The second year of DC Comics’ “New 52″ initiative is now underway, and it’s time to express my opinion about how the first year went.
Honestly, it’s been a huge success on many levels!
I know several owners of comics shops, and many have told me that the “New 52″ has helped them have a much more successful 12 months than the previous year. Some had cut back the number of hours employees were able to work, and others were considering closing down completely. It was tough for me as a consumer to hear that!
When the “New 52″ debuted, it was often greeted by lines of customers standing outside stores as they were opening on Wednesdays. One had to get there as early as possible … if you didn’t have a pull list!
Also, DC was apparently permanently behind Marvel, never to even give the House of Ideas a run for its money. That’s different now as well, with DC sometimes surpassing Marvel in different sales areas. I think both companies do better when there is a healthy competition going on. (Can anyone say, Marvel NOW? I knew you could!)
Also, if DC didn’t make a big change last year when they had a strong pool of talent, when would they? What should they have done, wait until Jim Lee and Geoff Johns had moved on to another company? I don’t think so!
The biggest concern I’ve heard (besides Superman losing his red trunks) was that people who had bought DC’s books for the last 20 years or so had basically lost their investment because those stories “never happened” or at least weren’t part of the current continuity. As a long-time comics reader, I’ve seen many powerful stories be removed from what is considered “canon.” I can still read and enjoy them, though, so it didn’t hit me nearly as hard as it did others.
The old adage that “water raises all boats” applied here, as people who hadn’t darkened the door of comics stores for years came in and added other books to the “New 52″ issues they bought. Did everyone benefit? No, to some publishers having DC on par with Marvel was more like a monsoon, washing their profits away. I read some online complaining that DC should have been happy to maintain things as they were. Well, I think we’d have a lot fewer stores and comics fans today if DC had done nothing.
Has everything worked? No. For instance, Wonder Woman’s black leggings (seen above) didn’t make it past last year’s SDCC. But to me, that was a good thing!
DC’s been very firm on deadlines, and that may be contributing to some of the creators who have moved on to other projects. I see both sides of this. Fans want to know the comics they are looking forward to will be in the stores when originally announced. On the other hand, some product is worth waiting for. My suggestion? Don’t list anything until one is sure it is ready to go! Any question, wait!
Today, sales numbers for the “New 52″ aren’t as good as they were a year ago, but that’s to be expected. Number one’s always sell better than number twelve’s, which is why DC’s making this a “Zero” month, printing origin stories to make them more collectible and to help more new readers jump on board.
Personally, I’ve bought every issue of the “New 52″ since it began. I’ve enjoyed nearly all of them. Granted, not every one has been a gem, but I feel the storytelling overall is much more powerful than it was before this initiative began. My favorites remain in the Batman and Green Lantern families, as well as the various Justice League books. I Vampire, Legion Lost and Grifter have been the ones that have struggled the most, in my opinion.
Was this the right thing to do? Yes! The trick is going to be how to keep this momentum going. Marvel does a much better job of keeping talent that sells than DC does. That’s something DC needs to work on – maintaining consistently good creative teams on popular books. That’s my suggestion, Mr. DiDio!
Otherwise, I’ll keep buying every “New 52″ comic that comes out. Why? Because I enjoy them, that’s why!