Posted by: Brian Hibbs on May 31, 2011
I think the “official” one that DC wants you, the consumer to see is the US Today one, but I think that Bob Wayne’s statement is probably the better one to look at. I’ll reprint this below the jump…
Here’s Bob Wayne (I could link you to Rich, but he doesn’t need more hits):
A LETTER ON THE DC UNIVERSE AND SEPTEMBER 2011
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!
SOME of my thoughts, in chaotic and jumbled order:
1) FIFTY TWO new #1’s? First off, that’s insane, second off, that’s FUCKING insane. Who on earth will buy all of those? The DCU is roughly 35-ish monthly ongoing titles now — is Vertigo rebooting, too? I don’t *think* it is? So they’re increasing the line by 50%-ish?
2) This CAN ONLY work if we get a big wave of civvies coming in… but 13 titles a week is way way way too much for civvies. Two or three a week might maybe have been possible?
3) full line-wide day and day is potentially huge because of the ripple impact it might have. It will take very very very few current customers moving channels to have a catastrophic cascade impact along and down the chain. Maybe as little as 3-5%? If we’re not netting more NEW readers (and I DO NOT MEAN “Marvel readers switching loyalty”) (And see above) we’re really running the risk of the entire comics market collapsing in fairly fast order — and I’m including things that aren’t superheroes.
4) this smells more like a jumping off point to me, for a lot of current readers — especially the “super fans”. I wonder what Garret thinks?
5) There was a time to do this: after the First CRISIS. Or maybe after the “Final” one. I don’t think the economy/market is (at all) in the right place to absorb this right now.
6) FIFTY TWO new superhero #1s? Are there 52 strong creative teams out there? Editors who know how to shepherd a story properly? Seriously, DC hasn’t shown the editorial strength to have more than 8-12 (maybe) “on all cylinders” have they? I’M NOT TRYING TO BE MEAN ON THIS — but the consumer reality in the comics market is that readers judge this kind of initiative by the “WORST” element of it, not the BEST.
7) Fuck, they should have staggered out the launch over a few months… 1 (or 2, maybe 3) new books a week until they were up to their “right” number. I bet a LOT of people would try the “new” DC if the DCU was just 12 titles total in month #1
8) DCU Editorial, per Didio, has by and large been a cycle of events — generally with “big beats” hitting every two-ish weeks (sometimes more frequently)… for like the last 6-7 YEARS. But here’s the thing: structurally these kinds of beats can be generated because of history — “starting over” would appear on the face to eliminate that particular crutch?
9) The last time they tried anything EVEN REMOTELY like this it was a critical failure, and largely a commercial failure. Those three words? “One. Year. Later.”
10) I don’t want to trade the numbering on the “legacy” titles for the short-term bounce of a #1. In 2011 THAT BOUNCE NO LONGER “STICKS”. It is no more than a 2 month bounce any longer. In my secret heart, I was praying for the other way around — that they’d go back to “old” numbering on everything — GREEN LANTERN would be #487, or whatever it would have been.
11) Does this mean that all of the backlist on my racks will now be dead weight? If they’re rebooting Superman continuity, do I want to have ANY copies whatsoever of 98% of the in print Superman backlist?
12) This part fills me with dread: “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.” DC is not Marvel, and, I think the appeal of DC over Marvel is the more fantastic nature of much of the characters/cosmology. “The New Blue Beetle will be a Filipino Transexual character” (or whatever) doesn’t sound like a recipe for success to me, though.. and DC’s track record on “diversity” actually succeeding with the audience is fairly poor.
13) They’ve done REALLY well in keeping this on the downlow, though, haven’t they?
14) Following up on #11, does this imply we’re going to go 6-ish month without any NEW DC backlist? Will DC be smarter about WHAT gets collected and what doesn’t?
15) FIFTY-TWO new #1s? Jeebus.
16) If this hits, it *could* hit big; but if it fails, it will be catastrophic.
17) JUSTICE LEAGUE by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee sounds like something I could sell mountains of — if it was the lead of the month. First, are the other 51 teams at that status (answer: no. Because there are not 51 other creative teams of that weight IN ALL OF COMICS), and, second, will it get lost in the other 51 books?
There’s more, I’m sure — this is pure gut reaction, without any long think behind it.. look for something more reasoned, I suspect, in the next Tilting at Windmills in about two weeks…