Like clockwork, every summer sees the release of the latest batch of superhero movies to (almost) guaranteed success. But just because people come out in throngs to see Green Lantern on the big screen doesn't mean they'll buy his comics. Looks like DC is willing to gamble everything to change that.
Beginning on Aug. 31, every major DC comic will be going back to issue #1. Major characters' costumes will be altered, their backstories changed and the entire DC universe will never be the same.
According to DC's press release:
"This year, change is in the air at DC Comics.
On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.
DC Comics will only publish two comic books on August 31st: the final issue of this summer's comic book mini-series FLASHPOINT and the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Johns and Lee, two of the most distinguished and popular contemporary comic book creators, who will be collaborating for the first time. Together they will offer a contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry's premier superhero team.
In the hours, days and weeks to come, we'll have more news about the other titles. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee about this momentous occasion. Keep checking THE SOURCE for updates about the other first issues.
This year, make history with us."
Bold words. But what do they mean? And why now?
Perhaps the most telling part of this major news is the title that DC will be leading with: Justice League. Rather than opening with stories about each separate character, they've opted to start things from a team perspective, helping us to understand how all these major players relate to one another, and giving us a reason to follow each of them on their respective journeys.
Previously, it was difficult to successfully team up heroes without understanding each of their elaborate backstories. Starting fresh, though, means new fans can dive in unencumbered by the decades that came before.
Releasing each comic digitally on the same day it's released in print is a major step, too. Not everyone has access to a local comic shop, and, if we're being honest, many people feel put off by the cliquish nature of those spaces. With more and more people embracing tablet technology, it only makes sense to focus on making comics more available through that medium.
The biggest question, naturally, is "Will it work?" Is it worth all the effort? Won't these changes alienate the people who have been fans for years, and won't simultaneous digital distribution throw comic-book stores under the bus?
And after everything, will people do anything more than collect the #1 issues that come out and then quickly forget about comics all over again?
It's a major gamble. The reality, though, is that there are fewer and fewer new and young fans coming into the world of comics. The risk is losing old fans, but the potential gain is a new generation of people, young and old, who will eagerly await the continuing adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and all the rest.
What do you think? Do you read comics? Will you start with Justice League #1?
(JLA image via IGN)