Friday, September 2, 2011

Reaction to the Reaction of the DC Reboot

(click picture for a larger version)


So. The DC reboot is here. As I speak, I am staring at the freshly purchased Justice League #1 and I can’t help but feel excited. I wasn't’ going to be the nice guy here. When I first planned article this month ago, I was gonna talk about how much this will probably suck eggs on toast. And for once, I wouldn’t be the optimistic-goody-goody-glass-half-full person that I am when it comes to these things.

And yet now, i want to go all fangirl about how this reboot could be THE BEST THING EVER.

Darn you, DC. Darn you.

This is a chance for a change. In fact, restarting the universe? BEST SLAGGING IDEA EVER.

We fans may not want to admit it, but continuity in the DC universe has gotten so complex, there is little sign of the original characters: Wonder Woman is a fugitive because she murdered a villain. Superman is no longer the last son of krypton but now the hundredth last son of Krypton. And then there’s Batman...he now has his own corporation, filled with hundreds of Batmans, after he was brought back to life. Except, he wasn’t actually dead, he was just sent through time because of a backwards time bullet! And now one of his sidekicks is a Batman, and the new Robin is Bruce’s biological son, who came into being because a Superman from another Universe punched the wall of reality.


You get all that? No? Okay, re-read it a few times, let it sink in. And then continue.

Good? Okay.

FYI, this is why I LOVE comics. But a lot of the stories were getting convoluted. I wouldn’t say that DC was running out of stories. But with every choice you make, several other paths are cut off.

So a reboot? Makes sense. Opens up new story possibilities and erases some of the more... unlikeable stories *coughCryForJusticecough*. And since the latest event in DC, Flashpoint, had to do with all that wibbily-wobbly-timey-whimey stuff, now seems like a good time.

But... I also can’t help but think of how badly we reacted to it.

Lets face it: The reaction was a mess. It wasn’t just the hardcore fans flipping out about Superman not being married to Lois Lane or Wonder woman having pants. No, this was from everyone. We all saw something we loved get ready to change completely and reacted to it as negativity as possible

Did we over react? Yes. Yes times infinity to the moon.

I’m gonna blame this partly on DC being vague in their announcement (which was understandable. it was a top secret project after all). But most of the blame fall on us. I think when they said that everyone would be getting a new origin, the first thing that came to my mind anyway was the All New Wonder Woman (which totally wasn’t a reboot anywa---aaand I’m getting off topic again aren't I?)

When DC said everyone was going to get a “brand new origin” I assumed that it would literally be a brand new origin where very little of the original remained. I mean, even people who aren’t fans know the basic stories of Batman, etc, from the various movies and TV shows.

Or that this was just a publicity stunt and it would all go back to normal in a year or two.

And then as more information was announced, several of us went from assuming the worse, to wondering what the heck DC was thinking. New origins and yet, some of the old DC stories like the “the Killing Joke” would still be cannon? Didn’t Barbara Gorden become paralysed in that comic? And despite that, Barbara Gordon will still be Bat Girl? Batman Incorporated will still be around? But the Justice League will get together in the comics for the first time ever. Again.

It just seemed... really awkward. Like they wanted to tape together so much stuff, whether or not the stories would actually hold. And it dons on several of us, that this isn’t really doing anything for the “there's too much continuity” and “attracting new readers” issue DC’s been trying to deal with.

As for the costumes, of course not everyone was happy. I was kinda half and half. I learned from Jim Lee’s first sketch of Wonder Woman's new outfit a year ago, that, you should never judge a simple sketch of a character, taken out of context, and only drawn by one artist. That, and while Jim Lee is not a bad artist, I’m not fond of all of the designs. But I was more worried that Jim Lee was drawing all the costumes himself, which seemed like more then a one person job and waaay to much to put on one person’s shoulders. “Give the guy a break” I thought.

Well, luckily, just about everything I thought was changed when I went to the Calgary comic Con, and attended the DC panel.

First of all, Jim Lee is not alone in the costumes. He’s been collaborating with the artists and writers of each book, going back and forth about what works for the story. Flash’s seamless costume for instance, became the inspiration for how his new costume works. And the new Animal man story looks extremely creepy. There was also some ideas hinted that Bat Girl's new armour has a special reason behind it (which I am extremely excited for). And, okay, I’ll admit, I did feel better about the Bat Girl comic when I heard that Gail Simone is the head writer. Not to mention Firestorm, which is something really new for Simone. They're bringing back the old horror and western comics of the old days. And Frankenstein agent of S.H.A.D.E falls right in that category for you horror fans!! And come on, Palmiotti writing a story where Jonah Hex goes to Gotham and teams up with an Arkham? Yes ma’am! Not to mention the art is stunning in each book!

But most of all, I saw all the enthusiasm and joy from the creators. Everyone was just so excited about these new stories they were making. This wasn't’ about popularity, this is honest-to-goodness writers and artists having fun.

I even got to talk to Jimmy Palmiotti at his con table. Not only did he assure me that DC was not focusing only on the new fans but he reminded me that many of the writers and artists at DC are part of that “old fan” demographic. I could see in his eyes that that this was about telling good stories and having fun. Which are what comics are about.

Okay, I’m sure that there are indeed a few at DC that are looking at this idea with dollar signs in they’re eyes, thinking “This’ll reel in the new Fans!” But they aren’t here.

Clearing complex continuity or attracting new fans is just an nice extra bonus. It’s about opening up the possibility of new stories that before, could only be possible through alternate reality or “what if” stories.


As I stare at Justice League #1, swearing not to read it until I finish writing this flippin’ thing, I still feel an edge of worry. At this point, I figure that quality will change between artists and writers, as it usually does. I doubt that there wouldn’t be at least one, let alone many, comics that won’t be absolutely friggin’ awesome.

And getting back to “reacting badly”----I can understand why some people want Barbra Gorden to be continue Oracle--- She’s pretty much the only hero who’s paraplegic. Heck, she stood up to the joker, face to face in her chair. I’m annoyed that Batman has 3 issues for himself while other rest of the heavy hitters have 1 or 2 (and that’s without counting the tones of other comics he co-stars in). But I don’t mind that Clack and Lois aren't together anymore, or that Sinestro is a Green Lantern again. (It’s not like we haven’t seen it before in other successful stories)

And then there are the costumes (WHY? WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE FLIPPING’ COSTUMES!? ARRRRG!)

I actually like the designs more then I first did, I guess I just needed to warm up to them. But... whywhywhywhywhy do the costumes get the worst of fan rants? Is it so wrong for Superman to not have red underwear on the outside of his pants? It looks good.

I will say that, yes, there are a few costumes that bug me. Harley Qquin looks slutty. But she’s the only one who looks slutty this time. I noticed that most of the Justice League have the same style of costumes. Similar seam-lines and motifs. And considering every costume has its’ own origin it would be really annoying if the justice league all just happened to be going to the same tailor. Especially when some of them live in space.

But even then, a simple line like “This person made us all new costume with this special material” would make me happy.

And even if I don’t like it, I am NOT nor am I planning to WRITE A PETITION, to get rid of Wonder Woman's choker.

And since I haven’t read anything yet, I’m gonna keep my trap shut about the rest of my worries.

I should also note that due to my hiatus I am a little out of the loop, and that I have read only a few news articles about the reboot and no reviews. So as to remain as unswayed as possible. I suggest taking a look at Topless Robot and The Escapist, and Bob Chipman (who I got most of my news from) and the main DC site, if you haven’t already. It’s filled with Interviews, advice and real life stories during this event.

As for me, I’m got some reading to do.

 Tegan Dumpleton aka SlugLady28 

1 comment:

  1. To tell you the truth, I have gotten criticized for changing costumes and character designs in the past. I mean, I think it's when you change the costume you hit a cord, even if the costume change is for the better (I think I like WW in pants), people seem to associate the change in costume as "sacriligious" in a way, even though costume changes have happened before (check out the designs for the original Flash and all other generations thereof; I'm glad they got rid of that helmet). It's happened before and it'll happen again. Add on, I mean there are other things to be upset about; likewise when the first Transformers, eh Bayformers movie came out I was heavily upset at Starscream's design, but I went on to like the first movie (I can debate about the last two though, that's another story altogether). It's kinda interesting what people will nit-pick at, I remember people complaining about Lion-O of the new Thundercats reboot wearing pants (here we go again), but somehow the complaints subsided when people actually got to watching the show. I happen to think the new reboot is better than the original... and that's something.