DC Comics recently announced their plans to reboot the entire DC Universe and start everything from scratch. You know, like they do every frickin’ summer. I have grown tired of summer events and DC execs thinking they have to constantly shake things up. “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE FOREVER (UNTIL NEXT SUMMER).” This year it’s Flashpoint, where the Flash wakes up in an alternate universe, last year it was Blackest Night, before that Final Crisis. I’m burned out, guys! I’d normally just skip this event and wait for the trade paperback, but there are parts to this announcement that have me thinking.
Mainly: DC isn’t just cleaning up character origins and mythologies like they normally do (“Oh, they had lots of asparagus on Krypton! That’s why Kryptonite is green or something!”), but they’re also trashing every ongoing comic series and starting with new number 1 issues. That’s pretty drastic, although renumbering comics isn’t unheard of. What is unheard of is same-day digital releases for all comics, starting with these new number 1 issues. That doesn’t seem like a summer event reboot. That seems like a paradigm shift. As if DC is adjusting their entire brand to tailor to the people who are reading comics right now. Which is wise, because sustainability trumps legacy.
I believe one of two things will happen as a result of this:
- DC will work towards setting the standard for mass-market digital comics. It’ll be a renaissance of superhero stories, all available cheaply on the device of your choice. They’ll do for digital comics what Amazon’s Kindle did for ebooks. From there, the doors will open for independent artists to sell their own comics digitally… and actually make money doing it. DC will have singlehandedly saved comics.
- DC will reneg on this in six months when it comes time to plan next summer’s big event. They’ll always treat digital second to physical, even though no one is buying physical comics. This is the more likely of the two.
It’s sort of amazing that it’s 2011 and no one has done digital comics correctly yet. There have been attempts from all the major publishers, but there has yet to be an “iTunes of Comics.” Maybe DC will get it right, but I doubt it. Whatever. I’m just happy that there’s going to be a new Animal Man series (the cover art of which is up at the top of this post).