I’ve mentioned before that it was Zero Hour (preceded by Doomsday/Knightfall, and codified by Morrison’s JLA) that made me a DCU fan. Infinite Crisis, for all its flaws, I enjoyed. Even looking back on CoIE some 25+ years after its initial publication, it doesn’t really hold up if you think about it too hard, but it was most certainly a game-changer, for better or worse - ‘red sky crossover’, anyone?
(Quick digression: I’m not entirely sure that ‘reboot’ is the right nomenclature for the perodical revisions the DCU has undergone, but I feel using “OS reinstall” would be too confusing, and stretch the analogy too far. )
I admit, I am interested in a handful of Reboot titles come September, but only a handful; Justice League, Stormwatch, Action Comics. Maybe Aquaman, Batgirl and Resurrection Man. Otherwise, as a fan, I will be keeping well away from the bulk of the DC Reboot offerings. It smacks of that period in the early 90’s where everytime you turned around, another company was imitating the Valiant model and giving readers yet another interconnected ‘universe’ of titles to engage with. Remember the Ultraverse? Or Comics’ Greatest World? No? It’s okay if you don’t.
This event also reminds me of a similar stunt from the mid-90’s: Marvel’s “Heroes Reborn” project. (Not least because Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld and Scott Lobdell were involved in both.) As intriguing was “Heroes Reborn” was - on a ‘rubbernecking-at-a-car-crash’ level of curiosity - it had the faint whiff of desperation about it. And I can’t help but note the same coming from the DC Reboot. Don’t believe me? Here’s the cover for the new Justice League #1, by Jim Lee:
And this is the cover to Avengers v.2 #8, also by Lee:
The resemblance, as they say, is uncanny. (And I say this a fan of Lee’s.)
Granted, everybody’s talking about it, so mission accomplished on the PR front. However, the ‘buzz’ - such as it is - has been largely negative. I’m still reeling from the outpouring of anger that surfaced when it came to light that Barbara Gordon would be Batgirl once again. (I can only guess what Gail Simone has had to deal with since that news broke, and her Twitter has given some insight on that front.) Many of you have been asking, where is [insert character here]? Personally, I’d love to know where Power Girl, the Huntress or Wally West figure into all this, and I’m sure characters such as Renee Montoya, Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain would like to be accounted for - just to pluck some examples out of the air.
As for those characters who have made it through the Reboot, we’ve seen two different Superman designs (one looking like
Popeye Kal-El the Sailor Man, for crying out loud), yet another Wonder Woman design - and Harley Quinn’s new look:
Granted, I’m not as dedicated a fan of Harls compared to some of you (especially Elise Archer, who has had plenty to say on the matter), but my jaw dropped when I saw the above. It just looks so utterly and generically cookie-cutter bland (not to mention impractical!). It’s worlds removed from Bruce Timm’s simple-yet-elegant design, one which served to highlight the dichotomy of the character; Harley’s new look you couldn’t pick out of a police lineup.
And this, to me, is what I personally feel to be the problem with the DC Reboot: it’s change for change’s sake. Change can be good, as the cliche/axiom (delete as applicable) goes, but it reminds me far too much of those ‘kewl’ redesigns thrust upon readers 15+ years ago. Remember this?
(above image wilfully lifted from Comics Alliance)
I do, all too well. And I’m not keen on going back there again. Zero Hour came out when I was 17, during my senior year of high school. It was a great time in my life, full of possibility and a wide-open future, but I’ve grown and changed since then. As has been pointed out repeatedly - especially since both Hal Jordan and Barry Allen have been brought back from the great beyond, neither of whom I particualrly missed - DiDio et al have seen fit to turn the clock back on the DCU in recent years. All the PR spin in the world can’t hide the fact that this is really another retrograde step.
I don’t want to revisit my adolescence. I wouldn’t want to be 17 again for all the money in the world. Change and growth, conversely, should be a natural evolution - not forced. Call it a reboot, a re-imagining, a revitalization, a relaunch - whatever.
Just don’t call it a fresh start. Been here, done that, and it didn’t stick last time.
I realize this post has edged into TL;DR territory, and I apologize, but I felt the need to get some things off my chest. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading; regular service will resume shortly.