Here’s a letter sent to all retailers this afternoon; exciting times ahead?
To our comics retail partners,
In the time I’ve worked at DC Comics, I’ve witnessed any number of industry defining moments. But today, I bring you what is perhaps the biggest news to date.
Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.
In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.
This epic event will kick off on Wednesday, August 31st with the debut of a brand new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1, which pairs Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, together for the first time. (Yes, this is the same week as FLASHPOINT #5.)
We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers – giving them a chance to discover DC’s characters and stories.
We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.
Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.
Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have been working diligently to pull together some of the best creative teams in the industry. Over 50 new costumes will debut in September, many updated and designed by artist Jim Lee, ensuring that the updated images appeal to the current generation of readers.
The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will also launch digital day-and-date for all ongoing superhero comic book titles – an industry first.
On Wednesday, June 1st, this initiative is expected to be announced in a nationwide feature article, and we’re hopeful the news will be picked up by media outlets around the world. Throughout the month we’ll reveal more details of our plans with articles in both the mainstream and comics press and on June 13th the Diamond catalog solicitations for all of the September titles will be released, followed by the June 29th street date of the print version of Previews.
DC Comics will support this initiative with an innovative mix of publicity, promotional efforts and retailer incentives designed to maximize your opportunity to increase your DC sales. We will discuss additional details of these incentives when we get closer to solicitation later in June.
We’ll be updating you more through email as September nears. But today, I hope your share our enthusiasm for this historic news!
I thought that’s what crises were for? I’m otherwise withholding further venomous criticism until tomorrow, but my knee-jerk reaction is to not like this.
Intriguing…Let’s see who the creative teams are on all these books before we go crying off half-cocked screaming “THE SKY IS FALLING”. It’s been 25 years since the original Crisis, that’s a good long time for this version of the DCU to exist. I think a jumping on point for new readers is a great idea, and day and date digital may help boost sales too.
The stories we already love will always be there, it’s time for something new to shake up the status quo.
You know what? I’m excited because it looks like they’re going to do a big push and hopefully have some pretty awesome creative teams come on.
Obviously I’m hoping that this doesn’t cut into Morrison’s Bat run too much, but I’m pretty pumped.
I will say this.. DC has kind of been faltering as of late, Flashpoint (especially issue #2, which I’ve read and left me completely underwhelmed) so hopefully this will rejuvenate the company.
Seriously.. DC stop looking back and start creating stuff again. Hopefully this will do it.
The big item for me is same day digital release for all titles. This could be a significant draw to the casual reader.
I guess my first question would be what does this mean to books like Legion or the Lantern books? Are we going to be getting new origins again and lose secondary characters like Superboy now that Superman is younger or will it be like Smallville were he became Superman in his late 20s and there was already a clone? Are we still going to have 4lanterns from Earth? I guess really only time will tell. I kinda like the idea of same day digital, especially since I just got my iPad 🙂
I am not sure how I feel about this.
I guess it is a good idea for fringe characters, to make them more accessible to new fans.
But do they really need to tweak Batman or Superman? Wonder Woman needs a reboot for sure.
The other thing I am pondering right now, is how long will the new numbering last? Will they use new numbers for a year or so, then revert back to the original numbering.
I guess time will tell how long this reboot last. Ultimately sales will determine how long DC’s restructuring will last. I hope it is successful and they don’t mess up my favourite characters.
Though I am waiting for the statement tomorrow. I am personally not feeling right about this after all this effort in story being ret-conned for no reason but to re sell the same character with different stories.
There was an opportunity here, an opportunity to create a jumping on point for new readers as the DCU returns to normal after Flashpoint. New creative teams, new stories – sure, these things would be great if there were not intertwined with the double-edged sword of revised continuity, new costumes, new history, and “new…. new”. As I mentioned on the JSA blog there are good things and bad things about this reboot. The good being a killer book or two by some ridiculously popular creators and the possibility for some similarly interesting creative teams, but the other titles and creative teams being mentioned are not jaw dropping (except perhaps in their mediocrity) and 52 brand new #1 books in one month is going to be a quandry that retailers have to deal with in a month or so when the orders need to be placed for September (and even worse… October when the #2 issues come out). What books will people want if any? Justice League is a no-brainer… but Omac? Legion Lost? And what of the investment of time and interest in properties like Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash over the past few years? Rebooting them seems counter-productive and alienating to that readership and leaving them alone while others are rebooted leads to… well… the same late 1980’s confusion that plagued DC’s readership for over a decade. I fear that this will hurt more than help long-term. Finally, on top of all that it’s day-and-date digital. Definitely forward-looking, and an aggressive strategy to appeal to the people new markets, but what positive effect will this have on brick and mortar retailers – the existing market? I guess they have no other choice but to adjust quickly and sign up for Comixology and try to persuade people to order through them on the application so they can get a piece of the digital pie while they wait for people to order trades and hardcovers.
<<We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers – giving them a chance to discover DC’s characters and stories.>>
Well, if Mark Waid’s comment about “50,000 hardcore fans being nostalgic” have any merit, I would say current fans would not be excited by this evolution… by virtue of being **nostalgic**.
Also, I think the whole “jumping on” thing is a red herring. That is… do people need a “jumping on” point to read comics? Is this truly a hurdle? There is a whole world of stamp collecting out there… but are any of us waiting for a “jumping on” point to get into stamps? I would say no because I’m simply not interested in stamps and I could care less if Canada Post decided to revamp the way they produce stamps. DC calls it a “jumping on” point but it’s just as much a “jumping off” point as well. For example, the recent reboot of the FF was the excuse I was looking for the stop collecting that title.
I would say that accessibility has more to do with:
1. The $2.99+ price tag. In general, the decline of print means that paper and printing costs more. In turn, publishers need to charge more to cover costs. Add to this inflation and you’ve got an economic trend accelerating in one direction… up. Is digital comics the answer? Maybe, but my knee jerk reaction is no. Print is a form of distribution, the web is a form of distribution and the digital medium is just a format. Distribution and format doesn’t change what it is. Magazines are laid out in columns and gutters due to the invention of “moveable type” ala Gutenberg. Considering that “digital” does not have printing restraints I find it unusual that digital magazines are laid out like print. Over time this may change with more multi media functions but currently, digital formats offer little more then a typical web page. Even with more multi media functions, I question if there is a real demand for this or are the publishers just making an assumption since the transition is happening anyways. True innovation is rarely anticipated so I’m not putting a lot of stock into digital comics.
2. The content. The big misconception is that comics are for kids but it’s actually written and drawn for middle aged men, like me, who read comics as a kid. Which is why the stories have become darker over the years as the fan base got older. I have 3 kids of my own and I don’t let them read comics because I don’t want them asking me why Hank McCoy is calling Reed Richards a “bitch” or why Tony Stark is in a sex scandal with the Black Widow, both of which added nothing to their respective story lines. Todd McFarlane said in an interview that he doesn’t let his kids read his books and yet he’s happy to push them on our kids. At some point, the industry decided to close the door on kids and cater to it’s core market. But by closing the door, they’ve inadvertently cut off the sustainability cycle… 30-40 years later… here we are.
I personally don’t think this initiative will change peoples behaviour but it’s an interesting study in marketing. At least DC is doing something which is better then standing still. I have a budget of 3 comics per week which gets split between Dark Horse and Marvel, so this doesn’t affect me much… But I’m looking forward to seeing how it all rolls out.