Usually we like to hold off and only present officially confirmed news here at Batman News, but I was curious to see what the community thought of all the rumors that are currently flying around. I also notice that some of you were starting to talk about it in the comment sections of the reviews, so I wanted to give you a place to discuss it. In case you missed out on all the internet gossip that has been flying around, here are the current speculations making the rounds. Come June:
- DC is rebooting the New52.
- DC is renumbering all their books back to #1 again.
- DC is going bi-monthly with their biggest selling titles.
- DC is embracing the cinematic universe.
As I stated above, none of this has been official confirmed. We have been hearing snippets from a writer here, or an editor there, but nothing really official yet. I guess the biggest confirmation that something is happening was when Jim Lee and Dan Didio both tweeted the Rebirth image you see above. While it doesn’t give us specifics, their tease is an acknowledgement that something is definitely about to happen.
So, what do I think? When I first learned about it on Friday, I was very upset. Now that I have had two days to think about it, I’m a bit more composed. To me, it seems unlikely that DC will jettison their entire New52 continuity for something brand new. More likely than not, this is simply a renumbering of the issues and there won’t be too much in the way of story telling that will actually be changed by this. If that is the case, then what is the point really? From a business standpoint, it makes sense. New#1s always initially double profit. Whether it’s people hoping to cash in on reselling a new#1 later, people believing that a #1 is a good place to jump on board, or just what my wife calls the New Year’s resolution crowd. It’s a new year, I’m going to join a gym and exercise, and then they only go in January before giving up. The thing that always bugs me about this approach is that it is merely a temporary solution. Numbers double but then drop back down to standard levels within months. This isn’t a sustained solution, just a temporary one. DC needs to focus more on the quality and draw of the story within and less on the number on the cover.
There also seems to be a push to go bi-monthly with the heavy hitters. This actually makes a lot of sense, but will kill the diversity of DC’s current line. What I am hearing is that they intend to drop the low selling books, ones in the 10-20 thousand range, in exchange for more of the 70-100 thousand books. Ex: Instead of selling Batman (106k) and Midnighter (11k) each month, release Batman twice in a month and bring in 212k instead of 117k. This will definitely solve their money problems, but as I already stated, will kill diversity. I’d also be concerned with whether or not artists will be able to keep up with such a grueling schedule. Even now, with only one book a month, some artists need breaks or extra time to finish their work. Will we end up seeing more delays in future, or perhaps even a drop in overall quality?
Lastly, there is a rumor that the new line will link in more directly with the cinematic and television universes. If this one turns out to be true, I’d be seriously bothered. I’ve always felt that the “real” story was in the comics and that TV and film adaptations were just spins on the mythology. Forcing writers to conform to an established film-world will limit creativity. Let’s be honest, films are meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator and reach the largest audience possible. I’d rather not have my comic book reading experience “dumbed-down” in such a way.
While I don’t like the idea of an increased film presence in the books, there is a precedent for believing that this will work. In the 60s, Batman had fallen on hard times. They were even considering cancelling his books. Then the Batman 66 TV show premiered, and people loved it. When the comic altered itself to more closely match the TV series, sales skyrocketed. I know that nowadays, if a comic passes 100k it is impressive, but back then, Batman and Detective Comics were clearing 1 million on a monthly basis. Like I said, I want my comics and film to be two separate entities, but I can see why they might go this route. What I would rather see happen is that they just promote more comics featuring the comic versions of the characters that are currently appearing in the films rather than trying to tie the comic and film world together.
After the bad sales year that DC had in 2015, I knew they had to do something to get numbers back up, but I didn’t expect this.
I threw this article together because I am genuinely interested in what the community has to say about all of this. So please, sound off in the comment section below.