In just a few short weeks, the DC Universe we know and love will cease to exist…again. It seems like every ten years or so we are hit with a wave of changes, and comic book geeks everywhere have to adjust to a new status quo. No, I am not happy about it either, but, just because I am not happy about it does not mean I do not need it. Yes, be prepared to eat your vegetables comic fans, for, while we may hate them, we need reboots, and what DC is about to do will change the way we look at reboots for years to come.
Reboots are messy business. Marvel is constantly trying to reboot characters within the same continuity. Go ask Peter Parker how well that works. DC tends to be heavy-handed and overly dramatic about their reboots, refer to (fill in the blank) Crisis. And Hollywood, well they just reboot as often as possible with no care as to fans or character loyalty. So why do we need them? Well for one, to clean up messes. As much as stories like Civil War and Frank Miller’s Batman books are great, or even spectacular, they can really muddy the water of years’ worth of continuity. Poor Spidey has been dragged through so many in-continuity reboots, (Brand New Day). His story is almost as messy as Wolverine’s, need I say more?
You cannot stop creators from coming in and adding their own nuances and episodes to a character’s bio. Sometimes they are great. Look at Scott Snyder’s current Detective run and what he is doing with Gordon, his son, and, of course, Dick Grayson. It has been spectacular and has become an instant classic. And then there are things like JMS’ recent Superman and Wonder Woman runs, which were less than exciting to say the least. Creators create, that is what they do, and, for better or worse, we are stuck with their often misguided attempts to “re-invent” or “re-invigorate” a character.
Also, it is important to remember that comic books are hard to jump into. Ask a comic book executive what their primary daily goal is, and I would bet money they all respond “get new readership.” Gail Simone’s Secret Six is not going to be lighting up the news reels like Miles Morales or the new 52 are. It is a shame, but you need the main stream media to get the word out because that is how new geeks get caught up with all of us old geeks. And, as with all things, the more controversial the better. People love controversy, it drives their curiosity, and if the new 52 can spike some interest then I say bring it on!
Lastly, and it pains me to say it, we need reboots because we need Hollywood. Look, comic books are epics - long stories filled with episode-upon-episode of character definition and historic events. Hollywood cannot begin to replicate what we know and love about these characters. Their need, simply, is to define characters and stories. They have to put decades worth of information into an hour’s worth of movie reel, and, if they do not, then these characters stop making money. Comic book shops are on the decline in many places, and reading is a chore for the younger generation. Without these movies and Hollywood’s interest in these characters, our favorite books may begin to disappear.
So, as much as I hate a reboot, I cannot wait for the new 52. We do not know yet how it will turn out, but I love that DC has basically said the history is there, they are just rolling back the clocks a little bit and starting fresh. They also know that day and date digital is the future, and how wonderful for us with Comixology as our LCS to get 52 new number 1s and an easy to jump on platform. The collection of writers and artists they have lined up is phenomenal, and, as we have already discussed, creators are important. So, take it with two spoons of sugar, if you must, but this reboot is coming, and we need it.