Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DC Reboot? It’s Not The First Time!

As just about anyone not stationed at the North Pole knows, DC Comics is planning a company wide reboot this fall. All of it’s mainline titles (52 in all) are getting a fresh make over. From Superman losing his underpants to the return of Barbara Gordon to the mantle of the Bat, it’s an all new DC coming your way.

To say that a lot of fans are up in arms over this turn of events is something of an understatement. Just surf the comic sites and you will see tons of forum threads castigating the “destruction” of the DCU. I have even seen reports about an organized protest at the SDCC!

I’m just not sure what all the hubbub is about…bub.

It’s not exactly the first time that DC has rebooted the DCU, chucking decades of back story and cannon.

Anyone here remember “Crisis On Infinite Earths” from way back in 1985? COIE was a 12 issue mini-series that essentially wiped out all of the DC continuity that had been built up since 1958 and the introduction of The Flash in Showcase #4.

And it was not a BAD thing.

Over the years DC had built up a convoluted and intricate continuity. So much so that, in order to hold it all, they had to create a multiverse of alternate earth’s to explain all of the inconsistencies that had built up over decades of story telling and editorial changes.

For long time readers this lush and textured universe was easy to understand and navigate. It was, however very off putting to new readers. It was just not possible to jump into a mainstream DC title in 1983 and “get” all the nuances and subtleties that had been built up in the various characters. Marvel, which was much younger simply did not have that problem…yet.

The solution that DC comics came up with was to wipe the slate clean and start all over. This was done in the dimension sweeping Crisis on Infinite Earths.

All of the alternate realities were wiped clean. Extraneous characters were done away with (including my beloved Superpets! *sniff!*). Iconic characters such as Barry Allen and Kara-Zor-El were killed off. When the dust settled there was just a single earth and a single DC Universe. Superman was once again the SOLE survivor of the doomed Planet Krypton, there was no Justice Society, No Golden Age Superman or Batman…no SUPERBOY!
At the time that COIE hit the stands a lot of fans were pretty upset about this. (sound familiar) They were SURE that the DC editors had betrayed their loyal readers. Many threatened to jump ship!

But a funny thing happened. The books were suddenly fresh and new approaches were actually GOOD. It wasn’t too long before fans forgot all about the Pre-Crisis DCU. Old timers like me still remembered the stories but the NEW DCU had been embraced by the fans. Sure, we still missed Barry and Supergirl, and Barbara would wind up as Oracle, but the stories were good and the DCU continued to turn.

Over the years many of the story elements that had been done away with returned. Even Krypto came back! Supergirl returned, The Justice Society did too, and all of a sudden we are 30 years removed from the last reboot.

In short we have reached a Flashpoint.

It’s time to start again.

What fun!

Comics should always belong to the younger generation of fans coming in, just as they belonged to all us “old timers” whether we came in during the Golden Age, Silver or Bronze ages…even the “modern age”. Maybe we will come to call this new generation of comics “the Diamond Age”.

And we can ALWAYS go back and enjoy all of the great stories that came before. They are no less valid or “real” they are stories. And good stories, like old friends can be visited again and again.

So I for one plan to give DC a chance, even if they did rob Superman of his underpants.

That’s 30!


Oh and here's a treat! The trailer from DC Animated's newest release. Coming this fall...

Batman Year 1!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

COIE changed everything, not just from 1958 on, despite the fact that DC didn't address any problems with continuity until 1961. And the Justice Society didn't disappear after Crisis on Infinite Earths, they were 'retired' in 1986 (after Crisis), in 'The Last Days of the Justice Society' where they were caught in a never ending fight to keep Ragnarok from coming. Power Girl, Star Spangled Kid, Dr. Fate, and Spectre 'escaped'. Roy Thomas also later revised their origin to make them the WWII counterparts of current DC heroes. After Armageddon 2001, Waverider saved them from the Ragnarok loop. Zero Hour was something else entirely for the JSA (which I won't go into). The only members of the JSA that were 'written out of continuity' were the Golden Age Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (which was addressed in the Young All Stars series). Seriously, google this stuff sometimes instead of shooting from the hip for these informational articles, at least to check the facts :)