Does DC Comics' 'New 52' win over new readers?
From "Animal Man #1" by Jeff Lemire, with art by Travel Foreman.
September 29th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Does DC Comics' 'New 52' win over new readers?

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings". He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

The physical pile of comics I am looking at is 3.5 inches high measured at the spines.

Together they weigh 5.5 pounds.

They are worth $205 in retail value.

Specifically I am describing every issue of DC Comics “New 52” re-launch. I just read them all in one sitting, in the order they were published. It took 6 hours, 37 minutes and 11 seconds.

For most comic book fans this is a dream come true.

I was highly anticipating the binge, reading stories about nuclear men, dark knights and space police. However, at about two hours and forty minutes in, it became less like fun and more like a competition. It was the pile versus me. I was Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, perilously close to falling into the chocolate river and getting stuck in a drainage pipe. But for you dear reader, I kept on. I drank that chocolate by the handful until there was nothing left.

Let me step back and explain.

In September, DC Comics (owned by Time Warner, which also owns CNN) reset their entire comic book line back to the beginning.

Every issue is meant to be a starting point for a new reader. There are multiple genres in the lineup, including a western, a modern war comic and a number of horror books. The most innovative plan of the re-launch is that these comics are available digitally the same day they are distributed in print. Now you can fit all those books into a tablet or a smart phone and you can read them the same day as everyone else.

Although I was pleasantly surprised by how good some of these 52 comics were, I’m not here to review them. My preferences are subjective and likely won’t exactly match your tastes. That’s what DC assumes too. You are probably one of three types of audiences they’re aiming for:

• A curious “lapsed reader who drifted out of the hobby.”
• Someone who has never read a comic and is wondering if these new stories might appeal to you. Maybe you’ve enjoyed other media featuring DC’s characters.
• A current comics reader and fan. You get your comics every Wednesday and love them dearly.

My overdose on the DC Universe resulted in the following conclusion: While DC may have these three audiences in their crosshairs, reading all 52 comics at once gave me the sense that whoever’s behind the scope is more scattershot than they are a sharpshooter.

The Lapsed 90s Reader

Reading these comics I recognized the names of many creators I grew up reading comics from.

Guys like Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, Greg Capullo, George Pérez, Brett Booth and more. I was reading comics by these creators in the 1990s, mostly when I was in high school. The comics market had a huge speculator boom back then, with a much larger population of readers than it has now. People clamored over the polybagged comics that these guys worked on in the 90s. All are still competent creators (Jim Lee’s actually the co-publisher of DC Comics now), but I think the main reason DC put these familiar names on their covers was to draw some lost readers back into the fold. To re-energize their base to put it in political terms.

Whether that happens remains to be seen, but let’s not forget that the boom in the 90s eventually burst, leaving some companies in bankruptcy and reducing the overall comics reading audience to less than 500,000 people. Getting back those lapsed readers wouldn’t just be great for DC, it could benefit the comics industry as a whole.

But given some of the choices the company made while approaching its other two target audiences, I’m not sure how solid their lapsed reader marketing plan goes beyond just ringing their bells with familiar creative teams.

The Gateway Reader

DC Comics characters are used throughout multiple forms of media: movies, video games, cartoons, live-action television… you name it.

It seems like the masterminds behind the re-launch had this transmedia presence in mind, changing things slightly to meet the expectations of new readers who may have come in fresh after enjoying something like the “Green Lantern” movie.

For instance, a character named Amanda Waller appeared in that film and was played by Angela Bassett. In the comics, Waller used to be depicted as a short, stocky and tough woman nicknamed “The Wall.” Now in the re-launched “Suicide Squad” she looks like … well, Angela Bassett. Similarly, Commissioner Gordon looks more like Gary Oldman than he ever did and the Gotham police department hunts Batman, just like they did at the end of Christopher Nolan’s film “The Dark Knight.” Given that movie’s success and the recent release of a “Green Lantern” film this summer, it’s no surprise that Batman and Green Lantern are the focus of the first issue of “Justice League,” the flagship title of the New 52.

DC obviously hopes that people who are new to comics will find a gateway here through characters they recognize, possibly adding their numbers to the weekly reading audience. To encourage this, it makes sense that DC would want consistency between media. Batman, Green Lantern etc. should be recognizable in the comics if you’ve seen the movies, cartoons and video games. This raises the chances of attracting new readers, especially children who aren’t familiar with the decades worth of history these characters have packed in their baggage.

But if branding uniformity is important to DC, they drop the ball several times across the New 52 line.

“Green Lantern” for instance doesn’t have Hal Jordan as its star. Instead, his nemesis Sinestro has taken his place as the culminating result of years worth of comic book continuity. Similarly, if you were a viewer of Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans” series, you’ll barely recognize the re-launched “Teen Titans” comic. It bears more similarity to the current cartoon “Young Justice,” but for some reason doesn’t share its name. I hope you’re not a fan of the cartoon version of the Titan named Starfire either, because she doesn’t appear in the “Teen Titans” comic at all. When she does pop up, it’s in “Red Hood and The Outlaws,” as a hyper-sexualized alien nymphomaniac who prances around in a bikini, a far cry from the wide-eyed ingénue from the cartoon.

So while it may seem like transmedia consistency was part of DC’s master plan, there’s several schizophrenic moments like this where they miss the opportunity to appeal to a non-comics consumer. These moments seem to be trying to appeal to people who already read comics, but even that audience is treated oddly in this re-launch.

If You Love Us, You’ll Change

At the same time that DC is trying to cater to non-comics people and lapsed readers, they also want to retain their current audience of fans.

So the entire slate hasn’t been wiped clean.

Interestingly, this is most evident with the two most likely gateway characters, Batman and Green Lantern. A Batman storyline called “Batman Inc.” still has its tethers in the New 52, where Bruce Wayne has established Batman-esque franchises around the world.

“Batwing,” the Batman of Africa is one new title directly tied to that. Likewise, the Batman of Russia meets his demise in the first issue of “Batman and Robin.” Speaking of Robin, it seems that at least four separate characters have still held that name in the New 52, all of them appearing in separate re-launched comics. Similarly, “Batgirl” still has loose ties to an incident in the 1980s where the title character was shot in the spine and became a disabled information broker named Oracle. Now she’s somehow healed and back in the bat suit jumping around the city.

Likewise, the Green Lantern mythos seems relatively untouched. As mentioned above, Sinestro is the lead character of the eponymous title. There are still four different human Green Lanterns to keep track of and hundreds of aliens. Not to mention that there’s also a Lantern Corps for every color on the ROYGBIV color spectrum. “Red Lanterns” have their own title, while the whole rainbow gets clumped together in a book called “Green Lantern: New Guardians.”

Between all of this convoluted mythos and the massive family of Batman characters, it seems like DC is trying to keep their current audience happy, while also trying to attract new or lapsed readers with the tactics described above. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

Or do they?

There are several moments in the New 52 where it seems like the writers are using the stories to make a kind of meta-commentary on the fan backlash the comics industry inevitably hears when it makes a big change like this re-launch.

For instance, in “Justice League International” a group of protestors outside of the Hall of Justice are clearly meant to be a metaphor for disgruntled fans. The Head of United Nations’ Intelligence refers to them as, "Nothing but a bunch of basement dwellers who spend all day whining on the ‘net."

Later, these protestors blow up the Hall in retaliation. “Take our money, pad their wallets and use us to fight their wars,” says one guy while he sets the explosive charge, “Last thing we need is them buyin’ off our heroes.”

Odd rhetorical statements like this also occur in books like “Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” and “All-Star Western.”

Both books have moments where characters reflect on how times are changing. Their separate conclusions are that you can never go back to the way things were unless you want to get left behind. This sentiment seems not just directed within the fictional universe, but beyond the fourth wall at the reader as well. If you don’t join us in this change you’ll get left behind. If DC wants to retain their current comics reading audience, then why does it feel like some of their characters are chastising those fans with the tendency to be suspicious of change?

It’s true the times, they are a changin’.

In my next piece on reading the New 52, I’ll reveal how deeply tied to our zeitgeist these comic books really are. Subjects like class, diversity, mass media and terrorism permeate the re-launch and show just how much of a cultural event this really is. The presence of these topical themes suggests again that the company really wants readers to identify with their new universe, whether they’re new, old or returning. After reading all 52 issues I can’t say for certain that their strategies will work.

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  18. Old DC Fan

    I haven't bought Marvel since Heroes Reborn, haven't bought DC since the new 52! Congratulations DC did what the government couldn’t kill off comics. Maybe Marvel will buy DC, and I won’t be buying Stupendous Superman, Baneful Batman, and the Unfaultable Wonder Woman. JLA’s Join!

    December 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
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  24. Craft10r

    I am a seriously lapsed reader. I used to work for a convenience store from the time I was 16 right up through college and beyond. I read everything in the super heroes line that I could find. Collecting was easy because I got them all at cost (or lower depending on my boss's mood) Several times in the past few years I have tried to jumpstart my comic reading by buying compilations in the graphic novel form. I eventually gave that up as being too expensive. I was psyched when I first heard about the 52. I thought that this was a chance to get back on board with a fresh start. Unfortunately this poorly done mass release left a bit to be desired and has probably finished my attempts to recapture the "comic bug." I guess I'll just stick to the movies and the occassional graphic novel.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  25. chris

    i've got the newest captain america so beat that

    October 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  26. Tyler Workman

    i was recently reading GI joe. my dad has every issue ever printed. they are pretty good

    October 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  27. Frank

    Dropped the ball indeed. NO new characters that appeal outside of entrenched comics fandom. Where is the BEN 10 of comics? Mr. terrific? That's not for new readers, that's for me and the 200k other comics fans that are already converts. Hate to sound cheesy, but BIG EPIC MASSIVE FAIL.

    October 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Matthew Petersen

      The Ben 10 of comics would be Dial H for Hero. It already exists.
      (it's actually the comic that loosely inspired the creator of the show).

      October 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  28. Jayman

    I was reading coming books when I was very, very young. I still remember my shock and horror when GWEN STACK was killed by Spiderman accidentally when he broke her neck catching her when the Green Goblin threw her off the Brooklyn Bridge. I cheered when Reed married Sue. I was broke but I got the FOOM books. I watched Neal Adams, Jim Aparo & Gene Colon become MASTER artists. I saw Chang-Chi and Luke Cage become a good guys. I saw the Norman Osborn become monstrous. I saw Speedy fight off drug addiction. I read Panther's Pride with pride being a Black person myself (CPT, FA/SC, NYARNG-ret). I watched the noble death of Jim Proudstar of the X-men of the eighties. I had a habit. It was bad, man, it was bad. But I fought it down. Got subscriptions to the Fantastic Four and Robin. But the cash went and I had to go with it. Now it's just BtVS. Sigh. The books that will continue to KEEP readers are the ones the keep the suspension of disbelief while ignoring the inevitable price rises (Anybody want the yearly results of the FIRST Marvel stock? Got 'em cheap and the hard way. I kept thinking 'The price will go up, right?). I'm not a Superman man, but I read the Death of Superman because a girlfriend liked him, so I got it for her. I remember Diana Prince when she fought bad guys with the blind I-Ching (To have them meet up with Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser was buggin'), but to hear that she was the only one to kill Max Lord because she was the ONLY person that could stop Superman from killing Batman was a surprise and I DO miss the old Justice League International because it was a sitcom, thus ENJOYABLE! But what do I know? We read those books because they ENTERTAINED us and they made us THINK of other fantastic, magical things. Superman STILL won't or can't help that Black woman on the street when she asks him how he can help aliens, but not regular humans. Frank Castle isn't Mack Bolan, but at least the sarge never got caught. WE want our heroes to be able to not so much save us, but make us think that maybe, just maybe, we can save ourselves. I'm out. I got the Combat Lifesaver's Certificate, but it was too late to fight off my multiple schlerosis. Aggravating to find out I had it at a PT test. Inshallah.

    October 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • art.the.nerd

      > Superman STILL won't or can't help that Black woman on the street when she asks him how he can help aliens, but not regular humans.

      That was Green Lantern.

      > I got the Combat Lifesaver's Certificate, but it was too late to fight off my multiple schlerosis. Aggravating to find out I had it at a PT test.

      Huh? You have suddenly made a complete turn from an interesting rant to out-of-context personal information.

      > Inshallah.

      And may the Force be with you.

      Dude, I think you need to go back on your meds.

      October 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  29. Maty

    One can understand the attachment to certain characters and their attributes- but isn't change and fluidity part of the game when were talking about the product of imagination? So many comix readers are inherently dogmatic and resistant to the flex and bend of these imaginary Universes, maybe take up sports instead?
    In regards to the 'New 52', I've found the 'Dark' books to superior, Frankenstein, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, All Star Western...Hero books (though I'm digging the Bat-and-Wonder Woman books) need some more edge to keep us interested, not costume and personality changes.

    October 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  30. Spidey-Man

    I'm 54 and still read comics. Going on about 20 years now. It seems more about selling books these days than the actual content anymore. Darkest Night was okay. Brightest Day got to be more of a chore to get through. Civil War (On the Marvel side.) was mostly good but then again it ran through all the books and I have no desire to buy what I don't already read. And now DC has started this very thing themselves. In fact I'm taking a serious look at my subs and starting to cancel. I only wish that the publishers would read these comments and take note.

    October 20, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  31. john20XD6

    The only thing that needed to be rebooted was the new Batman beyond series, that could have been so much better.

    October 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  32. Mike

    I'm a seriously lapsed reader. I lapsed from Superheroes in the early nineties and lapsed from the underground in the oughts. I was curious to try a few of the new 52. Watching the shows and movies with my son has gotten me more interested in the comics again. I read Detective Comics, Batman and some other forgettable one, and looked at a few more. I don't get it. There doesn't seem to be anything new here. The same way too short 22 page fragment of a story that barely raised a hair of interest... These stories did not feel like a starting point. They felt like Batman #### with some continuity changes that are completely irrelevant to me because I haven't been following them. Every movie and cartoon has some sort of revamp, so I feel like every time I've picked up a super hero comic I had to adjust to that particular take on the character. I also thought they might have actually stood behind their claimed concept that they would tell good stories and not just make a series of 22 page cliffhangers. I guess I was a fool their, because every book I read was exactly that. The only interest I have from this medium any more is complete arcs collected into books. Forget about this expensive month to month stuff. Oh, another gripe was that I bought one digitally, which felt expensive at $3, but when I bought a book for $3, it had an ad every other page. The digital version didn't have ads. I dunnoh, as an adult, I have no patience to pay for a story and have it interrupted with ads for teenagers and children. They had the gall to put one right before the cliffhanger too, so at the ONLY point in the entire book that I was engaged, they subverted it with a stupid ad. I'm done with this new 52 experiment.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  33. T

    Why has DC turned dark and strange ?
    They (DC) should read their own material – read Superman # 146 (199?) – The Superman Game.

    October 6, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  34. Pablo

    I have been buying comics since before I could read (I started with Star Comics's Thundercats and Top Dog), and I think DC's new reboot is the worst thing to happen to comics ever! Worse than the death of Superman, the Spider Clone Saga, the breaking of Batman's back (and being replaced with a more violent version), Green Lantern turning into Parallax, Heroes Reborn, Wolverine losing his metal claws in place of bone claws, or All-Star Batman & Robin. These new books look so unreadable and old reader unfriendly that it's not funny! At least Marvel is still readable. Comic shops won't be able to sell these new DC books in their stores as soon as readers stop reading their crap! Comic shops should instead order better reading material by Dark Horse, IDW, Aspen Comics, and much smaller companies that deserve some attention. And order more reprinted books like graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and Esstenials. As for DC, I'll stick with rereading the Batman: the Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, JLA, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, and Superman: For All Seasons.

    October 6, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  35. Dewey S Fischer

    I have read comics since I was 6 years old and followed my favorites religiously, I got out of it a few years ago due to the expense of the hobby, new issues were anywhere from $2 – $4 apiece and when you are reading 10 – 20 issues a month it gets expensive.I still read comics I now only buy collected story arcs in trade paperbacks maybe 1 every other month or so. I don't see how anyone today can afford $2.99 a book for monthly comics especially kids. If my math is right 52 issues at $2.99 (rounded up to $3 for ease of math) = $156 a month or with my habit at 15 books = 45 a month. rather keep it in savings.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  36. Birch

    First off, it's refreshing to see all these thought out responses. It's a far cry from the usual drivel the usual talkbacks generate.

    That being said, I'm done with DC. I'm an avid reader and I read a ton of DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, etc. All genres, too, not just super-heroes, tho they are my preference.

    I see this as a gimmick to generate money (which is what they are in business to do, so okay, I understand), but by doing so, they spit in the face of the long term fan.

    Now just because I don't agree with the move, I sort of understand it. We have these characters who have been around for 70 years, the problem will always be how to keep them fresh.

    I think Marvel hit it on the head with the Ultimate Universe, which I greatly enjoyed. DC was on the right track with All-Star (Superman, not so much Batman). I think they should've used the New 52 as an All Star Line and kept the regular universe as is.

    Because I think DC editorial had been doing a good job keeping things fresh. I dug Blackest Night, as I did the Death of Batman/Reborn. JSA, always a great book, the new Flash, Green Lantern...

    Really the '00's have been a time of great creativity for DC. So it's a real shame to uproot all this for a temporary bump in circulation.

    But hey, that's their choice. Mine is not to read. Which will be odd, no DC for the first time in...geez, more than 30 years!

    So long, DC, we'll always have back issues.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  37. Brian

    I've read a few of them. Some I liked, some not. They all seem to stand alone. Apparantly no book connects to any other book, which is confusing a little to me. Im one of those 'lapsed 90's' readers. And I was all Marvel all the time back then. Loved Marvel at the time because everything connected to each other. Reading a clone saga book and seeing "Check out Wolverine #75 for more on this True Believers!" smack in the middle of a Spidey bubble actually made me go buy that Wolvie book. And so on, until I KNEW all of those characters. DC does not seem to have that same connectivity with the new 52. Maybe I'm just too confused to see how they connect, I dunno.

    Anyway, I really want to like them, so I'll keep trying. Give em a chance till they let me down. I don't know when a better chance to jump back in will come.

    October 4, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  38. KajinPL

    I just recently read Red Hood and I'm gonna be another person to ask "What did they do to Starfire?!" For someone that was a innocent outsider and turn her into "I'm Starfire. I can do what I want. Have sex with me or I'll find someone who will." I'm reading this and I'm like "Dude, what?!" As far as anything else, I would've like them to have the story done from scratch if they were gonna reboot it anyway. Some of the "#1s" were good, but why begin a few years into the mask?

    October 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  39. Joe D

    I am supportive of the new 52 but there are two things I really think DC messed up with the move.

    1) They should have done a hard reboot. Keeping past Batman and Green Lantern continuity going does more to confuse potential readers than keep their old ones. A hard reboot would have allowed DC to start fresh and get everyone in on the ground level. But they hedged their bets by keeping these two books tied down to old story lines. If they can erase Wally West from existence, they could have reset Nightwing, Kyle Rayner and the rest. The logic that went into making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again actually falls apart when faced with Dick Grayson not becoming Robin again. And the logic that went into forgetting Wally West, Ted Kord and other legacy heroes falls apart when you wonder why the heck are there so many earth Green Lanterns?

    2) Change for change sake. Change is inevitable but not always for the better. A lot of the moves have been improvements and fresh, but some have been a step back. They took one of the most unique supporting characters in the history of comic books, Amanda Waller and made her generic. Her look was imposing. Now, it's run of the mill bad ass boss chick. Starfire has also become even more generic. Moral issues aside, she went from three dimensional character with depth to a TWO dimensional cardboard cutout of a sex-object? How is that an improvement? I have no personal qualms with her sexual proclivities per se but the way she goes about it made her less of character and more of a plot device. What a waste. There have been more good changes than good. For instance, I'm surprised I like Barry Allen without Iris. And Aquaman's rep versus his true coolness was great except for the unjustified, story-wise, decision to move to land. They missed a beat there. But some of the changes that fell flat did so because they were more gratuitous than intelligently thought out. Instead of improving, they actually set back certain characters.

    October 4, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  40. M.S.O.

    Been reading the new 52 and all I can is "I,m gettin A little lost". I mean look at it Superman is no longer married to Lois,Batman seems to have mellowed out and Super girl is A agin the wide eyed innocent. Also the world they live in has become xenozophic to offworlders. Out of everybody in the DC universe the only one who seems to be better off is Aquaman. At the start of Blackest Night he was dead,in the Brightest Day he became A water sprit,and in the Flashpoint he was an angry dictator. Now he,s living quietly in the lighthouse he grew up in with his wife. Just have to stick with it and see were it's going. Oh by the way I'm still wondering about one of my favorite Amazons Dona Troy.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  41. T

    This the new DC 52 ?

    Yech !

    I even picked up Blackhawk and seriously missed the last series with Janos Prowaska (that last one was better).
    I'll wait 'till it reverts back to before Final Crisis continuity, then start getting DCs again. (yeah, like that'll really happen..)

    Man, I SO miss Superman ('80-'90s to early 00's – before Jim Lee's reboot), J.S.A., Power of Shazam ! (great series !), Flash (Wally West), Birds of Prey, Green (Oliver Queen & Connor Hawke) Arrow and Green "Kyle Rayner" Lantern and especially the Legion of Superheroes ('90s version post zero hour) like you wouldn't believe. I liked the recent mags of Booster Gold and Power Girl but they went Poof ! I even liked those new Metal Men back filler stories with Geffen & Magiure from the Doom Patrol comic, of course that got cancelled. (SIGH) Well, it was very nice of DC to print out those retro-comics of the 80s & '90s right before they rebooted everything in the was great reading J.L.I., Superman and Green Lantern again.

    Now,if you will excuse me, I'm going over to the Moonstone, Dark Horse and Marvel rack shelf to see what they got.
    At least I can still get Captain America, Secret Avengers, Magnus Robot Fighter, Solar Man of the Atom, Honey West, and Our Man Flint....(so far, so good).....

    October 3, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  42. Xenos

    Very nice article. Plus that picture of Animal Man bleeding from his eyes is how I feel reading some of the news about these DCnU titles. I totally agree with the comment about scatter shot focus. I keep saying they're tossing spaghetti on the wall and that's no way to restart the DC line.

    The whole Starfire fiasco has been talked about among fans and female fans a lot. DC is really stupid for not synching their books with their media tie ins and vice versa. Not only is the portrayal disgusting, but it's even more distrusting that the character was on a popular kids cartoon. Heck, I even hated the Young Justice toon for being a mish mash of characters, but it's even more annoying that DC is ignoring a popular cartoon on right now. Then agian DC made Teen Titans villain Dr Light into a rapist and showed the rape in an adult (yet not really mature) comic series that came out about the same time as the kids cartoon. So they are pretty awful at this character management.

    Plus all this push for showing Green Lantern to the public seems moot since Green Lantern was a bomb at the box office not even Batman some days just can't get rid of.

    October 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  43. Replay

    I find the biggest worry I have about comics to be the endless need to relaunch popular characters instead of creating new and involving intellectual property.

    When I was a kid, the comics world was ABLAZE with new characters, and new villains for old characters – I was reading when Marvel spawned X-Force from the New Mutants, when the symbiote merged with Eddie Brock to become Venom (Spider-Man's most iconic villain, perhaps), when they took the risk to create Power Pack (the first standalone child superheroes), when Northstar came out as the first gay comic book hero. Batman had Bane and Harley Quinn. Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee and others joined Image to produce Spawn and WildCATs and other new titles.

    These storylines were relevant and exciting, but more than that, they were ORIGINAL.

    Now it feels like it's an endless quest to "remaster" old characters, to get them "right", to undo lots of failed continuity – but I don't want to read the same old stories dressed up with new art and minor plot changes. Where is the next Venom, or the next X-Force? Where's the next Bane or Harley Quinn? The lifeblood of any creative endeavor is creativity and spontenaity. An endless series of retreads, to me, means the culture is stagnating. There are only so many times one can reboot a franchise before the power button breaks permanently.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  44. AndyB

    Couldn't agree more Joe, I'm so sick of death being a revolving door to comic book characters !

    September 30, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  45. Joe

    I'm one of these lapsed readers. I checked out several titles at my local shop the other day–and am not impressed. The stories are too short, the books too expensive, and what is up with drawing all the women to look like porn stars?? I'm a 30 year old guy, and if I want porn, I know where to find it. As for comics, I have kids that I'd like to pass the hobby on to, but there's no chance I'm letting my kids see filth like this. I also get the impression that while DC will have good sales for the first few months (due to the buzz), sales are going to drop off back to pre-reboot levels by late next year anyway. Sorry, DC, your reboot is not working.

    September 30, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  46. Major

    I'm looking forward to the inevitable next Crisis, when the new DC heroes meet their Earth-1, Earth-2 and New Earth counterparts.

    September 30, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  47. Jim H.

    As an avid reader, this whole reboot p*sses me off. Didn't they just have a reboot with the "52" event three years ago? I was good with that as it brought back some of the more interesting universes into continuity. But this? This is dreck.

    One glaringly huge FU by DC is bringing back Babs Gordon as Batgirl. WTF?? o.O?? You take a popular character, Oracle, who overcame a crippling event – being paralyzed by the Joker – and didn't give up the good fight and figured other ways to contribute and kick-@ss. This was a classic "triumph over tragedy" story (supposedly a "written in stone" destiny for Babs as Booster Gold tried to keep it from happening but couldn't). What about the message it sends to folks with handicaps – that they don't get a reboot to be whole so their lives won't get any better? Or that their previous lives were better when they were whole despite the fact that they've moved on, adapted, and/or thrived??

    This is just my two-cents' worth of opinion. Your mileage may vary. *steps down from soapbox*

    September 30, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  48. Karl

    I haven't read comics actively since the early 90's. I used to make that weekly trek to the comics shop back in my college days, but eventually the financial drain got to be too much so I just gave up on it.

    The other day, I finally saw Justice League #1 on the newsstand at the local Barnes & Noble. So I picked it up, and my impressions were:

    – Awesome artwork. Better color, more vibrant than anything I remember. Reminded me of Wildstorm Comics back in the day.

    – Amazingly expensive. I remember when I though a buck-fifty was getting pretty steep.

    And the worst part of all:

    – SHOCKINGLY short. It seemed like they had barely set up the INTRODUCTION to the story, when all of a sudden, "to be continued". Huh??? I swear, didn't there used to be twice as many pages?

    I think DC is fooling themselves if they think readership (and revenue) will rise dramatically with this reboot. The comics just aren't worth it they way they're published now.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Major

      In the nineties, there weren't twice as many pages, but there were twice as many panels.

      September 30, 2011 at 8:40 am |
      • Revengel

        Sort of...

        Personal background – former GM of a comic shop. Also did my own 'ashcan' comic back in the 90s (didn't everyone?) and that's what I'm drawing on now.

        Pages don't determine the length of the story but panels largely do, but this was a knock for/against Image back in the 90s. Valiant – at times seen as the 'writers series' had an average of 120-140 panels a book (I know because I counted Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, etc) where Image – the Artists book – was about sixty. Yup. Six Zero. That's what the splash pages are about.

        BOT with the 52 this is a case (for me) of not getting it. I understand making Gordon & Amanda look more like the movie counterparts but that's not going to keep anyone. The stories will. The CHARACTERS will. Change Wonder Woman too much and you lose a LOT of people (anyone remember the Superman Red/Blue of the 90s?) and the ones you bring in won't have anything invested in this 'new' version and they'll leave.

        Marvel – especially in the X-world – has a lot of complicated continuity. There are more Wolverine knock offs/clones/kids/titles than you can shake a stick at. However they've been able to keep a lot of the folks who read the X-Folks when Dave Cockrum was doing the pencils as Jim Lee joined the X-Universe and *by and large* they've continued to keep them. There was no Zero Hour in Marvel but they did have 'Age of Apocolypse' – which was *TEMPORARY*.

        I'm not suggesting that DC go the whole route of AoA – but there's a lesson to be learned. You have 70+ years of history. Don't destroy or ignore it, learn from it. Put the 'Character' first, write great stories and the fans will come (and stay!). Make a pin-up book (coughSTARFIREcough) and folks will leave.

        Why? Because we love comics because of the stories...not the pin-up factor. It was true when I was a kid, it was true when my sibs were kids, it was true in 1995, 2005 and will be in 2015.

        September 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  49. Arcalian

    I started buying comics in 1989, quit in 2007. I guess you could say I sorta fit into the 'lapsed 90s' category. Trouble is, the 90s I look back on with fondness are Tim Drake still relatively new as Robin, Terra II alive and kicking in the Titans. Tim is generic Red Robin now, and Terra II never existed. I left because of Dan "Damnit" Didio, and I'm not coming back for this train wreck. Fire Didio, restore old continuity, and start treating the characters with respect.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  50. Arcalian

    I started reading comics in 89, quit in 2007. Largely because of Dan 'damnit' Didio. He was in charge of the reboot, and it shows. I'm not coming back. Not at least while this 'reboot' is in play and Didio is in charge.

    September 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  51. dave

    they’re = their in the final sentence...

    September 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  52. astroboi

    The elephant in the room here is simply this: Superman, GL, Batman, Wonder Woman can't exist in this world. If they do, Newtonian physics and the laws of thermodynamics go in the dustbin. Now that comics are directed at adults this problem must be addressed. And one answer is to start over, make some explanation, however lame, to square the superheros conflict with reality. So with each reboot the characters become incrementally more plausible. We admit Batman is getting old. Superman becomes a bit less super. And if this increases profits for Time-Warner, they are all for it. Alas, the plot holes are still way too big for me. I can't be ten years old again and no matter how great the art, how edgy the story line or how mature the heroes philosophy has become, I find myself shaking my head, deleting the comic and picking up something by Richard Dawkins to finish out the evening.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Flower of Life

      It's called suspension of disbelief, and has been around since man started orally passing down traditions. No wonder you feel the way you're reading Richard Dawkins! Read some Hawking.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  53. Robert

    A reboot of the DC continuity was as much as I hate to admit it, a necessity. If you want to hook new readers you need a starting point. The problem with the comic book industry is that characters are built upon stories and more stories that a new reader may have never heard of. Often times ,ones written before they were born. It's like watching a soap opera. When all you write for are the hard core fans you never get new ones.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Major

      A reboot would not be necessary if they just focused on good stories instead of constantly dwelling on the characters' status quos. If the Justice League has a truly great adventure story to participate in, what does it matter what earth they are on or what the details of their origins are?

      September 30, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  54. charles williams

    avid reader '61-'91. stopped by '99. when the graphics became more important than the stories i left.

    i will look at the 52 but i can't promise anything.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  55. thejim

    IMO it's more miss than hit... Loved Batwoman, it was great and left off where her story in Detective Comics ended... My biggest problems are changing things for the sake of change... Which needs is a good thing... The redesigns of a lot of the characters are terrible... Canceling and restarting Action and Detective Comics was just plain stupid... I also don't like the changes to Superman, I don't care if it's suposed to be the Superman from the 30's, that's not the Superman I know, or want to know... I dislike, and have ZERO respect for Dan DiDio, and his firing would make my day...

    September 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • sevenzarkseven

      I'll bet a lot of these titles will not be around a year from now (Red Hood, Hark and Dove, etc). If the "getting new readers" hook doesn't work for this stunt, I wonder if they will abandon this and go back to the status quo, similar to Marvel's "Heroes Reborn" debacle from the 90s.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  56. Old DC Fan

    Comics are going the way of beanie babys, base ball cards, and 8-track tapes. There are no kids, getting in to them, and when all the 30 year old basement dwellers die out, so will Marvel and DC. They have priced themselves out of business. Comics on the internet? Please, Collecting has been part of the industry for 30 years now. Once us dinosaures go it will be the end.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • sevenzarkseven

      I get some of what you are saying, but instead of going away I think the comic medium will just evolve further in a new format. When I was a kid, comics were only available at newsstands and specialty stores. Now every major bookstore has a graphic novel section, most of the blockbuster movies are based on comics, and you can buy comic book related merchandise at any given department store. So the awareness and interest in the characters and stories are bigger than ever, it's just not necessarily focused only on comic books and saturday morning cartoons anymore.

      September 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
      • Major

        But when comics exist only as design concepts for movies, that put them in a dangerous position. The quality of the stories become less important than visual appeal. Sales fall. At some point, the corporations owning them wonder, why publish the comics at all? Why not simply have the creative staff do conceptual work for us in-house?

        September 30, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  57. John

    Awaiting the return of Soupman.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Oyster Cracker

      "Aha! I think you're chicken, SoupMan!"

      September 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  58. Orklad

    After reading Red Hood and the Outlaws,

    No no no no no no no no.

    While some of the art is good and the stories in some of the New 52 books look impressive, those two books were HUGE problems for me. Starfire as a bikini clad alien nyphomaniac (complete with frat boy asides about who's had sex with her) and a good 5 pages worth of art of Catwoman's chest, butt and everything other than her face made me feel downright uncomfortable.

    If I were interested in reading porn, there are plenty of options for that.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • pezpunk

      totally agree. catwoman absolutely reeks. it's as if someone decided to draw some gross 13 year old boy's erotic fanfic.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • jdizzle1337

      If the female body in all of its beauty, especially drawn pictures of it, makes you uncomfortable, you have problems. Oh well basement dwellers gonna dwell.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • VintageLydia

        There is a HUGE difference between a sexually liberated and confident woman characters like Starfire used to be and the sex-kitten porn star she's been turned into. Anyone who knows and loves women should be able to tell the difference.

        October 2, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  59. Ictus75

    The best redo was when Marvel had Professor X's son, Legion, totally changed the X-Men universe in 1995/6 in the Age of Apocalypse—good guys became bad, bad guys became good, and the writing was excellent. I was actually sad to see things return to the normal universe.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  60. fdasdf asdf

    DC Comics is owned by AOL-Time Warner, which owns CNN. This is an advertisement parading as news.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • chris

      Very good observation!

      September 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • SilentBoy741

      And if what CNN puts out is any indication, get ready for a brand new Empire of Crap.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  61. gap

    In the 60's and early 70's I read every comic book at the drug store.
    DC had the best.
    The artwork is better now but the stories are not exiting.
    Give me back the dull finish dull paper comics and good stories.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  62. Dobie

    I collected comic books for years. I was such a regular at my regular comic book shop that they gave me presents for my birthday. My point is that I am not a hater – I spent years reading about Superman, Batman and the rest. But the comics industry have basically priced me out of my comic book habit. Until they do something about the costs – comic books will never be as popular as they once were. Look at it this way – everyone has a limited number of dollars they can spend on entertainment. Based upon the numbers in this article – the writer spent $205 for approximately 6.5 hours of entertainment. That is $31.53 an hour. Contrast that with reading a regular book – a hardback is about $25.00 and will probably take you at least 5 hours to read – that is $5.00 an hour. Go to a movie and even with popcorn/drink you can easily do it for $30.00 – which is about $15.00 an hour. Buy a video game for $60.00 and you can easily spend 40 hours playing it -$1.50 a hour.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  63. PollardEarl

    my best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7487 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here

    September 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • mag

      go ffphuck yourself

      September 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • @nalPhister

      Your mom makes $77 an hour by letting me phist her and spread and gape her loose a-hole. You know it's true.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  64. jpd

    DC rebooting?!?!?! What a shock...they can't get anything going beyond 1 sequel in their movies so why expect anything more from the comic books. Lets see...Superman will have been rebooted a 2rd time...and wow they go back to the beginning on the 2rd reboot original. Batman has been rebooted once and while those movies are great, DC always gets stuck after the Joker or Lex Luther characters are used. DC also never intertwines any movies with other superheros and their Crisis on Infinite Earths was a half-assed shot at trying to compete with Marvel's Secret Wars. Sorry DC, you guys are about as innovative as a those who designed the Yugo and beyond your 2 top tier heros (Batman & Superman) you have nothing. It's even well know that it took DC untill the 1970's before their comic book characters quit talking in dialog that was stuck in the distant past..."Golly Batman...that's swell!" Face it, Marvel will continue to and always will kick DC Comics ass in print & movies.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • EL

      Please get your time period straight. First the Crisis on Inifinite earths happened 1 to 2 years before the "Secret Wars". Beyond that, I agree with you.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • snoop

      Crisis on Infinite Earths was BEFORE Secret Wars....get your facts straight. Plus DC consistantly kicks ass when it comes to animated films and series. From Batman the Animated Series through the new films being released...including the one they are working now based on Tower of Babel with all the DCAU voice actors coming back to their parts.

      As for the live action films, yes they are lacking there. I am also not thrilled with this reboot. I hate that Barbara is Batgirl again, don't like the new line up for Teen Titans, and really have no desire to see all the continuity changes in the storylines. I came in in the late 90's as a new reader. To catch up on storylines, I did some research into the past. I became a faithful DC think I'll just get back issues and TPB's because all of the time and energy I put into these stories and characters are for nothing. A new reader that plans to stay around and truly LOVES the genre would have done what I did. Research the story lines and buy back issues to catch up. A fair weather reader will read a couple of stories and then sell the books at a garage sale later. All they are doing is alienating their main customers.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  65. Mike

    Don't forget the Marvel and DC aren't the only companies putting out comics.
    Image Comics are amazing, ORIGINAL, creator-owned stories. All you need to read is Walking Dead, Invincible, and some of their other lesser know, yet equally, if not more engrossing books.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  66. Rose

    I started reading comic books in the 1980s, back when I was in high school. I started with Marvel's New Mutants, then the X-Men, them wandered over to DC thanks to the Teen Titans. I was there at the beginning of the Vertigo line and bought all of those titles. I started reading Swamp Thing when Alan Moore started on the title. But as the years passed, I started to notice comics changing. They became way too dark (and I was one of the people who bought The Dark Knight Returns when it premiered and has first editions) and frankly full of hate. There were a few fun titles, like the JLI, but most seemed to revel in torturing characters and readers. Hal Jordan was turned into a genocidal psychopath. Heroes had their families gleefully raped and murdered. It became way too depressing. And the attitude toward women became worse. Every female character sported watermelons on her chest, a waist narrower than her head, stripper boots and costumes that looked like bikinis. Cover images showed Catwoman with a chain around her neck, drinking out of a water bowl, and Star Sapphire wearing an outfit that would make a hooker cringe. After 25 years of reading and collecting comics, I gave up. It was obvious that not only did Marvel and DC not want women readers like me, they actively hated us. I'd hoped that the reboot would change this, that in their quest for new readers they would recognize that women like comics too. I went back to my local comic shop, where the owner still recognized me, and flipped through a few of the new titles. If anything, they're more misogynistic than ever. This reader is not coming back into the fold. I'd also hoped that some of the new titles would be a good way for me to introduce comics to my teenaged niece and nephew, but I didn't see anything that was appropriate for that age group (13 and 14 years old). It appears that they aren't interested in a younger demographic, despite the fact that drawing them in when they're young could lead to lots of new adult readers down the line. They're also not interested in the female demographic. In fact, the entire line seems aimed at the male 18-24 year old demographic, which is what they already had.

    Although it did do one thing – DC's pushing the new "52" got me to pick up several newer issues of Captain America, The Walking Dead and a few Marvel and independent titles. Thanks for that, DC!

    September 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • mag

      you should remove your vibrating buttplug when typing your bibliography

      September 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
      • sas

        Don't you mean "Autobiography"?

        September 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Greedo

      They should make a movie about your life story.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  67. Bobby

    It's a real Hollywood re-launch. There's some good stuff in there but a lot of it is like the new "I, Vampire" which is just a "Twilight" knock-off looking to cash in on the vampire craze. It's a rehash of a rehash without a new idea in its head.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • paulwhoisaghost

      I, Vampire has been around since the 1980s.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Lawrence

      I,Vampire existed about 20 years before Twilight. Just saying.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  68. tonelok

    @WTF CNN
    You do realize just about every media outlet, tv station, ect is controlled by a limited group of parent comapnies right? Time Warner, Viacom, Paramount, the list goes on, but the point is you can go find unlimited instances of this occuring. Why did South Park removed the "trapped in the closet" episode about scientology? Because Tom Cruise told Viacom(who owns his movie rights and south park) that he would never do another movie.
    Point is, it's the way the world works, get over it.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • WTF CNN


      You do realize that unethical behavior is unethical, right? You do realize that CNN is responsible for the content of this article and makes no disclaimer of responsibility, right? You do realize this reads as nothing more than an advertisement for another of the corporate parent's properties masquerading as new, without following the minimal disclosure rules expected of news outlets, right?

      Point is, *this* is not the way journalism works, get over yourself.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
      • Mike

        advertisement? maybe I didn't read the same article as you. This article is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the New 52..

        September 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • sas

        "Get over yourself"? That should have been HIS line .......If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black.

        September 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • urnotSmart

      I watched the South Park 'trapped in a closet' episode on instant streaming netflix last week. I guess Tom Cruise must not have been very convincing.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  69. VR

    As long as DC keeps playing to the characters' strengths they will succeed. Marvel has a decent thing going, but they don't have Superman, or Batman or Wonder Woman. The new Justice League book looks awesome. And meanwhile Marvel kills Peter Parker...

    This is DC's year.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mark

      True, Marvel did kill off Peter Parker, but it was the Ultimates alternate-universe version of him. The Peter in the 'main' Marvel Universe (I forget the number assigned to it....616, I think?) is still kicking.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • KajinPL

      Yeah, that's not canon to the Amazing Spider-Man series o that doesn't matter. Besides, about 80% of the main heroes died in that version of Marvel. Practically all the X-Men & Brotherhood, Daredevil, Hank Pym, Wasp, Dr. Strange were casualties. Spider-Man was just a matter of time one way or another.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Yanti

      Posted on Tagchen! Ich bin c3bcber AOL zu diesem Internet-Tagebuch gemomken und mag auch einen Kommentar hinterlassen. Mir gefc3a4llt das Layout auc3Ÿergewc3b6hnlich gut und ich werde sicher zeitnah wiederkommen. Ich fc3a4nde es super, wenn dir dir auch meine Website mit dem Topic Ephedra angucken wc3bcrdest. Ephedra Ergc3a4nzungen sind der wirkungsvollste Fatburner fc3bcr rapide Fettverbrennung. Vielen Dank und meine besten Wc3bcnsche!

      March 5, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  70. WTF CNN

    Where's the disclosure? CNN and DC Comics are owned by the same corporate parent: Time Warner. Your readers have a right to know this and you have a duty to disclose that/remind them.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  71. Marco

    I have been actually out of the comic book loop for several years. When i started i was MARVEL, MARVEL, MARVEL. I think i was tired of Marvel. Dont get me wrong they have good comics. But i wanted a chance to start up again and collect. DC NEW 52 was a good way for old comic readers and new ones to start. Well let me tell you. The majority of the new 52 are great!!!! Justice League, Superboy, Batman & Robin, Wonder woman,Teen Titans, and many others are GReAT. I recommend giving them a chance. Now to be honest there were a few i was not interested in and one in particular was not thrilled about: Justice League Internation (Gold Booster is the leader)

    September 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  72. Jack Meoff

    Sounds like desperation to me. The last dying breath of an industry that sold out to Hollywood with their cheesy CGI films.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • SuckIt trebeck

      so there Jack.. how do you envision these movies should be made? CGI is a tool that is available to us now, so why wouldn't it be used to bring these stories to life? Now granted the stories are what make or break the movie in a whole, but without CGI most of the super powers portrayed in the comics couldn't come to life.. So what's wrong with that? or would you prefer to stay with the quality brought to us by a Mr. Adam West?

      September 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
      • Pascual

        Posted on My husband tvlreas to get a living. Much more times than he would care to count, his organization has booked him into a hotel which does not offer cable Tv. Last year, while surfing the web, he came across a site the allows him to Watch FlashForward Online. Now he has some thing to complete on those nights when he is bored. This makes me really happy as there have been nights when he would go out searching for one thing to do. He would generally spend much more out for the town than he had made that day. His work is to bring funds in, not spend a lot more than he makes.

        March 5, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  73. Halcyon

    The problem with the comic book industry is that they focus too much on introducing new characters, extending the core group and not enough on actual story, plot and character development. This is most clearly prevalent on Marvel's X-Men and Spiderman titles. Another tragic tendency is to focus on reboots or retcons to characters which instantly change the character's history or relationships that have last for years. While change is inevitable, the amount and frequency of reboots within the comic industry smacks of a cynical "have your cake and eat it too" mentality. Good storytelling involves building on your previous work, not constantly demolishing the foundations of your characters and fictional world. Many comic book enthusiasts were turned off because of the comic industry's blatant use of gimmicks to compensate for the thin and weak characters and story.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  74. RARGH!

    NERD RAGE!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Leafonthewind

      I hear your "rargh" and raise you an "aaiiiiieeeee!" There are some really mean people posting and responding to comments on this thread. Chill out, people. Grab the bong and relax. We're talking about comic books here, not particle physics.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  75. Fred

    I remember when they decided to kill off Barry Allen during the Crisis on Infinitte Earths.
    Bob Greenburger was at a comics convention in Atlanta and he could tell that Flash fans
    were not happy with their hero getting killed off. He said, "Don't worry. Someone else will wear the suit."
    I told him, "Yeah, and someone else can buy the book."

    September 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Steve

      Burn! You got him good!

      September 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Meta

      Killing Barry Allen in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" gave weight and significance to that awesome series (unlike say "Secret Wars" which seemed cool, but in the end nothing really happened). Flash was a bigger boy scout than Superman, and this was his noble sacrifice to save the universe. Grant Morrison bringing him back to life 25 years later in his garbled mess that was "Final Crisis" was the final nail in the coffin of a once great publisher.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  76. Mike

    I used to read comics back in the day... Now I'm older, married and neither have the time nor the space to buy and store comics. The main fact that DC is now offering the digital copy the same day as the paper copy hits the streets is the main reason I'm buying the digital copies. Additionally, I now sit with my Ipad and share these with my twin 7 year old boys.

    I agree with Andy Ihnatko.. if your a fan of reading comics you'll love the e versions, if your a fan or collector of books... you won't love em so much. I'm not a collector ... and I would even question if these new titles are collectible.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Jack Meoff

      As I have gotten older and more mature I find comic books to be childish and boring. Give me a classic piece of great literature over a comic book any day.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
      • Justin P

        Childish and boring, says the poster with the handle "Jack Meoff."

        Try reading the new series, especially Detective Comics #1. Nothing childish about that one.

        September 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
      • TimWB

        "Childish and boring"...said the guy who calls himself "Jack Meoff."

        September 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
      • Mike Hunt

        Older and more mature and your user name is Jack Meoff?

        Just saying

        September 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • Mr. Rogers

        This from the guy named Jack Meoff ;P

        September 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
      • sas

        Justin P said it best.

        September 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • ok

        Now you're only boring.

        September 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  77. Leafonthewind

    I would ask DC (and Marvel) the same question I keep asking Hollywood: don't any of you have any NEW ideas?

    Why keep rebooting/updating the old story lines of old characters? Why not invent some brand new characters for a brand new audience? Maybe the old audience would enjoy that more than reboots, since then you won't hear them complaining about character or story mistakes or contradictions. I'm so tired of Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the rest of them. Give us someone new to cheer for, and some new villains to hate.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Leafonthewind

      Not to mention some new costumes to admire at Comic-Con next year.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • ian

      I would expect it is difficult to come up with new characters and stories that haven't been done in 70+ years of comics. Can you imagine what a PITA it must be to make sure you don't contradict something that happened 50 years ago with a character?

      There is very little originality out there that has nto been done already. Look at the movies. All they do it reboots now or comic book movies it seems.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Rob

      Seriously? Something new? How about heading to a comic store and checking out how many new and different comics there are? If the fans don't like the changes made it's pretty much their fault, they shun and over analyze new comics, complain about how the story lines of the old heroes are not going anywhere, and then complain when the company tries to inject new life into the heroes. Is this the fickle fan base you want to cater to? One that doesn't want anything new but rejects all the classics? It's probably the best idea they had to reinvent all the characters, timelines, and scenarios. Next time you want to chime in on a board, head back to golf or somewhere you know what you're talking about.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
      • Leafonthewind

        Wow, Rob. Consider me spanked. I didn't know I had to be an expert on all comics to make a simple observation. Are you always this much of a tyrant? Can't play in your sandbox unless you have all the correct toys? Are you always an arrogant azz or is today just an exceptional day for you?

        September 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  78. Rob

    You mentioned Rob Liefeld alongside other creators and then said "All are still competent creators" in the same paragraph? That's it – turn in your geek badge. You're done.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  79. BVN

    Marvel won. DC lost. Time to move on.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Alex Winter

      But DC has Ambush Bug!!!

      September 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Rob

      Stated beautifully by someone who absoulutely LOVED the marvel movies, but couldn't get into Green lantern movie i'm guessing. Feel free to read the comics and then decide who won, if anyone.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  80. AndyB

    As a long time comics reader I've been extremely disenchanted with DC for a long time (and to a lesser extent Marvel too). Reboot after reboot of characters and universes leave you reeling trying to grasp where things are coming from. But worse still are the incessant cross overs and weekly's. The cross overs can be very enjoyable but have had an increasing tendency over the years to compel readers to buy not only the direct cross over but the linked titles too even if you don't normally buy that title, or else you have no idea what is happening; and not just in the crossover but in the main title too. The weekly's too strike me as a transparent attempt to part comic readers from their cash more frequently and at a time when the economy is making it harder to makes ends meet I think it a very poor tactic.
    Thanks to the great list of digital comic reading apps now available I've been able to diversify my comic tastes with more independent titles and discover new (to me) talent such that I have done away with my regular subscription and rarely read DC and Marvel titles as a consequence. Though in no small part this was down to DC and marvel not allowing their current titles to be released on digital for months.
    I may well check out a couple of the new titles if they're now being released on digital concurrently but overall this just looks like the same old story from DC, no doubt they'll be yet another reboot in another couple of years.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  81. Andy

    I'm a lapsed reader. It had been probably 15 years since I last entered a comic store. But DC's gimmick worked, and I bought Batman "#1". It was a good read, but not enough to subscribe.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Alex Winter

      That's cool, but I would suggest giving issue 2 a try? Scott Snyder is a great writer and comics have evolved in the past 15 years...

      September 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  82. Gene

    Unemployed Man is the funniest comic I know because it's true.
    unemployedman dot com

    September 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  83. Meta

    Back in the 90's the same artist/writer Jim Lee, rebooted the Marvel Universe in the same way. Trying to bring these classic heroes into the modern age and open up the comics to those who may be casual readers. Everybody hated it and they went back to the original Marvel universe within 10 months. Later at the start of the 21st century Marvel got it right by creating a separate line of comics called "Ultimate Universe" comics, which was to tie in more with the movies and bring in new readers who don't want to spend $ on 40 years of catch-up reading old story-lines. But they kept the original universe to maintain the audience they already have. I give the DC reboot 8 months before they go back to the old universe storyline. Whether they spin off the new 52 as DC's version of an "Ultimate" universe, or scrap it all together remains to be seen.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  84. Michael

    I am also a lapsed 90's reader, and would love to get back into them. But I refuse to play the same price for a digital version as I would for a physical copy. that is ridiculous.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bob

      It's awful marketing on DC's part to think that they'll accomplish anything selling digital comics at full price. They need to take a look around at the media landscape and how it's changing. Drop new comic prices to 99 cents and anything over a year old to 50 cents. That would increase the readership base considerably. The day of the brick and mortar comic book shop is over. Just ask Borders.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  85. theComicBookroker a long-time collector and a person who helps folks sell their collections, I can tell you I am going to experience with the 'new 52' the same thing I experience weekly; comics bought because of buzz that aren't that great and won't hold value...

    I thought the Action, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Deathstroke, Wonder Woman and a few others were great reads but some, Red Hood in particular, were horrible. I do hope folks stick around because I would like the industry to last long enough for my grandchildren to read and enjoy these characters in printed form...

    September 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • theComicBookBroker

      ...also, there are great comics that didn't have Warner Brothers' budget and commercial department behind producing them that come out every week that are getting a bump up...

      September 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  86. lemark

    Remember what happened in the 90s though, there was immense talent in this industry and the comics grew in popularity becuase of quality.

    DC had titles outside of their normal universe, titles that have made their way (and will continue to make their way) to the silver screen. Sandman, Batman: The Dark Knight, V for Vendetta, and The Watchmen. These titles electrified the industry and ushered in a Golden age. At the other end of the Spectrum you had Todd McFarlane setting Marvel on fire with his Hulk and Spiderman atristry.

    But the result of this rise in quality and popularity was to dillute the universe with worthless titles and McFarlane created his own comic company. All Flash and no quality and a multitude of stupid tie in stories brought the marvel readers out of the fold, and with them went a bunch of DC fans. DC didn't produce those amazing big hit titles for a while either.

    I have signed up for the Marvel digital plan to try to read up on things. It is a good service but what it made me realize is that that era of title proliferation screwed up that marvel universe really good. And now trying to enter it is way too hard.

    Even though DC lacks the compelling story and drama of Marvel, I think they were smart ot take this path.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • mfx3

      Well said, except I don't think DC is going to be able to force quality by resetting issue numbers. So far, I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate any of these new 52 are destined for greatness.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Rob

        Incredible insight, could you link the last few things that you found that were "destined for greatness" and actually made it? Just so we can tell you are a professional critic and not some butthurt nerd.

        September 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  87. Bubba

    Shortpacked! has it totally right. Why read shoddy print comics anyway? Girl Genius, Goblins, Sluggy Freelance, Questionable Content, Road Waffles; the best stuff is on the web. DC's new comics sound really stupid, like New Coke-stupid. Good luck with them, and last guy out should turn off the light.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  88. Grand Pubah

    Read indie comics heroes are dead

    September 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  89. wydok

    I was actually hoping for a review. I'm one of those "Lapsed 90s Readers". I'm hesitant to get back into comics because of the price, monthly commitment, and that a lot of the changes I have heard of recently STILL exist even with the relaunch, like the resurrection of Barry Allen and Jason Todd.

    This article wasn't that helpful.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • mfx3

      Frankly, as a longtime comic book fan, this feels more like a gimmick than substantive change and innovation. I agree that many of DC's headliner superhero storylines have become convoluted and weak over the past few years, so I had hoped this was going to be their attempt to start again, a simple yet fresh new take on each of these 52 titles. After all, simplifying really would go a long way toward fresh. Unfortunately, most of the new 52 I've read seem to be a continuation of last month's issues, albeit sporting a newly reset issue number.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  90. Alex Winter

    Some of them are great! I've really enjoyed Batman, Action Comics, Deathstroke, Justice League, Green Lantern. But some of them seem like they're going to fade quick.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  91. KajinPL

    I'm gonna try to give it another shot. I've always wanted to at least become familiar with DC, but other than Batman and Superman (somewhatfor Sups) no other characters ever appealed to me. We shall see I guess.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  92. Allison

    I haven't decided yet whether or not I want to read of any them. The idea and feeling of DC wiping away (most of) the previous iterations of our beloved comic book characters feels like those heroes meant nothing to them while meaning everything to us. I particularly love the article on io9 about Starfire and the comic on Shortpacked! about the entire thing. To replace one idea of a character with another seems ridiculous.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Jonathan

      I'll give some of them a try, but I don't know what they were thinking with the Red Hood comic. Starfire has always been like Superman – an outsider's innocent view of society. Now, she's a total nympho, who's super powers apparently include preventing the laws of physics to apply to the "clothes" (and I use the term as loosely as her morals) she wears to stay on. I'm ok with sexualized characters, if it makes sense. Catwoman and Black Cat are both sexy and sexual characters, but they're not raging nymphomaniacs that indiscriminately sleep with anything. Starfire apparently now is.

      And Jason Todd? The only character in the history of comics that fans wanted to die? Actually paid money to see dead. Called in to a voting service to make sure he died? Makes perfect sense to bring such a universally hated character back. Pretty much the only way I'd buy that title is if I ran out of toilet paper.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Joe

        Have to agree. I've got a young daughter and young nieces who love comics. They started with the Teen Titans cartoon of a few years back, and Starfire was a favorite. There is no chance in hell I'd let them read what DC is doing with her now. I also agree on Jason Todd. He died, should've stayed dead. The fans wanted it, so why bring him back. And what happened to Wally West? When I was reading, he was the Flash, but now Barry Allen is back from the dead? Where's Wally?

        September 30, 2011 at 8:49 am |