Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Reasoning Behind the DC Reboot

That's Dan Didio, as quoted by this article over at Hero Complex, when asked about the decision to go with the new DC Reboot. He makes a great point, and I totally understand his reasoning for trying something drastic. It's no secret that the world of comics is getting smaller everyday (ironically while influence of comics grows greater and greater everyday) and something has to be done to reverse that trend. The only way comics will get out of this reported tail spin is by attracting new, and lapsed, readers back to the confines of those stapled (or whatever the digital equivalent of staples are). For all of my criticisms of what DC is doing, Didio makes a great case for a major shakeup and I respect him for just going for it.


Because you knew there had to be a but, right? Later in the article, Rob Liefeld (of all people) was quoted saying this about the reboot:

I totally agree with the first part of that quote. Yes things have been getting a bit stagnant and that now is the perfect time to do something crazy to attract new readers. Hitting the reset button, however, is not the answer to anything.

I get it. Take things back to a simpler time, when things were at their most iconic. Eschew all the strange bits of canon (I'm looking at you Continuity Punches) and rebuild the universe in a more organic way that makes sense for what you're trying to do. At the same time, take a few years off your leads to make them more relatable to your incoming audience. It seems to work on paper, but in reality I think it'll just muck things up more than it helps.

Suddenly, you'll have to explain to people how certain stories fit into the new universe, or why other stories don't exist at all. A fan who's excited about the new Teen Titans might go back to check out an copy a few months old, only to find that nothing makes any sense. It's this huge can of caveat worms that's going to be openned, and will only make things more confusing when you try to explain that Superman and Lois used to be married in a Post-crisis, Pre-Flashpoint Universe. Makes you sound like a crazy person. And no one wants to listen to crazy people.

Personally, I think the answer would have been to push everything forward. It's a much more provocative, interesting gamble that publishers very rarely take. The best way to change the status quo isn't to reset it to what it's always been, but to change it to something new and fresh. Much like Marvel is doing with Ultimate Spider-Man.

Marvel, in a much similar situation with an overly convoluted Ultimate continuity, opted to embrace the future by putting the past to rest and building on it. By killing Peter (and presumably keeping him dead) and building this new hero in his legacy, they don't create that confusion with the old stories. If a kid really likes Miles Morales and picks up an old issue, it'll be easier to explain that Peter died, than the something like 'it's not continuity any more because everything got reset by a guy who can run really fast'.

It will be very interesting to see what method pays off the most. Will new fans be attracted to the same old, traditional stories with a new coat of paint, or will they want something truly new? Personally I'm hoping for the latter.

I guess we'll find out in a few months.

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